Hillary Clinton and Edward Snowden: The Imperial Handmaid’s Tale

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” –Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

And no question: Hillary Clinton is a hard worker. What’s most striking about how Clinton plays handmaid to the empire — after, during, and before her tenure as Secretary of State — is not what she says, but what she doesn’t say. Willful ignorance is especially evident in her discussion of Edward Snowden and his contribution to restoring the Fourth Amendment to some degree of function, but to put her views on Snowden in context, I first have to look at her views on Iraq, and then her views on how Obama whacks U.S. citizens without due process Anwar al-Awlaki. In all cases her views show her fitness for the office of the Presidency in the minds of the political class, which is to say her unfitness, exactly as Obama was unfit in 2008. And so to Iraq:

Here, I’m going to rely heavily on Clinton’s new book, Hard Choices. I only regret that I have but one door to prop open, and Piketty’s Capital is doing that already, so I don’t need another 700-page book. Fortunately we have Amazon, so I went in there (★★) and did screen dumps. Here’s what everybody seems to consider the money quote. WaPo:

“[CLINTON:] I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”

So what is Clinton not saying? No, no, not the missing apology; an expression of “regret” isn’t even a non-apology, as any diplomat must surely know. No, Clinton doesn’t say why the Iraq War was a mistake. Isn’t that rather remarkable, given that we spent a squillion dollars losing it, and many thousands of lives, even if most of them were far away brown people? (Please, no “Halliburton made a ton of money” arguments or “yes, but oil” arguments; states win or lose wars, not corporations. And if we won Iraq, where are the parades, and where are the politicians claiming credit for victory?) Just to confirm, let’s zoom out to make sure we’ve got context. Hard Choices, p. 137:


Do you see Clinton explain what she got wrong? I don’t. So I searched the book for Iraq, and came up with this:


So Iraq is a “quagmire,” like Vietnam. But there’s no explanation of why Iraq was a quagmire, or how we got into it. And then there’s this:


So in Iraq there was a “power vacuum.” Well and good, but again, why? Or this:


Gee, how’d that happen? Liberal interventionism is still in full swing, seemingly;  but again, and remarkably, or not, Clinton doesn’t say is what, exactly, she “got” “wrong.”

Let’s circle back to Clinton’s original claim: That she acted “in good faith.” Peter Beinart, unsurprisingly, agrees with her:

“I had acted in good faith,” she writes. That’s likely true. During her race against Barack Obama, Clinton suffered mightily from the perception that she only supported the war because she feared looking weak on national security. As a character playing her on Saturday Night Live quipped in 2007, “I think most Democrats know me. They understand that my support for the war was always insincere.”

That charge , however, is probably unfair. As Michael Crowley has reported, most of Clinton’s top foreign-policy advisors—Richard Holbrooke, Madeleine Albright, James Steinberg, William Perry, Jamie Rubin, Kenneth Pollack—were sympathetic to giving George W. Bush the authority to use force. Like them, Hillary had grown increasingly comfortable with military action during the 1990s, when Bill successfully went to war in Bosnia and Kosovo (in the latter case, without United Nations approval). And like them, she had grown increasingly militant on the subject of Saddam Hussein, whose ouster Bill had called for in 1998, and whom he had bombed for four straight days that same year in Operation Desert Fox.

Although many liberals assumed that in her heart Clinton was as dovish as them—and thus must have been insincere in her vote to authorize war—the evidence suggests that her experience during her husband’s presidency made her more hawkish. For better or worse, her behavior as secretary of state—where she championed the Afghan surge, aid to Syria’s rebels, and the war in Libya—suggests that she still is.

But how could Clinton possibly have acted “in good faith”? We know that the Bush administration was lying on Iraq WMDs, that there was no “intelligence failure,” but a massive and successulf disinformation campaign:

The narrative that there was an “intelligence failure” leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003 cannot withstand the slightest scrutiny. The simple fact of the matter is that there was no evidence that Iraq still possessed WMD. The fact of the matter is that top experts in their respective fields within the U.S. intelligence community had correctly assessed that Iraq did not have WMD or ongoing WMD programs. The CIA’s judgments to the contrary were not the result of a “failure” within the intelligence community to correctly analyze and assess the evidence, but of a systematic effort to control information in order to limit “dissent” and stovepipe products to administration officials that would support the government’s official policy of regime change. In other words, the policy was not based on the intelligence, but the CIA’s intelligence products were rather based on the policy.

Understood in these terms, it becomes apparent that far from a “failure”, the government’s disinformation campaign designed to manufacture consent for war was a resounding success. The narrative of an “intelligence failure” attempts to pin responsibility on analysts within the intelligence community rather than on senior administration officials such as President George W. Bush, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State Colin Powell. It attempts to shift the blame for the lies of senior policymakers onto analysts who supposedly didn’t do their jobs correctly. But the truth of the matter is that analysts who did do their job were sidelined and silenced, while assessments from analysts like “Joe” who dishonestly touted the official line were stovepiped to policymakers in “intelligence” products containing judgments completely unsupported by the available evidence.

I remember these events vividly, because I started blogging at Eschaton that summer. It was like playing whack-a-mole: The aluminum tubes! The white powder! “British intelligence has learned!” The yellowcake! They were one and all lies, debunked within days, and then — collective #facepalm by the much more united left of that day, which the Democrats had not yet succeeded in wrecking — we got to hear Colin [genuflects] Powell retail what we knew to be lies at the UN! Except it wasn’t like whack-a-mole; it was whack-a-mole; Col. Sam Gardner’s research suggested at least 50 stories[1] were planted in the press. The operation had a $200 million budget, and was run by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG):

The group met weekly in the Situation Room. Among the regular participants (many have since left or changed jobs) were Karl Rove, the president’s senior political adviser; communications strategists Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin and James R. Wilkinson; legislative liaison Nicholas E. Calio; and policy aides led by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, as well as I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff.

Mary Matalin, eh? Conducts pillow talk with James Carville, the Democratic operative who won the Presidency for Clinton with “The economy, stupid.” Are we really to believe that the famously networked Clinton machine couldn’t have reached out to somebody in official Washington to find out that Bush was selling a crock of shit on Iraq? Or pick one of the Clinton advisors Beinart lists at random, Madeleine Albright. Here are her connections:


Are we really to believe that Clinton couldn’t have leveraged a network like Albright’s, as a matter of due diligence, and gotten a good reading on Bush’s WMD intelligence?

