Hillary Clinton’s damaged goods. It was madness for the Democrats to choose her

by Kevin Meagher

It’s safe to say the Clintons have cast a long shadow over the Labour party.

A generation of political professionals have imbibed the campaigning techniques that propelled Bill to the presidency in 1992 and 1996, with two ambitious young Labour frontbenchers sent over to learn from the master at close quarters.

The lessons Tony Blair and Gordon Brown brought back with them have pretty much shaped everything Labour has done since. Rapid rebuttal. ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’ Triangulation. New Labour was born in that war room in Little Rock.

But now the Clintons have had their day. Bill was a good domestic president, focusing ‘like a laser beam’ on the economy; balancing the budget, creating jobs and presiding over a decade of prosperity.

But he is also venal and morally-corroded. A Vietnam draft-dodger who, while Governor of Arkansas, notoriously sent a mentally-disabled man to his death, just so he didn’t look weak on the death penalty, (the issue that hobbled Michel Dukakis’s 1988 tilt at the White House).

Never mind that impeachment business.

Despite his many good works as president, a trail of slime followed the Clintons throughout their time in the White House. As people, Bill and Hillary make Frank and Claire Underwood in House of Cards look like Tom and Barbara from The Good Life.

Now, with her lead over Donald Trump ebbing away, (as a new poll from the swing states of Ohio and Florida shows her trailing the Republican), its beginning it look like utter folly for the Democrats to have pinned their hopes on her.

It still feels inconceivable that Trump can win, but then everyone was sure he couldn’t secure the Republican nomination. Or that Bernie Sanders was a joke candidate. Probably the same people who believed Britain would never quit the EU.

2016 is turning out to be a year of nasty electoral surprises.

If Hillary Clinton had a time it was back in 2008. Unfortunately, an upstart newbie Senator from Illinois beat her for the Democrat nomination.

As it turns out, it would have been better for both of them if the running order had been reversed, that way Obama would have had more experience and Clinton would be less clapped out.

But hubris got the better of her. She had to have it. So rather than the Dems offering a fresher, more unknown figure who could have been more elusive and pragmatic, the world is stuck hoping Hillary Clinton, dragging around decades of political baggage, can stop Donald Trump.

The irony, of course, is that the Democrats needed someone like Bill. A candidate with charm, (however shop-soiled his shtick might be). A good old boy who could present him (or herself) as an outsider, untainted by the connivances and compromises of Washington’s beltway politics and who didn’t constantly rub the average American voter up the wrong way.

Clearly, Hillary can’t do any of that. Trump’s followers are a ‘basket of deplorables’ she claimed last week at a swanky New York fundraising bash, insulting and dismissing half the country in half a sentence.

And the little people in the small towns in the ‘flyover states’ know she means them.  And they in turn know she epitomises Washington insiderness in all its cocooned, smarmy self-regard.

Hillary Clinton is the wrong candidate in the wrong place at the wrong time.

She cannot reach out to the whole country, nor bring it together in the event she manages to clamber across the finishing line first.

The Clintons have nothing left to teach us, either about campaigning or governing. It’s time we stopped looking at the Clintons through Hillary’s tinted spectacles. Their day is passed.

They couldn’t even manage to bundle Hillary in the back of her car after her funny turn at the 9/11 commemorations without having it all captured on film. Amateur hour.

All that’s left is to hold our collective breath and pray that Hillary’s overweening personal ambition hasn’t now opened the door for the election of President Trump.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut

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11 Responses to “Hillary Clinton’s damaged goods. It was madness for the Democrats to choose her”

  1. Mark Livingston says:

    We could say the same things about Owen Smith and his new-found faux Jeremy-lite socialism. Totally insincere. He is so Tory-lite. The only thing missing is a New Labour bouffant hairstyle.

  2. Tony says:

    “But he is also venal and morally-corroded. A Vietnam draft-dodger…”

    My understanding is that Bill Clinton opposed that war. That would make his position honourable unlike the many US figures such as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Bolton etc. who got deferments for a war that they actually supported.

  3. David Walker says:

    I think what will (or at least can) win it for Trump is the idea that victory for the Democrats can effectively create a one-party state.

