Week 24: Hero – Hillary Clinton

by George_East on June 14, 2015

US_HeroThis Week’s Hero of the Week is Democratic Party Presidential Nomination Contender, Hillary Clinton on the occasion of the formal launch of her bid for the Presidency

Among the rather depressing spectacle of the candidates for the leadership of the Labour Party falling over themselves to embrace big business and Tory economic policy in order to make the party ‘electable’ and ‘trusted on the economy’, it was refreshing to listen to the speech Hillary Clinton made yesterday in New York to formally launch her bid for the Presidency in 2016.

It was a speech that was unashamedly progressive, focusing squarely on inequality and women’s rights. As the Labour Party in the UK embraces the absurd lie that it was Labour overspending that caused the 2008/2009 crash, Clinton set out the truth of the position noting that:

We’re still working our way back from the crisis because time-tested values were replaced by false values. Instead of an economy built by every American, for every American, we were told that if we let those at the top pay lower taxes and bend the rules their success would trickle down to everyone else’.

The policy levers she emphasised were a rise in the minimum wage, reform of Wall Street, introduction of paid sick leave and maternity leave (extraordinarily still not mandatory in the US).

The speech was also not without humour: noting that although she was not the youngest contender for President, that if she was elected she would be the youngest ever woman elected President.

It is of course the case that she needs to shore up the vote in the primary contests to come from Bernie Sanders run from the left, and Martin O’Malley’s working class populism. But the fact that the speech elicited friendly and unfriendly comparisons in the press with the politics of the current liberal darling, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts shows that Hillary’s positioning is one that is firmly on the centre left, rather than the New Democrat centrism of Bill Clinton back in 1992.

It is also an encouraging sign as it shows the Democratic contenders for presidency prepared to embrace and build upon the legacy of Barack Obama rather than run against it (as Al Gore foolishly did in 2000 against Bill Clinton’s administration in which he was Vice President). It also shows a Democratic Party confident in its values despite the kicking it got in last year’s mid-terms.

There is a long way to go and no doubt the rhetoric will become more centrist if Hillary wins the nomination (as I expect her to do) but this was a fine start and at a time when the politics of progressivism are all but shot to shit in England and Wales at the moment, provided a glimmer of hope. For that Hillary Clinton is our deserved recipient of our Hero of the Week Award.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: