Opinion » Ted Rall

Presidential Tokenism

A one-woman affirmative-action program



The last few weeks have seen a full-court press by MSNBC and other Democratic media organs to either promote Hillary Clinton as the party's 2016 standard bearer or run her up the flagpole to see if anybody salutes.

Another Clinton? Sounds boring. But proto-pro-Hillary forces assure us that promoting her to First-Ever Female President is an inherently exciting prospect, a history-making thrillapalooza that would smash glass ceilings, change everything in Washington, D.C., and remove waxy buildup.

"The enthusiasm and hunger for a Hillary Clinton presidency is unlike anything I've ever seen," enthuses strategist-pundit James Carville, who just slapped together a Hillary PAC to raise cash for 2016.

I don't know about you, but the fact that the Female One owes her political career to having been married to a president doesn't strike me as a glorious victory for feminism.

"[Clinton] is an embodiment of baby-boom second-wave feminists who see her elevation to the pinnacle of world affairs as their own story writ large. Now, they want to see her in the White House so they can die happy," a Daily Beast Web reporter swooned.

We have four-plus years of this guy from Chicago to prove that demographic novelty hardly guarantees ideological progress. And the passing of Margaret "1 million fired miners" Thatcher reminds us that estrogen isn't enough if you're a liberal hoping to reform capitalism into something less heartless.

Democrats took a long, hard look at Clinton in 2008 and in the words of one of the most tasteless T-shirts I have ever seen, consciously chose "bros before hos." Voters asked to reconsider the former secretary of state are being asked to forget that they rejected her.

They're asked to forget her awful record: botching health care reform in 1993, voting not just for the war in Afghanistan but the Iraq fiasco, and that when it comes to actual accomplishment as a U.S. senator and secretary of state, there isn't a lot to look at.

The Hillary for President bandwagon looks and feels an awful lot like the Obama campaign while it was revving up in 2006. Once again, we're seeing an attempt to seduce voters with politically correct tokenism.

We were supposed to overlook Barack Obama's inexperience and brazen hypocrisy because he was, you know, black.

This time, Democrats are asked to overlook Clinton's lack of accomplishment. Once again, not being an old, white, Ivy-educated, Protestant male is supposed to masquerade as imminent change, a radically safe affirmative-action program for the benefit of a single individual substituting for actual policies.

What's disturbing about the Rise of Clinton Part 2 is that it's all personality, no politics.

The days when politicians broke promises are long gone. Now there are no promises during campaign season, only platitudes. There are no policies, only avatars.

The pre-race for the 2016 Democratic nomination is being promoted not as a clash between visions, but as a friendly rivalry.

The race for Leader of the Free World has been reduced to jostling between two suits in the executive suite, girls against boys, angling for a CEO slot scheduled to open up. Which is fine. What I don't get is: Why are we supposed to pay attention?


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