Is “the real” Hillary fit to lead?

Who knows the real Hillary? I don’t.

No food or fun or travel or quips this week. I’ve decided to take the plunge for one post only to cite just a few examples of why I think Hillary does not have the right stuff to be president. Know from the gitgo I’m a progressive democrat and all in for Bernie. So, if you don’t like Bernie and you like Hillary, you may want to stop reading right here. (No comments or trolls, please…)

It’s not about Clinton’s substantial wealth (some $50 million to Bernie’s $700,000 in net worth), her deep ties to Wall Street, or her experience (more diverse than Bernie’s, to be sure), but about what’s inside her. Her heart, her character, whatever you want to call it. During the 2008 primary campaign, I was dead center on the fence between Clinton and Obama. But the more primaries Obama won, the uglier she got, and pretty soon I ditched her like a bad habit. One of her meanest moments was in an interview with Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes in early 2008:

Here it is – the nasty part:

KROFT: And you said you’d take Senator Obama at his word that he’s not a Muslim.

CLINTON: Right. Right.

KROFT: You don’t believe that he’s a Muslim or implying? Right.

CLINTON: No. No. Why would I? No, there is nothing to base that on… as far as I know. (Italics mine)

That sealed it for me, that not-so-innocent little playing-the-religion-card qualifier at the end (forget that a candidate’s religion – or lack of it – should have anything to do with his/her qualifications). It undercut the apparent honesty of her previous remarks and widely opened the door to all kinds of speculation about Obama’s faith. It’s like a trick-or-treater getting candy at your door, having a nice conversation with you, then leaving a flaming bag of dog poop for you to stomp on. Step in this, Obama campaign!

Aside from her blatant political opportunism – I believe she’ll say nearly whatever it takes to get people behind her – I think she has a profound problem with black people. In May 2008, on the verge of losing her bid for the nomination, she drew this line in the sand (as reported by CNN and plenty of others):

Clinton cited an Associated Press poll “that found how Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”

This may have been statistically true, but her statement was racially tone-deaf and intrinsically divisive. It’s much worse now, eight years later, what with multiple murders of unarmed black people by cops and the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement. After a speech in New Hampshire last August, a speech that was not disrupted by BLM, Clinton agreed to a backstage meeting with BLM activist Julius Jones and a few others. Things went okay for a short while, and then she seemed to lose it. (The video was sent to GOOD magazine, which later released it to the media at large. It’s the short version at the end of the conversation – see here for the longer one).

The body language speaks volumes. The interruptions, the snippy tone. This is not a person around whom black people should rally to help solve racial problems in this country, someone who is reduced to interrupting with —

Well, respectfully, if that is your position, then I will talk only to white people about how we’re going to deal with a very real problem

Another blazing sack of dog poop: Step in that, Black Lives Matter! And forget that her final “lecture” to Jones doesn’t parse, doesn’t make any logical sense, is self-contradictory, and is witheringly condescending, because people do get confused and snippy when they’re trying to contain their rage. Here’s a transcription of that bit of befuddlement:

Look, I don't believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate. You're not gonna change every heart. You're not. But, at the end of the day, we can do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them... to live up to their own God-given potential, to live safely, without fear of violence in their own communities, to have a decent school, to have a decent house, to have a decent future. So, we can do it one of many ways, you know - you can keep the movement going, which you have started, and through it, you may actually change some hearts. But if that's all that happens, we'll be back here in ten years having the same conversation - because we will not have all of the changes that you deserve to see happen in your lifetime, because of your willingness to get out there and talk about this. (my emphasis)

Huh?

A stream of speech-y stuff concluding with a foray into incoherence. Yikes! Apologists for Clinton, in the press and elsewhere, agreed she was “not at her best” in this meeting, but I do think in this “moment of weakness” she was at her most genuine and most honest.

I wish I could trust her more than I do, but I don’t. I also wish I could trust the mainstream media more, but I don’t. CNN in particular seems hell-bent on Hillary’s coronation, but then CNN is owned by Time Warner, a major donor to the Clinton campaign. I do trust what I see and hear for myself: the enormous crowds that Bernie draws, their enthusiasm, the online polls after a debate showing him the runaway winner (defying the pundits), but much more than any of these how Bernie speaks his own truth clearly, consistently, passionately. He’s still down in the national polls, about 56% to 32%, but there’s time… And he’s finally gaining some traction with black voters, after his endorsement by rapper Killer Mike in Atlanta.

I don’t think Clinton knows what her “own truth” is. Maybe it just doesn’t exist. It’s all calculation, playing the game, getting to “yes” – the coronation. If she’s the nominee, I’m writing in Bernie.

The negative “meme” on Bernie is that’s not electable. Hogwash! The polls tell the opposite story. Check out this new post in Daily Kos.

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One more note: Black Lives Matter has taken its fair share of hits for their confrontational style and disruption of political events. But they’re rightfully p*ssed off. Too many unarmed black kids have been blown away by mad-dog racist cops who, more often than not, get away with murder. In my adult lifetime, from the 1960s to now, I’ve never seen anything like it. Never. It’s hateful, vile, painful.

Blame it on the election of Barack Obama. The very fact of a two-term black president has infuriated the racist right, galvanized the gun-toting wingnuts – both civilians and a few wacko cops – and they’re not going to take it lying down. And I doubt if all the dashcams, bodycams, security cams and witnesses’ iPhones will be much of a deterrence.

Back to my old groove next week, food and a few chuckles – but thanks for your forbearance.

Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, humorist, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.