If we want to argue that Bernie Sanders is not as progressive as we would like or is far from the perfect candidate, that's fair. Nevertheless, I am not a Democratic purist who feels my candidate will perfectly align with all my views. I feel simplistic idealism and this immature drive for perfectionism is both damaging and impossible (e.g., Lawrence Lessig's candidacy).
However, we can't lie to ourselves and act like Hillary Clinton resembles anything close to what the Left once represented. What has always amazed me about attacks from the Left on Bernie Sanders is how few mention that Hillary Clinton has taken a more conservative view on every issue (even on gun control at one point). Facts are facts and I'm tired of so called Democrats that defend Hillary religiously. The only criticism I ever see is the email scandal but the scary truth is Hillary Clinton's email scandal should not be the piece that significantly contributes to her downfall. It should be her past policies. But where are the Rachel Maddow's, or the Bill de Blasio's (who hypocritically wrote this article a year ago)? I can't help but be reminded of The Emperor's New Clothes when I think of the way the Left mischaracterizes Hillary Clinton.
Have we forgotten the fact that it was her husband who created and championed the term "New Democrat"? Have we overlooked the fact that it was her husband who pushed his party so far to the center that by 2000, many people couldn't tell the difference between the Republicans and Democrats? Have we forgotten that in 2008, Ann Coulter even stated that she wanted Hillary Clinton over John McCain because she felt Hillary was the more conservative candidate?
Many Democrats will blame Ralph Nader for costing Al Gore the 2000 election. How quickly it is that we forget the progressive ideas that Nader championed and that he was once, a Democrat. We forget the fact that Nader ran largely because the Democrats had moved too far to the center. 15 years later, we see the Democratic Party already crowning a candidate that reaffirms what many on the Left feared, the Democratic Party has lost its soul.
Now, Hillary Clinton will state her view on this issue or that issue has evolved and so on, or will reveal her "progressive platform" after being asked about her position multiple times but it will often if not always be largely shaped by the polls. This is not always a bad thing to have in a leader. We should want one that will try to represent the people. However, it can also be incredibly detrimental. At times, it is up to our leaders to vote in favor of their principles, to vote what they know is best for the country, and it is their job to then convince the majority of Americans why this is the right position. We saw this with FDR and the New Deal which was very unpopular at the time. We saw it again with LBJ and the Great Society. We saw it in Kennedy's A Strategy of Peace Speech. This is what great leaders do. They shift the direction the country is going in because they have a certain wisdom that the common individual may not yet have but will acquire.
We can continue down this path of electing those who will only help maintain the status quo, where significant changes to the middle class and poor are not likely to occur as the elected on both sides are corrupted by the lobbyists. Or we can fight against it, against the accusations that this party has abandoned the working-class, the poor, and the minorities. Obama pushed this country slightly to the left and in 2016, we have a wonderful opportunity to win the presidency regardless who our candidate is simply because the GOP will alienate so many voters in key swing states. But truth be told, Democrats may win the general election and still lose in the long run by electing the wrong person. Let us not return to the center by nominating Hillary Clinton. We have been burned once before by a Clinton.
What follows is a list of reasons why no one can strongly endorse Hillary Clinton and call themselves a Democrat. If you want to favor Hillary Clinton because you cling to the argument of electability or because you actually agree with the policies of the New Democrats, then that's valid. But, please do not tell me that you somehow endorse Hillary Clinton because she champions Democratic values the same way FDR or LBJ did. The values of the old Democrats and the 1990s New Democrats are very much in opposition to each other.
Let us now review every time Bill Clinton and/or Hillary either endorsed a view or helped implement a policy that the Left was supposed to oppose, shall we. Up first is Hillary Clinton. Let us review the various things she has gone on record saying.
Hillary Clinton said she adamantly opposed illegal immigration in 2003, and felt they should go after the employers for hiring them. In 2006, she only reemphasized her very Republican-like views on illegal immigration. On several occasions in 2007, she stated she was against providing driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. She also went on record saying that the thousands of minors that were crossing the border illegally into South Texas last year should be sent back, once we identify who the responsible adults in their families are.
In regards to abortion, in 2008, she stated that abortion should be "safe, legal and, rare, and by rare I mean rare." In fact, when we further investigate her record on abortion, she has not only stated this view at previous events, but she even advocated for abstinence. When videos were released earlier this year, exposing a so-called scandal at Planned Parenthood, Hillary Clinton did not give a very ringing endorsement of Planned Parenthood at first. She called the videos disturbing, and didn't oppose a congressional inquiry into the abortion process.
Perhaps, the oddest thing is that we even find inconsistencies when we examine her views on guns, which Hillary Clinton and the beltway media claims she is running to the left on when we compare her to Bernie Sanders. However, in 2008, she felt gun legislation was best left up to the states. In fact, she even mentioned her own love affair with guns. In 2005, she enhanced the narrative that gun violence can be partly attributed to the sale of violent video games, and tried to make the sale of such games to minors a federal offense.
Not only did she vote for the War in Iraq but her foreign
policy has often been described as neoconservative. Even in her recent speech
on the Iran Deal at the Brookings Institution, her speech could be described as
In her most recent interview on the Daily Show, which occurred in 2014, (an interview
I might add was appropriately scolded by Andrew Sullivan at the time), her
foreign policy seemed to revolve around this idea that America needs to go around
the world reminding other countries again why America is great.
Despite what certain liberal revisionists will tell us about her 2008 presidential campaign, her campaign was accused of using racist undertones. For example, sociologist Orlando Patterson, writing in the New York Times in 2008, discussed the implicit racism found in Hillary Clinton's now infamous 3 am commercial. Hillary Clinton's campaign also provided a photo of Obama in a turban to the Drudge Report. At the time, Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, described it as "the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we've seen from either party in this election." During the campaign, Bill Clinton also once made the remarks that a few years ago, Barack Obama would have been carrying their bags. At another point in the campaign, Bill Clinton insinuated Barack Obama doesn't love America. In addition, Hillary Clinton surrogates, such as Andrew Cuomo went on record saying that Obama can't "shuck and jive at a press conference"
In regards to civil liberties, she voted for the Patriot Act in 2001, and voted to reauthorize it in 2006. In 2005, she co-sponsored legislation that would criminalize the desecration of the American flag. In regards to the rights of the LBGT community, she was late to the party (no pun intended) when it came time to support gay marriage and even in the most recently disclosed emails, she didn't seem to be the most sensitive to same-sex parents. She also supported the Workplace Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the ACLU strongly opposed because they felt it could lead to discriminatory behavior.