Saturday, May 02, 2015

What would be left enough for Clinton critics?

By Richard Barry

Since Hillary Clinton let us know she wanted to be the next president of the United States, she has, perhaps surprisingly, delivered a leftish message on policies like income inequality and criminal justice reform. Her team has even argued that Clinton was the Elizabeth Warren of politics long before Sen. Warren thought of giving up the academy for a job inside Washington.

Clinton has also come in line with fairly conventional progressive thinking on same-sex marriage and immigration reform.

Still, the left-wing of the Democratic Party wanted badly for Warren to run and is likely pleased that Bernie Sanders, if a poor second choice, will be there to wave the banner. Full disclosure, I'm among them.

But it does make me wonder what will be good enough for the left flank of the party. Probably nothing.
On Tuesday, Richard L. Trumka, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., gave an address aimed ostensibly at any White House contender. Without naming Mrs. Clinton, he urged candidates for president to resist “cautious half measures."

What exactly Mr. Trumka means I do not know. And I would like to know.

Trumka also encouraged Democratic hopefuls (i.e., Mrs.Clinton)  to make “a commitment, from the candidate down through his or her economic team,” to deliver on a progressive agenda. 

The Times believes this means the left does not want "to see the likes of Robert E. Rubin and Lawrence H. Summers, both former treasury secretaries to Bill Clinton, become fixtures in Hillary's circle." So, who she surrounds herself with will be taken as a significant sign of how serious she will be in delivering a progressive economic agenda.

I can buy that.

There is also her position on free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which labour opposes. And campaign reform, and net neutrality, and whatever else.

My thoughts here don't really have a punchline other than my hope that we judge Mrs. Clinton on specifics, and that we demand she provide these specifics so we can judge. 

And for those who will decide she is not progressive enough, I hope you will make your case clear, perhaps with reference to how President Obama was progressive enough.

Oh, and in the end, we'll vote for her.

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  • That, I think, is most important: in the end, we will vote for her. Gladly, in fact! One thing that bugs me is this idea some have that Clinton doesn't really believe these things and is just pretending. So?! The truth is that previously, I think both she and Bill have been more conservative than they wanted to be because of practical constraints. Ultimately, I don't know or care what is in her heart. I care about what she does. One of the best things about Sanders being in the race is that he will make it more likely that Clinton will have to be on record regarding policy. Just the same, I really don't want the TPP. And I don't want to see her continue with the old New Democrat lifers. But Summers has been making a whole lot of sense the last couple of years. And regardless: better New Democrats than New Republicans.

    By Blogger Frank Moraes, at 7:57 PM  

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