Byrd: Not ready for Hillary


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We all know it’s going to happen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former first lady, Democratic New York senator, and secretary of State, is going to run for president of the United States in 2016.

Whether it is her not so subtle public hints at a run or the “Ready for Hilary” pages everybody sees on their Facebook pages periodically, there is a treasure trove of evidence that Rodham Clinton wants to make a run at the Oval Office.

She also has the backing of the mainstream Democratic establishment with prominent New York Senator Chuck Schumer recently endorsing Rodham Clinton for president on a trip to Iowa of all places.

Not only does she almost certainly want to run, she’d be in very good position to win. The pollster/election-predicting god Nate Silver has said Rodham Clinton would be a very formidable candidate in 2016, and polling has suggested that she would defeat any potential GOP opposition she would face.

With all that in mind I must admit that, as a lifelong Democrat and self-professed leftist, this is all horrible news.

Rodham Clinton is nowhere near being a leftist. Rodham Clinton, along with her husband, has been part of the force that pushed the Democratic Party right during the ’80s and ’90s away from its decent left-wing principles to a more centrist, corporatist party flooded with Wall Street cash and support.

This shift has been noted in Rodham Clinton’s political positions over the years. During her husband’s presidency, she helped formulate and implement the strategy that led to the enactment of NAFTA, a free-trade agreement with horrible consequences for American workers, such as job losses and wage decreases. Rodham Clinton, in general, supports the neoliberal, Wall Street-friendly economic policy of tax cuts, horrible free trade, and regressive spending cuts that have resulted in a new American era of widening inequality and economic degradation for millions of working Americans.

It doesn’t get much better when one looks at Rodham Clinton’s environmental record. While she has paid lip service to the idea that the United States must act to curb possibly civilization destroying climate change, her State Department feverishly advocated for the environmentally disastrous Keystone Oil Pipeline between the United States and Canada. At best, it’s horribly hypocritical and at worse a downright dangerous sign of another leader willing to kick the can on climate catastrophe.
Rodham Clinton is even worse on foreign policy. Her initial support and vote for the hideous quagmire that was the Iraq War is well-known, but she also supported the Patriot Act and other pieces of legislation that have led to the massive abuses of civil liberties carried out by U.S. intelligence services in the post-9/11 era.

Rodham Clinton has also promoted the use of drone strikes against suspected militants in the Middle East, strikes that are not only horrible and result in completely immoral civilian deaths but have also undermined U.S. credibility and popularity in the region.

Overall Rodham Clinton is a center-right figure who would have a lot more in common with moderate Republicans (if they still existed) than any sort of leftist, and she represents a set of policies that have proven to be anathema to the health and well-being of the American social body politic.

The Democrats should not waste their time on another Wall Street Democrat and instead go left, nominating a populist such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren or some other lefty we might not even know about until the election rolls around. And why not? Poll after poll shows the country moving left on almost every policy issue, and, on a presidential level, Republicans have become nearly unelectable with their toxic mix of atrocious policy and detestable political figures.

When you add all of this together, it doesn’t make sense for Democrats to nominate yet another finance friendly, hawkish, and generally conservative figure.

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