Hillary Clinton Is The Richard Nixon Of Our Era

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I’ve often compared Hillary Clinton to Richard Nixon, at least with regards to ethics. She is far closer to George W. Bush ideologically. Walker Bragman has an article at Paste on Clinton and Nixon. Walker mentions some (but not all) of the comparisons I’ve made in the past, and comes up with at least one I had not thought of before.

There are many similarities between Nixon and Clinton, but I think the biggest is their views on secrecy to the point of paranoia. There’s also the comparison between the gap in Nixon’s tapes and Clinton’s destroyed email. Plus both are admirers of Henry Kissinger.

I did like Nixon’s campaign unofficial campaign slogan better, at least when running for reelection: Don’t Change Dicks In The Middle Of A Screw–Reelect Nixon in ’72. That beats Clinton’s campaign de facto slogans: It’s My Turn and No We Can’t.

Walker’s most interesting addition is to show an analogy between Nixon’s silent majority and how Clinton campaigned against Sanders and the left, even if the comparison isn’t exact:

In a way, Clinton claimed to speak for her own “Silent Majority”—older, more “responsible” (economically conservative) Democrats who don’t necessarily turn up at rallies, or want sweeping changes to the status quo, but who vote. Like her, these older voters remembered Nixon, and the decades in which liberal candidates and their ‘radical’ movements driven by young, naive voters, lost to older, more experienced, ‘pragmatic’ conservatism. Clinton and her allies did their best to tie Sanders’ progressives into that long tradition by drawing a contrast between their platform and his lofty goals and most radical fringe supporters—mostly online fringe…

This is why, throughout the primary, Clinton provoked Sanders’ movement by implying they were merely naive and lazy, and why her surrogates like Sen. Barbara Boxer, played up the aggressive, sexist “Bernie Bro” meme. It is also why former President Bill Clinton accused Sanders progressives of wanting to shoot “every third person on Wall Street.”

The dismissive and incendiary rhetoric was designed to generate exactly the outrage (or even violence) needed to sell these narratives, and ultimately distract from the staggering economic and political inequality that Clinton herself played a role in creating. In other words, use familiar tropes to social liberals to sell a candidate whose record would make her right at home in the ‘80s or ‘90s GOP.

Even after she became the presumptive nominee, Clinton’s camp has been continued to alienate Sanders’ supporters. Rather than make peace, Clinton’s appointees to the Democratic Platform Committee (who, as I’ve mentioned in previous pieces, but bears repeating now, include “influence peddlers”) have voted down basic progressive proposals like supporting a ban on fracking, opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and pushing for single-payer health care. In defense of her position, one Clinton appointee accused Sanders’ side of having a “litmus test” for caring about the environment.

Not an exact comparison, but I see his point.

Most significantly, while Richard Nixon could never escape his nickname of Tricky Dick, no matter how awful Donald Trump is, his nickname of Crooked Hillary will also likely stick to her.

It has been over a year since the email scandal broke, with no end in sight. Last week we had the revelations of additional examples of  non-personal email having been destroyed. Both this email, and the testimony from Huma Abedin, debunk her claims of acting out of convenience–demonstrating she used the private server in a deliberate effort to keep her email secret. The State Department Inspector General report also demonstrated her efforts to cover-up her actions. It is impossible to hear the term cover-up without thinking of Nixon.

This week there is more adverse news for Hillary Milhouse Clinton following the rather inappropriate meeting between her husband and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which has resulted in bipartisan disapproval, even if Democrats are more trusting of Bill’s motives:

Clinton’s denials on her email, which have been throughly debunked both by fact checkers and the Inspector General report, have a ring of “I am not a crook” to them. I’m still waiting to hear Hillary slip and promise that Chelsea will be allowed to keep Checkers.

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9 Comments

  1. 1
    Bob Munck says:

    Nixon delayed the end of the Vietnam War (with Kissinger's help) for his own political ambitions, resulting in the deaths of 15,000 more American soldiers and a million Vietnamese.  So, yeah, he and Clinton are just alike.  Perspective.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Yes, while you won’t admit it, the analogy applies here considering how hawkish Clinton is. When she was Secretary of State, others in the Obama administration blocked most of what she wanted to do. Unfortunately Obama went along with her on Libya, and now admits that it was a disaster and the worst mistake of his administration. We won’t have the checks on her if she is president that we had when she was Secretary of State.

