Famously, Hillary Clinton lost her bid to be president in 2008 six years before the election, when she cast a vote for the Iraq war. Barack Obama, who’d been against that war as a nobody state senator in Illinois, was able to run to her left in appealing to the Democratic Party base, and win the nomination.
Hillary’s done it again. Her pro-war comments in that famous interview two weeks ago have painted her into a right wing neoconservative corner. In 2016, a Democratic candidate will again emerge to run to her left and win the party base, again because of pro-war positioning on the Middle East that Hillary has undertaken in order to please neoconservatives.
The last time it was Iraq, this time it was Gaza. Hillary Clinton had nothing but praise for Netanyahu’s actions in Gaza, and echoed him in saying that Hamas just wanted to pile up dead civilians for the cameras. She was “hepped up” to take on the jihadists, she said that Obama’s policy of “not doing stupid shit” was not a good policy. She undermined Obama for talking to Iran and for criticizing Israel over the number of civilian casualties in Gaza. She laid all the fault for the massacre at Hamas’s door.
And once again, Hillary Clinton will pay for this belligerency; she won’t tenant the White House.
Am I saying that the Gaza massacre will have actual weight in American politics in 2016? Yes. I know I’m going out on a limb, but I believe that the discourse on Israel/Palestine is shifting so fast in this country that by 2016 the Democratic Party base will be overwhelmingly against Hillary’s position on supporting Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and that a rival will exploit this sentiment for political gain. And she will tack too late, and too feebly, as she did in 2008.
Consider: Gallup says that Israel’s actions in Gaza were unjustified in the eyes of the young, people of color, women, and Democrats, and overwhelmingly in some of those categories 51-25% disapproval among the young. 47-35 percent among Democrats, 44-33 among women, 49-25 among nonwhites.
Now remind me: who makes up the Democratic base? Women, Democrats, people of color. And as we all know, primaries are dominated by the true believers.
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Consider that at the 2012 convention, there was a floor demonstration against the party platform to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Barack Obama’s minions railroaded that through because he was worried about losing donors. Those grassroots have only gotten stronger in the years since.
Two years is a long time– who would have bet on Barack Obama in 2006? And I’m saying the Israel/Palestine issue will at last be politicized by 2016; it will be a subject that people discuss openly. Jewish youth and liberal Zionists will have calved off the iceberg of pro-Israel support inside the Jewish establishment; they will be a real political bloc that will give a candidate confidence at last to criticize Israel. AIPAC will be a dirty word for a whole lot more people by 2016; it will be politicized inside the Democratic base. And Hillary is AIPAC’s darling. As MJ Rosenberg jokes, she won’t take a position on Ferguson, MO, without checking in with AIPAC.
Hillary is shrewd. She supported the Gaza massacre for the same reason she supported the US invasion of Iraq: to please the Israel lobby, that segment of American political life that helped get her husband into office over George H.W. Bush in 1992; that purged Jimmy Carter from her party and James Baker from the other one; and that permeated every corner of the George W. Bush administration as well as every Senate office from the Northeast. There’s huge money and establishment/media support in the Israel lobby. That’s why she gave her bombshell interview to Jeffrey Goldberg, who once served in the Israeli army, at a prison where they tortured Palestinians. From his lips to the lobby’s ears.
Shrewd– but too clever by half, as the saying goes. The lobby’s power is ebbing. Gaza has dealt it another blow. Young Jews are openly challenging the Jewish establishment, and mark my word, within a year we are going to see cover stories in national magazines about the Jewish political revolution, featuring inspiring young Jews like Jacob Ari Labendz and Cecilie Surasky and Michael Berg and Naomi Dann of Jewish Voice for Peace. By 2016, we’re going to see “60 Minutes” covering the Israel lobby. It’s not that Zionism won’t still have a friend in high places (just look at the chairman of the biggest media company in the world talking about his personal connection to Israel), but the story will finally be in the news because the Jewish monolith will have fractured sufficiently that the claim that it’s anti-Semitic to address the Israel lobby will have lost all its power. And the unending wars in the Middle East are going to turn people to our hand in religious conflict, and politicize Zionism in the way that FDR and Truman once tried to do, when they said establishing a Jewish state in the Middle East was inviting World War 3. Maybe even Chris Matthews will talk about the lobby.
And Hillary Clinton will once again be isolated in her own party as a warmonger. She has great political gifts. She’s street smart. She’s tough. She can always tell you the lay of the land. She knows the addresses of all the bosses.
But as she proved in 2002 when she voted for the Iraq war, she lacks vision. She has no idea what’s coming.