Hillary Clinton and the Liberal Blogosphere

The divisions in the blogosphere over Hillary Clinton can be seen in a diary by Alegre at Daily Kos which calls for a strike by Clinton supporters who are unhappy with how they are treated at the site. This is significant not because of being a dispute at one blog but because it demonstrates the rifts in the liberal blogosphere. Marc Ambinder explains:

Who Hillary Clinton is and what she represents has been THE debate among Democratic activists for years. It is now THE national debate. The Democratic Party may well come together and support its nominee. But the debate about Clinton, her (and his) politics, the legacy, the tactics — will endure.

Bloggers tend to have strong opinions or they wouldn’t be bothering with blogs. Blogs also tend to bring out a number of people who behave quite terribly, even if they represent a tiny minority of the supporters for any candidate. The problem faced by Clinton supporters is that she represents many of the views and the type of politics which many of us are protesting in our blogging. While the dispute at Kos is being framed as being between Obama supporters and Clinton supporters that is not quite accurate. Many Obama supporters, such as myself, are not backers of Barack Obama specifically but have been opposed to Clinton for much of the primary race. The dishonesty of Clinton’s campaign since she was challenged by Obama this winter further reinforces our view that Hillary Clinton is unfit to be president.

Many of us preferred other candidates who are no longer in the race. Some of us now back Obama because of the viable major party candidates he is the only one without strong negatives which prevent us from supporting him, leaving him as our only choice. The dispute isn’t so much Obama supporters versus Clinton supporters but a dispute between the attitudes of the majority of the liberal blogosphere and the attitudes of Clinton’s apologists.

For many of us Clinton’s views and conduct cause us to see her as not being significantly better than George Bush and John McCain. The most obvious example of this is her support of the war. Her efforts to rewrite history regarding her views and the views of Obama do nothing to increase our support for her but do create a great deal of contempt for the Clinton supporters who promote lies of this magnitude.

Another reason many turned to the blogosphere in protest over the policies of George Bush has been the extension of presidential power. Clinton fails as an alternative on the issues of presidential power and executive privilege. Clinton has supported decreased transparency and would be more likely to continue, and I fear abuse, the powers taken by George Bush.

While the conventional wisdom is that Obama and Clinton have similar views, I’ve noted considerable differences after moving beyond party line votes. For example, Clinton opposed needle exchange programs, favored strict sentences for drug use (while Obama has favored retroactive changes), supported legislation to ban flag burning, supported censorship of video games, and opposed the banning of cluster bombs. These are just some of the areas where Clinton has supported the status quo while Obama has been on the right side.

Besides being a supporter of the status quo, the Clintons have shown a disturbing tendency to compromise on matters of principle out of political expediency. After the 2004 election it was revealed that Bill Clinton had called John Kerry advising him to support the Constitutional amendments banning same sex marriage where they were on the ballot, arguing that Kerry would have a better chance of winning such states. Kerry refused to compromise principle in this matter, but does anyone really doubt that Hillary Clinton would have taken Bills advice?

With Clinton being on the conservative side on foreign policy, civil liberties, and social issues it is no wonder that many of us do not find Clinton to be an acceptable candidate. The dishonesty of her campaign, and willingness to engage in tactics which many of us see as being tantamount to stealing an election makes Clinton even less tolerable an option.

I’ve reviewed many of Clinton’s dishonest statements in multiple previous posts. For example, Clinton has sent out mailers which were totally misleading regarding Obama’s positions on issues such as Social Security, abortion rights, Iraq, and health care. Clinton’s distortions on abortion rights led Lorna Brett Howard, the former President of Chicago NOW, to drop her support for Clinton and back Obama. Clinton has also raised bogus charges such on plagiarism, distorted the meaning of voting present in the Illinois legislature, and distorting Obama’s references to Ronald Reagan in an interview. Lawrence Lessig made an excellent video summarizing the reasons to oppose Clinton due to her character. I have previously posted both the video and a transcript here. Bill Bradley has also commented on Clinton’s dishonesty recently as as noted here.

Ultimately the democratic process is more important than any individual issue. The mere fact that Clinton campaigns against Obama by repeatedly distorting Obama’s positions in her stump speeches, mailers, and robo-calls is already damaging to the democratic process which is dependent upon voters making an informed choice between the candidates. Clinton’s manipulation of the facts has been every bit as Orwellian, and every bit as disturbing, as the dishonesty we see from the Bush administration. Clinton’s attempts to seat delegates elected outside of party rules in Michigan and Florida, and her more recent talk about going after pledged delegates, are seen as even more serious attempts to break the rules and steal an election.

It was largely a combination of the feeling that George Bush had stolen an election, along with his support for the war, which fueled the early opposition to George Bush and the development of the liberal blogosphere. We cannot simultaneously oppose George Bush and accept the same problems from Hillary Clinton. Those who will write justifications for  Hillary Clinton will inevitably wind up in conflict with the majority of liberal bloggers, making such disputes at Daily Kos inevitable.

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8 Comments

  1. 1
    Christopher says:

    You should see the filth written about Barack Obama at the DemocraticUnderground, AKA, the HillaryUnderground.

    The relentless, dishonest and racist rants posted by the Hillbots is stunning in scope and bordering on the demonic.

    In fact, on the rare occasion when someone dares to post an anti-Hillary thread, one of the Hillary-loving moderators locks it down so that no one can post to it.

