Gordon Campbell on where Hillary Clinton may be worse than Trump

Anyone with misgivings about Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions had them confirmed in spades by Clinton’s appalling speech this week on the Israel/Palestine conflict. In one stroke, Clinton vowed to defy any UN attempts at a resolution, to cozy up to Benjamin Netanyahu and to roll back even the minor pressure being exerted on Israel by the Obama administration. In short, Clinton promised to revert to naked, partisan support for Israel.

In her speech, Clinton tried to convey that U.S.-Israel relations would significantly improve under her leadership, noting that one of her first actions would be to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House. “We will never allow Israel’s adversaries to think a wedge can be driven between us,” she said.

And as for the Israeli settlements – which even our Foreign Minister Murray McCully has pointed out are eroding the space (diplomatic and physical) for that elusive ‘two state’ solution? According to Clinton, Palestinians have an obligation to avoid taking any ‘ damaging actions’ against them :

She lightly criticized the Israeli government’s policy allowing settlement construction across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, considered by most world leaders as a violation of international law that inhibits the peace process. “Everyone has to do their part by avoiding damaging actions, including with respect to settlements,” she said.

And as for the United Nations and international law… forget it.

At the same time, she garnered a wave of applause by promising to “vigorously oppose any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution, including by the U.N. Security Council” to the Israel-Palestine conflict, a proposal floated by some Obama administration officials but never acted upon.

Clinton’s main target in her speech was Republican contender Donald Trump who – compared to Clinton – has come across of late as something of a pinkish moderate on the Palestine issue.

In February, Trump said he would be ‘sort of a neutral guy’ when brokering peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians in order to secure the ‘deal of all deals….It’s probably the toughest negotiation anywhere in the world of any kind,’ Trump has said.

To Clinton, that kind of neutrality on this issue is heinously wrong in principle :

“We need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who-knows-what on Wednesday, because everything’s negotiable,” she said. “We can’t be neutral when rockets rain down on residential neighborhoods, when civilians are stabbed in the street, when suicide bombers target the innocent,” she added. “Some things aren’t negotiable.”

This highly selective roll call of atrocities is bound to be dispiriting and de-motivating for the supporters of Bernie Sanders. Polls have consistently shown that the young and minority voters are far more even-handed about Israel, and are increasingly sympathetic to the Palestinians. Gratuitously, Clinton has just given young Democratic Party activists every reason not to campaign for her, or to vote for her in November. As one commentary on the speech has noted, Clinton either believes her own rhetoric on Israel, or is cynically using it against Trump – and it is hard to tell which is worse.

For the rest of the world, the Clinton speech is a reminder of the truly terrible choice looming in this year’s presidential campaign. It is coming down to a contest between a flaming egotist with a hawkishly aggressive foreign policy agenda, and Donald Trump.

Trump’s Apprentice

As the primary process rolls on, two factors are emerging as being crucial to Trump’s presidential ambitions (a) his choice of running mate and (b) his ability to reach and inspire people who normally do not vote. Trump is painting himself as the king of voter turnout.

The running mate. Once Trump has secured the nomination at the convention in Cleveland in August, a running mate could help Trump to seem like a more re-assuring, mainstream candidate. Trump could choose to pursue a chairman of the board/CEO split, in much the same way that George W. Bush came to rely on Vice-President Dick Cheney to run his administration. For Trump’s purposes, the ideal CEO figure would be Paul Ryan, the 46 year old House Speaker. The Republican Party would unite behind such a ticket, and it would stop the “Republicans for Hillary” movement in its tracks. Ryan, of course, is more likely to conclude that Trump 2016 is already a lost cause, and saving himself for the 2020 nomination is a better investment of his political capital than trying to make Trump look palatable this year.