  3. 3
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Actually, Nixon was to her left on economic and social matters.

  4. 4
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Oh, it's probably true the delay favored his ambitions, but it also reflected his and K's sincere agendas regarding Vietnam, the best result to be hoped for there, and the Cold War.

    Remember that "pitiful, helpless giant" stuff?

    He didn't torpedo the emerging Paris deal just to win an election,

    It really wasn't the best deal we could or should get, in his view.

  5. 5
    Steven Rudin says:

    It may come down to Hillary or Trump. I'm sorry, but we have two choices,  and neither one is what we might want .Life is like that sometimes, in my opinion.  Trump could be the US version of Mussolini. A real life fascist dictator.   Ever see how he incites violence at his rallies?   Also, with Trump comes the Republican radical agenda of repealing the ACA, and replacing it with what exactly ? And, destroying social security, medicare, medicaid,and the other safety net programs. Also, denying climate change, and trying to roll back the tiny accomplishments in mitigating it— It is too late to stop it. In addiction,  they want to roll back civil rights, workers rights, and women's rights.  Give them a chance to pick the next Supreme Court, and it is all over for most of us.  So, I think Clinton is much better under the circumstances. This is not Eisenhower versus Stevenson, which is the first election I was aware of as a kid. My parents voted for Stevenson both times, but never thought for a moment that IKE was a danger to our country.  This is far different.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    Philo, Bob might have been referring to Nixon messing around with the Paris Peace Talks prior to the 1968 election and was motivated by improving his chances of winning:

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/yes-nixon-scuttled-the-vietnam-peace-talks-107623

    If this is what he means, he is right that this is more evil than anything Clinton has done so far, but of course wrong in dismissing the overall comparison between the two crooks.

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    “Trump could be the US version of Mussolini.”

    Could be, but we are seeing a lot of exaggeration of Trump’s faults (which are bad enough to begin with) along with ignoring Clinton’s views and record. She is more hawkish than Trump, and is the neocon candidate in the race. She is extremely conservative on civil liberties, and has made statements which are virtually identical to those from Trump on suppressing civil liberties to fight terrorism.

    Trump does come out worse than Clinton with regards to racism and xenophobia.

    However, while Trump is the greater evil in some ways, we also must take the politics into consideration. Trump’s actions will bring about extensive opposition. We are already seeing Democrats rationalize Clinton’s militarism and ignoring her views on civil liberties. I fear that Clinton could get away with far more evil than Trump as partisan Democrats will go along with Clinton while opposing comparable evils from Trump.

    Clinton does not deny climate change, but she also has a horrible record on the environment, defending the petroleum industry which she is so indebted to.

    Basically are screwed regardless of who wins.

  8. 8
    Jeff Blanks says:

    Only getting a little of what we want right now instead of all of it is not "being screwed".  It's taking one step forward.  With Obama, we took one step forward.  Eventually, we reach the Promised Land.  No, it shouldn't take this long, but that's as much our fault for swinging for the fences every time and not playing small ball when we need to.  It's like MLK Jr.'s last speech, but we've got less of an excuse than he did.

    The real problem with Hillary is that she's committed to small ball all the time.  But buying so completely into the teabagger narrative about her doesn't help matters at all.  There are people out there who actually think THAT TRUMP IS MORE HONEST THAN HILLARY.  That's ridiculous, and if you feel like displaying your righteousness by agreeing publicly with that statement, you're part of the problem–just a different part than Hillary is.

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    Part of he problem with Hillary is that she thinks of small incremental change or small ball. The other problem is that often she wants to move the direction in the wrong direction.

    Both Clinton and Trump are so dishonest that it isn’t worth arguing over who is more dishonest. Both have been hit pretty hard by fact checkers. Trump probably wins that contest, but as there is no clear way to measure that I wouldn’t worry if someone disagrees and thinks Clinton is more dishonest. It is difficult to compare as they tell different types of lies. Trump tells more outlandish lies about world conditions to fit his narrative. While Clinton might tell less lies per hour, her lies on world affairs are particularly a problem as some of her lies are directed towards lying us into wars. Both tell quite a lot of lies about their political opponents. Clinton tells a lot of lies to cover up her own corrupt actions.

    More on a comparison of the types of lies from Trump and Clinton here:

    http://liberalvaluesblog.com/2015/11/28/politico-looks-at-the-different-types-of-dishonesty-from-clinton-trump-carson/

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