Hillary Clinton

How Hillary Will Fail Liberals

Obama's presidency would be a hiatus between the military aggressiveness of George W. Bush and the military aggressiveness of Hillary Clinton.


Hillary Clinton
Chatham House / Wikimedia Commons

Hillary Clinton has obvious attractions for liberals. She offers a solid chance of extending Democratic occupancy of the White House for four or eight years. She would realize the dream of a female president. She would appoint justices to stop the rightward drift of the Supreme Court. She would drive the tea party even crazier.

Not to mention that she's one of them. She tried to overhaul health insurance long before Obamacare. When she was a senator, the liberal blog Daily Kos gave her a lifetime rating of 94.4 (100 being the most liberal), the same as Ted Kennedy. Her 1990s credo was "It takes a village to raise a child"—a collectivist mantra if there ever was one.

But if they mass behind Clinton's presidential candidacy, liberals will be making a Faustian deal. They may get the White House. But if they expect her to implement an ambitious domestic agenda, they are in for a painful shock. It's not that she wouldn't like to achieve it. It's that her priorities will make it impossible.

Those priorities became clear this week in her interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, which she used to highlight how much more hawkish she is than that guy she used to work for.

She thinks the United States should have done more to help the Syrian rebels, must get over its habit of "hunkering down and pulling back," and needs an "overarching" strategy to combat Islamic terrorism. "I'm thinking a lot about containment, deterrence, and defeat," she said.

Of Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression against Ukraine, she implicitly blamed Barack Obama for not being assertive enough: "In the world in which we are living right now, vacuums get filled by some pretty unsavory players."

This is not an about-face for Clinton, who has always been partial to solutions that involve bombs, bullets and boots on the ground. She voted for the Iraq invasion. She pushed Obama to use air power against Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi.

As secretary of state, she favored a bigger surge in Afghanistan than Obama ultimately approved, and she wanted to keep combat troops there longer than he did. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote that he heard her tell Obama, "The Iraq surge worked"—and that she opposed it only for political reasons.

Hawks would feel vindicated if Clinton were elected. The Weekly Standard, a tireless advocate for the Iraq War and any other possible war, excerpted The Atlantic interview under the headline, "Special Guest Editorial: Obama's Foreign Policy Failures." Right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham said, "She sounds like John McCain."

What all this means is that Obama's presidency would be a hiatus between the military aggressiveness of George W. Bush and the military aggressiveness of Hillary Clinton. Obama's effort to wean us from perpetual intervention would be abandoned.

Apart from their views on foreign policy, liberals should worry. A Clinton presidency would mean surrendering any hope of shifting federal resources to problems like poverty, health care, urban blight, transportation and student loan debt. Wars are expensive, and money spent on nation-building in Iraq or Afghanistan or some other place is money that can't be spent on nation-building at home.

Wars are also a major reason the government runs a big deficit every year. A big deficit is the enemy of liberal initiatives, because Republicans don't have to oppose them on the merits: They can just say, "How are we going to pay for it?" Or, "The deficit is already out of control."

By refusing to pay for his wars with higher taxes, and thus inflating the deficit, Bush made it difficult if not impossible for Democrats to spend more money on their favorite programs. Since 9/11, discretionary spending unrelated to defense and security has dropped sharply as a share of GDP. Defense spending, however, has climbed.

A Democrat prepared to exercise restraint abroad could economize on military outlays and channel the savings to liberal causes that have gone begging under Bush and Obama. Under Clinton, there would be no savings to divert. For that matter, the military would probably require additional funds, which would be taken from elsewhere in the budget. She would be hard-pressed even to block cuts in Social Security and other entitlements.

The allure of a Faustian deal is getting something you desperately want. The drawback is losing something even more dear.


NEXT: Russian Libertarians Aren't Drinking Putin's Borscht

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  1. Hillary Clinton; the Cleveland Brown pallbearer of liberal politicians.

