Short Relief: Democrats, your glass house is showing

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While Democrats and their allies have been gloating over the Republican Party’s tribulations, their own party has its problems. They had been ignoring them pretty successfully when their order of succession seemed clear. Now, the possibility that Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic nominee has exposed some of the party’s problems.

Although she has at times disavowed it, Hillary Clinton has been running for president since at least the 1990s. As heir apparent, she promotes herself as an progressive who makes progress. More accurately assessed, she has many credentials, but few accomplishments.

As first lady of Arkansas, Clinton is best known for her investments in the Whitewater Development Corp. and in cattle futures trading. As first lady of the United States, she is known for meddling in the operation of the White House travel office, trying to reform health care in secret, and for the suspicion that she accessed FBI security clearance information of prior administration personnel for political purposes.

When she isn’t downplaying them as old news, Clinton tries to wear those events as badges of honor, claiming a vast right-wing conspiracy against her.

As senator, Clinton voted for the USA Patriot Act, supported military action in Afghanistan, and voted in favor of the Iraq War authorization. She did so in order to distance herself from her husband’s responsibility for 9/11 and to build her bona fides for president. Now, she disavows many of those actions in the face of Sanders’ isolationism.

Obama appointed Clinton his secretary of state to avoid a re-election primary fight. Clinton took the job to build her resume for president. She didn’t resign it to be a grandmother. She resigned to gear up for the campaign and to try to distance herself from the disastrous foreign policy that she coauthored.

Her much-heralded reset with Russia encouraged Vladimir Putin to venture into the Ukraine and Crimea. Under her watch, we remained on the sidelines while the Arab spring withered. Idle threats of lines in the sand and unfulfilled promises to rebels yielded brutal civil war in Syria and an unprecedented, world-wide refugee crisis. Unwillingness to take effective action contributed to the rise of ISIS. Half-hearted efforts in Libya resulted in the debacle of Benghazi and a failed state, ripe for takeover by terrorists. Meanwhile, North Korea is pursuing nuclear weaponry.

Through it all, Clinton conducted official business on a private email server because she wanted to avoid scrutiny.

Even though he doesn’t confront her on many of these issues, Sanders is an effective foil for Clinton. He is who he is, and always has been: an unapologetic socialist who has been railing against the capitalist machine ever since he went to college and was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s.

On that basis, Sanders has been mayor of Burlington, a member of the House of Representatives, and a United States senator. Through it all, his primary concern has been domestic economic inequality. Along the way, as senator, he opposed the Iraq War authorization.

Sanders is campaigning on a simple platform of explicit revolution: that money is corrupting politics, and government should force the wealthy to share more with the people. It’s his answer to every problem, from poverty to health care to race relations to inequities in the criminal justice system to climate change. It has been resonating with the angry end of the liberal spectrum.

In response, Clinton has started to adopt some of Sanders’ gestures and rhetoric. It’s not genuine, and people sense it. It’s illustrated by her recent responses to questions about having taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from Wall Street firms.

Her first response was flippant and ill-considered: that she took the money because it’s what they offered. Her second response was transparently untrue: that she took it because she did not know that she would be running for president. Her third was classic Clinton counter-attack: she blamed others and said she would only release the transcripts of her speeches to Wall Street firms if everyone else did, too.

Meanwhile, she takes breaks from her campaign to attend fundraisers with big donors.

After losing badly in New Hampshire, Clinton held the line in Nevada. Her well-established, national organization has secured the commitment of many superdelegates. It has also engendered in Sanders’ supporters a sense that the process is rigged in her favor.

Fairly assessed, Clinton is not a great candidate because people sense she is a phony. Sanders isn’t great either because he is so extreme.

If you’re a Democrat, there’s no reason to gloat.

Halsey Frank is a Portland resident, attorney and former chairman of the Republican City Committee.

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  • David Craig

    No reason to gloat? Which remaining GOP candidate makes you proud to be a Republican? Trump? Cruz? Rubio? If all you’ve got left is to tear down the Democratic candidates, then you’ve already lost the debate. You say Hillary is phony and Sanders is extreme. Trump and Cruz aren’t extreme? Rubio and Cruz aren’t phony?

  • Aliyah33

    You’ve only uncovered the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Hillary Clinton. The woman belongs in jail and not on the campaign trail running for President.

