Correction: Hillary Was Never a Progressive, But Johnny Reid Was …

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

As more and more unreconstructed PUMAs and Clintonistas emerge from the woodwork to whine, cry, and generally stir crack over the fact that they really, really, really, really, really don’t like having a black man at the helm, they seem to have taken advantage of the mental historical shallowness that lies comfortably in the minds of most Americans. You know, the region of the mind that’s directly circuited to Fox News (if you’re coming at us from the Right) or MSNBC or even Current TV, from the other direction.

This region of the mind used to be the place which enabled you to think critically. But now it’s been taken over by Keith, Cenk, Ed, Moanie Joanie, Katrina-the-Poor-Little-Rich-Girl, or Her Serene Highness Queen Rafucker Omnipotent of Medialand accompanied by her pet gnome, Little Boy Bill. They do your thinking for you and they’re quick to remind you that what you seem to recall, about modern history, even about events which occurred a mere few months ago, is just danged wrong.

Like, for example, who remembers that the President actually wanted the debt ceiling hike to be worked out well ahead of when it was due to be discussed in the spring? Actually, he wanted the increase as part and parcel of the Lame Duck session and it was tabled as part of the tax cut negotiations, but Harry Reid didn’t want to go with it. He wanted the debt ceiling to be raised in 2011, when it was due to be raised, so the newly-minted teabagging Republican House could prove its maturity and “own” part of the responsibility.

That strategy worked well, didn’t it? Oh wait, I forgot … we’re supposed to blame the President. Silly me!

In this age dominated by incessant celebrity status, since everyone from grifter to groaner is deemed a viable and reliable political commentator (at least by the sham posing as the US media), it behooves soccer mom-cum-wannabe-mean-girl Joan Walsh and possible tax cheat Bill Maher, to prove their relevance by reckoning that the Liberal Left is having buyers remorse with Barack Obama.

Pardon me, but I am a Liberal and I’ve always been left of center. But neither Joanie nor Little Boy Bill speaks for me.

What’s totally oxymoronic about this entire assumption, by both them and the motley crew who portend to think for most of us and tell us how we should think on the Left, is that Hillary has suddenly been reconstructed as the Great (and White) Progressive Hope.

Truth is, Hillary was never a Progressive. Apart from women’s issues, during her time in the Senate, she was strictly DLC material. Straight down the center and obliging enough to allow, via her vote, George W. Bush carte blanche to run riot in Iraq and Afghanistan. And when she ran for President in 2008, she presented herself as the sensible centrist, whose foreign policy mirrored that of, one, John McCain. She was, in short, a hawk.

And then there were the dog whistles …


And the little porky pies (that’s rhyming Cockney slang for lies) …




It doesn’t surprise me that Bill Maher is trying to re-brand Hillary as a Progressive. After all, he’s desperate to interview Bill Clinton, on whom he has an unrequited man crush. Even though he voted for Robert Dole in 1996, on the basis that Dole was a “real war hero”. Besides, he’s mindful of the fact that he once called Hillary Clinton the c-word on his show. (I’d provide a link, but HBO is pretty savage about taking down most of the Real Time clips on YouTube). After all, Bill re-invents himself from week to week according to the type of people sitting on his panel.

But, if you cast your mind back to early 2008, close your eyes and screw your face up like a prune (the way you do when you’re constipated and trying to alleviate yourself of all the excess shite spun around inside you) you just might remember that this man was the Progressives’ darling and that Little Boy Bill did all but roll over onto his back and beg to have his tummy tickled in the great man’s presence:



Yep, that’s right. John Edwards, nay,  Johnny Reid Edwards was the Progressive candidate, at least at the beginning of the campaign season in 2008.

But Johnny Reid, in another life, had been a good old Southern moderate Democrat of the triangular Clintonian variety. In fact, that’s why the Northeastern and traditionally liberal, John Kerry chose him as his running-mate. To attract the more moderate and Conservative South.

Suddenly, in 2008, yonder comes Johnny Reid down the road, a-yodeling a Progressive tune (except for same-sex marriage; he never could get that dog to bark).

Now, the surprising thing about this whole meme about the Obama caveat emporium, which Moanie Joanie and Little Boy Bill are trying to push, is that this truth about the Edwards convenient political enlightenment was verified in an article appearing in Joanie’s own

As Steve Kornacki, one of Salon’s leading writers, says in the article:

It’s easy to forget now, but in the early stages of the ’08 race things were setting up remarkably well for Edwards. After making a favorable impression in the 2004 primaries and performing adequately (if not quite as well as many had expected) as John Kerry’s running mate that fall, Edwards sought to reinvent himself as a truth-telling populist; angling to inherit the army that Howard Dean had briefly assembled in the ’04 race. He began by apologizing for his own vote as a senator in 2002 for the Iraq invasion. And took to railing against Democratic leaders in Washington for their supposed spinelessness in standing up to George W. Bush and congressional Republicans. It helped that he was now a former senator, free to travel the country spouting absolutist rhetoric in casual clothing.

There was a very specific purpose to this. Hillary Clinton would be the overwhelming front-runner for the 2008 nomination, everyone knew, the favorite of many of the big donors and pragmatic establishment types that Edwards had cultivated in ’04. The only room would be to Hillary’s left, where grass-roots Democratic voters and activists remained infuriated by the role their party’s national leaders had played in authorizing the war. This was the turf Edwards would seek out.

So there you have it. Edwards was the Progressives’ darling. But other things intervened in his life and he disappeared early, not giving the purist Left the chance to really take on board that he didn’t approve of same-sex marital unions. For those first hectic primarying weeks, Hillary was the status quo representative of the DLC, and Johnny Reid was hankering on her left flank – her extreme Left flank. And in betwixt the two was the tall, skinny, black fella who presented himself as the center-Left pragmatist. The sort of politico, whom the uber purist, Progressive Left would naturally hate. But when Edwards was toast, rather than switch their attention to Hillary, the cool kids went after Barack (even though they didn’t bother to listen to his message).

Maybe Joan Walsh is conveniently forgetting this because she remained firmly in the Hillary camp until the bitter end. And if she’s having buyers’ remorse about anything, I’m wondering if it’s because she didn’t vote for McCain? After all, how can we forget the emblematic behaviour of one die-hard PUMA at a meeting of the DNC Executive Committee?



And isn’t that what it really is all about?


Edited By: Alexis Atherton