Clinton, of course, ignores this. She ignores Bush’s WMD deceptions, ignores of WHIG, and presents herself as having had to rely on the Bush administration (“fully briefed”) for everything. I just don’t think that’s plausible, especially when you remember that a ragtag group of “vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers on the left” were able to dope out WHIG’s bullshit stories, generally in less than one news cycle, with no more than open sources for intel. I suggest a far simpler explanation: Clinton knew exactly what Bush was up to, because her own Beltway network would have told her, but because she’s a classic liberal interventionist — it’s not a matter of “she has to say that”; she believes it — she didn’t care; she had no problem with “fixing the intelligence and the facts around the policy,” because she supported the policy, as Beinart points out. Needless to say, however, Clinton couldn’t have voted for a war based on lies “in good faith.”[2] Good faith — not to mention good sense — would have led her to undertake due diligence and expose the lies. QED.

Now that we’ve dealt with the issue of Clinton’s good faith on Iraq, let’s go on to Obama’s “kill list.” You remember the kill list, right? Which Obama prefers to call a “disposition matrix”? The Times:

Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.

Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.

Which sure sounds keen, especially when you’ve got a Preznit who’s as moral as Obama, except when you realize that Obama’s “a secret interpretation of the law under the supervision of a secret, non-adversarial court and occasional secret congressional hearings” is uncomfortably close to Madison’s “very definition of tyranny” in Federalist 51. You might get even more uncomfortable when you realize that Obama’s using his amazing secret powers to whack American citizens:

Up until now, the Obama administration’s policy of sanctioning the assassination of U.S. citizens has been more theoretical than real. Not any longer:

A missile fired from an American drone aircraft in Yemen on Friday killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric who was a leading figure in Al Qaeda’s affiliate in this country, according to an official in Washington.

….Yemen’s official news agency, Saba, reported that the attack also killed Samir Khan, an American citizen of Pakistani origin and the editor of Inspire, Al Qaeda’s English-language Internet magazine. Mr. Khan proclaimed in the magazine last year that he was “proud to be a traitor to America.”

Is this the first targeted assassination of a U.S. citizen as part of the war on terror? Probably.

So what does Hillary have to say on this? I searched Hard Choices again, and — hold onto your hats, folks — the answer that she has nothing to say:

kill_list anwar

Again, isn’t this remarkable? We have a President who’s done away with the separation of powers entirely, and is executing US citizens with a 21st Century equivalent of a lettre de cachet — and on foreign soil, too, which you’d think would call for comment from a Secretary of State[3]. Apparently not! So, having established that Clinton cares for Constitutional governance exactly as much as she cares for going to war in good faith — that is to say, not at all — let’s at last turn our attention to Edward Snowden, who exists exactly at the uneasy junction of governance and war. As it turns out, the issues Clinton has ignored have a great deal to do with her views on Snowden. I’m going to take as my text the following YouTube, from a Q&A that Clinton did after a speech at the University of Connecticut on April 23, 2014. Here it is:

And here, in relevant part, is a partial transcript of the Q&A session. I’ve interspersed commentary:

* * *

“[CLINTON:] So it was a debate that needs to happen, so that we make sure that we’re not infringing on Americans’ privacy, which is a valued, cherished personal belief that we have. But we also had to figure out how to get the right amount of security.

Clinton ignores the Fourth Amendment, our Constitutional protection against search without a warrant, which is not a “cherished, personal belief.” Clinton has nothing to say about the restoration of Constitutional governance here, any more than she has anything to say about it in the context of Obama’s execution of U.S. citizens without due process.

Moreover, Clinton ignores the media context in which “the debate” (most Democrats prefer the more mealy-mouthed “conversation”) must take place. As Clinton must know from the Iraq WMDs/WHIG debacle, the media context is completely corrupt, being riddled with disinformation; for example, the NSA has consistently said that Snowden could not have gotten “primary documents” we only now learn he got. How is a debate to be had except on the basis of trustworthy evidence?

“[CLINTON:] When [Snowden] emerged and when he absconded with all that material, I was puzzled because we have all these protections for whistle-blowers.”

First, Clinton ignores that Snowden was a contractor and has no whlstleblower protection. Second, Clinton ignores that Snowden is charged under the Espionage Act, and that means he’ll be gagged in court if he tries to make a whistleblowing case. Third, Clinton ignores the fates of Drake, Kiriakou, and Manning. As Kiriakou said before the Obama administration locked him up:

“The conviction of Bradley Manning under the 1917 Espionage Act and the US Justice Department’s decision to file espionage charges against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden under the same act are yet further examples of the Obama administration’s policy of using an iron fist against human rights and civil liberties activists. President Obama has been unprecedented in his use of the Espionage Act to prosecute those whose whistleblowing he wants to curtail.

Fourth, and again, what Clinton ignores that the executive branch’s disinformation capabilities, as shown in the Iraq WMD campaign, make it very hard for whistleblowers to get the word out; and ignores the proven capabilities of the US government to execute US citizens without trial, as shown by Obama’s “kill list,” which make whistleblowing dangerous (as if an Espionage Act conviction weren’t dangerous). Back to Clinton:

“[CLINTON:] If he were concerned and wanted to be part of the American debate, he could have been.

No, he could not have been; for the four reasons given above. In addition, Clinton ignores that Snowden did contact NSA oversight with his concerns, via email. The only way to spark the debate was to release the documents, as Snowden did[4].  (That “the American debate” is very deft; it suggests that Snowden is involved in some other debate. Perhaps an UnAmerican one?) More:

“[CLINTON:] But it struck me as—I just have to be honest with you [look out!]—as sort of odd that he would flee to China, because Hong Kong is controlled by China, and that he would then go to Russia—two countries with which we have very difficult cyberrelationships, to put it mildly.”

On Hong Kong: Naked Capitalism readers know why Hong Kong was a perfectly reasonable place for Snowden to flee; Clinton, again, ignores something a Secretary of state should know. On Russia: Clinton ignores why Snowden was trapped in Russia: The United States took his passport away! Not only that, Clinton ignores what happened when the United States thought Snowden was leaving Russia: They forced down the plane of a sovereign nation and searched it! And back to Clinton:

“[CLINTON:] And then he calls in to a Putin talk show and says, ‘President Putin, do you spy on people?’ And President Putin says, ‘Well, from one intelligence professional to another, of course not.’ ‘Oh, thank you so much!’ I mean really. I don’t know, I have a hard time following it.”

Clinton ignores the actual transcript of Snowden’s question and Putin’s answer, which her staff could surely have provided to her:

[SNOWDEN: “Does Russia intercept, store or analyze, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals?”

Putin, who identified Snowden as a “former agent” and “spy,” acknowledged that he too used to work in intelligence and said, “we are going to talk one professional language” and continued to say Russia does not have a mass data-collection program.