By default, Trump is more likely to choose a biddable subordinate who might counter Trump’s all too obvious weaknesses. Given Trump’s reputation for misogyny, New Mexico governor Susanna Martinez and Arizona governor Jan Brewer are both VP contenders. Martinez would also help counter Hillary Clinton’s obvious edge among Hispanics. However, this audiotape (in which Governor Martinez tries to creepily intimidate hotel staff and police 911 dispatchers over complaints about a rowdy party in her hotel room) will do her no favours. I particularly liked the bit where Martinez claims that she and her guests have been quietly ‘eating pizza’ in her room, and nope, no-one has been throwing bottles off the hotel balcony…‘for the past six hours’ anyway. Theoretically, wealthy Florida governor Rick Scott should help to deliver a perennial swing state for Trump, but Scott has not been a popular state governor.

Voter Turnout. One of Trump’s big, big themes has been that he is generating a massive uptick in voter turnout in the Republican primaries, while the turnout on the Democratic side of the contest has been down, especially when compared to 2008.

While superficially true, the underlying realities do not make this story quite such a positive one for Trump. Contested primaries always boost participation, and much of the turnout this year has been among Republicans trying to stop Trump. On the Democratic side in 2008, the contested Obama/Clinton primaries created an artificial high water mark, and in fact, this year’s turnout has otherwise been higher than in any other election in the past 24 years

…other than 2008, it is higher than any year since 1992. In other words, Democratic primary turnout this year is doing a bit better than was typical in the three elections before the 2008 aberration.

More to the point, there seems to be no connection between voter turnout in primaries and subsequent success in presidential elections.

Moreover, even if there was such a link, Trump’s ability to mobilise hitherto disenfranchised white voters only underlines the narrow demographic basis of his appeal. Come November, any voting surge created by his appeal to white extremists is likely to be countered by a corresponding surge in those groups – blacks, Hispanics and women voters – who oppose him. Democratic Party strategist Ruy Teixiera has already made that case:

[Teixeira] pointed out that while there are large numbers of conservative, working-class white voters in key battleground states like Florida and Virginia, who could provide a fertile support base for Trump, there are also a lot of African-American, Hispanic, and college-educated white voters, who will have noticed the kinds of things he has been saying over the past eight months. “I find it just so implausible that we could have this massive white nativist mobilization without also provoking a big mobilization among minority voters,” Teixeira said. “It is kind of magical thinking that you could do one thing and not have the other.”

The real danger would be if those minority groups came to see Clinton and Trump as being mutually repellent. Amazingly, Clinton’s Israel speech this week did a lot to accomplish that difficult feat, among the left in the Democratic Party at least.

Cautions and Consolations

If the prospect of a Clinton/Trump contest drives you to drink and/or if, like Governor Martinez, you find yourself to be ‘eating pizza..’ among friends….here are a few suggestions and cautionary messages :

and from 1928, this is still a spooky, cautionary track :

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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12 Comments on Gordon Campbell on where Hillary Clinton may be worse than Trump

  1. Whenever your feeling blue, just switch on You Tube and study the Hitchens brother, Christopher and Peter( ex Daily Mail, fairly right and non PC) and view them and listen the bile and contempt as the comment on Hillary and Bill over the last 20 years. Partly of course its class resentment, the Public School educated, sons of a gunnery officer on HMS Jamaica which featured in the North Cape battle, resent the moneyless Clintons born from Chicago graft and trailor trash, although, Clinton’s nurse anthesiast mother, did work only a medical doctor could do in NZ and Hot Springs if amoral was probably one of the more liberal and intelligent parts of the deep south in the 1950’s. The cynical claim of course that the whisky and the attention of Washington and NY hostesses had destroyed Chris Hitchens judgement and like Paul Johnstone ( former editor of the New Statesman) he moved to the right to reflect his new status and ‘generous’ friends.
    Pro Israel is of course the default position of a former NY senator, and other course has usually been politicial suicide for a democrat contender in NY and Palm Beach, Florida as Jerry Brown found to his cost in NY in 1992. But while Bill was into rather inelegant triangulation, Hillary just slams the Ford into reverse, with all the subtle touch of John McCain, on anything, or even landing a Skyhawk on a US Carrier during the Vietnam War. Hillary can go hard left to hard right in 24 hours and has dozens of times.
    In Hitchens posthumous collection an article is reprinted in which he actually praises EMK who he doubtlessly holds in contempt and admits to never having talked to for during the 2008 campaign deciding to declare his support Obama and reject Hillary. To Chris Hitchens, Edward Kennedy had finally done something, significant.
    The decision of Edward Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy to support Obama was remarkable as was Caroline Kennedy ( daughter of Jackie Onasis and now unsurprisingly US Ambassador to Japan) to release the tapes of Jackie on K on valium and daquairi’s giving her unvarnished account to James Schlesinger of the Kennedy administration and apparently the real view of Jackie and JFK, and its gripping listening or bedtime reading. And a riveting insight as just how right wing much of the American Upper Class are and, as to, why Caroline Kennedy was not acceptable to the democrats as Senator for NY or why Ted’s window Victoria Regie probably the illegitimate granddaugter of ‘Huey Long’ was not an acceptable Seanator for Massachusets.

