Out of the foundation of equality and fairness comes the idea that partisanship is a negative, unproductive thing. Out of the desire to group segments of the population so to better control or evaluate, designations come into play.
Enter: “They’re partisan. They’re bipartisan.” It’s the “it” thing to label someone as tolerant, because that means something – a good something – in a progressive society.
Which brings us to Hillary Clinton. The (perhaps) 2016 Democratic nominee is clearly against partisanship and all the regression it brings to our country.
Hillary Clinton is setting herself up to make a 2016 run. Distance yourself from other politicians by touting fairness, and you’ll be a standout.
However, bipartisanship isn’t necessarily a banner that has been waved by Hillary. In fact, quite the opposite. During her tenure in the Senate, where she and Barack Obama were colleagues for a time, her voting record was in fact…partisan. A few examples:
– Mrs. Clinton voted overwhelmingly against judicial nominees from a Republican president, a rather partisan type of action.
This same woman advocating for fairness is the same woman who ran against her future boss, Barack Obama, in 2008. The type of campaign she ran indicated a desire to use whatever means available to fulfill her own aspirations. Her own representative, husband Bill Clinton, even took on the role of campaigner, surely to allow his wife campaign firepower without having to pull the trigger herself.
– At a December 15, 2007 appearance on Charlie Rose: “I mean, when’s the last time we elected a president based on one year of service in the Senate before he started running? I mean, he will have been a senator longer by the time he’s inaugurated, but essentially once you start running for president full time you don’t have time to do much else.”
– At a campaign stop on January 7, 2008: ““The idea that one of these campaigns is positive and the other is negative when I know the reverse is true and I have seen it and I have been blistered by it for months is a little tough to take. Just because of the sanitizing coverage that’s in the media doesn’t mean the facts aren’t out there.”
– On an April 21, 2008 radio program: “I think that they played the race card on me. We now know, from memos from the campaign, that they planned to do it all along.”
Statements by Bill Clinton may have been approved of by his wife and candidate, Hillary Clinton. If not the actual words, the tone and message of the dialogue certainly was. What can we say then of someone who critically campaigns one way, serves under the one whom they were targeting, then promotes bipartisanship?
In her tenure as Secretary of State, Hillary was a representative of the president. The lack of transparency within the Obama administration (although initially promised by Obama) is apparent in Mrs. Clinton’s time at the State Department as well. The standout incident of her time at the helm was controversial Benghazi, in which she famously said:
“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Yet, the April 3 article discussing her pronouncement of decrying partisanship indicated:
“…when the moderator asked her to address the nation’s future, Clinton cited the need to ‘get back to evidence-based decision-making.’
‘There is just pure ideology, pure partisanship. We disguise a commercial interest behind a political facade and the result is that we’re kind of marching backwards instead of forward…” ‘
Evidence-based decision-making? Political facade? The bookend of her time as Secretary of State was the exact opposite of evidenced and facade-less! While in a position of representing President Barack Obama and her own actions in higher office, she was anything but bipartisan.
Hillary Clinton, like everyone else, is partisan. The promotion of bi-partisanship is always an act for the media, and a way of appearing gracious when the person doing said promoting really is not.
Decrying bipartisanship is the same as President Obama promising to reach across the aisle. It never actually occurs. And ultimately, promoting bipartisanship is an act done by those who know they have all the leverage. Hillary knows it is her time.
Whether to make a 2016 run, or to smooth over her legacy, the leverage is hers at the moment. She can and does steer the discussion the way she wants it to take shape.
In this instance, it is appearing as a champion for tolerance and compromise when her actions, or actions of those representing her – more so than words – tell a different story.