“Our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law, so how special forces can use this kind of special equipment to intercept phone calls or follow someone online, and you have to get court permission to stalk a particular person,” Putin said, according to an English translation by Russia Today.

Hilariously, that’s exactly the policy that John Roberts supports, at least of cellphones — “Get a warrant!” — and which the Obama administration fought tooth and nail. Here’s Snowden on the exchange:

Putin’s response appears to be the strongest denial of involvement in mass surveillance ever given by a Russian leader – a denial that is, generously speaking, likely to be revisited by journalists. 

In fact, Putin’s response was remarkably similar to Barack Obama’s initial, sweeping denials of the scope of the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, before that position was later shown to be both untrue and indefensible.

I don’t see why Clinton would have “a hard time following it.” In fact, if Putin’s denials are shown to be false, an American administration, no matter of which party, will be the first to pick up the cudgels Snowden so helpfully left for them!

The Democratic reaction to Clinton’s appearance at UConn: “Hillary Cracks the Authenticity Code.” (If you listen to the tone and not the meaning of the words — the YouTube is above — Beinart is right. But I think she’s been an authentic liberal interventionist all along, so there’s no code to crack.) Conor Freidersdorf, perhaps surprisingly, has a more measured take:

What I do know: Any Democrat who is averse to misinformation from their standard bearer, or who wants a president committed to protecting whistleblowers, rather than dissembling about how well they’re treated already, ought to find an alternative to Hillary Clinton.

* * *

From the 30,000 foot view, Hillary Clinton’s book, Hard Choices, ignores the machinery of imperial disinformation (“we create our own reality”) that Bush used to get us into the Iraq war, on the false premise that Saddam had WMDs. Clinton could use this machinery as President.

From 10,000 feet, Hard Choices ignores the machinery of imperial governance, which has thrown aside the Constitution in favor of a system James Madison would call tyrannical, and under which a President can assassinate U.S. citizens with impunity. This too is machinery Clinton could use as President.

From ground level, Clinton — to put this generously — gets Snowden all wrong on the detail, and she gets Snowden all wrong on the Constitutional issues he raises. She ignores how imperial disinformation systems and lethal, unaccountable powers structure Snowden’s incentives, and she seems to think that Obama’s treatment of whistleblowers is something other than unconscionable. These too are all attitudes we would expect Clinton to maintain as President.

I don’t know if there is a candidate out there who is not a servant of empire. What I do know is that Hillary Clinton is clearly Empire’s Handmaid.

NOTE [1] Sorry about the formatting; link rot is fast overcoming digital sources only a decade old, as part of our society’s continuing embrace of agnotology.

NOTE [2] Assuming she’s not a Straussian.

NOTE [3] To be fair, there’s no reason to think Obama or any future President — for example, Clinton — would whack US citizens without due process on US soil. Because that would be bad.

NOTE [4] Yes, there’s a debate between the Guardian/Greenwald/Post model, which involves gatekeepers and government vetting, and the Wikileaks (and Cryptome) model, which does not. For the purposes of discussing Clinton vs. Snowden, these distinctions do not matter, since Clinton is clearly against both.

NOTE There seems to be rather a lot of oppo on Hillary Clinton floating to the surface these days, much of it churn: Regnery Publishing, Obots looking for the Next Big Thing, snooty Villagers, random h8terz. Takes me back to the days of Richard Mellon Scaife, God rest his soul, if any, and that Arkansas bait shop. For those who came in late, Bob Somerby’s Daily Howler is the goto source on media jihads, and he’s now showing, in nauseating detail, how our famously free press is doing to Hillary Clinton in 2014 exactly what they did to Al Gore in 2000, which Somerby documented, as it happened, in near real time. Do you believe that Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet? If you do, you’ve been p0wned! So, if anybody’s got any well-sourced information on what the incipient Clinton dynasty’s got going for it that’s more than business as usual for our highly corrupt political class, do feel free to drop me a line. I’d be demented to put my email out, so your first test is getting in touch!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. John

    I’m a Democrat and wouldn’t vote for that globalist liar in a million years.
    Not even if her opponent is Ted Cruz or Rand Paul.

          1. hunkerdown

            John Cleese has been flogging a mobile game based on his vintage Ministry of Silly Walks sketch.

            I say the world needs a shoe-fling gallery app. Just imagine the analytics!

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Of course Hilary can be president, because she gets one thing VERY right: Rupert.

    1. Bene

      No Hillary fan here either, but JEEBUS, she was a better SecState than this current Bozo. Of course, she was still the Empire’s handmaiden there, but at least the NeoCon Redux Express wasn’t dropping bombshells every week during her tenure.

      1. Spring Texan

        Yes, someone called him “Secretary of State Lurch” and I liked that a lot. He’s horrible.

        1. FederalismForever

          Kerry is truly horrible. But so was Clinton, as Lambert’s brilliant evisceration amply demonstrates.

          Why is it that no recent Secretary of State could even tie the shoelaces of, say, a John Quincy Adams, William Seward, Charles Evans Hughes, or George Marshall? Why can’t the U.S produce statesmen (and stateswomen) of similar quality and ability anymore? Could one even imagine John Quincy Adams writing a book as bad as Clinton’s?

          One other thing: Why is the title of Clinton’s book exactly the same as Cyrus Vance’s book? If the choice was deliberate, it’s rather bold to copy the title of the book authored by the Secretary of State associated in the public’s mind (rightly or wrongly) with the failed Carter Administration. Or, did Clinton fail to recognize that she picked the same title?

          1. LifelongLib

            Re writing a book, along with being post-everything else we’re also post-literate.

          2. Banger

            Where are the statesmen? The power elite that are in place don’t allow public officials to pursue policies that help the country as a whole. In the past there were leaders that did care about the public good at least to some extent but those types are nearly extinct.

          3. NotTimothyGeithner

            The Cabinet Reorganization Act of 1948. The DoD took over much of the traditional role of State, and combined with the growing institutional structure of the Empire (IMF, NATO, the UN) the Secretary of State has less to do which means less credibility to force a personal agenda. Personalities aside, the President could go two terms and never speak to the Secretary of State. The job isn’t the old job, and special cases will be dealt with directly by the White House.

            It still starts with our tolerance for lousy politicians. At the top of this thread, a commenter still identifies as a Democrat despite the universal Hillary love fest from Democratic elite. Hillary isn’t the only one spouting the b.s. Lambert noted.

      2. optimader

        “..she was a better SecState than this current Bozo..”
        That is like a differential analysis of the aroma of dog shits. One is better? How was she better?

