Hello, is anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home?
—Roger Waters and David Jon Gilmour, “Comfortably Numb”
Hillary Clinton will be a worse president than would a Republican. For years corporate media have pounded the line that her election is inevitable, and that has millions of voters convinced. Unfortunately, many of them also believe in the “lesser evil” straw man which is also pushed by corporate media–if you don’t vote for your party’s candidate (Democrat or Republican) even though you don’t like that candidate, a more evil candidate of the other party will win, which herds the masses into continually shooting themselves in the foot.
This makes it impossible for change, since the Democrats and Republicans are funded by the same criminals, banksters, polluters and defense cheats, and have basically the same desire to serve their masters over the public interest.
Hillary will be able to do things no Republican can do. Like her Republican friends (the Clintons seem to have a lot of them, John McCain, George HW Bush), Hillary will be able to get Republican votes for the agenda of the plutocrats who run USA, Inc., but unlike the Republicans, she will be able to get Democratic Party votes, because conservative Democratic legislators will be able to say they are only supporting their Democratic president as they break ranks.
History tells us this is so.
In Hillary’s husband’s first term, he had no trouble passing NAFTA, Ronald Reagan’s unfulfilled dream. Although the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, two-thirds of the Democrats opposed NAFTA because it would hurt the environment and American workers would lose jobs.
Bill Clinton sent his sidekick Al Gore, who had recently been a senator, to twist Democratic arms in the Senate, where Republicans were already sold on Clinton’s plan. In the House, Clinton relied on Newt Gingrich, then minority leader, to make sure Republicans were brought into line so there would be few defectors. Conservative Democrats used the excuse they were only supporting their Democratic president.
NAFTA passed by a comfortable margin, and a Republican would have had no possibility of getting it done with both Houses of Congress controlled by Democrats.
Next Democrat, Obama.
When George W. Bush was leaving the White House in January of 2009, his polling numbers were south of whale poop. The public was fed up with his wars based on lies and his bankster bailout. No Republican winning the 2008 election could have extended these catastrophes for the average American, without riots in the streets.
What were the ruling oligarchs and plutocrats to do? Spending profusely on his campaign, they brought in Barack Obama to fix things. Obama quickly increased the troop strength in Afghanistan by 30,000, and completed the bankster bailout, burying Wall Street in tax dollars.
Although there was grumbling by some congressional Democrats, what did Obama care? He had massive Republican support for these. The ruling establishment loves sellout Democrats, because they can do so much more than Republicans to please their masters. Obama received more funding from banksters in his 2008 election than any candidate for office in history. They knew they could count on him, even with both Houses of Congress controlled by Democrats.
Like Clinton, who also began his presidency with both houses of the Congress, Obama also lost the Congress to Republican control, because rank and file Democrats realized they’d been betrayed and sat on their hands.
Having a Republican controlled Congress helps modern Democrat presidents though, because they then have an excuse that they can do nothing because Republicans won’t let them. One recalls both Clinton and Obama whining that Republicans simply tied their hands from doing anything at all progressive. This did not stop them from pushing military spending and free trade agreements like the worst fears about what a Republican might do.
Republicans do not really try to stop Democratic presidents when they attempt to serve the oligarchs and plutocrats who fund our elections. Republicans didn’t even raise a peep when Obama unconstitutionally attacked Libya without consulting Congress. They love war. At least President GW Bush asked Congress for support when he violated international law by invading Iraq (Hillary eagerly backed him with her Senate vote).
Since the 1970s, Democrats have moved from being liberal to being conservative (now called liberal in corporate newspeak). Republicans have moved from being conservative to being fascist (using FDR’s definition, now called conservative in corporate newspeak). Under Democrats and Republicans, wages for the working class have declined since 1973 as wealth has funneled upward to the plutocrats and oligarchs who fund our elections.
Our ruling establishment has learned that conservative Democrats sell out far better than mainstream Republicans, and have begun to fund them well for that reason. Hillary should have far more money from the scum of the earth than any of her Republican opponents with her bona fides, including her stint in the leadership of the Democratic Leadership Council, formed to make a second Republican Party of the Democrats.
No Republican can undermine Social Security, many have tried, but the opposition gets fierce. Even conservative Democrats won’t help a Republican president with this. It will take a Democrat like Hillary to do it. She will use the pretense that she is “saving Social Security.”
While it’s true Republicans are nastier and would do nastier things if they could, they largely fail at major free trade deals, deregulation, privatization and the like, it takes a Democrat to get the job done. When Republicans try these things, the Democratic Party base rises up in protest and the Democrats vote it down if they have majorities in Congress, or filibuster it if they don’t, and it goes nowhere.
But when a Bill Clinton or Barack Obama is in, they get Republican support and combine it with conservative Democrats to win on issues that sell out the American public. The Democratic rank and file go to sleep, and only awaken for protest when the next Republican takes the White House.
Many of those who realize that lesser evil voting only slides the people backward, have decided to begin to build a way out, and are looking at candidates like Jill Stein of the Green Party. Realizing that she represents the public interest, corporate media have completely blacked out her candidacy, instead covering those who will serve their masters, so there’s hard work ahead.
Jack Balkwill has been published from the little read Rectangle, magazine of the English Honor Society, to the (then) millions of readers USA Today and many progressive publications/web sites such as Z Magazine, In These Times, Counterpunch, This Can’t Be Happening, Intrepid Report, and Dissident Voice. He is author of An Attack on the National Security State, about peace activists in prison.