  2. 2
    Lex says:

    Excellent post. Too often this campaign gets framed as Obama v. Clinton, with the most loyal/rabid supporters of each dominating the discussion. For me (and apparently Mr. Chusid), this is deeper. I like many of the things that Sen Obama says; i particularly like his call for We the People to take more responsibility for our government…though i wish he would sound that theme more often and louder.

    But when it comes down to brass tacks, i would prefer anyone to Clinton. I nearly punched through my monitor when i heard her talk about a Clinton cleaning up after a Bush. Bill did no such thing. I don’t want anymore unitary executives; i don’t want anymore moderate conservative policies dressed up with “D” in front of them; i simply do not want to be put through the Clintons again. I wish i was ignorant enough to believe that the policies of Clinton did not lay the foundation for the current mess we live in, but alas, i am not.

    Bush-Clinton-Bush has done enough damage; one more might be too much to recover from.

  3. 3
    campskunk says:

    there was a LOT of ugly stuff that precipitated this walkout. administrators on Kos have stood by while Obama supporters tried to find out real life information on Hillary supporters- their real names, where they lived and worked, etc.

    when i protested about someone commenting about a “death wish” in a thread about hillary, the administrators warned me, not the person posting the secret service bait!

    basic legal liability considerations have been ignored by the administrators at Kos in their zeal to support obama. i hope nobody gets hurt as a result of this, but it’s not a safe place to post anymore the way things are now.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    That does sound like it is over the top. If true, then it sounds like Clinton supporters would be best off posting elsewhere. While I support Obama over Clinton, after reading this last comment maybe I do sympathize with the Clinton supporters from the perspective of being able to post in peace and safety.

    I don’t pay very much attention to Daily Kos (dating back to Kos’s bias in the 2004 primaries) so I can’t comment on the validity of this, but supporting Obama does not mean supporting everything Obama supporters do if these charges are true.

    I can sympathize with opponents of Clinton writing unfavorably about her positions and tactics at Daily Kos, but that would not justify seeking personal information on people. (That goes for Republicans, not just Clinton supporters. One of the reasons I left the blog I was at before starting this one was the posting of personal information on a Republican Senate staffer who wished to remain anonymous at the previous blog. Incidentally, that blog is now backing Clinton, which is no reflection on other Clinton supporters).

  5. 5
    Lex says:

    Wow, i’m more than a little disturbed by Campskunk’s relating of the doings transpiring over at Kos. I’ve never been a Kossack myself…mostly because it seems that posters there favor the one-liner comments. I much prefer the novels one is apt to see at CarpetBagger.

    It does go to show just how fractured things are becoming, and i can’t see how that bodes well for the future…meaning November and beyond.

    I think that it also suggests something deeper about the state of society in America. While most people would never behave that way to the face of a real person, they’ll say the most obscene things from the anonymous safety of an internet handle. I worry that we may be approaching the day when people will interact this way…face to face.

    Someone told me recently that the astrological signs point to bad, bad times for America. I’m not apt to go in for that kind of hocus pocus, but the historical signs don’t give any more positive outlooks than the stars do. It seems that the age of Aquarius might be better named the age of Fear and Loathing.

  6. 6
    Theodora says:

    I would take Campskunk’s comments with a grain of salt and go read the boards myself before assuming that they are true. Having been the target of ugly, vitriolic, and nearly incoherent postings by Hillary supporters on various blogs (“you deserve what’s coming to you” is a frequent favorite), I have to say that if Campskunk’s portrayal is accurate, it’s shameful, but aggressive, menacing behavior is hardly limited to Obama supporters. Frankly, the entire Democratic party needs to be taken out to the woodshed; I can’t see how, in the end, this is going to produce anything but a McCain landslide.

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    Theodora,

    There’s no doubt that there are a number of abusive Clinton supporters on various blogs.

    In writing this post I was considering the question as to why so many liberal bloggers oppose Clinton. There is a big difference between opposition and the type of conduct which Campskunk complains about, and such conduct should not be accepted from supporters of either candidate.

    With regards to Campskunk’s complaints that this goes on at Daily Kos, I am agreeing that if it goes on it is wrong, but I take no position as to the validity of the complaints. With regards to my blogging, I consider questions such as why Clinton is not an acceptable candidate to be worth spending time on. I’m far less concerned about the specifics of the behavior at any one blog.

  8. 8
    ChebonTenitkee says:

    While I started this process hopeful, I am increasingly loathe to log on to these sites because of the queasy feeling I get from reading these posts. I think Barack is the best person for The Job and I’d be thrilled if he were the nominee, but…I’m scared that the Hillbots will sabotage the process and actually prefer McBush to Barack as President. The developments of the past weeks are stunning to me as a person who loves his country. Don’t these idiots realize that, when they advocate the sublimation of the democratic process to someone who “deserves” to be elected, they are traitors? I just can’t believe that most folks can’t see how precarious the position of the US is in the world!
    Lex said:
    Someone told me recently that the astrological signs point to bad, bad times for America. I’m not apt to go in for that kind of hocus pocus, but the historical signs don’t give any more positive outlooks than the stars do. It seems that the age of Aquarius might be better named the age of Fear and Loathing.
    You think that’s bad?!? Google December 21, 2012 and see what you find. Judgement Day looks more inevitable every minute.

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