The Widdershins


Posted on: August 9, 2012

It’s a question that cannot be answered since Hillary Clinton did not become President of the United States.

Many of us held out for as long as possible, hopeful that somehow her campaign to be the first woman president would overcome the hoopla that surrounded Barack Obama but alas, it was not to be. He had managed to capture enough “super delegates” along the way to ensure his lead at the finish line and we were left with a sour taste in our mouths.

But setting all that aside, I often wonder what difference there would have been in a Clinton administration knowing how much the Right viscerally hated both Hillary and Obama from the outset.

Hillary had shown her ability to stand up to the “big boys”, something that seemed to be lacking in Obama when push came to shove. But just for a moment let us consider that the opposition to Obama from the Right would have been as much of a certainty against a woman they had vilified for decades as well.

First of all, she is a woman, something the Right is unable to tolerate.  She is also a Clinton, someone who has been accused of as much chicanery as her husband and called a “liar” by the late William Safire, a label that has dogged her with other right wing pundits.  Suffice to say this label would have been repeatedly underscored during her term in office.

Hillary Clinton is a “practicing liberal”, something that Barack Obama failed to exhibit.  But that in itself was not guarantee that her positions would not have been excoriated with even more accusations of “socialism” emanating from the side that views liberalism as a “disease”. Remember, this is the same woman who, along with her husband, had been accused of “murder” and “drug dealing”, charges that would surely have been used against her by the same “birther” adherents working without facts.

Having Bill Clinton as an “unpaid consultant” would also have generated the same wrath by the opposition no matter how much we supporters would have viewed this as “a good thing”. 

It strikes me that even more references to the Lewinsky scandal would have been resurrected as a means of striking back and reminding the public, particularly those who were too young to remember, of a time when Bill Clinton faced impeachment.  And who can forget those charges of “lesbianism” that led her poor husband astray.   One could easily see that old chestnut  rising from the ashes had she come out as POTUS and pushed to end DADT.

No argument that Hillary has shown “more balls” than Obama in the political arena.  But the Right Wing would have been as dedicated to making her “a one termer” as they have with Obama.  It’s what they do.

My guess is that they would have stood as firmly opposed as the “party of No” regardless of which Democrat sat in the WH, only shifting their charges to accommodate the person. What better way than to “dog” Bill at every event, looking for the “other woman” while Hillary manned the ship of state.

Though she has proven herself to be a qualified Secretary of State, earning applause across the world for her diplomatic skills, there is no guarantee that she would have met with the same respect on the home front in dealing with a congress that can’t seem to get out of its own way.

Though she may have a fatter resume, more qualified to lead than her challenger, be the smartest person in the room, I think it is safe to say that she would have met with the same intransience as the current WH occupant, exchanging hateful racism for rampant misogyny.

I would have loved to have seen Hillary Clinton as president: my argument is that I seriously suspect that she would have undergone the same stonewalling, the same half assed accusations, the same level of vitriol as Obama aside from our collective respect.  That’s how the GOP operates.

It may be comforting to think that her presidency may have been different, that she would be able to overcome the hatred that seems to infect the political process that we have come to accept as a natural progression, but let’s not forget who we are dealing with here: the money men who can afford to buy and sell and will stoop as “low as it goes” for the opportunity to regain power and if that means “gutting” the opposition with a tower of lies, smears, and innuendos they are more than willing to do so.

And as much as we love and admire Hillary Clinton, she would not have been immune.  They would have worked as eagerly to destroy her as they have with any Democratic opponent that stands in their way.

The respect we may harbor for Hillary Clinton is not universal in a nation that prefers to “demonize” those who stand up for the average person. She would not have escaped the outpouring of hatred that we have witnessed over the last 2 decades considered political discourse.

Would it have been any different had Hillary been president?  Hard to say.  Though few of us spend much time here “defending” Obama my gut feeling is that we would be spending an enormous amount of time doing just that for Hillary, defending her against the Right Wing charges of idiotic conspiracy theories, smear campaigns, whispered innuendos,  and personal attacks.