    1. What difference at this point does it make?

    2. Does anyone fucking like her? Jesus, 315 million people, and the Democrats can’t conceive of another candidate? At least, not until they actually announce?

        1. The candidates for the presidency have gotten really bad in recent years. I mean, Bush? Clinton? Kerry? McCain? Biden? Santorum? Ye gods.

          1. We really do have a horrible political class.

            1. It’s no wonder when we reward venality, incompetence, and dishonesty, and punish ethics, honesty, and competence. In effect, that’s what we do.

            2. *Pulls drum out*

              Chant with me everyone, this is what democracy looks like…

          2. Well with the way the vetting process and mudslinging is, why is anybody surprised that only complete sociopaths would be interested in the job.

        2. That’s a motley crew.

      1. I see Hillary bumper stickers all the time.

        1. “Like” and “automatically back the party candidate of the moment” are two entirely different things. Even here, the resident troll lefties (to the extent they really are lefties and not just fucking around in a boring and annoying way) have generally admitted at least some antipathy for her.

          1. To me, that’s what the slogan “Ready for Hillary” really signifies:

            “OK. I hated Hillary 20 years ago. I even hated Hillary 10 years ago. But after the last 14 years, I’m ready for Hillary.”

        2. Hillary Bumper sticker: Condition where pant suit sticks to cellulite after sitting for extended periods of time.

      2. They’re lighting the fuse and hoping that the base will respond to Historic Election! First Girl President!

        It’s going to blow up in their face.

        1. Everybody assumes Hillary is unbeatable for the same reason that most guys never get laid: the vast majority of people (women included) do not know jack shit about women.

          See, the unstated precept in all this, taken as the given, is the notion that Hillary will win because all the women are going to run out and vote for her en masse.

          I’m here to tell you, they won’t. Women understand, even if they won’t admit it, that a woman has no place in that office.

          No, the people who vote for Hillary will be the castrated lefty femmeboys who think voting for her will show how evolved and “progressive” they are (since “progressive” now includes the hideous act of boys trying to be girls and vice versa).

      3. Some people do, apparently, actually like her. But even more importantly a large number of people on the left who don’t like her would vote for her in a general election because they dislike the idea of a candidate not of their team even worse than they dislike her.

        1. Then. . .nominate. . .someone. . .you. . .like.

          1. The proggies don’t have the numbers to get Warren the nomination. The best they could hope for is getting Biden nominated. But either way it’s going to be a long and damaging battle and whoever emerges will be weakened by the fight.

            1. The best they could hope for is getting Biden nominated.

              please please please please please…..

              1. Biden has spent the past six years being a comedian’s punching bag because they wouldn’t go after Obama. Making fun of the democrat VICE president is safe.

                If he runs for president, they will have to change their pre-existent schtick on him or present the democrat presidential nominee as one step away from Gary Busey. What a conundrum it will be.

              2. I don’t want Biden to be president, but I do want him to receive a lifetime appointment as VP. He’s the ideal VP. He’s like the Platonic form of a VP.

                1. A Firebird in every garage, a mullet on every head…

                  1. Hey, a 2002 WS6 is a pretty sweet ride. A little on the clunky side but entertaining/nostalgic.

              3. Yeah, but they know he’s unelectable. That might also mean President Christie since there would be no need to run anyone with new, different ideas.

                1. My prediction is that neither Christie nor Clinton receive their respective parties’ nomination. For similar reasons–they both fuck up too often.

            2. I’m dubious as to whether any Democrat can win in 2016, given the destruction wrought by their party in recent years. Of course, after that, everyone will turn on the almost-as-bad Republicans, who will forget all thoughts of reform, unless maybe we get a Paul presidency. Even then, I bet the old guard fights him almost as much as they do Obama.

              1. I’m telling you guys: Romney 2016.

                1. Here’s one: Gore 2016. Why not? He came very close in 2000 and probably retains a decent amount of popularity on the left. And he could fake some centrist positions, except maybe on AGW, but nobody is voting much on that, anyway.

