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All The Hillaries

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Is Hillary Clinton the horrible monster Doug Henwood describes who is terrible on many, many issues the left should care about?

Is Hillary Clinton a corporate hack who will avoid economic populism like Zaid Jilani claims?

Is Hillary Clinton a brilliant politician whose seemingly inevitably is a sign of her political skill and not a media ploy, as Seth Masket explores?

Will Hillary Clinton be an unabashed liberal on domestic policy, as Peter Beinart argues?

Will Hillary Clinton rule to the right on Barack Obama on foreign policy, as Zack Beauchamp states?

I think the answers to all of these question is to some extent, yes. They aren’t mutually exclusive. Granting that Henwood’s obsession with the Clinton is a bit unhealthy and is pretty much the left version of those who think she killed Vince Foster, she does indeed suck on many issues. And she’ll be OK on some issues. In other words, she’s a complicated, corporate-friendly Democrat who will be quite liberal on social issues (regardless of her participation in the welfare battles of the 90s), irritating on foreign policy but hardly a Republican, and generally a mixed bag.

The real lesson to take from Hillary Clinton for progressives is that no one should see a president as the person who will solve their problems. If we wanted somewhere better than Hillary to run, we should have organized to move the party to the left. We haven’t, and if Hillary hadn’t run, the likely frontrunner would be one Andrew Cuomo, a politician far worse than Hillary. If progressives push her to the left through consistent organization, she’ll swing left. If she feels more pressure from Republicans, she’ll swing right. This shouldn’t be all that hard to figure out, yet it constantly surprises us how politics actually work in this nation.

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