    This may not have any truth to it, but it is a powerful message and Trump has the ability to deliver it.

    If he can make Americans believe that the Democrats plan to flood the country with immigrants, purely to shore up their vote, then Clinton is in trouble.

    Stories about Trump getting almost no support from African Americans, probably damage the Democrats more than the Republicans. Outside of the big cities, many Americans view blacks as being too lazy to work and likely to harbour criminal intentions. Those that don’t hold these views were never going to vote for Trump anyway.

    I would expect Trump to soon start talking about Clinton’s poor health being a direct result of the pressure she is under, due to the lies she has told and crimes she has committed. This would obviously be unfair, but hard to rebut effectively.

    Kevin Meagher is right though. She was a bad choice and was always going to be the establishment candidate, at a time when people across the world have completely lost faith in the elites.

    She’s not even proposing that America moves in a different direction. Neither hope, nor change, are on this year’s Democrat ticket. Only Trump is offering that, regardless of what you think about his policies. He’s the one saying ‘Vote for me and your life will be very different, to what it is now’.

  4. Vinegar Tom says:

    Mark Livingstone: What?

  5. Tafia says:

    What’s dying (and good riddance to it) is cosy, consesnsus, middle of the road, middle class politics. Everywhere you look, voters are moving away from the centre ground, polarising and become tribalistic. It’s happening in the UK, it’s happening across western Europe, it’s starting to happen in the USA and it will happen elsewhere.

    people no longer believe nor trust ‘the establishment’ and are reacting to it. You could even specualte that this is the western world’s progression from the middle east’s Arab Spring.

    Marl Livingstone – Oily Smith’s problem is everyone knows he isn’t a real candidate. merely a stalking horse.

  6. paul barker says:

    Kevin who ? This is a nasty little piece of misogynist trash, worthy of both sides in Labours civil war. What is this site for now ? If this is “Progressive Labour ” its no wonder so many are deluded by Corbyn.

  7. Martin says:

    I agree with Paul Barker, I often look on this site for thoughtful and in broad terms (if not for the Labour Party’s present state) constructive articles. This article certainly does not qualify: all I learn is that someone called Kevin has an emotively based dislike of Hilary Clinton. I would have learned more if Kevin had posted a selfie of himself pulling a face in response to Clinton.

  8. Yet again I have to say I agree with Kevin, well at least half agree. Hilary Clinton was a bad choice for the Democrats as polling now shows. We are going to have to rely on Trump messing up his own campaign and hope that Clinton is not as bad as some think.

    What Kevin misses are the similarities between the pro-Clinton Democrat Party elite and the anti-Corbyn New Labour elite. Neither can now be regarded as a progressive or radical force. Sanders, like Corbyn, showed that youth can be enthused by politics, but the middle-class old and middle-aged political operators have no intention of stepping aside.

    Both the US and British party elites have shown they are willing to use a scorched-earth policy rather than surrender control. The problem with this is that unlike the Russian retreat before Napoleon, there is no guarantee there will be anything left after they burn the fields .

  9. madasafish says:

    Poor Bill Clinton..Attacked in this article as trailing “slime”.. But defended by brave posters who think it’s misogynistic to attack a man…

  10. Retaliate says:

    Paul… you allege misogyny but the author didn’t criticize her gender nor say anything about women in general.

    It’s sad to see those that try to defend Hillary still have to accuse anyone critical of her, regardless of their reasons, of misogyny.

  11. David says:

    ‘What’s dying (and good riddance to it) is cosy, consensus, middle of the road, middle class politics.’

    If (white) working class people have given us Trump (and actually they haven’t, Trump’s supporters are richer than the US average, which is the class-related thing that actually matters for matters of justice, even if they are ‘culturally working class in some nebulous sense), and middle class people oppose him, then surely the correct reaction would be ‘hoorary for middle class norms’ and ‘aren’t *white* working class people a load of bigots or idiots’ (though as I emphasise Trump’s supporters aren’t actually all that working class anyway, so the point is moot.)

    But then, I’m not running for office and I don’t identify with the Labour party-though I have voted for it, and have never voted Tory-so I don’t have to pretend that everything working class is great and everything (boo! hiss!) middle class is bad.

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