Daily Dose: Hillary Clinton's book excerpts show disconcerting lack of progressive values

September 8, 2017


Leaked excerpts from Hillary Clinton's new book published in Politico today reveal a striking lack of progressive values, and a strong affinity for the conservative moral worldview. At a time when progressives are desperately trying to counter a powerful authoritarian figure in the White House, there couldn't be a worse time for a "memoir" that evokes self-interest, putting party identity over the common good, and further elevating the private corporate sector over the Public. Each of these ideas increases the power of conservative ideas, and contributes to the death of progressive ideas. 


The following excerpts demonstrate an adherence to what we know to be conservative ideas, reinforcing an authoritarian moral frame (highlighted in bold, my comments in parentheses):


Self-Interest: "Sanders’ attacks on her character and progressive credentials “caused lasting damage...making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Donald Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign." (Clinton's interest here was for her own self image and success as an authoritarian leader - the passage implies for HER to unify people behind HER leadership. In fact, the "crooked Hillary" line stuck because of her own historical actions and words - having nothing to do with Sanders. Also, the irony of this passage is unavoidable, since Clinton and her supporters constantly attacked Sanders' Democratic credentials).


Putting Party identity over the common good: “… he isn’t a Democrat—that’s not a smear, that’s what he says. He didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House, he got in to disrupt the Democratic Party.” (This is a perfect example of someone who considers herself a "progressive" having the capacity to act in an authoritarian moral frame - by exhibiting hierarchical thinking that puts a political party above the common good. This is not about the content of Sanders' policy ideas or moral position, but about an identity label.)


Putting the private corporate sector over the Public, further reinforcing the conservative idea that government is immoral and only exists to "take away people's (and corporation's) freedom": "...he is unwilling to partner with Democrats who have different views about the scope of government and its relationship with business; and, in turn, he can’t make the trade-offs essential to governing...Clinton equates Sanders’ grandiose plans with the get-rich-quick scheme shared by the drifter in There’s Something About Mary..." (Clinton clearly means one thing here - that corporations hold a higher moral position than The Public good, and government ought to serve their interests first and foremost.)


What's most concerning, is that Politico could be right in their analysis of why this memoir:


"But perhaps it’s that unpopularity—the combined loathing from Trump and Sanders supporters—along with the extreme unlikelihood that she ever would run for another office, that liberates her to do what elected Democrats cannot: front-stab Bernie. After all, she has literally nothing to lose."


The critical word in the above phrase is "she." The book is clearly an exercise in promoting her own self-interest above forwarding progressive values. Unfortunately, progressives have a great deal to lose from this book. It is contributing to a further decline of progressive ideas and worldview that say we ought to care for others as ourselves; that our democracy and government require to act with empathy towards each other; and that our freedom comes with a responsibility for others' freedom. 

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