          1. optimader

            If gravitas were an Elemental, Kerry would be Hydrogen.
            Even if Hillary has four times the gravitas she’d still only rank as Helium so their combined gravitas would float like the methane cloud from the dog that just ate the bowl of radishes.
            Not differentially significant.

      3. lambert strether

        Yep, Kerry makes Clinton look great. Say no more, say no more. (Sorta makes you wonder if we dodged a bullet in 2004, unbelievable as that may seem. Things can always get worse, after all!)

        1. Synopticist

          Surely one of the great ironies of American political history. Bush’s second term was better than the alternative.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I think Kerry always expected to be President and thinks he is a great man, and even now his actions are designed around achieving a legacy because he has the Iraq War, kowtowing to the GOP/MIC, and losing to W. Kerry is running out of time, and he’s far too arrogant to admit his career has been a waste. In the end we get Kerry (Hillary and Bill too).

    2. Furzy Mouse

      Lambert, thank you for the excellent deconstruction of “Hard Choices”…but it might be a mistake to throw out the baby with the bathwater….When 2016 looms, we will be faced with a Repug (Romney?)(a woman? hahahahahaha) v. probably Hillary…yet another “least evil” choice for citizens… She’s doing what all pols do…trying to please everyone, including her own party’s neocons…she cannot get elected, or even nominated, if she is perceived as weak on terrorism, etc…as a women, she needs to act tougher than her male counterparts, or be run over…I voted for Obama in ’08, and have come to regret that, along with wondering if Hil might have done a much better (liberal) job all around…she did try to legislate universal health care in ’93, and was totally trashed in that effort, as, gawd forbid, a wife should do anything but cook…and apparently, failed to buy off the pharms and insurance companies, which I suspect Obama has….Hillary is opposed to Hobby Lobby, and many other anti-feminine shenanigans, and for that reason alone, I will give her my vote…and…she’s funny and realistic! I leave you with some quotes from Hillary:

      “If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.”

      “Don’t confuse having a career with having a life.”

      “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.”

      “Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me. But they all seem to. It doesn’t matter what country they’re in or what religion they claim. They all want to control women. They want to control how we dress. They want to control how we act. They even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and our own bodies. Yes, it is hard to believe but even here at home we have to stand up for women’s rights and we have to reject efforts to marginalize any one of us, because America has to set an example for the entire world.”

      1. BigRed

        Sorry, but you can’t try and be a feminist yet at the same time ignore or uphold lots of other mechanisms of equality. That’s a similar game as Obama and Hollande are playing: a bit of support for gay rights and women, so they can continue to impoverish their own and other countries’ populations.

    1. lambert strether

      Thanks. I do think the argument that Clinton must have known that Bush’s WMD claims were false is new and, if not important, useful. It beggars belief that Clinton wouldn’t cross check Bush’s National Intelligence Estimate with information from her own network. The knowledge of fraud in the political class is doubtless widespread, but only within the political class; in retrospect, the whole WMD thing reminds me of accounting control fraud, and if so, we would see the techniques and culture of the FIRE sector permeating everything.

      1. Furzy Mouse

        I concur; I’m sure she knew….even I knew in ’01, thanks to Scott Ritter, the UN arms inspector…but I emphasize it is a mistake NOT to vote. Do we want to hand governance over to the wingnutz?…so, who ya gonna call?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Perhaps instead of defending these thugs, you should demand they act like human beings for a change.

          Why can’t a Democrat be pro-choice and opposed to violence as a policy tool? Bill’s sanctions killed a million Iraqis in the 90’s. The time for the defense of thugs because they like better bands is long since past. It’s time to grow up.

  2. Carolinian

    Since realism is my theme this morning I think you have to distinguish between realism and “crackpot realism” which is the currency of neoliberalism (and HiIllary, like her husband, is very much a neoliberal). The crackpot variety says you have to do what is realistic in the socio-political context of the time. As Carson used to say, “buy the premise, buy the bit.” Therefore their excuse for their various sellouts is that they are bowing to political “realities”–political realities that they aren’t too interested in trying to change. The “hard choices” in this context are always the choices to betray their base. Say what you will about George W Bush, he did “dance with the ones what brung him.”

    As for Iraq in particular, she was the senator from NY, both the scene of 9/11 and of a very active MIddle East interventionist lobby. I’d go with that explanation.

    Personally I think the notion of eight more years of the Clintons–and it will be plural–is a nightmare. I can’t imagine why people are even talking about it.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Speakin’ of the Arkansas bait shop, the Jan. 1994 American Spectator story ‘His Cheatin’ Heart’ still provides important insights into Hillary’s personality.

    Such as when Bill snuck in after getting a random BJ in the parking lot of the guvnor’s mansion, and Hillary cursed him in such graphic terms that even hardened troopers were shocked.

    Psychologically, Hillary is all about barely suppressed rage. Giving her the nuclear football would be an act of collective insanity.

    1. Carolinian

      Bill’s wandering days may be over (although there’s always Viagra). Hill now in the driver’s seat, God help us.

      But not to worry. She’s probably just serving as a placeholder to keep Warren at bay.

  4. Middle Seaman

    I did support Hillary in 2008 and believe that workers, students, housing and soldiers paid a heavy price for electing Obama. I don’t support Hillary for 2016 for a different reason than most. Democrats need a young, fresh, strong and creative candidate for 2016. There are dozens of such Democrats; nobody encourages them to step up.

    The Clinton hate, particularly within the Democratic party, started in early 1992 and is still going strong. It brought us Obama, the most rightwing Democratic president in a century. Hate is ugly, it undermines your thinking, it’s destructive. It’s about time to stop.

    1. Demeter

      Ah, no, Clinton hate did not give us Obama.

      Massive PR about “Hope and Change” and “Constitutional Scholar” and other campaign fantasies gave us Obama. Some people are still living that fantasy, but those of us who have to get up and go to work every day are not. There was Big Money behind Obama, masquerading as Little Money, Little People, Grassroots. They hit every progressive liberal button they could find. Then Obama betrayed every believer and every cause.

      The current spin is that it would have been so much worse with anyone else? Really? That’s hard to believe, given how bad things are. Obama abdicated before his inauguration to the real Power in the nation: banksters and multinational corporations. The rest is history, and it’s not a pretty story, nor particularly uplifting.

      So what if the legal right to marriage is extended to all? Was it worth the destruction of the global economy and the hopes of the 99%? It was the classic “free gift”. It doesn’t cost hardly anything, and has no value to most of us. Obama has also come out against concussions; the pro-concussionists are up in arms at that.

