On Hillary Clinton's Positives
by Matt Stoller, Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 02:47:19 PM EDT
I'm with Atrios. I like Hillary Clinton, I just don't like the people who advise her campaign and I tend to disagree with some of her political judgments. Mark Schmitt has a great rundown of what a problem Mark Penn really is, including the corporate conflicts of interest implied by his role in her campaign. The Democrats fell apart in the 1980s for a variety of reasons, but one of the manifestations of the collapse was the increase of influence of relatively non-progressive centrists like Penn, who were often on retainer to tobacco, telecom and pharma because it was good business to have influential consultants on their payroll.
I've done a fair amount of blogging about the Democratic machine and what a problem these people really are. While Hillary Clinton is in bed with these people, she has also had a long career in Democratic politics. She faced the smear machine in the 1990s way before any of us were organizing on her behalf. For better or for worse, Mark Penn had her back at that time, and that matters to Senator Clinton.
I don't agree with her policy choices and judgment, and I often question her character in this context. But she's also a gutsy and extremely intelligent politician, and we ought not to forget that. You cannot discount what it means to have a woman running for President, and how she brings intelligence, resolve and poise to that role. It's our role in politics to bring her to a different place, to show her that progressive politics can be done with progressive structures, and that the perceived double-talk on single issue micropolling is no longer necessary or productive. Ultimately, and this may not be possible though I think it will be, we will have to figure out how to work together as strong allies. Both Clinton and the blogs went through the crucible of the right-wing smear machine, and it's hard to discount that.