This is the GOP after all.  It’s the way they roll.



It’s true – the GOP would have done everything in their power to destroy her just as they did with Bill and just as they have been doing with Obama. The big difference would have been in how Hillary would have used her opportunities in office. What would she have done with majorities in Congress? We know Obama didn’t do a whole lot.

I agree that her approach may have been a whole lot different. My comment is that she would have been treated as harshly and they had more history to use against her.

I see the only difference is the fact that we would have been more vocal in defending her than we ever have been when scurrilous attacks are used against Obama because we feel let down by him.

But they would have thrown the same punches against her as well but she would still have been up against a few Blue Dog Dems who would have blocked her way as easily as Baucus and Nelson who were firmly in the pockets of the insurance industry.

Great post, Pat.

I supported Clinton over Obama in ’08 because I thought she was the more experienced, better prepared candidate. I was right, Obama stumbled more times than I’d care to recount during his first 2-3 years in office and I think some opportunity was squandered. I voted for McCain in ’08 because I was so disillusioned and disgusted with the Democratic Party. I left the party and I will never call myself a Democrat again nor will I send them any money.

A lot has happened to the Republican Party since ’08. It has been co-opted by the Radical Right and I truly believe that if they are allowed to take control of more political power they will irreparably harm this country.

Two reasons I’m voting for Obama: 1. His learning curve is over and he seems to be finally hitting his stride. 2. Romney will be even worse than GWB as President. Bush was stupid, but I don’t think he was evil. Romney is a cold hearted, mean, bully.

Would a HRC administration have been different than an Obama administration? Certainly. Better? I still believe the answer is yes, but I also believe that a second Obama term will be much better than a Romney administration. Much, much better.

I’m pretty much on the same page as janicen!

@3 & 4: Moi aussi.

The Right engages in campaigns personal destruction and they have managed to win a few converts along the way.

The latest is that Obama was “married” to a man at one time and is wearing a ring from before Michele that “proves it”.

The sad part is that there are enough non critical thinkers out there who lap this stuff up and come to believe whatever is thrown out there as a “fact”.

They painted a sitting senator, a paraplegic war veteran, as an Osama bin Laden sympathizer which led to his defeat. You can’t get much lower than that and all the while “pledge” your gratitude to the men and women who made these sacrifices of life and limb and call that justifiable in the world of politics.

@6 And let’s not forget the swiftboating of John Kerry. The “Support the troops” crowd never apologized or even sees that there was anything wrong about the deliberate lies and impugning the reputation of a soldier who risked his life for his country. I was no John Kerry fan, but I voted for him as the lesser of the two evils. So did a lot of liberals who, for some reason, can’t make the same leap for Obama.

Well-said, Pat! I never understood the argument that Obama would get less flak from the Right than Hillary. A lot of people used that argument as an excuse to support Obama .I thought that was incredibly naive. The GOP has been all about personal destruction since the Lee Atwater days.

I continue to believe that Obama is the wrong man for the job and I disagree with 99% of his actions. But that doesn’t mean I think Romney is the answer. He certainly isn’t! Too bad we have such crappy choices.

I also agree that the McCain vote in 2008 was for a Party that basically doesn’t even exist anymore. The only reason Romney is doing as well as he is, is because everyone knows he isn’t a Tea Partier. There was a reason all the wackos were weeded out during the primaries and only the guy who looked more moderate survived. The GOP knows Romney is its best choice at this point.

If I were interviewing both of them for the job, Obama would have the slight edge because of experience. I’d still recommend that neither of them be passed on to the next level, though!

And yes, I believe Hillary’s administration would have been much better. To DYB’s point, if she had a majority Congress for the first year and a half of her Presidency, I guarantee the first thing she would have done would be to address the economy. That was her platform and her promise. I also guarantee that we would not be seriously considering cutting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid in order to bail out the fraudulent lending practices of the big banksters!