      1. YankeeFrank

        Indeed. Obama’s candidacy in ’08 was by far the most cynical campaign in my lifetime. His dissembling, dishonesty and elitism are now clear for all to see. In ’08 they were carefully hidden and repackaged. Some people saw through it, but just like with most con jobs, plenty didn’t. Obama tapped into our desires to return to the rule of law after 8 years in the wilderness and lied his way into office, justifying it with a shrug and the assertion that all leaders lie.

        1. wbgonne

          “Obama’s candidacy in ’08 was by far the most cynical campaign in my lifetime.”

          I’ve never seen anything like it. The depth of cynicism — trading on people’s desperation for hope and for change — is breathtaking. I would suggest that revulsion with the Clinton Machine on both policy and cultural/personal grounds did contribute mightily to Obama’s nomination. People did not want Clintonism, i.e., neoliberalism and narcissistic self-aggrandizement, and Obama was packaged as the Clinton alternative, with the bonus of being the Great Black Hope. After that bait-and-switch I will never see the Democratic Party the same again.

          As for 2016, I am very skeptical of any Democrat, including Warren, because I think the Democratic Party has been proven to be utterly corrupt. However, I want Clintonism even less now than in 2008 so I would be thrilled for Warren to run against (and likely beat) Hillary. Moving the Democratic Party to the Left, which Warren would do on crucial economic issues, would be a net plus for the country. If Warren gets traction, it could force the whole duopoly Left. And, let’s face it: No third party candidate will win the presidency in 2016. I may very well vote third party, as I did in 2012, but I have no illusions about electoral success. That said, I will welcome all efforts to initiate and nurture Progressive alternatives to the Democratic Party because that will also force the political duopoly Left. The goal is to move the country Left at the political level as rapidly as possible. The American people are already there.

          A significant populist spark at the political level could lead to rapid and dramatic change. Ironically, the Democratic Party is now so captured by neoliberalism and crony capitalism that the Democrats would rather lose as corporatists than win as economic populists.

          1. Ulysses

            “Ironically, the Democratic Party is now so captured by neoliberalism and crony capitalism that the Democrats would rather lose as corporatists than win as economic populists.”

            Very astute observation. Yet the Republicans can’t really take advantage of this, since they too lack any credible economic populists within their party. It is high time for Americans to abandon both these corrupt parties and support something new!!

            1. amateur socialist

              “The relentless sameness of the two-party political system is beginning to feel like a Jacob’s Ladder nightmare with no end; we’re entering another turn on the four-year merry-go-round, and the thought of having to try to get excited about yet another minor quadrennial shift in the direction of one or the other pole of alienating corporate full-of-shitness is enough to make anyone want to smash his own hand flat with a hammer.” – Matt Taibbi (while back he was writing about OWS but still relevant)

          2. JerseyJeffersonian


            Your last paragraph, “A significant populist spark at the political level could lead to rapid and dramatic change. Ironically, the Democratic Party is now so captured by neoliberalism and crony capitalism that the Democrats would rather lose as corporatists than win as economic populists.”, put me in mind of a post from tinyrevolution wa-a-y back in 2007, “Democrats and the Iron Law of Institutions”. It still remains valuable:


            Of course, added to the massive inertia imposed by the Iron Law is the careful cultivation of the fine art of waving around the bloody shirt of The Doctrine of The Lesser of Two Evils in order to to cage populism, and to render it traitorous for such inconvenient notions to be articulated within the councils of the Party, let alone for them to determine policies and candidates.

      2. Stratos

        What is most amazing is how Obama True Believers (African Americans, some Gays, and the most gullible among us) will curse anyone who breathes a word of criticism against their god. The writers at Black Agenda Report have endured years of condemnation from their target audience for daring to call a charlatan a charlatan.

        1. Banger

          The black community was heavily invested in supporting Obama because he was a role model for young black men–this info coming from conversations I’ve had. Besides many in the minority community feel that the alternative is a return to Jim Crow and some kind of neo-fascism. I believe this involves the strategy of good-cop bad cop which is all the DP has left.

          1. Synopticist

            “Besides many in the minority community feel that the alternative is a return to Jim Crow and some kind of neo-fascism”

            You have to admit they may have a point.

          2. lambert strether

            If not the black community, at least what BAR call the black misleadership class.

          3. H. Alexander Ivey

            Ha! BAR is correct, all the black voters got was Jim Crow and further economic loss.

        2. mellon

          Stratos, a lot of the people on blogs who appear to be ardent pro-Obama are fake. I was told that several years ago by somebody who used to be in the professional disinfo business. I’m sure its still true.

          One part of this did come out, remember how at one point it turned out that somebody, I don’t think it was necessarily his campaign, was paying for “facebook friends” ?

          The point I am making is that now we have an online world (the US is particularly well known for this) where people can throw money at a problem and get armies of fake people to do whatever they want with it. Pros.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think the Obama campaign took the high road, and the low road.

        The high road, as you say, was “Hope and Change,” and “Constitutional Scholar,” as well as the idea that Obama just had to be a liberal because he was black. (See this from the guy now doing Warren’s email campaign, last I checked.)

        The low road was all the hate from the 90s — incredible as it may seem, not every bad thing said about the Clintons is true! — plus truly vile misogyny both from the Obots and the political class as a whole). And plenty of other things.

        Both the high road and the low road worked together, in “one han washes the other” fashion.

    2. YankeeFrank

      There is no “hate” in this piece. Its a clear explication of what we can expect from a Hilary presidency, and its not pretty.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t think the commenter is saying that the post is hateful. I don’t really do hate any more, exactly because it’s so corrosive, as the commenter points out.

        Clinton hate is a real phenomenon, however, and the 2008 Obama campaign leveraged it (shamefully, in my mind).

        I’ve often thought that when hate is injected into the body politic, it never decays, but persists forever. To a certain sort of mind, hate then becomes a resource, to be managed strategically. As a subset of the oppo researchers on Clinton today are certainly seeking to do; see the NOTE.

    3. Zane Zodrow

      Hate and realism are not the same. Judging someone by their actions and calling them out on lies and immoral and/or criminal acts is not hate, it is honesty.

    4. amateur socialist

      Um, no. His name is Mark Penn. His advice and consulting resulted in the most tragically inept and tone deaf primary campaign in modern history. The strategy appeared largely to rest on the inevitability of her winning the democratic primary race without much opposition.

      If the Clinton campaign had managed anything but a deer in the headlights response to Obama’s admittedly cynical and opportunistic campaign she could have won handily. And for those who might presume I blame this individual too harshly I recommend you learn more about his career.