    Wonder how many people bothered to research what’s really going on behind the BLM in Oregon; perhaps for most it’s just a fading memory of “armed cowboys” taken to task by the federal government protecting public lands, thanks to mainstream media. Yeah, right. The following is my understanding:

    The Clinton Foundation has received donations from Uranium One (this company’s been renamed Oregon Energy, L.L.C.). Bill Clinton received “speaking fees” (around $500,000) when he traveled to Russia. Uranium One was based in Toronto, however, it’s a Russian company, wholly owned by Russia’s ARMZ (Rosatom) and Uranium One Holdings is responsible for all of Rosatom’s uranium mining outside Russia.

    Federal land (public land) can be put into Split Estate and Land Management Policy; the public owns the land, but mineral rights are reserved to the Federal government (Resource Management Plan). Under Clinton’s State Department 1/5 or more of the uranium in the U.S. was controlled by Russians (we even had Russians working in partnership within every level in our government – energy, education, agriculture, cyber…).

    High-grade uranium’s used for nuclear energy and defense purposes. Uranium One owns no private lands, but has mines in the Powder River Basin (WY), and Willow Creek (private lands acquired by BLM). Oregon’s rich in minerals; in 1956 uranium was discovered in Harney County and specifically in large amounts in Burns. Uranium One is looking to diversify in Oregon; it has Planned Developments, and on its Facebook Page mission statement is: “success through aggressive mine and land acquisition”.

    Obama’s memorandum “21st Century Strategy for America’s Great Outdoors” is targeting energy-rich areas in the U.S. to become “monuments”. The federal government is eyeing millions of acres of private forest lands throughout New England. “The Democrats have also included a provision in these packages that would require federal government to take over energy permitting in state waters.”

    Recall the commercials, and the push for protecting “wilderness characteristics”, this land is ______’s land (put your name in the blank), etc? Time to wake up, follow the money because it’s not going to the citizens.

  • justanotherfakename

    Frank, you just don’t get it, the so called problem with the political parties, is a direct reflection of the State of the Union. I’m an independent, and I honestly do not find most of Bernie Sanders positions to be extreme. Higher education for all is one the positions the Republicrats pretend is extreme, too costly, when the US is the only advanced country that does not have free higher education for all. You can be a US citizen, and get a free college education in Germany for pity sake. So higher education for all is the world wide norm, not extreme in the least. In fact, it’s those who deny free higher education for all who are Republicrat extremists.

    Free medical care for all is available in every advanced country in the world, except the US, and again, the extremists are those who say we can’t afford to give medical care to all citizens, the Republicrats. We already have the single payer system in place, its called Medicare/ Medicaid. Are there issues with the Medicare system, yes, but not as many as with the so called private insurance gambling-with-your-health care system. Medicare is more cost effective than private insurance, a fact the real extremists refuse to face up to. Emergency room hospital care used as standard health care by the poor, that is extreme, and yet that is the system the Republicrats would give us.

    I could go on, but you Republicrats are already yawning, or seething, and saying to yourself, no we can’t. That is the extreme position that young people by and large can see though, and many of us older folks as well. Its not extreme to expect corporations to pay their share of taxes, like they used to do. Its not extreme to say the solution to social security potential shortfalls is the lift the cap on income taxed. I’ve paid a social security tax on every single cent I made in my life, and to say the well off, who can afford it, don’t have to pay a tax on all their income, like most of us do, that is the extreme position. So Frank, if you want see an extremist, just go look in the mirror.

    • David Craig

      Brilliant. I agree completely!

  • EABeem

    And yet, Halsey, Hillary Clinton is the only candidate qualified to be president. I love Bernie, but he can’t win and the three GOP frontrunners are all nutjobs.

    • Jimmy_John67

      It is sad when racists like you insult Senators Rubio and Cruz just because they are proud Hispanic Americans.

      • EABeem

        All talk. Not a single accomplishment. Race has nothing to do with it. They are both self-serving jerks.

        • Jimmy_John67

          That is the exact same thing people said about Obama when he was running and you called them racists. Funny how your opinion changes when the shoe is on the other foot. Funny but unfortunately not surprising.

    • justanotherfakename

      Bernie Sanders is qualified to be President; the youth knows, moldy oldies may win this time, but the tide is turning. Hope it’s not too late or too early, because a bunch of astoundingly unqualified candidates have won too many times.

  • ZonSonus

    Wait…Bill Clinton was responsible for 9/11?