As for the inevitable attacks by the GOP, they have been throwing crap at her for 20 years now. So far none of it has stuck. I don’t see that changing at this point.

@7 – as for your comment, Janicen – it’s good that I don’t live in a swing state like yourself. Obama will handily win New York without me. I have the luxury of voting my conscience, so I’m going L 2012 and voting Dr. Jill Stein or leaving the top of the ballot blank if she’s not on it.

That’s why I can’t judge anyone for the votes they cast. All our situations are different. You do what you feel is right.

I am also of mixed feelings about a Romney win. I think Congress is more important than the President at this point. If we can just get the House to swing back Democratic, and keep the Senate, then we can influence what goes on there much more easily with calls, petitions and feet on the street. (Obviously the whackjobs who are Tea Partiers don’t care what we think!)

I would like to ensure that the damage the President can do is at least somewhat backstopped by a Democratic Congress. In the days of SuperPacs and Citizens United, the power of real citizens is being eclipsed and our options are quite limited.

I had a “brain drain” in forgetting Max Cleland’s name as the senator who got “swiftboated” himself by being joined with Osama bin Laden.

And John Kerry was another example of personal destruction attacks.

Now Obama with a male spouse and a ring to prove the charges. Does anyone seriously want people with this mindset ruling over the nation?

You would have be as corrupt and as braindead to even wish this on the populace.

Great post Pat.

I, too, am one of those “what if” people. I’m drawn to the conclusion that Hillary, given that her and Bill’s places in history are assured, would have been more utilitarian in her approach to governing — meaning, fixing the economy, keeping people in their homes, and the footnotes for history would have come later.

Republicans don’t just disqualify Dems, they try and render them illegitimate. They have done it with everyone since Clinton. I just find that so ironic given the fact that if there has been an illegitimate President in the history of the country, it was none other than Dubya who came to the Presidency by way of a Supreme Court decision that says on its very face — you can’t cite this decision.

Hillary would have had an advantage — essentially 20 years of having the kitchen sink thrown at her and she has never even gotten wet.

I’m going to disagree with some of what you said Pat.

One of the criticisms I’ve heard of Obama, from the chattering class, is that he does not like to “politic”. He doesn’t like to schmooze with the folks on the Hill. Bill loved that shit but could play hardball with the Congress too. Remember the infamous govt shutdown? The administration had all the agencies in D.C. put out signs such as “due to government blah, blah blah…with the Congress, the Smithosonian, National Gallery, Zoo, whatever is closed”. Then Clinton’s folks let it out that part of the brouhaha was over Gingrinch (speaker at the time) being pissed off about his seat on A.F. One. It appeared, and was, petty and Clinton’s actions got the public irate over the shutdown. I’m sure Hillary was aware of what was going on then.

And don’t forget this speech during the primaries. She knew what it was going to involve and the other side’s way of operating.

Fredster: What I meant was that she could have be Mother Teresa and they would have used the same tactics to destroy her regardless.

By no

Oh I wasn’t disagreeing totally Pat. I think Hillary would have been able to lob it back at the Repub assholes as good as they tried to attack her.

As NJ is safe for Obama I am going to vote for Dr. Jill Stein. However I wish we would all get out of the 2 party mindset to bring her to victory and the hell with both Romney and Obama. I think Hillary would have been attacked as much or more than Obama has been but would have been a better president in spite of it. She would have concentrated on the economy, jobs and the ifrastructure and made good use of the Congressional majorities her party had for the first 2 years of her administration. She would have told the catholic bishops that this country does not discriminate period and that their institutions had to provide contraception coverage in their insurance policies. Cuts to social security, medicare and medicaid would not have been on the table. Single payer universal health care, or att least the public option, would have. She would never have signed any Jane Crow Stupak executive order.

Sorry so long but I have a few point s to make:

I do not believe that the Tea Party would have happened with Hillary as President. The Tea Party started out if you all remember as a bunch of disaffected Hillary Supporters and democrats…It was quickly co-opted by the Right wing and the racists moved in and pushed out the originators.

