Friday, December 03, 2010

Hillary is Not Going to Save Us

I've had private conversations on this point before on whether Hillary would run again for President. I have always said she would not. After the disastrous midterm elections, people who had dismissed her in 2008 began asking if she would, perhaps finally understanding the penalties of having been so wrong before. Today, myiq2xu has a post on The Confluence citing two news articles where HRC says pretty firmly that she's done with public service after the Secretary of State gig. Nope, Hillary is not going to save us, even if we ask nicely.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been reading her statements over the last year. She has said repeatedly that she is "old" (she had a wonderful exchange with Robert Gates in an interview where they ribbed each other about being in the Old Folks Caucus), she was not going serve a second term as Secretary of State, and that she had other things she wanted to do. One of my private observations is that with Chelsea getting married, there's going to be grandkids, and Hillary will not want to miss a second of that. Plus there's other family things like getting to spend more time with her husband and her mother. There's this big foundation attending to human needs around the globe that would greatly benefit from her energy and intelligence. And then there is the incredible freedom of getting to decide what she wants to do unfettered by the caterwauling of the CDS contingent.

I am personally disappointed by the idea that HRC won't take charge if only because it means I don't get to watch Versailles' collective head explode in outrage, but I am very happy for her. It means that I have to let go of a hope that she would somehow be able to reverse the nightmare of the 2008 primaries as I watched fauxgressives let their inner misogynists out to play for the sake of a Reagan adulating opponent. Of course, Hillary herself told us this when she stopped her campaign back in June of 2008 - don't live in the past, don't dwell on what might have been, don't let yourself be consumed by resentment over a loss.

I think that Hillary (and Bill) know it is time to get a newer, younger generation in to pick up the standard of the FDR Democrats. While I try to show my respect for Hillary and Bill  by talking about Clinton Democrats, the fact is what they have been bringing forward is the promise of the New Deal into a world transformed since FDR's time; a dynamic, frenetic place, less equal in some ways, more equal in others, bombarding us with technologies, industries, and contradiction, where all that is solid melts into air.

New Deal 2.0, if you will.

It means turning away from the course the Stevensonians have set, drenched in sanctimony and cultural arrogance, and, as we have seen in all its ugly reality since the primaries of 2008, actively and aggressively opposed to the fundamental principle of the New Deal, that there is nobility and honor in all honest labor. Their unrelenting demonization of working class America is perfectly in accord with the philosophy, principles, policies and acts of their beloved, pure, perfect candidate, Obama, who has methodically enacted a domestic policy that by design eviscerates the social and economic safeguards of those who live by their labor, not by their investments, financial deals and trust funds.

Let me say that again. The cultural contempt of Whole Foods Nation for the working class in America is being acted out with perfect fidelity by The Precious. He is delivering exactly what they want.

The Democratic Party has been brought up brutally short by Obama and made to look at the deep division that splits most of its traditional base from the current leadership and a very vocal and dominant, though numerically minor, constituency, a group that mostly identifies as "Independent" (fearful of seeming too loyal to a party - how gauche!) and constantly threatens to bolt and protest vote. Their ideal candidate is someone who lauds Reagan and won't put "Democrat" on his campaign literature. If a primary challenge is made, it needs to be done not merely against Obama, but also against this political faction within the Democratic Party. Modern New Dealers must retake the party and make it, once more, the party of FDR.
What the pair of convention speeches Hillary and Bill gave in 2008 have become is a declaration of what an FDR Democrat stands for: Fairness, Dignity, Respect. An FDR Democrat is someone whose politics rewards those who work hard and play by the rules. An FDR Democrat never stops fighting for the ordinary person, even when the media, political opponents and even your own party mock you because you aren't part of their class. She doesn't look down on you because you earnestly believe in God and can hunt for your own dinner. He isn't going to tolerate racism or misogyny, and will call you on the carpet for either. She encourages the better angels in her opponents and can always answer "And we get...?" with something constructive.  He can distinguish between personal insult and political challenge, because it isn't about him and his feelings, it is about his constituents and their needs. We aren't resentful that some people are more economically successful than others - opportunity is a good motivator - but we won't accept that some classes should get all the goods while the majority scrabble for a stable life.

An FDR Democrat begins each day with a single question - What will I do to make the lives of ordinary Americans better? - and ends the day by saying what he or she has accomplished towards that end.

This kind of politics is not against anyone, though it is firmly against certain political actions and goals. It doesn't categorize people into the saved and the damned. It has a daunting work ethic and rewards intelligence without idolizing it. It values the simple and concrete over the grand and abstract. It does not despair or dismiss.

The reason why the Clintons gained and continue to have such a hold on ordinary voters is because they are consistently able to articulate a constructive and inclusive approach to democratic politics that doesn't demean the people that the government is intended to serve. It is the part of the New Deal that the cultural Stevensonians explicitly rejected in 2008 when Donna Brazile told the party faithful to stay home, they weren't wanted anymore. And, in the midterms, we did just that.

Hillary is not going to save us because she cannot. It is not within her power to do so. It never was. No candidate can do this. Her refusal to run turns us back on ourselves, not to wait for a candidate to rescue us from The Precious, but to tell a candidate what he or she is going to do to win our support. It may be that the greatest work Hillary did was to endure the 2008 primary, bringing out into the open the anti-D/democratic impulses of this faction in the party, but refusing to cripple the party by bolting or sabotaging Obama. We have been allowed to see him operate without impediment and understand in unequivocal terms just how ready the Obamacan cadre is to complete the reversal of the New Deal.