  2. At 57 I have never seen/heard a candidate for POTUS more likely to start WW3 than HR Clinton. If the choice boils down to the letter of the two evils Trump or Clinton, then it underscores even more why the civilised 5bn of us in the non American world urgently needs the veto over the miserable 39% of the US Electorate that bothers to vote.

  3. No one in the news media seems interested in dwelling on the fact that at the upcoming elections America may be choosing between it’s oldest & second oldest President. Clinton & Trump are also-ahem- a little bit heavy.
    Every President since 1974 has (so far)had a 90th birthday however the ones that have made it into old age have been ones who have lived part of their lives before the Second World War.
    So if nothing else the next President may be an interesting medical case study for aging baby boomers.

  4. Hillary Clinton is Goldmansach’s favourite candidate, she is also sponsored by the appalling regime in Saudi Arabia. She should stop running as a democrat and run as a neo-conservative, because that’s what her foreign policy is. Hillary wants WW3 against Russia and China, and she’ll do this by invading Syria and propping up ISIS, who are in a sorry state right now in Palmyra (look up Michael Tatadus on Google+ because the MSM is ignoring the Syrian Army victory against ISIS. An Assad victory over ISIS doesn’t fit the western media’s narrative of “killing his own people”).

    Hillary is the last kind of a dying breed – she’s a war mongering freak who is in her death throes. Russia is the new global policeman. Candidates like Hillary talk big on foreign policy but fail to deliver any results (what has America done to end the war on terror these past 15 years?)

    To the contrary of what the media says, Russia is wiping ISIS off the face of the Earth, starting with Palmyra, cleaning up after 15 years of yank joy-riding in the Mideast. There will be a New World Order, but it won’t be one with a creepy old woman like Hillary in charge! More likely we will have a multi-polar world where arrogant superpowers have no choice but to negotiate.

    Be wary of those who use human rights as an excuse to start wars in far away lands. Human rights mean nothing to Hillary, she lusts for power and everything else is on her periphery. There needs to be a group called Women Against Hillary. I hope to see her campaign go down in flames. If she becomes the first female war criminal president, then Americans should storm DC and rip Hillary from the seat of power before she can complete her evil plan.

  5. Yep. Hillary wouldn’t so much as sneeze without getting permission (in triplicate) from AIPAC first. A ruthlessly ambitious Power Couple like the Clintons were never going to place International Law and basic Human Rights above dutifully parroting the rhetorical strategies demanded by the powerful (2nd only to the NRA – by some estimates), well-funded US Israel Lobby.

    To some extent, of course, it’s par for the course for all Presidential hopefuls – although certainly Sanders rather deftly managed to avoid the AIPAC meeting (and, amongst all the obligatory pro-Israeli niceties, he went on to make some coded criticisms of Israel’s brutal Occupation and America’s inherent partisanship in the so-called “peace negotiations” – probably the maximum permissible for anyone seeking the White House)
    – (although, maybe there’s slightly greater leeway now – given a perceptible change in mood on the Middle East according to recent polls).

