Monday, April 13, 2015

Historical Path






In the wake of Hillary Clinton's announcement on Sunday that she's in it to win it and the disturbing, though much expected, victory of the moneyed Rahm Emanuel over Chuy Garcia in Chicago, Digby captures the challenge to Mrs. Clinton most significant to the nation's future.  She recognizes Emanuel and fellow neo-liberals have been

“re-defining” progressivism by making it into business friendly DLC centrism. We’ve been down that road before. These think tank technocrats have been selling  these vaunted “public-private” partnerships since the early 90s when Bill Clinton first ran for office and we’re still dealing with crumbling infrastructure, poor education, soaring wealth inequality and stalled social mobility. At some point these people need to confront the fact that these ideas aren’t getting the job done.

While less obvious, still intriguing was her quick take on the Democratic Party's 2008 primary/caucus campaign. Digby writes

With the Big Announcement yesterday, Hillary Clinton officially entered the race that everyone assumes she’s already won. Can you feel the excitement? No? Well, this shouldn’t come as a shock, because despite all the handwringing about a primary being necessary, it’s long been obvious that the Democratic party subconsciously saw 2008 as The Big Primary when decided it would use its current national electoral advantage to bring the U.S. into the modern world and break the white male presidential paradigm with two historic candidacies. It’s important to seize these openings to advance civil rights and establish a new “normal” for leadership when you have the chance and it’s to the party’s credit that it has taken this path.

She gives herself too little credit. It has not "long been obvious that the Democratic party subconsciously saw 2008 as The Big Primary when decided it would use its current national electoral advantage to bring the U.S. into the modern world and break the white male presidential paradigm with two historic candidacies."

Asked (video below) yesterday about Clinton's candidacy, GOP strategist Ana Navarro (echoing what others have imagined) maintained "Going back to the woman thing, I'm frankly fascinated by how it's playing out this time because it's so different from 2008, where she did not embrace the historical moment of being a woman."  In the same vein, Bash responded "maybe she learned from Barack Obama."








That contrasts with Digby's recognition that the Party saw itself in 2008 as presenting two historic candidacies.  Hillary Clinton, while noting the obvious- that she was the more experienced hand to respond to national emergencies- presented herself also as someone who would break "the glass ceiling." Without demeaning Obama's claim that his election would be historic, Clinton herself strongly and consistently implied that her own election would prove to be a momentous event in American history.

As Navarro and Bash demonstrated, it is a dynamic little understood. Both Democratic candidates saw the upcoming election as a watershed event, as did most of the Party's primary voters and caucus participants.  For reasons far beyond race, Barack Obama won out- but more of the electorate also saw election of the first black President more consequential than election of the first female candidate. Given the scope and arc of American history, that was an accurate perception, notwithstanding the disappointment of the centrist Obama presidency,

That was then; this is now, when Digby and most primary voters believe "the time is ripe for a woman president." Here is hoping the blogger is prescient when she adds" and it’s ripe for an unabashed progressive populist agenda.  If Hillary Clinton seizes this moment and runs with it, she could make history in more ways than one."





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