On January 27th 400,000 activists met in Washington to protest the funding of the war in Iraq. About 40 women from Code Pink went to Hillary Clinton's office with signs like IT TAKES AN INVASION TO RAZE A VILLAGE....They draped pink yarn around the office Cutting the ribbon symbolized cutting through the web of lies that lead us to the war. They also had a letter for Hillary to sign pledging to stop the funding. Instead of accepting the letter, acknowledging this passion for peace, congratulating them on their well thought out demonstration, expressing sympathy with their desire to end the war in Iraq, ...which Hillary now claims to share, the chief of staff had them arrested. Six of these magnificent women were thrown in jail where they spent 8 uncomfortable hours.....for what? For having the audacity to oppose the war that Hillary Clinton had spent 4 years defending. Now she says she's against it. When challenged to put up or shut up what's her reaction? She has voters for peace thrown in jail
When is a Democrat not Democrat? When instead of allowing public financing of her campaign she prefers to take the money from special interests. As the New York Times reported on January 23rd:
"The public financing for presidential campaigns, hailed as the best way to rid politics of corrupting influence of money, may have quietly died over the weekend. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first candidate since 1976 to turn down public financing for both the primary and the general election because of the spending limits that come with the federal money. ....declaring she could raise far more than the 150 million the system could provide"
How can Hillary Clinton raise more than 150 million dollars? By encouraging special interests to fund her campaign. Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox news, right wing nightmare of the Media industry, threw her a huge fund raiser in which undisclosed millions were raised. She not only accepted his largess, she did so with pride.
Meanwhile campaign finance reform is at the heart of taking the election process out of the hands of the special interests, like the credit card companies, the insurance industry, big oil, the arms industry and giving it back to the people. It is no exaggeration to say, public funding of elections is the engine from which democracy springs.
Is that a priority of Mrs. Clinton? Apparently not. Now that she's declared a pox on public funding, other candidates are eager to jump on board. Mitt Romney quickly said "me too". John McCain is making noises like he's next. The fact that as co-author of campaign finance reform bill he has an obligation to follow its mandate doesn't break his stride for a minute. And Barack Obama isn't committing himself one way or the other. (We all know what that means.) Like a house of cards, once Hillary pulled out, the only genuine reform in our voting system started to collapse. We, the people, have lost another chance to make our vote count. But that's okay with Hillary. Her special interest donors couldn't be happier.
When is a Democrat not a Democrat? When she travels to Iraq with John McCain in October and in a duel press conference agrees that we must stay in Iraq until we win (whatever that means), that we must maintain at least 135,000 troops in the region , that she totally supports the war. Then, in Nov when 69% of the country vote against this war, she attempts to flip flop. And not very convincingly. When you do what John Edwards did, what Chris Dodd did, what Republican Chuck Hagel did for god's sake...and you say, I believed the president at first, but I was mistaken.....well, there is such a thing as redemption after all. But to hear Hillary Clinton double talk on Iraq is not redeeming; it's embarrassing. This is one candidate who can't get her mouth around the words "I was wrong".
Remember when Hillary Clinton was a champion for a woman's right to choose? That was before Evangelists had enough political power to swing an election. Now she's not quite so sure about choice.
And of course she takes every opportunity to tell us how dangerous Iran is. Just what we need...more fuel on the fire of paranoia that makes Bush's insane determination to fight Iran seem more possible every day.
The list is long. But for me, for most Progressives whose agenda is a civilized, sane world at peace, a Democrat is not a Democrat when he or she stands for what's hot in the polls, and very little else.
The 08 election is two years away. Everybody and their uncle is running for president. Make them accountable. You like Hillary Clinton? Call her office and demand an apology for those 6 women who went to jail for going to her office to request her commitment to peace. Call her on the fact that she stuck a dagger into the heart of Public Funding of campaigns. Challenge her for waffling on ending the war, on refusing to support de-funding, on Choice. If you insist on getting on a bandwagon this early in the election, make sure you and your candidate are singing the same song. Now that's a challenge!
Lila Garrett is an Emmy Award winning writer and host of KPFK Pacifica Radio talk show, "Connect The Dots."