      1. hunkerdown

        Looking back at Eric Cantor’s failed primary, he claimed (for all that’s worth) his campaign staff snowed him. Perhaps campaign managers throw these things for the Parties because the Parties hire for outcomes, not excellence?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        That’s not true, it’s really not. (Frankly, I discount most of the Mark Penn hatred because I see it as generated by a commercial and factional rivalry with David Axelrod who was, in his day job, no angel either; both Penn and Axelrod had very granular approaches to slicing and dicing the electorate, so it’s no accident both campaigns employed them. If Clinton had snagged Axelrod, Penn would have gone with Obama, and we’d just be changing labels on the hate figures.)

        When Clinton cleaned house after the February 2008 debacle caused by the Obama campaigns clever use of Democratic caucuses, she ran a very interesting campaign, and really under the radar (our famously free press, by that time, having annointed — and I mean that pretty literally — Obama as the winner). Campaign communications weren’t based on the web (remember “check the website”?) but on throwaway cellphones, because Clinton’s base was more likely to be working two jobs at Walmart and wherever than doing the dudely “creative class” thing in Internet cafes. And her campaign pounded through small venues everywhere, rather than stadium-like shows. It’s worth noting that the post-February Clinton campaign, reviled though it was, won the popular vote by a small margin (more, if you count all the votes from FL and MI) and also won all of the big states, including NY and CA.

        Just saying that’s hardly a “deer in the headlights” response. I am rather amazed that we’re seeing Son of Inevitability from the Clinton campaign this year, but like I said: Lack of imagination is one of Hillary’s failings.

        1. amateur socialist

          A lot of my opinion of Mr. Penn’s work came from watching him in her husband’s second administration where he proudly claimed ownership of Slick Willie’s welfare reform package. Among other innovations.

          By the time the post February campaign hit TX it was struggling to maintain legitimacy. That’s where I saw it close up at the caucuses. The Clinton supporters who turned out were whiter older and angrier. The (much larger) crowds of Obama supporters were more disciplined, organized and positive. It was obvious that the Obama organizers had learned the rules and educated their supporters on what to expect. If Hillary’s campaign expected to be competitive in TX it was hard to tell by observation. Most of her team appeared annoyed she had to bother with campaigning in TX at all.

          And it wasn’t just in my neighborhood. Conversations over pints after polling with other Drinking Liberally friends revealed similar experiences all over Travis County arguably the blue oasis of this ugly red state.

          I had already given up on 2008 months earlier when Edwards imploded (I’m big enough to admit it now). So I didn’t really care who became the nominee at that point I just wanted it to be over.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I didn’t say that Penn was a good guy; I just don’t think he’s any different from Axelrod. Yes, the Obama team did well in the TX caucuses, even if they did lose the popular vote. Caucus experience and organization varied wildly, which is one reason they suck and should be abolished.

            In my own area, the Obama supporter running the show made the Clinton supporters move to the gym floor, because they were a smaller group, and he didn’t want to inconvenience the larger group of Obama supporters in the bleachers. There had to be a more graceful way of counting the vote than that! Then there was the campaigning in line, unlike a real poll. Best or worst of all, they scheduled the caucus on a Sunday but during the day, when there’s no public transportation and people are more likely to be working. Then they packed it with students.

            So I was basically [shrug] “I get the message.” And in retrospect, that was indeed the message they wanted to send.

            Too bad about Edwards. I started there, but then came the fork in the road….

            1. Teejay

              I was totally hooked on Edward’s message of two America’s. Today’s description is the 99% v 1% or income inequality.

    5. lambert strether

      As I kept saying, the differences between Hillary and Obama were marginal, but marginal is not insignificant. I felt they were a wash on the empire, that Clinton was a bit better on health care (she accepted that health care should be universal, hence the mandate, which Obama lied about and then flipflopped on), and her program on foreclosures was the FDR-style HOLC, which Obama wanted to “study.” Also, for all their faults, the Clintons are at least wonks, where Obama is just not interested in such stuff. I also felt that having been assaulted by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy in the 90s, Clinton might pursue a far more adversarial policy toward Republicans than Obama would, with that unity crap he was pushing. Finally, I thought that Obots recycling every talking point from the Republican’s strategic hate management campaign in the slow-moving coup of the 90s — the impeachment saga that culminated in Bush v. Gore — was repellent, as was their misogyny.

      I left the Democratic Party permanently in July 2008, after Obama voted to give retroactive immunity to the telcos for their participation in Bush’s program of warrantless surveillance, after promising to filibuster it. This foreshadowed the surveillance abuses brought to light by Snowden just as surely as Obama whipping the Congressional Black Caucus for TARP foreshadowed Tim Geithner foaming the runway for the banksters.

      * * *

      All in all, 2008 was, for me, the Democratic Party’s last chance to become again a party something remotely like the party the remaining good will on their balance sheet from the New Deal suggested they could be. I felt it was worth a shot, especially when Obama put the Grand Bargain in play in Iowa. We’ll never know the counterfactuals; I think Hillary Clinton’s party loyalism and lack of imagination would have prevented her from being the next FDR — after all, FDR wasn’t FDR until he became FDR — which is what the country really needed then, and needs now.

      In any case, 2014 and 2016 are not 2008. Clinton’s hour, if it ever existed, has passed. The best thing she can do for herself and the country is get out of the way — whether one believes the legacy parties can ever become electorally responsive again (I don’t). Too bad.

      1. mellon

        Lambert, one of the “adverse effects” of the Obama Administration’s embrace of the FTAs is that on every area other than wars and foreign policy, the FTAs tie any subsequent government’s hands to only doing things which dont “adversely effect” multinational corporations, or the country can be sued. So that means that policy can only get worse for people, never better, if its a zero sum game (and in this context, it often is) So, because of Hillary’s close association with the Obama administration and also Clinton era FTAs like GATS and NAFTA, (when this all started, although nobody realized it, as they kept it under wraps.)

        The fact that Hillary Clinton has kept completely mum on this huge and destructive issue shows us that she is unfit to lead. They all are.

  5. jgordon

    I take issue with your use of the phrase “Obama Administration”. That is a phrase that implies legitimacy. Since you are in favor of being precise with semantics, I would suggest instead taking a page from Dr. Paul Craig Roberts and switching up your word choice from “Administration” to “Regime”, as in “Obama Regime”. Since you all refer often (and accurately) to post-Constitutional America, I’m sure you won’t find that suggestion to be out of line.

  6. Vatch

    Slightly off topic, perhaps, but maybe not… I know someone who has an autographed copy of Hard Choices (is there a double entendre in that title?), and my friend is rather annoyed because the signature just says “Hillary” instead of “Hillary Clinton”. Hillary (Clinton) couldn’t be bothered to include her surname in her signature. I wonder whether there’s any resentment towards Bill revealed by that action?

