Go Ahead, Back Hillary Clinton and Forget All About Her Record

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Go Ahead, Back Hillary Clinton and Forget All About Her Record

Portrait of Hillary Clinton by donkeyHotey

Go ahead and support Hillary Clinton, those of you for whom having the first female president is the top priority. She is by far preferable to Carly Fiorina, though of course no match for likely Green Party candidate Jill Stein (I know: You want to win). Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a principled and electable person, is not available, and political integrity be damned.

Just admit that you will be voting for someone to be president of the world’s most powerful nation who has not only been profoundly wrong on the two most pressing issues of our time—economic injustice and the ravages of unbridled militarism—but, what is more significant, seems hopelessly incapable of learning from her dangerous errors in judgment.

Like her husband, she is certainly smart enough to avoid advocating what President Obama has aptly termed “stupid stuff.” However, the good intentions of the Clintons are trumped by opportunism every time.

For confirmation of the Margaret Thatcher hawkish side of Clinton, simply refer to her book “Hard Choices,” which clearly is biased against choosing the more peaceful course and instead betrays a bellicose posturing that seems to harken back to the Goldwater Girl days that reflected her earliest political instincts.

What one finds is a litany of macho bleating in defense of bombing nations into freedom, leaving them fatally torn—Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria. Honestly, wasn’t Hillary Clinton’s record as secretary of state horridly devoid of accomplishment compared with that of John Kerry, who achieved long-overdue normalization of relations with Iran and with Cuba, to name two stunning accomplishments?

But it is in matters of economic policy—driving this election—where the failure of the Clintons is the most obvious, and where Hillary Clinton seems to be even less conflicted than her husband in serving the super rich at the expense of the middle class.

A continued deep deception in such matters was once again on full display in her major policy statement printed Thursday on Bloomberg. In an article headlined “My Plan to Prevent the Next Crash,” Hillary began by blaming it all on nefarious Republicans led by President George W. Bush.

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Of course, the Republicans have been terrible in their zeal to unleash Wall Street greed ever since the moderate Republicanism of Dwight Eisenhower came to be replaced by its opposite, the Reagan Revolution.

But the reality is that Ronald Reagan presided over the savings-and-loan scandal and as a result was compelled to tighten banking regulations rather than obliterate them. It remained for President Clinton, in his patented zeal to obfuscate meaningful political debate with triangulation, to enshrine into federal law that primitive pro-Wall Street ideology.

One key piece of that betrayal was the reversal of the New Deal wall between commercial and consumer banking, codified in the Glass-Steagall Act, which Franklin Roosevelt had signed into law. When Bill Clinton betrayed the legacy of FDR by signing the so-called Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, he handed the pen used in the signing to a beaming Sandy Weill, whose Citigroup had breached that wall and commingled the savings of ordinary folks with the assets of private hustlers—a swindle made legal by Clinton’s approval of the legislation.

Hillary Clinton, in her statement this week, made clear that in opposition to positions taken by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and even John McCain she will not revive Roosevelt’s sensible restriction if she is elected.

Instead, Clinton blamed Republicans for the fact that “In the years before the crash, as financial firms piled risk upon risk, regulators in Washington couldn’t or wouldn’t keep up.” How convenient to ignore that Citigroup, the result of a merger made legitimate by her husband, was one of the prime offenders in piling up those risks before taxpayers provided $300 million in relief.

Brooksley Born, a head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in Clinton’s second term, made a heroic effort to regulate the nefarious marketing of dubious mortgage debt securities until Bill Clinton betrayed her by signing off on legislation that explicitly banned any regulation of those suspect mortgage derivatives, involving many trillions of dollars.

It was that president’s parting gift to the banks but also to his wife, whose Senate career would come to be lavishly supported by Wall Street’s mega-rich leaders. They are now quite happy to back a woman for president, as long as it’s not someone like Brooksley Born or Elizabeth Warren who is serious in her concern for the millions of women whose lives were impoverished by Hillary Clinton’s banking buddies.

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Robert Scheer

Robert Scheer is editor of Truthdig.com and a regular columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.

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