Give up fantasies of political perfection and the notion that any one candidate can save us from the bad guys.  New Deal 2.0 is going to be a multi-year effort in party capture and rebuilding.



Shainzona said...

I want Hillary to save us.

We need Hillary to save us.

But I know that her work in the private sector for women and children will be wonderful and well received (and needed). There is no better voice to do this than her voice.

And I am happy that she will be out of the line of fire from the disgusting treatment she has received in the past and would have received again in the future in American politics.

Rise, Hillary. Rise!

Joyce L. Arnold said...

I agree that Hillary will not run, and I'm torn on that one -- a part of me wishes she would, but I think a bigger part hopes she goes off and does whatever the hell she wants.

The FDR, New Deal 2.0 Democratic Party you describe is what I'd like to see. At this point, I'm skeptical it can / will happen without significant efforts from the outside, by way of third party or parties. I see myself as a liberal independent, and basically that means I've been without a party with which to affiliate for some time now.

As I said in an earlier comment, I know the usual response to third party talk is to dismiss it as all but impossible in our system. At this point, however, perhaps there is enough "I've had it" anger, and energy, to make political space for something different.

But whether from within the Dem party structure or from without, or a combination, if Obama and the Dem party DC Electeds do not feel the consequences of their choices from Dem party voters, the Stevensonian power grab becomes even more entrenched, the nation continues its shift to the right, and we're even more screwed.

Just one specific example of how horrible things are -- the unemployment rate rises when expected to fall, and creates barely a blip on the DC radar, a momentary blip on msm radar. The new normal: oh yeah, lots of people can't find work. But don't worry, look at how well the financial industries are doing!

LinGin said...

Personally I'm disappointed although I'm glad that I won't have to go through all the agita and tsuris that I usually endure with the national Hillary mudslinging.

And when both Clintons are off the US stage and things still don't improve maybe the CDS sufferers on the left and the right will finally let go of their pathology.

Falstaff said...

As usual, I agree. My only addition to your argument would be the thought I have been on for awhile now about where Hillary has gotten to as an evolutionary advance for the humans. She has struggled her way to a rather unique position in American history -- not just with the potential to do good deeds as a private citizen, a la Bill, but as a political actor outside of/beyond beyond politics, in some ways. I talked about this at the end of this early post --

Which isn't, of course, to say that she will 'save us.'

show me said...

I would like to be able to take your long view on party building but I worry that things are going to get so much worse before they get better, that it may be irreparable.

Joseph Cannon said...

Anglachel, I can't believe that you and I published such similar manifestos on the same day.

People are going to think that you and I colluded. In fact, we have never privately corresponded. (If memory serves -- and keep in mind that my memory sometimes does not.)

A new New Deal website is coming soon. If you want to write for it, we will be proud and honored to feature your words.

Anglachel said...

Hi Joseph,

I tried sending you an email the other day, but it got bounced back. You may have posted a comment here back during the 2008 primaries, but I think that's the extent of our correspondence. My memory has never been what it once was, of course.

I'm intrigued by your post and look forward to seeing what you launch. As a matter of policy, I only post to my own blog, though I have been known to toss off a comment elsewhere now and then.


Koshem Bos said...

CDS started as early as 1991 and is a reflection of the Democratic Party real value system. It doesn't pain Pelosi, representing one of the more progressive districts, to talk endlessly and only about the middle class which is code word for white collar.

Those who support new deal 2, I call them Cesar Chavez Democrats, want the party to include everyone under the tent, that is blue and white, black, brown, yellow and white, etc.

Today the Party of the liberals is as full of hate as the Tea mob. Liberals hate Clinton, Fox TV, Israel and the uneducated.

I am not very optimistic, not because Hillary won’t run, but because hate is a chronic disease, that is there is no cure.

Anonymous said...

Instead of waiting for Hillary to rescue us we're just going to have to do it ourselves.

We don't need a leader, we need a grassroots movement. In a movement like that leaders are fungible.

If we sit around waiting for a leader to rescue us we'll end up with another Obama.

Falstaff said...

@myiq2xu... Hmmm. A leaderless grassroots movement? Where have we heard that before? Are we now the ones we've been waiting for? And how fungible was FDR? Or Martin Luther King, Jr.?

I'd suggest that the choice between messiah and movement is a false choice -- in fact, a non-choice. They basically operate in the same ambit, two sides of the same coin. What has to happen is that the institution of the Democratic Party has to continue (yes, continue) its struggle back to governing fitness. The Clinton presidency was a step. The Dean campaign was a step. The role the Netroots played in 2006 was a step. The current Congressional separation from Obama is a step. I'm hopeful there will be more steps forward over the coming decade. (Of course, as in anything, there are steps backward, too. That same Howard Dean helped take some big ones in 2008, abetted by some of those Congresscritters who are now having a bucket-of-cold-water morning after.)

Since Vietnam, the Democratic Party hasn't been fit to govern -- with the exception of the Clinton era (and then it was in spite of the rest of the Party, more than because of it). In fact, it retreated from the idea of governing. In this, it wasn't entirely an idiot - because the radical democratization launched by the Internet DID change the ground rules for governing. But the Net didn't eliminate them. Revolutions don't destroy, they repurpose. And there remains an important role for parties, for institutions, for nation states... even in a planet moving toward a global commons. In that reality -- the reality of our era -- we need a healthy Democratic Party that actually wants power and wants to use it for liberal policy ends when it gets it. And that involves leaders and institutional robustness, as well as movements.