      1. scraping_by

        It’s also a branding decision. She’s always been packaged as a women’s magazine pastel and flowers alternative to large men in dark suits. A single brand identifier, especially one that looks good in loopy cursive typeface, is a quick impact to basically domestic (as in home and hearth) concerns.

            1. nycTerrierist

              Stellar post, Lambert Strether.
              Much appreciated and
              important for the record.

  7. ohmyheck

    There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind whom Hillary Clinton gets her marching orders from, since it can be found on youtube:


    “”We get a lot of advice from the Council (on Foreign Relations), so this will mean I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future.”

    If a candidate wants to beat HRC, all they have to do is run that 28-second video as an ad, and that woman is toast.

    Perp-walking her in front of millions on the charge of being a traitor to our country would be an additional benefit.

    P.S. – CFR = Deep State

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Linear, monocausal explanations … Not my cup of tea. Also, quite frankly, I’d never go with a clip on anything without testing the provenance. I like my oppo ironclad.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Good find! Joining the CFR is part of the vetting process for Depublicrat candidates. If you don’t pass CFR muster, you can’t be nominated.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Also the Masons! Seriously, the political class as a whole goes through a vetting process; that’s what we’re seeing now. And the squillonaires are adept at structuring choice for the political class, when they feel the need.

  9. grayslady

    One of your best, Lambert. You forgot one other Hillary “tell”: she, too, convicted Chelsea Manning before he even had a trial. I can’t remember her exact comment, but it was anything but measured in deciding that Manning was a “traitor”.

  10. amateur socialist

    A superb essay Lambert. Kudos.

    I only wish I could insist that every candidate for higher office (of either party!) be forced to answer this question: “Edward Snowden: Prosecution or Amnesty? No I’m sorry candidate we’re going to need your answer rounded to one or the other please…”

  11. beene

    If progressive want change and we can not change the system, we need to give our supposed favorite a resounding defeat, as suggested by several. For as long as democrats only lose on the margins they will never leave there’re neoliberal positions, which are destroying the nation.
    Yes it will probably be worse for the short term.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yep. The Democrats need to fear the left as much as Republicans fear the (grass-roots, not AstroTurf) right (and it does exist.)

      The right is willing to ensure that Republicans lose. The left needs to do the same thing with Democrats.

      The basic idea always needs to be “What have you done for me lately?” Whatever they have done in the past, it’s never enough. That’s what the right does, and it works.

      1. wbgonne

        Exactly. The Left no longer understands basic political dynamics. A result, I suspect, of being whipped dogs for so long. The Left bows and scrapes before politicians while the Right makes its politicians come to heel. Guess which strategy is more effective? But the Left quakes and quivers that it might lose an election so much that it willing to support a party that has abandoned them and, in fact, disdains them for their cowardice. So what is the Left winning with these electoral victories? Nothing. Nothing but Right Wing policies. That isn’t winning, it is losing in an especially embarrassing manner.

      2. amateur socialist

        The right is willing to force their members to “walk the plank” on inane meaningless “red meat to the base” type votes. Whether repealing Obamacare, shutting down the government or immigration reform they force them to take a position.

        Remind me again when Reid and Pelosi did the same thing on Card Check. Or keystone XL. Or anything really.

  12. Banger

    Great stuff Lambert and good research.

    Not only did Hilary know the truth about Iraq but so did all the major editors and producers in the MSM as well as the pundits that supported the war.

    Hilary is hated on the right and the left and will not run no matter how much the Democratic Party operatives try to push her–my impression is that they are ready to dump her

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Some factions want her dumped, others don’t. The future lies ahead!

      As I’ve said (too lazy to find the link) I think she made a deal with Obama in Denver in 2008 that 2016 would be her year, for which she traded Bill’s support and shutting down any internal opposition in the party. Of course, Obama might renege on the deal, which would be entertaining. And as I’ve also said, I don’t think she’ll run. (I’m waiting for the health records.)

      Because it would be irresponsible not to speculate, I think that the Democratic hive mind is committed to identity politics (and not class politics) and along the lines of: Black candidate 2008/2012, female candidate 2016/2020, Hispanic (ideally gay) 2024/2028. That means that Warren is a mortal lock if Clinton doesn’t run. (And it’s a pretty thin bench otherwise, isn’t it? Biden? Schweitzer? And who could possibly vote for somebody called O’Malley? The thin bench being Obama’s legacy, because he’s not into the nuts and bolts thing.)

  13. Oregoncharles

    ” the much more united left of that day, which the Democrats had not yet succeeded in wrecking ” –
    Yes. That is, after all, their function in the 2-Party.

  14. El Guapo

    “I don’t know if there is a candidate out there who is not a servant of empire. What I do know is that Hillary Clinton is clearly Empire’s Handmaid.“

    This pretty much sums it up.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Clintonist political thought divides into two distinct but complementary channels: Billism (‘Bonk anything that moves’) and Hillaryism (‘Bomb anything that moves’).

      Between them, these deep wells of insight furnish a muscular philosophical platform for our young nation to achieve its manifest destiny of global territorial domination.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’ve always thought that the “**** ***” hate the Republicans pushed in the 90s stuck so powerfully in the minds of some of our young people because it subconsciously reminded them of the icky fact that their parents actually had to have had sex when they — the youth — were conceived. The mind naturally recoils at such a possibility. Others still seem to be frozen at the same level of maturity. Tiresome.

  15. optimader

    “…The simple fact of the matter is that there was no evidence that Iraq still possessed WMD…
    WMD is a political term intended for public manipulation and cover for unjust war. A Howitzer can be WMD.

    A great irony (to me) is that after the countless lives and Bajillions of dollars squandered destroying Iraq in oh so many ways there was a chemical weapons facility left in any condition for ISIS to take over.

  16. steelhead23

    ” I was puzzled because we have all these protections for whistle-blowers.” Dear Lord, I wish I could draw. Here, I would draw Her Royal Highness in full executioner’s regalia, holding a bloody axe, with severed heads on the floor and a number of whistles hung around her neck. It is such a ludicrous statement as to be breathtaking.

