Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Hillary, You're Not Listening

Jeff Cohen

"Part of my job is being a good listener," Hillary Clinton wrote, in the first line of her letter received today. As a New Yorker, I'm represented by Hillary in the U.S. Senate. Along with her two-page fundraising letter, I received a four-page "2005 Critical National Issues Survey."

But something was missing -- something Hillary obviously doesn't want to hear about: IRAQ. Nowhere in the letter or the questionnaire was that four-letter word.

Hillary's first question asked me to rank nine issues in their "order of importance." Iraq wasn't on the list. Nor was there a place I could add an issue she'd somehow forgotten about.

The problem is she hadn't forgotten the war. She simply doesn't want to hear about one of the biggest issues dividing our country, draining the federal budget, destabilizing the Middle East, undermining international law and institutions, and spreading fear and hatred of our country.

When national polls show that 54% or more of Americans want our troops withdrawn promptly from Iraq, and 60% believe it was a mistake to have sent troops in the first place, imagine how huge the majorities are for those propositions in Hillary's home state of New York.

Hillary's letter said that she enclosed the questionnaire to help gauge concern about "the extreme Bush agenda." But on the central foreign policy initiative of Bush's agenda, she has been complicit. When she voted to authorize the Iraq war, and today when she echoes White House talking points in criticizing advocates of withdrawal.

Hillary's letter closes by appealing to Americans who believe "no one's listening to me." I'm not one of those Americans: Progressive members of Congress have been listening to their constituents, and speaking out loudly and bravely to end the destabilizing US occupation of Iraq. Now even a hawk like John Murtha is listening. It's Hillary who isn't listening.

What I want this Christmas season is an antiwar Democrat to step forward to challenge Hillary Clinton in New York's upcoming primary for senate. And I want a powerful antiwar Democrat to oppose her for the presidential nomination in 2008.

Pollster John Zogby believes that a credible progressive Democrat will challenge Hillary for the presidency in 2008: "There will be an antiwar candidate," predicts Zogby. "That's what the base demands."

Hillary's letter ended with a P.S.: "Please return your completed survey with a generous contribution within 10 days."

I immediately returned the survey...with the word "IRAQ" scrawled across it in marker. But there was no "generous contribution." I'm keeping my checkbook open for candidates ready to challenge Bush's extreme agenda, at home and in Iraq -- and to challenge Hillary as well.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen is an activist and author. Cohen was an associate professor of journalism and the director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, founder of the media watch group FAIR, and former board member of Progressive Democrats of America. In 2002, he was a producer and pundit at MSNBC. He is the author of "Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media" - and a co-founder of the online action group, www.RootsAction.org. His website is jeffcohen.org.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Keystone Pipeline Shut Down After Oil Leaks Into Kansas Creek

"Pipelines leak," said one climate campaigner. "Especially ones named Keystone."

Julia Conley ·


People in US Trying to Flee Extreme Weather Can't Escape Climate Catastrophe: Study

"These trends suggest that migration is increasing the number of people in harm's way," reads the study.

Julia Conley ·


Biden, DNC Urged to Make Diverse Swing State—Not South Carolina—First Primary Contest

"Our first priority must be to select states early in the process that help produce the strongest Democratic nominee consistent with our working-class values and agenda," says a new petition from More Perfect Union.

Kenny Stancil ·


'On Her Way Home': WNBA Star Brittney Griner Freed in US-Russia Prisoner Swap

"Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner," said U.S. President Joe Biden. "She is safe. She is on a plane."

Jessica Corbett ·


Historic Offshore Wind Lease Sale in California Gets Over $750 Million in Winning Bids

"If we build on today's forward momentum, the United States can dramatically reduce its global warming emissions and become a global leader in renewable energy technologies like deep-water offshore wind."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo