Lots of talk, again, this campaign season about money and what lobbyist and other donors to political campaigns expect in return for their donations.
The Big Media and Big Blog narrative is that Hillary is the naughty candidate in this race and that all the other candidates/organizations are clean or at least aspire to be clean. Opposition candidates polish their recently purchased halos regarding campaign finance – handwringing and lofty words are employed in their mea culpas and hope for a new day of public financing is expressed.
Recently, John Edwards, forced to accept public matching funds for his campaign due to his inadequate fundraising, tried to turn lemons into lemonade by “challenging” other candidates (let’s face it, he wanted to just say ‘Hillary’) to join him in his misery. ABC News was not fooled by Edwards’ foolishness:
His rhetoric against “corporate Democrats” notwithstanding, Edwards, it should be noted, has his own senior strategist with corporate clients, Harrison Hickman, one of the principals in the Global Strategy Group. Global Strategy Group’s client list includes Lukoil and General Electric, companies that have done work in Iraq; Oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma; and ABC News.
Obama has been equally humorous on campaign finance and lobbyist issues. Obama and his ties to Antoin “Tony” Rezko and Giannoulias and Michael “Jaws” Giorango have been discussed here previously. Plenty of information regarding Obama’s hypocrisy on lobbyists has also been published.
Political candidates are not the only hypocrites. A certain Big Blog loves to attack political candidates for taking “special interest” or “lobbyist” money. This same Big Blog loves to line its pockets with as much Chevron cash as possible (Chevron currently finds itself in several lawsuits and other bad publicity and therefore has launched its massive “greenwash” ad campaign.)
Big Blogs love to explain how they use the money from Big Oil propaganda to do “good”. The Big Blogs double standard is to take money from anyone that pays cash while denouncing the easily bought and paid for “others”. We won’t discuss “pump and dump” schemes here nor silencing of any mention of same by the Big Blogs today.
We now have a blog called The Left Coaster which has looked at the naughty Hillary narrative in a reality based post called Is Hillary a “Corporate Democrat?” [and a follow up Part 2 post] The article is a long one and filled with charts and all sorts of links and information which will be a good resource going forward.
Readers of Big Pink will not be shocked by the conclusions of the Left Coaster:
This post examined the allegation that Sen. Hillary Clinton is a “Corporate Democrat” – namely, a person who is beholden to “Corporate America” and who is more likely to support “corporate interests” as President than the interests of average or middle-class Americans.
1. I find that the existing evidence, based on her Senatorial voting records compiled by Progressive Punch, Americans for Democratic Action, AFL-CIO and SEIU, does not really support this allegation.
2. Indeed, the evidence suggests that Sen. Clinton’s voting patterns are substantially and surprisingly progressive (ranging typically from 90-100%), including on corporate or labor issues. There are certainly serious issues where Sen. Clinton has unfortunately taken anti-progressive positions (e.g., her vote for a version of the Bankruptcy Bill in 2001), but the data reviewed here suggests that overall, she is far more progressive than corporatist.
3. In the absence of additional or new data, I have to conclude that the label “Corporate Democrat”, as applied to her, is inappropriate and extraordinarily misleading. In other words, while it is true that she has strong links to corporate America and corporatist interests, there is little or no evidence that she systematically votes in lock-step with those interests or even significantly in line with their positions. There are a few plausible reasons why Sen. Clinton has continued to build links with opposing corporatist or conservative interests.
In general, it may be beneficial to have people on one’s staff or payroll who represent opposing viewpoints – in order to make sure that nuances or different perspectives on issues get a proper hearing before final decisions are made on policies. Everything I’ve heard or read from people like former Ambassador Joseph Wilson or General Wesley Clark suggests that Sen. Clinton usually makes an effort to understand every issue very thoroughly before making up her mind on her position. It is usually beneficial to have (reasonable) people on one’s staff or payroll who will provide you insight into how your policies or positions are likely to be attacked by opponents in the public sphere – whether the opponents are corporatist interests or conservatives bloviating on the vast Republican misinformation machine. Given Senator Clinton’s unpleasant experiences in the 1990s, it would not surprise me if this is one of the motivations for her connections with (or outreach to) those representing opposing interests. Senator Clinton is sometimes attacked for being “polarizing” by the same people who invented this aspect of her personality because of their hatred for her. It is plausible, therefore, that she might try to assuage such concerns in the minds of low information voters by building links to those on the other side of the aisle. To some extent, this is similar to Sen. Obama’s outreach to odious Republicans like Tom Coburn, although the motivations may sometimes be different.
Yesterday, after surviving all the attacks with good humor, Taylor Marsh wrote:
Clinton may or may not win the nomination, but this is an historic time for women in this country. Whether she can pull it off and become the first female nominee for president in U.S. history remains to be seen. It’s up to all of you. But each one of us needs to understand and appreciate what she’s accomplishing.
As of today, she gained respect in the Senate the old fashioned way, she earned it.
She’s raised as much money as any man in the election cycle and more than all but one. She’s working every single county, while also making sure she votes on critical legislation. She’s campaigning for every vote, just like she did in New York, working her hardest to convince voters she can win. She’s also delivering better than the men in most debates and forums. Her campaign has also been the most disciplined and best run.
This is not a small moment in U.S. history, whether you like Clinton or not. It’s pathetic that she’s not getting covered as such, because for anyone who has been around going as far back as Geraldine Ferraro, it took a long time to get a woman running again on the big ticket, let alone for the top spot. It’s a huge moment for us all, whether Clinton pulls it off or not.
If she does succeed it won’t be because so called “progressives” aided her cause or even took the time to post the truth about what’s going on out in primaryland, preferring slash and burn, while ignoring the glaring faults of candidates not coming close to her performance.
Clinton and I will never agree on everything, but we do have one thing in common. We understand how hard it is for a woman to do what she’s doing, especially in the boy’s club where national security, military matters and foreign policy, at least in America, are seen as guy things. Ask Nancy Pelosi.
It’s good to see there are progressives now binding together online – who will not parrot Big Media and Big Blog anti-Hillary narratives, especially when most of those narratives originated with RIPublicans and the right wing.