  17. reslez

    “Handmaid” may be a cool word, and The Handmaid’s Tale is indeed an excellent novel. But. In the context of Atwood’s novel, handmaids were victims of sexual coercion, forced into degrading sexual relationships with their masters. Your characterization of Hilary as a handmaid in the style of Atwood is therefore both crass and inaccurate, as she has been an extremely willing sell-out and facilitator of the Imperial State. And certainly the equation of female politicians with prostitutes has a long and tiresome history. It’s boring enough to witness Jim Haygood indulge in it daily in the comments section — to see Lambert edge into this territory is disappointing. Perhaps he intended ‘handmaid’ to be intended as a synonym for a generic sort of supporter. In that case, the reference to Atwood is superfluous and misleading.

    Atwood’s novel is a compelling illustration of a society subject to pervasive state surveillance. Her imagined society is ruled by religious reactionaries rather than nihilistic neolibcons as in our own. Otherwise the similarity is remarkable.

    1. lambert strether

      1) I don’t know where you got the prostitution thing from. I have consistently deprecated the trope comparing politicians to prostitutes, because I believe it’s insulting to prostitutes.

      2) The Atwood connection is right there in the epigraph, in the habit of thought shown by the distinction between ignoring and ignorance, reinforced by the repeated use of “ignore” in the text.

      I think allusion is fine. I can allude to part of MacBeth, or the Odyssey, or Sense and Sensibility without dragging in whole plots and characters. That’s what I’m doing here.

  18. Jim

    Lambert: 4: 40P.M: ” Yep, The Democrats need to fear the left as much as Republicans fear the (grass-roots, not astro-Turf) right (and it does exist).”

    Lambert: 4:04 P.M.: “All in all 2008, was for me the Democratic Party’s last chance to become again a party something remotely like the party remaining good will on the balance sheet from the New Deal suggesting could be.”

    But what if the Left can only begin to get some leverage on the Democratic party by breaking with the New Deal paradigm?

    What if the Left has never understood that its uncritical acceptance of Big State politics has structurally led to the creation of a managerial elite in the public sector that eventually merged with the managerial elites in the private sector and together have grown more and more corrupt?

    What if the levers of power created by the consolidated Nation-State (accelerated during the New Deal centralization process) eventually allowed political hacks/bought-off managers like the Clintons to exercise political domination with the strong support of our increasingly powerful intelligence agencies and Big Capital?

    What if the Left now needs to articulate a political vision based on local control, decentralization of political power to local and regional levels as well as a cultural message capable of mobilizing political energies through various types of individually directed spiritual insight?

    If anything close to this could begin to develop politically the nomencultura of the Democratic party might actually get worried.

      1. lambert strether

        No, I don’t think that’s fair; see the penultimate paragraph, which is not DLC material.

  19. christine

    The level of stupidity in this country is mind boggling.

    It is not about individuals with little worldwide weight, their personality or their intentions. Whatever Snowden or Clinton know, hundreds of others know worldwide. The only reason it is such a big deal deal here is because of the ingrained “Oh my God! Who would have thought? Who could have guessed? We believed in them! Our limited world vision is being threatened………! Quick, quick, someone tell us what we ought to think and feel and how we must react.”

    Reality is about what is actually happening worldwide and how fast this self-serving, self-absorbed country is being pushed aside and out of the big picture by countries intent on saving the planet and humanity. The longer the US hang on to their delusion of grandeur and graduate in trivia such as this and the harder it will be hit when it comes back to bite it… Because it is coming. Very fast. Is the US going to have an “issy fit” and start dropping bombs, to further its M.O.? Possibly. Probably. Funny thing, though… Never seen such a religious country so devoid of elementary spirituality and so ready to kill. People in this country function on fear, revenge, hatred. Little else. Hence its trigger-ready military (outdone by China + Russia + Germany +…, looking to create a future for our species.)


  20. vegasmike

    I followed the authorization of force debates in 2002. Interestingly, both Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden in their testimony cited James Fallows excellent summary of the problems of an Iraq intervention. Reading the article, helped crystalize my opposition to the Iraq invasion. I think most people with an outsider perspective could see that the Iraq war would end badly. Insiders can rationalize their poor decisions, by stating that they had access to privileged information and also by believing that outsiders just don’t understand the rules of the games.

  21. dot1

    Hil, like all frauds, ignores dot number one: attacking another country that has not attacked us is a war crime. Considering this truth “good faith” has absolutely nothing to do with it, i.e., “in good faith I enabled and supported a war crime.” Our grandfathers described such aggressive war as the ultimate war crime. She and the rest of the traitors would have gotten at least 30 years at Nuremburg. People like her are writing checks their souls will have great difficulty cashing.

  22. John Hope

    Check Christine at 12.20 am – the American Dream is over , after 200 years it’s failed, now wake up to the World as it is, not what Hillary, Oprah, Tom Clancy et al want you to believe it is. Lambert has it down. Stop nitpicking all you thick-as-pig shit commentators.

  23. Fiver

    Great job by Lambert and many solid comments.

    I believe only Banger thinks HC won’t run, and I believe he may be right, but for the wrong reason: I think HC’s game is not waiting because being the ‘sure thing’ was so wrong last time. I suspect, and I’m sure this will be greeted with howls in some corners, she’s waiting precisely because she knows full well how truly dangerous the entire global financial/economic/geopolitical situation has become, and she has no interest in succeeding first Bush, then Obama, as the “worst President” in US history.

    She would have to be fully confident the market is not going to blow apart, meaning it must correct substantially before she opts in. Ditto vis a vis a disintegrating consensus re unbridled US-dominant corporate globalization in the face of serious challenges on multiple fronts. Nobody wants to be captain after the ship hits the berg, Hollywood aside. She would need to see real, not cosmetic improvement. And finally, she would have to believe taking both Houses was a real prospect – Dems would have to improve their position meaningfully in the Fall at minimum.

    Obama has demonstrated beyond doubt there never was anything inside. HC was once proud of some things she thought she stood for – she will not go unless she thinks there are things she can do that will make her a far, far better ‘first woman President’ than Obama’s profound disgrace as ‘first black President’.

    You heard it first here.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think she would have only run if it was going to be a coronation. She had virtually every Dem praise her before her book tour. Her problem is the refusal to acknowledge the anti-war and anti-Clinton (policy and politics) that let Obama win. In 2016, it will be 16 years since Bill was President and even longer since anyone voted for him.

      Bill never cracked 50% in his two elections. Bill was never very popular. His outgoing popularity was linked to GOP behavior in Congress, Gore being an unchanging Bill, and the tech boom. In the end, Bill’s popularity was shallow, and Hillary picked NY because there were so many eligible Team Blue candidates her celebrity could win. A state with a smaller bench would rally around a home team candidate.

      On a practical level, the Clintons are running the old biannual Arkansas election strategy, but they refuse to admit the luck they received in ’92 and their own calculations about Hillary’s Senate race.

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