Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

No Dynasties for a Democratic Republic


This great cartoon is from Nick Anderson and the Houston Chronicle.  It was reprinted this past Wednesday in the Louisville Courier-Journal, where Anderson was previously employed. 

Let me be clear:

  • I have no problem with a woman serving as U. S. president.  I thought Ambassador Carol Mosely-Braun, who tried for the Democratic nomination in 2004 would have made an excellent president and I was sorry that she dropped out even before the Iowa caucuses. I hope female candidates become routine in the presidential campaigns of both major parties.  And when Clinton talks about women in their ’90s coming up to her and saying they hope to live to see a woman president, I get it.  I still remember the look on my mother and sisters’ faces when the Equal Rights Amendment failed to be ratified by enough states to become law.
  • I am horribly disturbed by the misogynistic nature of extreme “Hillary hatred.” That misogyny was discussed last night by Bill Moyers.  There ought to be no excuse for radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh referring to Clinton’s “testicle lockbox,” Tucker Carlson (of MSNBC) saying that Clinton’s campaign and presence “feels castrating,” nor Clifford May of the Republican National Committee insisting that she call herself a “Vaginal American” if she is going to appeal to women! And, if Sen. John McCain (R-NV) had allowed a racist comment about an opponent go unchallenged the way he did the sexist comment about Hillary Clinton (“How do we beat the bitch?” asked a woman in the crowd.  The audience laughed and McCain looked uncomfortable, but did not say anything about this being an unacceptable way to speak of his opponent and Senate colleague.), we would now be writing McCain’s political obituary.  One can oppose her campaign without demonizing her in ways that suggest that any woman seeking the presidency must not be a real woman and is emasculating to men. It’s disgusting.
  • I had problems with Bill Clinton and I think Hillary Clinton’s policies will be too close to his in ways that I can’t support. But I have never understood the extreme hatred of all things Clinton in some parts of the Right, especially some parts of the Religious Right.  I haven’t even understood why they symbolize “evil liberalism” for so many. Yes, Clinton’s election ended the Reagan-Bush era and moved some things in a more liberal direction. Yes, the Clintons support legal abortion (almost the only issue on which Bill Clinton would fight the Gingrich crowd tooth and nail) and more equality for the GLBT community (though he never fought on this issue). But others are far more liberal on both these issues (including Rudy Giuliani) without ever generating the same amount of visceral hatred. On many other issues, both Clintons have far more in common with conservative Republicans than with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party–which is one reason I never cared for them.  They are both committed “free traders,” they do little to support labor unions or keep jobs from fleeing to overseas sweatshops, are more worried about shrinking welfare rolls (itself a good thing) than ending poverty, and both turn the nation’s desire for universal healthcare into giveaways for HMOs  and big Pharma.  They are fairly hawkish in foreign policy, too. None of these things make either Clinton either wonderful or evil–simply a mixed bag.
  • I don’t remember conservatives in this country, never mind the U.K., reacting this way to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose ideology was “Reaganism in drag,” (or was Reagan’s ideology “Thatcherism in trousers?”). I somehow doubt that if, say, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) were to be the GOP frontrunner for president that we would be seeing such misogynistic hatred–certainly not from Republicans and I doubt the opposition to her from Democrats would include patriarchal demonizing of her. Is it just Hillary Clinton or would this be the way any center-left woman candidate would be treated?
  • Although I would be happy to vote for a woman for president, this woman is not my first choice. As a pacifist, I want someone MUCH more committed to international peacemaking than the hawkish Clinton.  As a fair trade advocate, I don’t a president who loves the WTO. I want someone more concerned for the poor and for universal, single payer, not-for-profit healthcare.
  • I also think that it is bad for any democratic republic to have 2 families dominate the electorate for decades.  Since 1980, a Bush or a Clinton has been on the ticket in every presidential election. George H. W. Bush was VP for 8 years and president for 4. Then came 8 years of Bill Clinton, followed by 8 years of George W. Bush. If Hillary is elected, we face a potential further 8 years of a Clinton in the White House. Would we follow with Jeb Bush in 2012?? That is not healthy for a representative democracy. Dynasties belong to monarchies.
  • Nevertheless, I find enough wrong with each of the GOP candidates this time around that if Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee, I will (reluctantly) vote for her.  Meanwhile, I hope for other choices.

December 8, 2007 - Posted by | U.S. politics


  1. Adele Stan writes that there are 5 types of Hillary haters:
    1. The lady boss haters,
    2. The self-loathing women of ambition,
    3. The electability crowd,
    4. Betrayed hippies,
    and 5. The vast right wing conspiracy.

    Link: http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=hatin_on_hillary

    I know more than a few in each category. But the people I know who love her absolutely worship her. Here’s to more polarization!

    Rush Limbaugh says that Hillary reminds guys of their first wife. People who think like this deserve eight years of Hillary. They might get what they deserve!

    Comment by Marvin | December 8, 2007

  2. You said, “if Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee, I will (reluctantly) vote for her.” I would ask why is that such a necessity for you to do? You must vote for her because the GOP side is lacking?

    Sounds like choosing the lesser of two evils. That’s an activity I’m not too fond of. If you are going to vote, vote for someone you actually want. Are you required to vote for President? Even if either candidate is a terrible choice?

    Comment by martyrologist | December 9, 2007

  3. Marvin, while not a “Hillary hater,” I might fall into the “betrayed hippies” category. At least, I believe Clintonism (of both genders) betrays the core values of the Democratic Party, both domestically and in foreign policy.

    Martyrologist, I think the wisdom of never allowing the perfect to become the enemy of the good is illustrated perfectly by the Bush years. I am guilty here: Fed up with Clintonism, Al Gore’s campaign did nothing to inspire me. I volunteered for Ralph Nader–although I made it clear that if I lived in a swing state like Florida, I would have voted for Gore. Now, GORE lost the election (if he had won his home state, we could have sorted out Florida in January without worrying about the outcome) by his lackluster campaign. But I learned then that the lesser of two evils can be a real good. Specifically: If Gore had been president, he might have listened enought to intelligence reports to prevent 9/11. But if 9/11 happened, I feel certain that the U.S. would still have had some form of military action in Afghanistan–Gore is no pacifist. But we would not have invaded Iraq, nor passed the Patriot Act, nor authorized torture, nor build the Gitmo gulag, etc.

    I plan to vote for someone I want in the primaries, but in the general election, if all I have are relative choices, I will pick the lesser of evils–because allowing the worse of evils to rule is disastrous. The perfect must not become the enemy of the good.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | December 9, 2007

  4. Hi, I followed the link from my page at youtube here.

    I noticed that you had questions that you could never understand and I thought maybe I could help you a little on this since it is something I have been studying for 7 years on line.

    One was the words and sliming of “liberalism” it takes all forms shapes …who says there is NO imagination anymore 🙂
    The Red Threat was really mastered by Ronald Reagan but when we switched from Nazi hating to Commie Hating… Red – Dead showed up a lot in writing text and in speeches and interviews. We see these same tactics used today so you have to look back at propaganda masters to get a grip on the ways it has been seamlessly accomplished (slow and steady wins the race…..)

    The other part is Suppression Groups. Some of these are Rightish Extremists that think they are doing all and saying all that will win brownie points in the future..but some are Government operations. The Suppression Manual that was reported on 2 times this year just proved to me that I was Correct on this.

    Yeah, I know……..
    I saw you had a little on your site about yoursself so I am not surprised if you think I am kooky. I was raised in a John Birch Society Southern Baptist Adventist Family so I know a lot of strange history.

    Comment by Swanny Smith | December 11, 2007

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