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Hillary's Money Problem

By Dan Dyal  Posted by Dan Dyal (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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As John Edwards, Barack Obama, journalists, innocent bystanders and others repeatedly point out, Hillary can’t seem to give a straight answer, or one that makes sense, on any number of issues. Her debate career thus far involves lots of dodging, bobbing and weaving, tap-dancing and pirouettes, but honest answers to important questions have been notably lacking from her repertoire.

She may be the front runner in national polls, but she also has the singular distinction of leading in several pivotal negatives that get less attention. When people are asked for whom they would NEVER vote, she leads the pack. (Tim Russert, in one of his more memorable pronouncements, once chortled that Hillary’s positives now equaled her negatives!) And when people identify the candidate they trust the least, her poll numbers surpass all others.

Hillary watchers believe that she could yet triangulate herself to an early political death.

Hillary’s careful opacity is the direct, ironic, result of yet another area where she has a formidable lead: fundraising. Her astounding war chest began to grow the day she declared her run for the presidency. At the end of the third quarter this year, she had accepted over ninety million dollars in campaign contributions, approximately the same as her two top rivals combined.

And therein lies Hillary’s dilemma. She can’t seem to please her base and her big contributors at the same time.

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Among any number of apparently ill-conceived actions, her continuing defense of her vote on the Kyl-Lieberman resolution against Iran, perfectly in sync with her 2003 vote for war in Iraq and perfectly out of sync with the wishes of her base, would ease the way to another Bush attack in the Middle East. And then there is her failure to propose a solid defense of Social Security, which has baffled her fans, and her vote for the Patriot Act. Her sponsorship of a flag-burning amendment. Her cozy partying with Rupert Murdock. Her support for substituting cheap foreign workers for Americans both at home and abroad.

Who is this woman? Clearly, she has no overriding concern with appealing to Democrats if it means offending Corporate America or her other backers or jeopardizing her chances with conservatives whose support she will need to win.

Her two main opponents, John Edwards and Barack Obama, have strong populist credentials and a contributor base that leaves them room for honesty. Unlike Hillary, they have relatively little to fear from losing the support of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Citibank or Salomon Brothers, examples of heavy-duty, mainly East Coast, financiers with a lot to lose from public understanding of their real agenda or their role in her campaign.

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For as long as Wall Street salivates over the demise of federal programs that support a middle class, such as pensions, public education and corporate regulation; for as long as stock prices leap upwards with every factory closing on U.S. soil that results in layoffs and outsourcing; for as long as the rich benefit when yet another conglomerate jettisons health care for employees or retirees, or when more countries signed on to NAFTA-like trade deals, Hillary’s priorities will follow. If she wins, the middle class is in for a continuation of the bumpy ride brought to us by administrations dating back to Ronald Reagan.

With a Hillary presidency, corporate lobbies will continue to provide a tidal wave of cash into President Hillary’s reelection coffers. We can expect Social Security to be more and more underfunded and remain a furtive goal for privatizers; for an increasing number of H1-B visas to displace American workers; for the U.S. to remain a nation that favors military might, deregulation and the corporate bottom line over the health and education of its own population. Let’s not forget that daughter Chelsea is now a well-paid hedge fund executuve.

But that’s not all. The quagmire in the Middle East makes it clear that far more than domestic mayhem may be in store from a presidency deep in the pocket of monied interests. Unlike George II whose primary motivation for decimating countries in the Middle East has been empire building and oil, Hillary’s financial jackpot has effectively placed her, and us if she wins, squarely in the middle of Israeli politics to an extent not seen before.

Jews constitute only about two percent of the U.S. population, but, according to several estimates, contribute 60% to 70% of campaign funds, almost all to Democrats. A quick glance at the numbers, donor profiles and Jewish opinion pieces makes it clear that the main beneficiary of Jewish fundraising is Hillary. Their main lobbying organization, AIPAC, takes a hard line against any politician not regarded as sufficiently pro-Israel.

The facts of AIPAC’s political activity in the US, despite their well-protected, low, public profile, are a source of continuing discussion among American Jews, and in Israel, Europe, and the Arab nations. In the U.S., however, any such discussion is stifled by charges of anti-semitism. It’s only now that the progressive media is starting to take a hard look at the influence of the Jewish Lobby on U.S. foreign policy.

AIPAC’s lobby for its only client, Israel, and its war against free speech in the name of ‘anti-semitism,’ have been fully documented by a number of sources. For example:

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-In 2006, Harvard and University of Chicago professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, according to Eric Alterman, "two of America’s most admired political scientists," wrote "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," a meticulously "documented indictment of Israel’s control of U.S. Mid-East policy. Professor Walt was demoted after Jews protested the work. Harvard dropped it’s logo from the paper and issued a disclaimer. The message to other academics was clear: there is no free speech when it comes to Jewish interests.

-Paul Findlay, a popular former U.S. representative from Illinois and author of They Dare to Speak Out, was drummed out of his Washington job by AIPAC-engineered campaign financing in favor of his more malleable opponent, Dick Durbin. His crime? Supporting fair treatment of Palestinians. He is among a long list of able public servants forced to leave government, or kept out of it, for the same reason.

-John Edwards’ appointment of David Bonior as his campaign manager was enough to bring Jewish donations to the Edwards campaign to a near standstill since Bonior, a former congressman from Michigan, had been critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Edwards financing has never recovered.

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Dan Dyal is an engineer living in West Virginia

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