Don't let the somewhat misleading title of this post convince you that I'm a "Clinton" democrat, longing for a return to the pro-business, anti-labor, right-of-center policies that indirectly brought about the rise of the freakish beasts that are today's Republicans. Hillary Clinton is my very last choice for the Democratic nomination. (And yet, she still comes in ahead of any of the Republicans.)
The Clinton campaign is not a forward-looking campaign. Hillary and hubby, just by their very presence, harken back to the good ol' days of the Clinton administration.
(And, whatever you may think of Bill Clinton, his 8 years in office were a time of relative peace and prosperity. Besides, it was reassuring to have a president that was smarter than I, regardless of how I felt about his policies. Alas... today such a sentiment seems like a luxury...but I digress.)
Hillary's campaign, despite its recent bleating about "change," offers the same old "triangulation" drivel that has slowly transformed the Democratic party from a populist coalition of the middle class, racial minorities, labor unions, and college-educated progressives to what it is today: a hackneyed, watery version of the Republican party. The Clinton administration defined and gave prominence to so-called "moderate" Democrats. These are the Democrats who buy into the Republican system of corporate lobbying, pandering to religious wingnuts, and for-profit military intervention. The milktoast Democratic congressional leaders (chief among them, the pathetic Nancy Pelosi) are the legacy of the Clinton policies of compromise.
So why is it good that Hillary won in New Hampshire?
Well, there are a few reasons...
- When Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses, five days previous, the national media all but declared the nominating process to be over. Republicans like the perpetually-wrong Bill Kristol were already developing lines of attack that they could use in the general election. Now, with the nomination still in doubt, the Republicans, who are having fits over which of their slate of losers should get the nod, are further discombobulated because they don't know who they will run against this fall.
- With the race still up in the air, it gives other Democratic candidates a chance to get into the mix. John Edwards or Bill Richardson might win a primary somewhere along the line. If there are more viable candidates, voters will start to actually believe that they can make a difference. That can only be good.
- Lastly, and most importantly, with no clear frontrunner, the debate will continue as each candidate searches for the message that will lift him/her above his/her rivals. This means that, with all their polling and message testing, the campaigns may actually listen to what the hoi polloi are saying.
But, no matter what happens, with no pre-ordained nominee, the Democrats will have to keep exploring the issues, debating, and listening to voters.
As we used to say in my old stomping grounds of Klamath Falls, Oregon: ain't nuthin' wrong wit dat.