SYNDICATED COLUMN: Hillary Clinton Runs First, Thinks Last

The revealing headline: “Hillary Clinton Will Run; She Still Has to Explain Why.”

The money quote from the story beneath that headline: “For months, Mrs. Clinton has lamented the stagnant wages holding back lower-income people and the concentration of wealth among a sliver of the wealthiest, a sentiment echoed in her first public remarks as a 2016 candidate.”

Linger on that sentence’s introductory phrase: “For months.”




Hillary has been a political animal for decades. She’s been a possible future presidential candidate since at least 1996 — the year she last drove a car. She’s just getting around to figuring out what her politics are?

(By the way and speaking of which, someone in Hillaryworld needs to clue in She-Who-Must-Be-Driven to basic automotive vernacular. When one is a passenger, one does not say, as Secretary Clinton did yesterday, “when I was driving here.” Driving is something one does, not something that is done to you. Unless you are actually, you know, driving, the correct phrase would be: “when I was riding here.” Unless, of course, this is one of those misremembering “dodging sniper fire” senior moments.)

Maybe I took high school civics class too seriously, but I thought the correct order was:

First, come up with list of ideas, policies, and bills that you would, as President of the United States, promote, enact and propose.

Second, run for President of the United States.

This, however, is no longer how a professional political class so removed from the lives of the average citizen that they not only don’t drive but don’t even know words about driving — who think being worth $25 million equals “dead broke,” and that earning $12 million a year makes you “not truly well off” — sees it. First, they fundraise. Second, they run. Third, they figure out what they believe in.

With a campaign warchest likely to set new records, the task of selling influence in a 2017-2021 first term is well underway. Unless she dies or gets hosed by a new scandal, Hillary has the Democratic nomination all sewn up. Which means it’s time for the last priority: ginning up a platform.

At this writing, Clinton says she wants to be a “champion” for “everyday Americans.” What does that phrase even mean? As opposed to what — Americans who live outside the standard Sunday-to-Saturday space-time continuum? Is there some special eighth-and-a-halfth day for one percenters?

There are, she told Iowans, “four big fights that I think we have to take on.”

Hillary’s big fight #1: “We need to build the economy of tomorrow, not yesterday.” Question: will there be flying robots? If there are flying robots, I’m in! But not flying robot murderers, like we use to kill Pakistanis and Yemenis. Too much tomorrow.

Big fight #2: Strengthening families. “When families are strong, America is strong.” You’ve been warned, single people who drain America’s strength — Hillary is coming for you! “Because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.” Hell-o, Oprah!

Big fight #3: Campaign finance reform. “We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all – even if that takes a constitutional amendment.”

Big fight #4: National security. “We need to protect our country from the threats that we see, and the ones that are on the horizon.”

With all due respect — in other words, none — Hillary’s “platform” reads like a mash-up of Dick Morris’ focus-grouped pabulum and a schoolchild answering test questions about a book she didn’t read.

The “big fight” thesis gets an F: Who’s against “an economy of tomorrow”? Does anyone oppose stronger families? If a presidential candidate has ever run in favor of letting threats go unanswered, it’s news to me.

Of Hillary’s “big four fights,” only a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision has substance. But campaign finance reform is a low priority for Americans. What Americans care most about, polls have shown consistently, is the economy. People want more jobs, higher wages, better job security.

In all fairness, Hillary isn’t the only run-first-think-second presidential contender. With the exception of Rand Paul, there isn’t much beef on the Republican side either.

Still, Hillary’s lameness towers above the rest if for no other reason than the fact that she’s had at least 20 years to think about what she’d do as president. If this is all she can think up after all this time, how slowly will she react when she gets that hotline phone call at 3 a.m.?

(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for The Los Angeles Times, is the author of the new critically-acclaimed book “After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back As Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan.” Subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.)



9 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Hillary Clinton Runs First, Thinks Last

  1. I do truly love when you beat up on Hillary. Her cynicism, dishonesty, and craven power-lust could not be more obvious. Pabulum and platitudes all around, everyday Americans! She dodged sniper fire! An American HERO!

    I find it odd that campaign finance reform is a low priority. I meet enough people in person and online who aren’t always well-informed, but they still know we can’t expect much from our system without serious reform. And it’s conventional wisdom at this point in the media.

  2. Hillary Clinton’s four-plank platform? Am I the only one who gets it? When you have FOUR planks, you can do lots of little things with each one of those, accomplishing nothing that actually matters, and your supporters will think you’re the cat’s ass.

    Look at the $15/hr. minimum wage. Yes, it will help people. How many though? How many people actually earn less than $30K a year? It’s a cheap-ass stopgap and that’s intentional. The few millions helped by the wage increase will still be living paycheck to paycheck.

    So what should be happening?

    Universal programs, things that every single American qualifies for. Whether it’s college education or healthcare or a safe place to live. In New York, every friggin’ housing unit is a luxury condo. And they sell to people who don’t even live here. New law: If you own a condominium in New York, you must physically occupy it for 11 months out of the year. Don’t like it? Tough. Cap the profit-margin on a housing unit. “Oh, you can’t do that. Capitalism!” The hell I can’t. It’s called war profiteering and it’s illegal. We’re still at war, aren’t we? So drag a few property investors into court. That’ll get the prices down.

