When we launched the most recent LA Progressive survey —and when most people had filled it out—the Clinton Machine seemed to have found its footing at last, with Hillary gliding to a telling victory on November 8th.
But then FBI Director James Comey announced that his G-men would again be digging into Clinton's emails—or those of Huma Abedin, her closest advisor—putting the outcome once more in doubt.
Over the weekend, in reporting on survey results, we wrote about where Donald Trump would likely be in two years, most probably rousing the nativist base he has gathered with his racist, misogynistic bombast, tweeting insults far and wide, and lending his name to—just what we need—another Fox Noise, this one on steroids.
Now let's look at where the Clinton-Kaine administration might be in two years.
James Comey, Bless His Soul
In FBI, Emails, and the Election, John Peeler observed that it's possible Comey has been undermined by his own FBI agents, who were upset that he didn't bring charges against Clinton over the summer and who held onto a new treasure trove of emails until just days before Election Day.
If Comey said nothing about this new discovery, Peeler surmised, he'd be accused of burying the information; if he made the announcement he ultimately made, he'd be accused of trying to influence the election. That's a no-win situation that Comey will surely lose, no matter what happens between Clinton and Trump.
Which is what often happens with the various "scandals" that are forever swarming around Hillary and Bill and their cohorts: much smoke and noise leading to very little.
Few Clinton scandals have ever been certifiably proven, but there's always an odor around her and her husband's behavior—the vast wealth they've amassed as "public servants," the way the Clinton Machine pushed Bernie aside, the endless gossip and rumors.
But as one survey taker responded, "There will always be a cloud over this administration. Clinton is our better choice, not our ideal choice."
And two years into her presidency, Hillary will be dogged by one controversy after another, whether they have merit or not.
Republicans—especially those of the Tea Party persuasion—tried the same tactic with President Obama, doing everything they could to tarnish his reputation with bogus claims of misconduct such as the ridiculous proposition that he was born in Kenya or that he spent too much taxpayer money golfing with Tiger Woods. But Obama and his family comported themselves with remarkable decorum, allowing little right-wing mud to stick, so he's finishing his presidency with remarkably high approval ratings.
Hillary won't be so lucky. Few Clinton scandals have ever been certifiably proven, but there's always an odor around her and her husband's behavior—the vast wealth they've amassed as "public servants," the way the Clinton Machine pushed Bernie aside, the endless gossip and rumors. The Republicans will use all those handholds to launch an endless barrage of attacks, which the mainstream media will dutifully report 24/7.
Running her administration in all that ruckus will be difficult indeed.
As one respondent said,
"Who knows how Republicans will act? During the Obama administration, they said one thing, then turned around and did another, many broken promises to their constituents and to the nation. And why should they stop trying to besmirch Hillary Clinton after all these years--what they did to Obama, they could do to HRC."
And most respondents thought Republicans will use these attacks to dig in their heels (66%), while many thought Clinton scandals would throw a dark cloud over anything Hillary tries to do (50%).
Warhawk, Corporatist Shill?
Many survey takers take a dim view of the Clinton-Kaine administrations's chances, with 59% saying some version of this:
"America will have one foreign policy challenge after another and Congressional gridlock and endless street protests with a financial market meltdown. Clinton and the DNC have become so corrupt and the chickens will all come home to roost. It is a real pity women have come out to support Clinton. A real pity."
Much as been said, on these pages and elsewhere, about Hillary's warmongering ways and close alignment with the 1%. It's hard to believe that this particular tiger can change its spots as it pushes past 70.
But smaller percentages of survey takers see some hope that Clinton will leverage slim Democratic congressional majorities to pursue progressive change on immigration, student loans, healthcare, and beyond (37%) or that she will form an alliance with moderate wings of both parties to address economic issues (29%).
Or as one of you said:
"Hillary's scandals are astroturf. Bill's, if any, are decades old. The Clintons will move forward to keep on the track Barack Obama set us on. And we'll be better off for it."
Robert Reich's latest column—Will Hillary Clinton Get America Back on Track?—outlines a hopeful possibility, that Clinton will follow in the patrician footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt to tilt our political universe back in a more sensible direction that benefits large swaths of the American public and not just the very wealthiest among us.
One can only hope.
Editor, LA Progressive