The Deafening Silence of Hillary Clinton

As regular readers know, I’ve been going on about Hillary Clinton and the 2016 race for a while.

Is it too early to think about it?

Not if this matters:

I’m not making a point with this, just passing it on. The 2016 election is going to be pivotal in American history. The president elected then will have just one job — deal with climate change, with a tool box nearly emptied by his or her predecessors. It’s well worth your time watching who ends up in the (sorry) hot seat. If you care about this stuff like I do, you might even help out, starting, well, now.

After all, the choices we make in the next three or four years — or allow to be made for us — will live with us for the rest of the century. Gets my attention anyway.

Or this:

[T]he very best [the Robert Rubins of the Democratic Party] can hope for is a newbie who can lie, pretend to be something he’s not, a man or woman without a track record. (Remind you of someone? Obama in 2008, Kid “Hope and Change” and “Yes We Can”?) That brings out the Hopeful and swells the numbers. Otherwise they just have to go with what’s available and roll the dice. By 2012 no one was Hoping, certainly not in great numbers, not after four years of Grand Bargains and promises betrayed (do click; it’s a stunning list). Many were just voting not-Romney, those who voted at all.

… Keep the above in mind when scoping out the 2016 race. We have a neoliberal front-runner with a track record and an unwillingness to speak on most issues. Where’s the turnout going to come from?

Indeed. If Dems put the third coming of Barack Obama on offer in 2016, where’s the turnout going to come from? Regardless of what you think of this or that candidate, if you’re a progressive, you care about progressive policies, especially as we near the climate crisis tipping point, or the one-percent looting point of no return.

And if you’re a Dem Party stalwart (“my party, right — or even to the right of that”), you care about winning. Can you put Barack Obama up a third time, or Bill Clinton (minus the preternatural charisma) up a fifth time, and expect to waltz off with a win? After all, the Republicans may just find a candidate who isn’t a tomato can this time. Then where will Democrats be?

The Deafening Silence of Hillary Clinton

Of course, if Hillary Clinton wants to be the candidate, she can put all this to rest by coming out as a progressive, at least with her statements. (I know, statements; but still.) Yet the statements are not coming out. She’s not spoken on any topic of interest to progressives, save peace with Iran, and that only after all the AIPAC dust had settled and the pro-Likud lobby had lost its death grip on the Senate.

Hillary texting for climate advice. Can we have a text too please?

Hillary texting for climate advice. Can we have a text too please?

Where’s Hillary, on these and a host of other issues? Guy Saperstein, one of the stalwarts behind the Sierra Club and one of the stalwarts as well in the Dem-donor Democracy Alliance, is asking the same questions (click the link if you want to read about an interesting public confrontation involving Saperstein and Bill Clinton).

Guy recently published a piece at Alternet to try to draw Ms. Clinton out (my emphasis):

The Deafening Silence of Hillary Clinton

The implicit Dem favorite for the 2016 presidential elections, Clinton is mum on the issues that matter.

Many Democrats these days are ready to anoint Hillary Clinton as the 2016 Democratic nominee for president, although that election is more than two years away. And many of her closest supporters want everyone to think she is inevitable. But if Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic candidate, shouldn’t she be telling us what she thinks about important issues?

Clinton has been speaking to Wall Street and apparently providing it with assurances that she won’t rock the boat. She has given two speeches to Goldman Sachs, one to private equity firm KK&R and another to the Carlyle Group. She was paid $200,000 for each of her Goldman Sachs speeches … While Hillary has been reassuring Wall Street, has she told any of us what her positions on financial regulation are? … Do we know what her position is on the Keystone Pipeline or what she would do about impending climate change? … Has she even led on foreign policy issues, her area of expertise?

Like many of you, I am a lifelong Democrat who has never voted for a Republican, but if Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic standard­bearer, we deserve to know what she stands for, who she will fight for and where she wants to take the country.

There’s more in the piece; it’s a very good read.

And here’s Guy to explain his reasoning in a nice interview with Matt Filipowicz. Listen — it’s brief and to the point:

Where’s Hillary? Those who want to see the “transformative” first woman president had better be hoping this is not the only reason to vote for her. If you’re a Clinton fan, please, help draw her out. She needs to be more than Barack Obama — he of the mighty, transformative disappointment — or that First Woman crown will be tarnished stuff.

Because, folks, if Hillary is both the “first woman president” and also “the one with the last clear chance” who handed the climate to her Oil and Tar Club friends, well … that’s not a crown I would wish on anyone, friend or otherwise. As life in the U.S. degrades and degrades, people will remember names, I promise. And some of those folks, including Ms. Clinton I hope, will live to see the results of their reputations, whatever they are.

Is it time for Hillary to speak out? How could it hurt (one wonders)?


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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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