                  1. I could see that.

                    I could see Mark Warner, too.

                    1. That’s who I thought would run, but I heard he was endorsing Clinton or something like that.

                  2. Nah. Gore has to many skeletons in the closet.

                    1. Not compared to Clinton, who literally has skeletons in her closet.

                  3. He’s a millionaire now, and probably doesn’t need the stress of elected office.

              2. I’m dubious as to whether any Democrat can win in 2016, given the destruction wrought by their party in recent years.

                That’s what I thought in 2012. My faith in the American electorate was . . . misplaced.

                1. Me too, but Obama has fallen far since then.

                2. I think we were both right, we were just wrong about how much abuse the electorate was willing to take. Personally, I’m beginning to suspect that I underestimated how many votes were being bought through federal outlays, such as unemployment, welfare, disability, and so on. Even so, the feeling that the economy is stuck–and so is government spending–is starting to be more widely acknowledged.

                  None of this would be an issue, of course, if the media told the truth.

                  1. Also, we underestimated the power of clever branding. The Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) have successfully branded Republicans as uncaring racist sexist homophobes, and totally uncool. Things like federal power and spending are simply too wonky for most people to care about.

              3. Shit. I’m not convinced that if Rand Paul gets the nomination, Carl Rove won’t be a keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention.

            3. I have to say that I am much more comfortable with the Dem’s nominating Hillary, than with them nominating Warren.

              Warren would be a total nightmare as President. I’m not sure the country would even survive.

              1. Warren has been failing upwards her entire life; she’s too incompetent to do much damage.

        2. I’ve said this before, but I think that the reason Obama’s campaign took off was that it gave lefties an acceptable reason to not vote for Hillary.

          It was OK not to vote for her because you could tell your buddies you were supporting the first black president.

          I expect there to be a similar trend this election too. There will be some other candidate that the base can support without having to admit that maybe Hillary is just a shrew.

          1. I’d think that now is the time for an Hispanic candidate. Though I don’t know how immigration reform plays in the crucial swing states.

              1. Castro is on his death bed.

                1. Earlycuyler|8.14.14 @ 1:17PM|#
                  “Castro is on his death bed.”

                  Fine. They can all blame it on Bush.

                1. How fucked up would history books be if not 1, not 2, but 3 out of 5 consecutive presidents had the same fucking name? FML.

      4. I know there is a cadre of older democrat women, who are still nursing a grudge about her being pushed aside by that Obama man. They don’t like her, per se, they just want some overies in the whitehouse. I have no idea why.

        You can identify them by using the Galadriel quote:

        In the place of a Dark Lord you would have a Queen! Not dark but beautiful and terrible as the Morn! Treacherous as the Seas! Stronger than the foundations of the Earth! All shall love me and despair!

        1. No. Galadriel was a power in her own right. This is more like Sam’s wife getting the Ring.

          1. Rose Gamgee wasn’t a horrible person, and Sam wasn’t a philandering liar.

            I AM NERDRAGE AT YOUR IMPLICATIONZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            1. I meant in terms of power, not character.

        2. a cadre of older democrat women…

          They prefer to be called “Lesbians.”

          1. PUMAs. I loved those ladies.

      5. I know a number of otherwise very intelligent, fairly nonpartisan women who are bedrock in their support for Hillary because she has female genitals. Don’t underestimate the effect of identity politics, and also don’t underestimate the reproductive rights single issue voter block.

  2. “She would realize the dream of a female president.”

    If someone’s “dream” is having a President of a particular gender, that person has a mediocre intellect and a limited imagination.

    1. True, but there’s a lot of that going around.

    2. Why are you so racist sexist?

    3. Be fair: it’s entirely possible that everything such a person imagines has either a penis or a clitoris appended to it.

      Maybe the republicans should run a hermaphroditic president to have these people singing hosannas.

