Monday, November 19, 2007
Why Is Hillary Afraid of A Real Debate On The Issues? Just Who Is Really Slinging the Mud? 
As I watch the campaign season continue to unfold I get the feeling that I am witnessing a giant coronation ceremony. It’s a feeling that I generally get every 4 years. This election year is no exception. This time the media’s chosen candidate is Hillary Clinton.
After watching last weeks Democratic Debate in Las Vegas, I was left with a feeling of dread for the future of Democracy in this Country, particularly as it relates to Presidential Elections. What we have today certainly doesn’t fit the definition of true Democracy. Few Countries seem to make a mockery of Democracy the way that the United States does. In fact, the U.S. ranked 17th in the index of the World's Democracies (a list of the most Democratic nations). Video
After the Debate in Las Vegas, I watched all of the annoying commentators talk about how great Hillary was, and how she really came out swinging. She restored her rightful place as the “front-runner”. I particularly recall sitting through a few segments of Hardball with Chris Matthews. Matthews talked about Hillary Clinton as if she had already won the Democratic nomination, when the voting process has not begun. He made the comment “How is Rudy (Giuliani) going to beat Hillary in the General Election. It was as if the half dozen other Democratic candidates did not even exist. It seems as though most of the polls that I see are Clinton Vs. Giuliani Polls. There is this assumption that Hillary has already won, before the voters have weighed in.
This is part of a clear pattern on the part of the media to coronate a winner before the Primary process has even started. There is an attempt to tell voters who to support in the Iowa Caucus and in the Primary States.
I was also annoyed by Hillary’s comments at the Vegas debate. She labeled opposition from other candidates as Mudslinging. I have not seen any evidence that backs up her statement. And of course the mainstream media pundits (those who have coronated her as the Democratic Nominee) never challenged her on her mudslinging comment. Since when does one candidate challenging another on principles, policy positions, behavior, voting record, work history, etc equate to mudslinging? Her claim was nonsense. Most of the criticism that I have seen regarding Clinton has been based on her policy positions and voting record. The criticisms have been based on facts. Her mudslinging claim seemed to be more of an attempt to distract voters from the real issues and the policy differences between the candidates, for which John Edwards has been attempting to highlight.
1. She voted for the war in Iraq. This is a fact.
2. She voted to provide the Bush Administration with backdoor authorization to start a war with Iran. This is a fact. She is a pro-war Democrat who has indicated that she would launch a war with Iran.
3. She does not represent change…she represents the Status quo in Washington D.C., where corporate lobbyists have enormous influence on our government. She has taken more lobbying money than any other candidate (from either party)… This is a fact.
4. As Michael Moore pointed out in Sicko, Clinton pretended to be in favor of healthcare reform, but allowed herself to be bought by the same drug and insurance lobby that she was supposed to be fighting against, eventually becoming one of the biggest recipients of their money. Meanwhile, her healthcare proposals went nowhere. This is a fact. But she walks around as if she really accomplished something regarding healthcare. This is one of the biggest myths in the whole campaign.
5. The fact that she flip flops on issues, such as the issue of ID cards for illegal immigrants. First she came out in favor of the idea, but she turned right around less than 2 weeks later and decided to oppose it, after a public outcry. This is a fact.
6. She has stated publicly (early on) that she would end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home, but was heard stating off the record that she would keep troops in Iraq through her second term- This is a fact.
7. Her campaign has planted questions at rallies, reminiscent of Bush Administration tactics, in an attempt to stage her events- then she tried to lie about it. This is a fact.
This isn’t mudslinging, this is an effort by opponents to distinguish themselves from Clinton so that voters will have clearer choices.
Another myth is her claim that she is the most experienced candidate and can get the ball rolling from day one. Again, the mainstream corporate media refuses to challenge Clinton on these outrageous claims and comments. She has only been an office holder for 6 full years. And she has no experience running a major office or running a government. People (especially in the media) try to give her too much credit for her time as first lady, etc. Although much of that time was spent traveling and going to the typical events that first ladies attend. If she were going for a job as the CEO of a PR firm…her experience as first lady would be great. But it doesn’t count much for the most important job in the nation.
The only major project that she took on as first lady was Healthcare and, as I mentioned, that ended with her being bought by the Insurance industry. Healthcare reform failed miserably. I wish the media would stop the nonsense about her extensive experience for the job. She has not run a major government office, and has only been an elected official for one term.
She also mentioned during the Las Vegas debate that her opponents were not attacking her because she is a woman… but because she is ahead. But who put her ahead? It’s the media that put her ahead. She isn’t ahead because her policy positions are better than the other candidates. Not because her plans are better. Not because she is principled. Not because she is going to stand up for working people. She is ahead because the media chose her as the favorite early on…and she has received a disproportionate amount of airtime. We have hardly heard from the other candidates. And the few times when they do allow us to see the other candidates, it’s often part of some kind of political attack against them… such as John Edwards’s hair. And to see just one example of what I am telling you, take a look at a debate clock courtesy of the Dodd campaign. Dodd’s folks have been keeping up with talk time at the various debates. Hillary typically ends up at or very near the top. Some of the other candidates hardly get to speak, and when they do speak, they are often cut off by rude moderators like Wolf Blitzer.
Unfortunately, the American public often doesn’t vote for the most experienced candidate. Nor do they vote on the issues. They are some of the most disengaged and least informed voters of any major so called “Democracy”. The truth is, Americans tend to vote for the familiar… for people whom they feel comfortable with. And after 8 years of Bush-Cheney, people are willing to go back to the Clinton brand. Never mind the fact that doing so would not represent the change that so many people want. Clinton is certainly not the change candidate. But she is familiar to the American voter. Many of these voters probably believe that they are voting for Bill Clinton. This is how we ended up with George W. Bush… people were voting for a name. They thought that they were voting for George H.W. Bush…. someone familiar. With few exceptions, the average American typically votes the way they are told to vote, either by the media, their political party leaders, or by their religious leaders. If they do decide for themselves, they often make the choice based on who looks best in a Cowboy hat, who they feel “comfortable” with, who can give the best soundbite answer, or based on some other trivial matter. Americans are once again repeating the same pattern of not paying attention to what is going on. I just heard about a new Poll in my State of Missouri that indicated that Hillary Clinton would do better than Rudy Giuliani in the State in a General Election (once again, there was the assumption in the Poll that Hillary would be the nominee before anyone has voted). But another part of that poll indicated that the people of my State wanted a change candidate. This is where the disconnect is evident. They don’t seem to understand that Clinton would be business as usual.
Let’s be honest… if Hillary were not a former first lady of a popular President…if her name was not Clinton… would she be a serious candidate? No she wouldn’t. If she were running as Hillary Rodham and if she were not the wife of Bill Clinton, but had similar work experience, no one would be paying her any attention. She would be near the bottom of the pack, and that’s if she could have garnered enough financial support to begin with.
I am just hoping that the people of Iowa are more attentive to what is going on this time around and vote for plans, policies, issues and principles instead of just a name. Iowans typically are a little more astute than voters nationwide, because of the States unique position. I am hoping that they are not falling for the Hillary fluff. As Dr. Cornel West would say, I am hopeful, but not optimistic. Polls are showing pretty strong support for Hillary in Iowa, despite strong polling early on by Edwards. I think this could be attributed to the fact that there was a media blitz over the Summer in favor of Clinton, at the expense of the other candidates.