Without Obama in the White House, There would have been fewer disaffected Democrats and their may have been no Tea Party Take to be taken over by racist and fundagelicals and birthers.

Hillary would have probably followed Dr Krugman’s advice and did a $ 2.5 Trillion Stimulus package that would have put millions to work rebuilding infrastructure. Then she would have created a Resolution Mortgage Trust corporation that would have soaked up those under water mortgages and kept people in there homes.

Yes she would have bailed out Detroit and probably would have had Glass-Steagall repealed saying it was a bold but failed experiment. She may have had to nationalized some of the banks, and force Goldman Sachs to give up 51% of its stock for its bail out money.

The economy would be still in the shitter (pardon my language) by midterms but it would be moving in the right direction…people would have given the Democrats another 2 year lease on congress.

The Rethuglicans would have rolled out the smear machine for sure, but it would not have been very effective, They would have looked like those crazy folks that don’t believe in gravity jumping up in the air in anger but being brought back to earth by the very force that they denied existed.

Hillary would have closed Gitmo and ended the wars earlier. the savings would have been enough to pay for a big piece of healthcare.

Finally Hillary would have bit the bullet and let the Bush tax cuts expire and raise taxes on every one and blamed the Republicans….or still having a majority she would have kept the cuts for those making less than $ 250,000.00.

What Fuzzy said. Obama’s slash-and-burn campaign was a disaster for the Democratic party and turned a lot of lifelong Dems against him and the Party for good. It also emboldened the radical base of the GOP to flex its muscles and demand something in return for its faithful support.

If only liberals would withhold their votes and money to pressure the Democratic party into moving towards the left! Sadly, we lost our chance after the Tea party emerged. We now have to wait till the nutjobs are kicked to the curb before we can risk saying no to the Dems. Gee, it’s almost like it was planned that way….

@17 So liberals who feel disaffected should withhold our votes and in so doing benefit the radical right, while the disaffected radical right took over the Republican party and used Koch brothers’ money to put their own people in office. Everyone should vote for whomever they want, but let’s not pretend that withholding our votes is going to change anything.

#17: You have addressed my fear: that by “withholding” we may be looking at the complete GOP agenda going into play without any real opposition to withstand it.

I personally would love nothing better than to see a viable Women’s Party come into play as an alternatiave to this craziness but it won’t happen in my lifetime.

Does Obama deserve a second term? Not in my humble opinion but……and this is the big but, look at the alternative.

I have no doubt that Hillary would have made a far better president but we will never know. We are unfortunately “stuck” with what we have and nothing is going to change that.

My state is also a “safe state” for Obama but who knows? Scott Brown is getting a lot of support outside the commonwealth from donors who don’t even live here so it is not too far fetched to consider that Warren may very well lose. The GOP wants here gone in a big way and this could tip the scales for us staying a purple state.

To each his own with their own vote but I fear the GOP radicals taking over the nation for decades to come if they are not stopped now.

Well, from the get go, Hillary wouldn’t have asked Rick Warren to give the invocation at her swearing in.
We can only dream what she could have accomplished in her first two years as President, but, because the poohbahs of the Party formerly known as Democratic put their big fat thumbs on the scale, we will never know.
Even so, I voted for Obama in the general.
This year, his machine could put a gun to the head of every calico kitten in America and threaten to shoot, I still wouldn’t check the box for Obama.
And, the best part, I live in Ohio.
PS I would never vote for Romney, either. Kind of relaxing not to have a horse in the race.

Let me add that Hillary would never begin with capitulation. Obama has surrendered to the Republicans every time, before they even aimed a weapon. Yes, they would have been just as ruthless against her, if not more. Her responses would have been different. Way different.

And I agree with the points raised by Fuzzy.

@16 Very interesting points, especially your point about whether or not we would even have a Tea Party today if the Democrats hadn’t disenfranchised half of the party. The problem is that I’m sure the Democrats haven’t realized it. We need to keep talking about this.

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