    • Low-rent housing is infrastructure, no different than roads or sewer pipes. You need ’em for the city to function – who’s gonna take those $15/hour jobs if they’ve got a four-hour commute for a four-hour shift? The car they drive pollutes, the roads they drive on cost money to build and maintain. More cars on the road mean longer commutes, yet still more pollution, etc.

      I’ve seen laws to the effect that for every X high end housing units you build, you must also build Y low-end units. That could help. Also, that builders must ensure enough parking, although that’s not as big a deal in NYC where many people don’t own cars.

      > It’s called war profiteering and it’s illegal.

      So, you mean like when Dick (“Dick”) Cheney gave billions of dollars to Halliburton he was breaking the law? Were his /k\i/c\k/b\a/c\k/s\ deferred salary illegal as well? Wow, maybe somebody should point that out to the DOJ.

    • There is NO way to make those things happen without YEARS of work, regardless of who is President. Hillary isn’t the best choice, but the best choice isn’t running (Not that she could make those things happen either, but she could probably push them a little further along than Hillary will be able to).

      In the general, your choices are likely to be : someone who can make a start on those programs, or someone who will roll the current inadequate programs back further.

      I suspect I know which one you’d prefer, but if you want to post your choice and your reasoning, feel free.

      • Whimsical,

        Your question coincides with something I was thinking earlier today. I was reading about ISIS and how they kidnap people and — this is the part I was thinking about — use the money to fund their plots. ISIS also steals antiquities and sells them on the black market, again, to fund their schemes.

        All the politicians talk about their schemes to fix the problems, and then don’t. But ISIS? They’re getting it done. You and I may not want them destroying works of art that survived millennia, but they’re not only getting their goals met, they’re making coin off of it.

        What happens when ISIS (which CAN solve its problems) decides to pit itself again the U.S. and its system of problem-evasion and sound-bite?

        See, that’s my biggest fear. Not another 9/11, but the reaction by the American public to the next 9/11. When a group of ISIS hackers crash the electric grid, or trigger a massive selloff on Wall Street (good-bye, 401(k) and stock portfolio), Hillary won’t know what to do. Whoever the Republican candidate ends up being will also not know what to do. The candidates are so far removed from reality that they literally will not be able to accommodate it.

        That’s why I don’t think it matters whether someone votes for Hillary or Republican X. Neither one is going to give a shit about the citizens, and neither one will know how to run anything, anyway.

        Personally, I urge everyone to vote for the Republican. I say let them run everything into the ground as fast as possible, because only when the iPhones stop working because there’s no electrical grid left will the goddamned sheep wake up.

      • Tear open the envelope Karnak, and lets see what I predicted Alex would say: “Since my unrealistic expectations cannot be fully realized immediately, I’m going to advocate for someone who WILL turn everything to dust and ashes.”-the “progressive” mindset in a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen.

        I think you’re wrong on so many levels its hard to know where to begin, but let’s start with this:

        ISIS is a joke. The Republican Party and its supporters, unwitting or otherwise, currently possesses more ability (and frankly, desire) to damage this country than ISIS. If we got off oil and got out out of the Middle East, ISIS’ ability to damage the country would go from miniscule to microscopic- no wonder Republicans are against both those things.

        Its a convenient “boogeyman” that the Republicans use to try and convince everyone we’re in danger and we need to give them power to prevent that. Its crap; is it a tragedy that ISIS steals artifacts, destroys art, etc? Sure. But on the list of “1,000,000 things that it’s the United States job to deal with.” it falls somewhere around 998,000.

        So, there’s nothing to fear from ISIS as long as we keep people who will embroil us in more Middle East Wars and keep us on oil out of power, mmmmkay? (And while Hillary is a hawk, yes, it is extremely unlikely she will undo a peace plan signed by her predecessor. The Republican candidate will)

        But you want to talk about greatest fears? Let’s take a look at mine: that enough otherwise highly intelligent people will fall for the Republican bullshit boogeyman and help engineer the crash that the Republicans will use to finish their endgame- the transformation of America into a fascist theocracy. That’s what they want- that’s their plan- THAT is how they will- how did you put it- “accommodate” an attack. Hell, that’s why they’re trying so hard to provoke one.

        The time to wake people up to the danger the Republicans pose is now; the time to get them out of office and replace them with people who will begin the long, SLOW slog to bring America back to greatness (and to understand that bringing America back to greatness will be a long, SLOW slog) is now.

        After the crash they are planning for, engineering for, praying for, will be far too late. By buying into Republican bullshit that people will somehow “wake up” after a crash, you are HELPING Republicans get the very thing they want.

        Quite a few of us don’t buy the Republican boogeyman bullshit; we ARE awake and trying damn hard to prevent the crash the Republicans are engineering. You should be helping us, not them.

  3. Gosh Ted, you almost sound like you believe that what they say on the campaign trail has some sort of relationship with what they do in office.

    So, I’ve got a watch for sale – it’s genuine Rolex but the manufacturer accidentally wrote “Timex” on the face. I can cut you such a deal…

    … cash only and small bills please.

  4. The only way she’ll get MY vote is when and if she disowns fealty to GMOs and the likes of Monsanto, who has been poisoning people for decades. 🙁

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