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The Clintons, Part II: HRC's Future(?)

By       Message Steven Jonas     Permalink
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What is Hillary Rodham Clinton doing these days? Well, she is certainly making a lot of news. Some of it is good for her, some not so good (although the "good" here often depends upon which side of HRC, politically, one is standing). But why would she be doing that, one might ask. And so, let us consider that question.

First one can say that, given that her health holds up, she is definitely running for President. Her book has to be seen as a thrust in that direction. Unfortunately for her, it has not done particularly well on the sales side and she has not done particularly well on the sales-promotion side. In addition, in addition to what she says on the book, as the Gaza and Iraq/Syria events unfold, she has been making a series of foreign policy statements, beyond what she says in the book. Perhaps trying to sound Presidential, in the "decisive" sort of way, no? Indeed, no other right-wing-reactionary authority than Laura Ingraham has said she sounds just like John "We Should be in Iraq 50 Years" McCain. And she has lined up very solidly with the Israeli Likudniks on Israel/Gaza, while the President has been trying to find some way to help both sides find a way out of the horror. As Glen Greenwald has said, it is very hard to find much space between HRC and Bibi.

From Party Insiders for Bush vs Clinton.  They in fact could meet in their middle: .moderately. right v. not-too-far right, with not too much distance between them.  Did you see the one with Bill and GWB?  Why they just looked like old buddies.
Party Insiders for Bush vs Clinton. They in fact could meet in their middle: .moderately. right v. not-too-far right, with not too much distance between them. Did you see the one with Bill and GWB? Why they just looked like old buddies.
(image by KAZVorpal)

Indeed (Martha's Vineyard "hugs" aside), the way she is talking about President Obama and his foreign policy, (funnily enough one that she actually helped devise) along with the positions that she is taking on a variety of issues, on the domestic side too, like warming up to Goldman, Sachs, one might think that she is running for the GOP, not the Democratic, nomination for President. I think that actually, going back to her right-wing Democratic Leadership Council roots, she is considering lining up with the so-called "Third Way/No Labels" folks and, at the right time, formally breaking off from the Democratic Party.

She is taking positions on foreign policy that would set her up for defeat in certain of the Democratic Primaries, and one or more good opponents could flesh out her true, Wall Street-friendly positions on domestic policy too. Such opponents would be well-advised to bring Bill into it too, since he is always around and would certainly seem to be being set up to take a very prominent role in a Hillary /Clinton White House. Just using Bill's Presidential domestic policy record could stand any liberal/(hopefully) progressive opponent in very good stead. As for HRC's current foreign policy, taking Syria as an example, any of those arms which HRC thought should go to the Syrian "moderates" could very well have ended up in not-so-moderate hands. Indeed, with the aggressiveness of the Saudi-backed ISIS forces in routing a variety of US-equipped opponents, in certain instances the US has ended up bombing equipment of its own manufacture.

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The "Third Way" folks claim to occupy "the center." But that's all mythology. From where one stands on the role of government to where one stands on the ever-widening gap between the ultra-rich and everyone else, to where one stands on abortion rights, just as in the famous Depression-era United Mine Workers song: "They say in Harlan County, there are no neutrals there. You either are a union man or a thug for J.H. Blair." There is no "middle ground." The "Third Way," in fact is the home of the modern-day so-called "liberal" Republicans, who, of course, gave us first, the Gingrich Republicans and now the "Tea Party" Republicans (all of whom, of course, were/are Republicans), as well as the Clintons' right-wing Democrats. For the most part, their positions on the important issues of both foreign and domestic policy are right-wing.

In the past I have written of the necessity of splitting the Democratic Party for 2016, if there is to be any hope of saving the nation from the complete triumph of our own version of The Oligarchs. Of course, I saw the split coming from the Left. Now, it may well be that there will be a split, but, with HRC leading the charge, from the Right. She wants the Presidency. As she moves further to the Right, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see her winning too many Democratic primaries, even if one or more viable more-to-the-left candidates has yet to be identified. Thus, I think that one has to keep one's eyes open for such a development.

One party split did work in US history, the Northern Whigs (with, among others, the Nativists [surprise, surprise] and the Temperance Movement [in modern times read "Drug War"] folks), but dominated by the growing industrial class which wanted a) an open West and b) all kinds of government assistance in getting there and settling it, became the modern Republican Party. None of the other splits, most prominently that of Teddy Roosevelt in 1912, have worked (and I am here talking of attempted party splits, not third parties). A split to the Right, you might ask? Isn't that unusual in US politics. Well, yes, but not unheard of. Think Strom Thurmond and the "Dixiecrats" in 1948. And so it's rare, and success is rarer. But indeed, it could happen, if HRC sees it as her only way to the White House. And she could win, especially if the GOP nominates a Ted Cruz and no significant sector of the ruling class lines up behind a liberal/progressive Democrat. Stay tuned.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS, is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the School of Medicine, Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books on health policy, health and wellness, and sports and regular exercise. In (more...)

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