    Much like Obama, Hillary’s an unprincipled opportunist. And certainly, on the Middle East, Obama himself has a lot of Palestinian civilian blood on his hands, Israel requiring, as always, the green light from the US Administration to continue the wholesale Massacres in Gaza at the heart of Operations Pillar of Defence and Protective Edge (Obama happily repeating “Israel must be allowed to defend itself” as the IDF tried out its American-made White Phosphorous Bombs on thousands of men, women and children).

    But, as you’ve implied, Hillary’s taken this deference far beyond the minimum, pandering on a whole new level. A really quite aggressive Likudnik policy platform. Haaretz, I believe, has described her as “Israel’s Best Defence Lawyer”. Someone else called her: “Israel’s Chief Spokeswoman in the US”.

  6. And, on the broader question of Hillary’s hawkishly aggressive foreign policy in general …

    … I was watching a very recent BBC Question Time on Youtube a few days ago and there really is quite an obsession in Britain with Trump. Like he’s a monster. Yes, of course he’s highly erratic and a racist-populist demagogue with a reputation for misogyny. All true. And by no means pleasant. But the Brits (and many on the blogosphere in New Zealand) seem to think he’s the one most likely to cause chaos internationally. Hillary, on the other hand, appears to be viewed as some sort of moderate, liberal feminist who’ll – by extension – presumably pursue a calm, rational, dovish foreign policy.

    The polar opposite, of course, is true.

    Very much immersed in the highly-sanitised abstractions of the Washington Consensus, she was the leading proponent in the Obama Administration of the hawkish doctrine of (euphemism alert) “Liberal Interventionism” and “Humanitarian War”, promoted by Susan Rice and Samantha Power. These three pushed hard for the Libyan debacle (now routinely referred to as “Hillary’s War”)and then extended the same rationale to Syria.

    Obviously, when it comes to opportunities to demonstrate toughness, nothing quite sets Clinton’s pulse racing like a good “Humanitarian Intervention”. Despite all the soaring rhetoric, it’s just the same old US Imperial adventures. Little wonder that she’s been attracting a few admiring glances from leading Neo-Conservatives (with one or two lower-level operatives serving in her office when she was US Sec of State).

    And, like all good Cold War Warriors and US Exceptionalists, Clinton rejects the very concept of ‘Spheres of Influence’. For example, she characterises NATO’s eastward expansion towards Russia as a bulwark against “Putin’s aggression” (she’s compared him to Hitler) rather than the provocation that it so clearly was.

    Cheney would have been enormously proud.

  7. Thanks Gordon for your reality check of Hilary Clinton. It is indeed a very dangerous delusion that she represents a moderate, sane option. This NYT article gives a little insight into her method of operation and provides further evidence that it is almost indistinguishable from that of Bill Clinton.
    Examine the physics behind their fine rhetoric about caring for the poor and dispossessed.
    In 1997 the Clinton-Gore Administration, with the able assistance of NZ, blocked global moves at Kyoto to tax air pollution and instead enforced Enron’s favoured system of pollution trading. This action has put billions of the poorest people at grave peril from extreme weather events.
    In 1999 the Clinton-Gore Administration repealed the Glass Steagall Acts that separates “commercial” and “investment” banks. The US Federal Reserve, a private organization controlled by a small oligarchy of banker-speculators and the repeal effectively gave them licence to print enormous amounts of money to give to themselves. This they can use to manipulate the prices of assets such as houses, land, water and vital minerals beyond the reach of most people.
    Most dangerous, this oligarchy poured the money into fracking – thus increasing the impacts of waste and air pollution on scale. In many cases the energy return on energy (EROEI) invested is 1 or less. In other words, the Clinton-Gore Administration worsened our addictive use of mineral oil/gas with its associated waste and pollution by providing massive subsidies to the wasters and polluters. These will be paid for by lowering the living standards of most people – especially that of young people, women and Blacks in the USA. When credit systems based on the self-destructive use of carbon implode, Hilary Clinton will in desperation tend to default to global warfare to “protect the America we love”.