      1. The shallow identity politics will never end until the democrats have covered every type of racial and sexual group with their nominees.

        Maybe if the Republicans turn this on them and run a minority women, we can put this to rest.

        1. Nope. That minority female candidate will by definition be a traitor, insane, and suffer from false consciousness.

          1. Not to mention ugly and poorly dressed.

            1. No way they’ll run Michelle Obama.

  3. She won’t win. Obama was a political nobody before the 08 elections. She will lose to someone who we have never heard of and it will be hilarious. Until that person takes office of course.

    1. CBS is already campaigning for her…Madam Secretary.

  4. I have heard that Bill would keep her in line–keep her from saying and doing really stupid things. Personally, I am uncertain about the amount of influence he has.

    1. He hasn’t succeeded yet.

      1. Well, she’s not president yet.

        1. Yes, imagine how much stupid shit she’ll say when she’s president. She can’t shut up now.

        2. She was “dead broke”…OK maybe not dead broke but not “truly well off”.

          Geez give her a break, she is still rattled from having to duck in cover from that sniper fire in Bosnia.

  5. I’m hoping two white men run in the next election so we can return to the issues a little bit instead of worrying about how “historic” the election is.


  6. It took six years for the media to turn on the silver-tongued Obama. How many hours would it take for Hillary, who can’t get along with an NPR host for an hour, to wear out her welcome?

    I understand the theoretical political appeal of Hillary: her presence hearkens back to the relative prosperity (and, God help us, sanity) of the Slick Willy years, she’s a recognizable name, and she’s a woman, so the Democrats have some populist slogans to sling.

    It remains that the woman is a transparently awful politician with the personality of a pit adder. The presidency today is a celebrity role, and it needs a celebrity with some degree of personal appeal–a movie star, a slick “intellectual,” a charming rascal, or a Texan good ole boy–to fill it.

    1. One of the reasons I mock her pretensions so much is that she’s truly shitty at PR. She’s fucked up several times recently, and that has nothing to do with the quite serious baggage she carries around, including her abysmal turn as SoS.

      Weird that they’re trying so hard to anoint someone that nobody really likes much.

      1. I suspect that the money behind Clinton views politics as moving pieces around a chessboard in the same way that you would if you were running a business or a hedge fund. So if Soros throws enough money behind Candidate A, she’ll beat candidate B, as voters will just get in line to cast their ballots for literally anyone.

        That Hillary would have to actually appear before cameras and take heat from someone other than hard-hitting Terry Gross without spewing bile doesn’t seem to factor into their political calculus.

        1. What does that money buy, anyway? It’s clearly not buying a principled position on anything. What are the services returned for their investment?

          1. Soros is as devoted to social democracy as the Kochs are to liberalism, so I think backing Hillary–a warm body who is widely considered electable–is his attempt to keep a Democrat in power and ensure a soft NWO without risking another neocon disaster. His political ideology is shit for the same reason Popper’s was shit, but I don’t think he’s venal.

            The rest of Hillary’s money consists of power-mad asshats like Bloomberg who expect Hillary to remember her friends in the event of more QE or TARPs.

            1. I’m not so sure about Soros. I think there is a great deal of self-interest to his politics, both financially and in terms of his posthumous reputation.

      2. Maybe they’re taking a page out of the GOP playbook.

        1. Yes, their candidates tend to suck, too.

  7. Steve- can you stop misusing terms like liberal? She’s not liberal. She’s a Democrat.

    1. Seriously, these people are cronies nothing more and nothing less.

    2. ^This. Thanks, RB.

      1. I mean, if the major liberal outlets are constantly banging the Team Blue drum, what’s the problem with conflating the two? They do it to themselves.

  8. …and hilarity ensued?.

    ^campaign slogan

  9. She’ll disappoint liberals if she doesn’t get the nomination, she’ll disappoint them if she doesn’t win, she’ll disappoint them if she does win. No matter what happens, some set of liberals will be disappointed.

