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October 2015

Getting it done, Getting it wrong

October 19, 2015
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laughs as she arrives for an event at Chatham House in London, Friday, Oct. 11, 2013. Clinton is to be presented with the institute’s annual award in recognition of her contribution to the significant improvement of international relations, according to the institution. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Hillary Clinton claims to be “a Progressive that gets things done.” The second part of that statement is true. Hillary Clinton is very good at getting things done – they just more often happen to be conservative, Republican goals.

Clinton has hardly gotten anything done that required deft maneuvers of partisan politics *at all*, insofar as it means accomplishing *liberal* goals while working with *conservative* colleagues. Proof is how her signature liberal attempt – Hillarycare in the 90s – failed abysmally. On things she has “accomplished” – i.e. things she supported (along with her husband) that passed into law – most of them were squarely *republican* initiatives. Ending welfare. Deregulating the banks. Opposing gay marriage. The Iraq war. The 94 Crime Bill and the Drug War. The list of *Republican* goals that Hillary enabled and supported to pass goes on and on. The Progressive goals, hardly any in sight (SCHIP the only one that comes to mind).

As Secretary of State it’s hard to point to any signature achievement. Granted, much that happens in that office is reacting to things beyond your control. But her desire to hit the “reset” button with Russia was a failure, and her record with regards to the Arab spring is spotty at best (this doesn’t include Benghazi, her probe into this being a partisan farce). Kerry, meanwhile, has secured both the Iran Deal and the Cuba Deal – bigtime big player stuff in that office.

The Clintons were *very* good at passing laws that were the stuff of Republican dreams. This is why Progressives abandoned Hillary for Obama in 08 and (disastrously) supported Ralph Nader in 2000. Being attacked by the right doesn’t mean she’d be any more deft at navigating this Congress than she was in the past, unless it means bending to the conservative whim, which she *has* done in the past. The common criticism of Sanders now is that he could never get his plans through Congress, whereas supposedly Clinton could. The evidence suggests that Clinton could only as far as her initiatives are squarely Republican ones. Is that the kind of policymaking we should approve of in the standard-bearer of the Democratic party?

Oftentimes the real reasons people support candidates are 1) they know who they are, and 2) they project an *image* of confidence and a strong record. But we should probably take a closer look into whether that image is justified.