The Company Hillary Keeps


You can tell a lot about a person by the company she keeps, the saying goes.

With that in mind, consider the subtitle of Elizabeth Schulte’s piece at Jacobin today, Hillary Clinton: Capital’s Plan A:

“Hillary Clinton has been talking about economic inequality lately, but there’s a reason Wall Street isn’t worried.”

Schulte’s piece is yet another devastating commentary on the absurdity of the over the top support for Clinton. For those deluded by Hillary’s newfound economic populism, Schulte explains:

Indeed, if Clinton talks today about economic inequality while she throws her crown into the ring, she has a long and loyal relationship with money and power. Among the top ten contributors to her 2008 campaign were employees from JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, Morgan Stanley, and Lehman Brothers — institutions that can all benefit from a few friends in high places.

As secretary of state, she pressured governments to change policies and sign deals that would benefit US corporations like General Electric, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, and Boeing. She also promoted hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and contracts with US oil companies like Chevron in Poland, Bulgaria, and elsewhere.

But perhaps her most telling corporate relationship is with the union-busting retail giant Walmart. Clinton served on the company’s board of directors from 1986 to 1992, and the law firm she worked for, Rose Law Firm, represented the corporation.

During those years, Clinton sat quietly as Walmart waged a war on workers trying to unionize and fight for basic rights on the job. This fealty to Walmart never wavered. During her three trips to India as secretary of state, she tried to convince the government to reverse its law aimed at keeping out big-box retailers.

Clinton’s newfound populism would be laughable if it weren’t for her actual record — decades’ worth of cruel attacks on workers and the poor. From support for welfare reform and tough-on-crime policies in the 1990s to shilling for US corporations abroad as secretary of state, Clinton has never strayed from the Democratic Party’s aim — protecting corporate America’s bottom line.

But it’s not just on inequality that Schulte exposes Clinton as a raging hypocrite. It’s on mass incarceration. It’s on education. It’s on union-busting. It’s on the shredding of the social safety net. It’s even on reproductive rights.

Readers here no doubt will bristle at this post, as they have at previous posts of mine on this subject. But as they blather on about how Hillary is “better than the Republicans,” perhaps they’ll at least consider Schulte’s closing:

The “mavericks” like Warren and de Blasio — just as Dennis Kucinich and Jesse Jackson before them — will remain loyal Democrats who convince liberal and progressive supporters of the party to set aside their principles and vote for the moderate, “electable” choice. And alongside the liberal Democrats are the organizations whose job it is to line up support by fundraising and sign up voters — like the National Organization for Women, which endorsed Clinton when she ran for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

The problem isn’t just Clinton, but the iron grip the Democratic and Republican parties hold over elections, where independent alternatives to the two corporate parties have few opportunities to break in. The Clinton campaign stands in sharp contrast with the mood of the people who will be strong-armed into voting for her — frustrated with corporate greed, low wages, and police racism, they are beginning to organize for change.

But Hillary Clinton isn’t the candidate of people’s hope and dreams, she is the one shooting those dreams out of the sky.

Call me crazy, but, in my simple mind, if we continue to support candidates who are shooting our dreams out of the sky, our dreams will continue to be shot out of the sky.


  1. I absolutely loathe the Clintons and their entire entourage of Neoliberal hangers-on. If this nation is to pull out of its death spiral, it must reject the established political order and start fresh. The poster “Steve” is funny, though: “…she will say what she thinks you want to hear,” as though that’ll be some unique new method of campaigning that’s never been tried before.

    • Agree 100%. We gotta get it done in the primary though. He’s been pretty explicit about not running as a third party candidate. Thank God!

    • HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! HA!! You should take that show on the road!!

  2. You realize, I am certain, that you are a lonely voice in the wilderness where Hillary is concerned. Too many of your fellow Democrats have been waiting too long for Hillary to run for it not to happen. What is interesting is when Dole and McCain ran, there was constant talk about their age. So far, I haven’t heard anyone mention that Hillary might be too old for the office.

    • Because she’s not too old. She’ll be 69 next election day. McCain and Dole both were in their 70’s. The line has to be drawn somewhere, Steve, and it seems to have been drawn at age 70. Sanders’ age could be questioned, but those questions generally go nowhere. McCain and Dole could have been in their 50’s. They still would have lost.

  3. There are several things that need to be added to what Mike and Sue have written about Hillary. One is that as secretary of State and a Senator from New York Hillary Clinton was always described by everyone, including and grudgingly from the right wing, as an incredibly hard worker — for her constituents in New York and for the people of the United States. That puts her leaps and bounds ahead of any in the Republican field. It is akso quite clear that her personal views are much more progressive than people on the left give her crefit for. She is a savvy politician, having been the punching bag over universal health care in the early 1990s she has learned to approach these things more carefully. If that causes her to have a pragmatic approach to progressive issues, I can live with that.

  4. She’s not my preferred candidate by a long shot. But you’d better believe I’ll get behind her immediately — should she win the nomination. Even with a world view that appears to be based on pragmatism rather than principled ideals, she’s STILL about 6 billion percent better than anybody likely to climb out of the Republican tiny clown car.
    If we allow perfection to be the enemy of the good (or even the so-so), we run the risk of another debacle like in 2000. That catastrophe simply cannot be permitted to happen again.

  5. I question the validity of these criticisms of Hilary Clinton. Isn’t the American Secretary of State supposed to promote the interests of American businesses overseas? … Yes, she worked for Wal-Mart before she became First Lady. But then as First Lady, did she not work and do her best for single payer health insurance? No, she did not publicly oppose her husband’s welfare reform or his tough on crime policies, but she did not author them as the criticism implies. That she accepted donations from employees of Wall Street firms and employees of other corporations does not distinguish her from other Democratic politicians, or from politicians in general. I submit that the criticisms of Hilary offered in this piece are without merit; and that Hilary deserves a fair hearing on what policies she would promote as President. As First Lady and Secretary of State, the issues should be related to whether she did a good job within the constraints of those positions.

    • You may take exception to what Bob states, but he is correct about Hillary. But you shouldn’t worry about it because she will be the nominee of the Democrat Party. However, you are going to have a hard time finding out what she really believes…she will say what she thinks you want to hear. Then she will go ahead and do whatever she wants. Unfortunately, it probably won’t be what you want. She and Bill like being multi-millionaires and that will always be her first concern.

      By the way, her name has two “l’s”, not one, as in “Hillary”, not “Hilary”.

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