Hillary Clinton is the kind of progressive that sticks her finger in the air to gauge the direction of the wind. Whichever way it’s blowing, that’s the way she goes.
Take, for example, same sex marriage. As far back as 1993, she and her husband, then-president Bill Clinton, advocated that marriage is between a man and a woman. Bill ultimately signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which Republicans approved but which Democrats have scorned. In 2004, Hillary declared marriage between a man and a woman. Not progressive, by a long shot.
As late as 2014, Hillary Clinton, believed that states should be free to define marriage however they see fit. It wasn’t until she began her run for president in 2015 that she finally came around to fully supporting same-sex marriage without conditions as a human right.
In April, 2015, Hillary told the Washington Blade that she was hopeful the U.S. Supreme Court would rule in favor of nationwide marriage equality.
During the first debate, Hillary Clinton was questioned on her history of changing her mind. She acknowledged that she has evolved on many issues, but when you look at her “evolution” on hot-button topics, it is almost always when public opinion strongly favors the position she eventually chooses. This is true with the Cuban embargo, criminal justice reform, NAFTA (which her husband signed into law), TPP, the Iraq War (which she voted in favor of as senator), and No Child Left Behind. Each and every time she has changed her opinion, it has been because it was beneficial for her to do so.
Mark Joseph Stern criticized her sharply when he learned of Hillary’s “progressive” stance on leaving same-sex marriage up to the states.
“[Her] apparent position on gay marriage — leave it to the states — is about as progressive as Dick Cheney’s circa 2004.”
Hillary is not a true progressive. A true progressive is ahead of the times and leads the way for even more progress. Clinton is a follower of fads, who claims to be a leader for progressive values.
Hillary Clinton’s second top donor is Goldman Sachs, according to OpenSecrets.org, and her attack dog, Gary Gensler, came to the Obama administration from Goldman Sachs. In fact, the vast majority of Clinton’s donors come from insurance and finance corporations. Being a progressive usually means not being in Big Money’s pocket. Hillary’s brand of progressiveness seems ruled by expediency and quick money. She and Bill have also taken money from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for speaking fees. Saudi Arabia has one of the worst records of human and women’s rights in the world.
David Sirota, writing for IB Times, reports that 20 countries whose governments had given the Clinton Foundation money received $165 billion in weapons deals while she was Secretary of State. Giving sweetheart deals to governments that donate money to your foundation is not a progressive ideal.
When Bill Clinton was in the midst of multiple sex scandals, including an accusation of sexual assault, Hillary stayed with him. In fact, in recent days former nursing home administrator Juanita Broaddrick, who claims Bill raped her in 1978, has said Hillary Clinton tried to silence her accusations. Broaddrick has forced the issue to the forefront so not even Hillary Clinton can ignore it. Bill’s pattern of philandering and abusing his position of power is troubling. Hillary’s habit of looking the other way and belittling his accusers is even more troubling. Is this what being progressive is about?
By contrast, Bernie Sanders is perhaps the most progressive and biggest supporter of women’s rights on the Democratic side of the primary race. In the 1960s, he was arrested for protesting in favor of equal rights for minorities. During this same period, Hillary Clinton, then a Republican, was volunteering for Barry Goldwater, who opposed equal rights.
In 1983, Bernie Sanders marched in a Pride parade in support of equal rights for gays and lesbians during his first term as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. As a member of Congress, he voted against “Defense of Marriage Act” and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” And since the early 1970s, he has railed against increasing income inequality, advocating for a higher minimum wage, stricter corporate regulations and even marijuana legalization. Bernie Sanders wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which would greatly benefit families stuck in a cycle of poverty.
By contrast, Hillary Clinton only supports raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour, which isn’t bad, but it does not go far enough to ensure families with only one working parent, such as single parent homes, earn enough to cover the necessary expenses of raising children.
Concerning war, Bernie Sanders believes military action should be a last resort. Hillary Clinton, in contrast to her so-called progressive stance, is a war hawk. In fact, she has received praise from conservative Robert Kagan, for her willingness to take extreme measures to subdue perceived enemies.
Environmentalism is a staple of the progressive initiative but Hillary Clinton has a very poor record on it. She has supported hydrofracking through the Global Shale Gas Initiative. Fracking has contributed to polluted waterways and health issues, and mounting evidence points to fracking as the cause of increasing earthquakes in areas where it is prominent. Bernie Sanders wants to move the country into more sustainable, renewable energy like solar and wind power.
Hillary Clinton has changed positions several times over the years, often too slowly for her Democratic party’s taste. A slow evolution, and one that follows popular opinion, does not make Clinton a progressive. Her opponent, Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has been ahead of the curve on progressive issues for more than 40 years. With Bernie, voters know what they’re going to get. With Hillary Clinton, just look for the money trail.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty]