Monday, May 28, 2007

President Hillary Clinton

President Hillary Clinton
By Jerome Grossman

Let me repeat, I have not endorsed a candidate for President of the United States, scheduled to be elected in November 2008. First of all, as a relentless liberal, I have not found a candidate echoing my views on foreign and domestic policy with the exception of Dennis Kucinich. I am tempted to help this rank outsider. It would not be the first time I had endorsed a candidate at the very margins of American politics. However, I shall not endorse because I wish to retain my status as an analyst, in my writings and lectures. Objectivity is my goal as far as that is possible given the welter of experiences and prejudices we all bring to the table.
With that tortured disclaimer, I am absolutely sure that any Democrat nominated for President could beat any Republican. Not primarily on the issues, although this Republican administration has failed miserably to manage almost all, from immigration to Iraq, but because they are generally regarded as incompetent, from Bush to Brownie to Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Gonzales, etc. etc. Moreover, they have begun to bore the voters, another mortal political sin. The Republicans are divided and demoralized by Bush, the Iraq failure (not the war) and immigration.
If you accept this general analysis, the next president will be the Democratic nominee. Hillary Clinton (notice Rodham is out) has large advantages in organization and money. In addition, she has a big edge in endorsements by powerful figures at the state levels: governors, mayors, donors, corporate leaders, and even some issue advocates. In eight years in The White House, Hillary and Bill did many favors for special pleaders, helped many candidates and corporations, and kept the Lincoln Bedroom occupied by the favored. There are thousands of chits outstanding in all fifty states, she knows where they are, and all will be collected before the first primary. While Bill was busy doing his thing in the Oval Office, Hillary was planning her political life: smart, strong, indefatigable, and ambitious.
The torrent of books and articles about Hillary uncovered little unknown previously. Our conservative nation could interpret her management of her stormy marriage as an example of preservation of a family. Her failure to achieve national universal healthcare was due primarily to her centrist attempt to protect the health industry and the insurance companies

It is remarkable that Hillary’s negatives are significantly higher than Bill’s. Hillary can take some comfort in her notoriety; most if not all of the negatives are already known to the voters, no more surprises expected. She made mistakes, mostly on issues, but they do not compare with Bill’s, in seriousness and in public impact. A plausible explanation is sex, that she is a woman, and our country still has misgivings about female ability and toughness. The U.S. lags far behind more than a dozen other countries who have overcome this prejudice by electing a woman to lead. Americans like to think of their country as exceptional, and on women they certainly are. Or perhaps they think only a man could govern an imperial nation with 737 military bases in 38 countries, that fought nine wars in the last 17 years.
In the contest for the Democratic nomination, Bill will be a great asset to the Hillary campaign. He is far and away the most popular politician in the Democratic Party, with every income level, with every ethnic and racial constituency. Bill is very unpopular with Republicans and Independents. After helping Hillary win the nomination, he will be exiled to political Siberia, not seen, not heard, only half remembered, to reappear in The White House on Inauguration Day. He is not a liberal and never ran as one. A founder of the conservative Democratic Leadership Council and its first president, he advocated small government at home that translated into cuts in social services. Abroad he initiated a series of wars called “ humanitarian interventions “ in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, Haiti and Iraq that, in retrospect, look entirely too similar to the current Bush adventure in Iraq “ to install democracy.” President Hillary Clinton will follow the centrist example of President Bill.

1 comment:

John Sivak said...

Mr. Grossman incorrectly states," Her failure to achieve national universal healthcare was due primarily to her centrist attempt to protect the health industry and the insurance companies." Quite the contrary. The truth:

The failure of the Clinton health care reform initiative was a matter of both substance and process. The Health Security Act had several fatal flaws. Most of all, it was overly complicated and beyond the understanding of most employers, legislators, and many health care experts. According to the plan, all employers would have been forced to provide health care insurance to their workers. Large firms could have chosen from a variety of options while small businesses would have been required to join regional alliances or establish separate contracts on their own. Not surprisingly, small
businesses owners were extremely fearful that they could not afford this mandate. The Health Security Act also would have had put substantial pressure on the
federal and state governments. By creating a huge new entitlement without establishing the mechanisms to fund it, and disbanding existing programs such as Medicaid, the plan would have forced governors to completely reinvent the way health care was funded. Furthermore, cost control “caps” on prices would have undermined market forces and possibly led to critical shortages of a number of health care specialties throughout the U.S.
More importantly, Clinton’s health care reform initiative was a colossal political failure. By the time the task force had disbanded, Hillary Clinton had been accused of
violating federal law, Ira Magaziner was nearly indicted on criminal contempt charges,
and more than $11 million had been spent when only $300,000 was budgeted. Moreover, the task force had neglected to identify the major stakeholders and seek “buyin”
for its health care plan. By excluding them—the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, physicians’ groups, large and small employers, the media, and a multitude of others—from the planning process, the task force created a huge, powerful,and well-financed adversary. This short-sighted and extremely detrimental action
violated what I consider are the fundamental rules of the political/interagency process:
1. the enemy you make today may be the friend you need tomorrow;
2. the friend of an enemy is likely to view you as an enemy, and;
3. politics by definition involves compromise—compromise generally involves mutual concessions.
Furthermore, the Clinton administration was unable to get substantial support from the American public and the Congress for the plan. This aspect of their political failure will have the most damaging and enduring effects on American society. Future
presidents and leaders in Congress will be extremely reluctant to spend the political capital required to make needed changes to our broken health care system. Consequently,the future of health care in America is rather dim.


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