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November 8, 2013

The Dynastic Hillary Bandwagon – Bad for America

By Ralph Nader


The Hillary Clinton for President in 2016 bandwagon has started very early and with a
purpose. The idea is to get large numbers of endorsers, so that no Democratic
Primary competitors dare make a move. These supporters include Senator Chuck
Schumer (D-NY), financier George Soros and Ready for Hillary, a super PAC
mobilizing with great specificity (already in Iowa).

Given this early bird launch, it is important to raise the pressing question:

Does the future of our country benefit from Hillary, another Clinton, another politician
almost indistinguishable from Barack Obama’s militaristic, corporatist policies
garnished by big money donors from Wall Street and other plutocratic canyons?

There is no doubt the Clintons are syrupy political charmers, beguiling many naïve
Democrats who have long been vulnerable to a practiced set of comforting words or
phrases camouflaging contrary deeds.

Everybody knows that Hillary is for women, children and education. She says so every
day. But Democrats and others can’t get the Clintons even to support a $10.50
federal minimum wage that would almost equal the 1968 minimum wage, inflation-
adjusted, and would raise the wages of 30 million workers mired in the gap between
the present minimum wage of $7.25 and $10.50 an hour. It just so happens that
almost two-thirds of these Americans are women, many of them single moms
struggling to support their impoverished children. Nearly a million of these workers
labor for Walmart, on whose Board of Directors Hillary Clinton once sat. Words hide
the deeds.

As a Senator on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Hillary had to start proving
that women, just like the macho men, can be belligerent and never see a weapons
system and its use that they didn’t like. Never did she demonstrate any ongoing
interest in debloating the massive, wasteful, duplicative military budget so as to free
up big monies for domestic public works programs or other necessities.

As Senator she also admitted that she didn’t have time to read a critical National
Intelligence Estimate Report, which had caveats that might have dissuaded her from
voting with George W. Bush to invade Iraq in 2003. War-mongering and wars of
Empire never bothered her then or now. Just a few weeks ago, she was photographed
giving the recidivist war criminal, Republican Henry Kissinger, a big, smiling hug at a
public event. It’s all part of the bi-partisan image she is cultivating under the
opportunistic banner of “cooperation.” (For more information, read the New York
Times’ Collateral Damage
and Nixon and Kissinger’s Forgotten Shame
, or Seymour Hersh’s The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton accelerated the Department’s militarization,
belting far more war-like, threatening assertions toward governments of developing
countries than did the Secretaries of Defense. She loved to give speeches on “force
projection,” the latest synonym for “the Empire,” and “the pivot” toward East Asia and
against the asserted looming threat of China. Taking due note, the Chinese generals
demanded larger budgets.

The Secretary of State’s highest duty is diplomacy. Not for her. Despite her heavy
travelling, she made little or no effort to get the government to sign onto the
numerous international treaties which already had over a hundred nations as
signatories. These include stronger climate change agreements and, as Human
Rights Watch reports, unratified treaties “relating to children, women, persons with
disabilities, torture, enforced disappearance and the use of anti-personal landmines
and cluster munitions.” These tasks bore her.

Much more exciting was military action. Against the wishes of Secretary of Defense
Robert Gates, she pulled Barack Obama into the Libyan war. There were
consequences. Libya is now in militia chaos, having spilled over into Mali, but without
Gaddafi, its overthrown dictator who had disarmed and was making peace with
western nations and oil companies.

As a Yale Law School graduate, she was not in the least bothered that the attack on
Libya occurred without any Congressional declaration, authorization or appropriation
of funds – a classic Madisonian definition of impeachable high crimes and

Like Bill Clinton, she is an unabashed cheerleader for corporate globalization under
NAFTA, the World Trade Organization and the proposed sovereignty-stripping, anti-
worker Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement. Secretary of State Clinton,
in the words of trade expert Jamie Love, “put the hammer to India when the
government took steps to grant compulsory licenses on cancer drug patents” by not
requiring life-saving compulsory license of expensive drugs so that low-income people
and their children could have access to more affordable medication.

Even regarding the easy clampdown on waste and fraud, Hillary Clinton fired Peter
Van Buren, a 24-year-Foreign Service Officer, who exposed such waste and
mismanagement by corporate contractors in Iraq. (For more information, see http:

Foreshadowing this season’s headlines, former Secretary of State Clinton ordered U.
S. officials to spy on top UN diplomats including Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-
Moon, and those from the United Kingdom. She ordered her emissaries around the
world to obtain DNA data, iris scans and fingerprints along with credit card and
frequent flier numbers. Not only was this a clear violation of the 1946 UN convention,
but after admitting what happened she didn’t even make a public apology to the
affected parties.

Under her watch, the advice and status of the Department’s foreign service officers
and aid workers were marginalized in favor of the militarists – and not only in Iraq.

Many Wall Streeters like Hillary Clinton. Expecting their ample contributions, and
socializing with their business barons, it is not surprising that Hillary Clinton avoids
going after the crooked casino capitalism that collapsed the economy, drained
investors, pensions, jobs and taxpayer bailouts. Hillary Clinton is a far cry from the
stalwart Senator Elizabeth Warren on this towering pattern of unaccountable
corporate abuse.

The surreal world of Hillary Clinton is giving $200,000 speeches, collecting prestigious
awards she does not deserve, including one from the American Bar Association, and
basking in the glory of her admirers while appropriately blasting the Republicans for
their “War on Women” – the safe refrain of her forthcoming campaign.

It is true that the Republican madheads make it easy for any Democratic candidate to
judge themselves by the cruel, rabid, ravaging Republicans. But, is that the kind of
choice our country deserves?

A Clinton Coronation two years or more before the 2016 elections will stifle any
broader choice of competitive primary candidates and more important a more
progressive agenda supported by a majority of the American people.

Full Medicare for all, cracking down on corporate abuses, a fairer tax system, a broad
public works program, a living wage, access to justice and citizen empowerment, clean
election practices, and pulling back on the expensive, boomeranging Empire to come
home to America’s necessities and legitimate hopes are some examples of what the
people want.

Maybe the sugarcoating is starting to wear. Columnist Frank Bruni, writing in the New
York Times (Hillary in 2016? Not so Fast
), reports her polls are starting to slump. Apparently, as Bruni suggests, she’s being
seen as part of the old Washington crowd that voters are souring on.

As I wrote to Hillary Clinton in early summer 2008, when calls were made by Obama
partisans for her to drop out, no one should be told not to run. That’s everyone’s First
Amendment right. However, not voting for her is the prudent decision.