    If I could just get my laptop to run off liberal tears, I’d be set.

  10. You know, I always took the charitable view of “it takes a village”, and thought it meant you need a good community around children so they turn out OK. I think that’s true.

    1. That would be true, if these people weren’t fascists:

      Everything for the State, Nothing outside the State, Nothing against the State.

      When they say village, they don’t mean your friends and neighbors. They mean an array of governmental bureaucracies ensuring your child is Raised Right, per an unholy mix of micro-regulations and unaccountable pubsec busybodies.

  11. For all the talk about the fractures in the GOP, I’d still wager that the Democrat party implodes first. Their big tent strategy was simply to play identity politics and create as many aggreived groups as possible. Now, the demands of the aggreived groups are starting to conflict, and they have little to nothing to offer labor unions. I see a fairly large fracturing in the near future.

    1. It would be fun to run with that on some leftie comment boards.

  12. Why does Reason insist on calling these evil cocksuckers “liberal”…leftist, collectivist, Progressive anything but liberal. They are the most illiberal group of meddling control freakin’ authoritarian scum bags in the American polity.

    1. More than Republicans?

      1. Marginally so, yes.

      2. Yes. There was once a time, maybe, when the DNC could claim that they were less authoritarian than the GOP. That time has passed.

    2. Since we’ve had a couple of cockles-warming objections to the misuse of the once-meaningful word liberal, this seems like a good place to post this:


      1. I’d prefer the word “liberal” not be forever tarnished by being associated with libertarians.

        1. “Yeah, we socialists stole that term fair and square back in the ’20s, after the euphemism ‘progressive’ got too tarnished! No fair using it to mean anything bad now, even though we tarnished it in the ’60s and ’70s and had to resurrect the term ‘progressive’!”

  13. I predict a 2016 Team Red victory. Economy will be in the crapper and Team Blue couldn’t get Gore to win in 2000 after 7 years of economic expansion. Plus, Obamacare ain’t going to get better in the next 2 years. Carville was right – it’s the economy, stupid.

    1. Team Blue didn’t have a majority on the Supreme Court in 2000.

      1. If it were up to assholes like you, they’d still be doing recounts, waiting for one where Gore wins.

      2. Do you really think this next one will be that close?

        1. Who can say? But Hillary is popular among groups who have abandoned the Dems since Obama got elected. Might be a quite wide margin.

          1. “But Hillary is popular among groups who have abandoned the Dems since Obama got elected.”

            A half-dozen votes isn’t going to get anyone elected.

      3. Oh, give it up, Tony. Recounts by objective parties showed Bush won Florida in 2000, despite widespread Democrat cheating.

  14. I do wonder what her domestic priorities will be. No doubt she’ll have some sort of policy agenda when she runs. Whatever it is, liberals will find it superior to the Republican candidate’s theocratic/plutocratic bullshit, they will prefer winning with Hillary to losing with someone else, and in the end all that will matter as far as getting policies enacted is the makeup of Congress.

    1. Not looting = “plutocracy”. You’re a pussy bitch who doesn’t have the character or the intelligence to make money, so you (like all leftoids) evade that pesky reality by pretending that anyone who has more money than you is an evil tyrant.

      1. No, I make my own money. I just know nationwide looting by plutocrats when I see it. It’s a little harder to notice than a common heist since they can afford to buy politicians and get tax law written in their favor.

        1. So you’ve changed your opinion of Tom Steyer, then?

    2. “winning with Hillary”

      Given the economy, Obama’s record and the healthcare law, I don’t think Jesus could win in 2016 on the Dem ticket. Of course, I haven’t seen the GOP candidate yet….

      1. Except for all the polling and the increasingly insurmountable demographic problem the GOP has.

  15. “Obama’s effort to wean us from perpetual intervention would be abandoned.”

    The fuck?

    1. Candidate Obama*

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