  8. “He who counts the vote counts”
    The media election “process” is but a deviants freak show.
    No sane people would choose( vote for) these corrupt psychopaths as a leader.
    The US Federal Reserve is a private organization controlled by a small oligarchy of banksters. No nation can be sovereign with the central banking system .

  9. I appreciate that the Left in New Zealand gets itself into quite a lather about Israel, but there is zero risk of WW3 emanating from the Israel/Palestine conflict. Israel is simply too strong, not just against the Palestinians, but against any other nation in the Middle East.

    I would also note that Iran is a long way from Israel, and in any event seems now to care comparatively little for happens between Israel and the Palestinians. I guess the wars in Syria and Iraq have put the Israel/Palestine conflict in a better perspective for the Iranians.

    In fact Israel/Palestine now looks like a haven of stability compared to the flames all around them.

    So any analysis of what Hillary will do as President should not be viewed through the Israel/Palestinian lens. It is simply not material how she would act on the bigger issues of China and Russia. All it does is distort your judgement.

  10. more to the point, who or which nation has be chosen to observe_- monitor, the vote count,because they sure as hell need this.

  11. Hillary Clinton seems more left wing than Bill Clinton, less cautious, more interventionist and more convinced of the technological and moral superiority of the United States. With the the hard right, the more militant Foxites, McCain faction and more barking ex military types, she is inevitably the quickest to call for intervention and also quick to call for withdrawal when things go wrong. In Accounting terms shes FIFO, first in, first out inventory control. Hillary has always exaggerated US technological and military capability re USSR/Russia and has more in common with the attitude of the British Government/MOD which is long divorced from real military and naval power and therefore has long been capable of misjudged moral adventurism, such as the advocacy of Hague, L Fox, Osborne etc for the armed support of the Arab Spring, Invasion and bombing of Libya, support of the Muslim brotherhood and the always mythical belief in the existence of a liberal majority in Iran and the merits of democracy over miliary rule, everywhere.
    One of the most ridiculous, Hillary stories is her claim as a dedicated Republcian Nixonite and Goldwater girl in 1960 she was so appalled that Daley had rigged the Illinois vote in 1960 for JFK that she was about to officially protest to the courts and city hall, about vote machine tampering she had observed in Chicago. But she was stopped by making an official complaint by her Republican, dad who told her, she would just get clobbered.
    A very unlikely story, not only, in that it strains belief that Hillary was such a dedicated supporter of Nixon and did not know even at age 15, that votes in Chicago, were always rigged in the Democrat favour, but because the idea that JFK and LBJ stole the election by rigging the vote in Illinois and Texas is a strictly retrospective view. In 1960 if you study the news magazines actually published in 1960 the weekly edition of Time, US News today, it was taken for certain that the Democrats would win Illinois and Texas. It was well known by then, that in some states the booths were rigged in favour of the Democrats, eg Illinois and Texas and others for the Republicans. The 1952 Kerfauver Commission established that at least states and their electoral and patronage systems were controlled by organised crime. The actual Kennedy interest in Illinois was more about keeping the loop, safe for business as the bulk of the Kennedy fortune was increasingly invested in the downtown malls of Chicago, particularly merchandise mart.
    What was also believed in 1960 was Pennsyvania and New York were safely in the Republican camp a perception also presented by the quality ‘Madman’ TV series about a late 1950s NY advertising agency.
    The real Kennedy campaign targets to win from the Republicans were therefore Penn, NY and if their was time they would have also tired in California- but their was never any real election in Illinois at the time, in Chicago, Daley rigged in the booths where in the rural areas of Illinois the Republicans rigged the booths with elections in Illinois being no more than electronic crap games, with Daley always have the largest throw.
    The idea of Hillary as a heroic democrat, who is a centrist upholder of democratic and American constitutional values, is just disguise for a militant feminist with little understanding of the world.

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