Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(7,906 posts)
Sat Jul 30, 2016, 09:06 AM Jul 2016

The Hillary Clinton I Know

Hillary Clinton gets a lot of blame for the Clinton era policies progressives don't like, but what people don't understand is that she was the leading advocate for progressive policies in Bill Clinton's administration. As the main person working with progressive groups to push things in a more progressive direction, Hillary was the one I would go to help me fight those battles, and she consistently went to bat for me. One of the earliest examples: in an early budget meeting in 1993, Bob Rubin was pushing hard for lowering the deficit, and at one point he suggested we cut back on the increase we had laid out in the campaign for the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor. I spoke up at the meeting in opposition to Rubin, but I knew that in a battle of me vs. Rubin, I had no chance, so I went to Hillary, and she immediately got fully engaged. We quickly won that fight. That pattern played out again and again over the time I was in the Clinton White House: whenever I was in a pitched battle with more conservative people in the administration, Hillary was my ally in making our proposed legislation better. Even on issues she wasn't working on much at all because she was so focused on health care reform and other budget issues, she had my back. For example on NAFTA, she supported me when I tried to get the US Trade Rep's office to at least listen to progressives who had concerns about NAFTA.

On health care reform, she was a fierce advocate for a more progressive bill than a lot of the DLC types wanted to pass. Very early in the process, our chief lobbyist told her we should dramatically scale back the bill because it would be too tough to pass, and- her voice rising- she said "there are children in America dying every day because they don't have health care, and you want me to back down because we think this will be hard? It is our job to fight for those dying kids, don't tell me to give up before we even make the fight." At another point, we were in a meeting talking through some policy ideas being pushed by business lobbyists and some inside the administration, and she just said flatly "these guys want the HMOs to have the power to run everything. That is ridiculous, they are not getting their way." She fought off efforts by the health care industry to get us to strip out the provision of our bill that gave the states full freedom to pursue the single payer option, and she insisted that our bill make businesses carry more of the load for health care than individuals.

Hillary fought for that bill until the very end. I remember organizing a big meeting for progressive leaders close to the end, and I have never seen her fighting spirit better, as she rallied advocates to keep fighting the good fight. When the bill finally died, she immediately started talking to Teddy Kennedy and other congressional leaders about what we could do to at least get children covered, and the eventual result was the CHIP program, which today covers 8 million kids.


I have so many other stories I could tell about the Hillary Clinton that I know would surprise my progressive allies, but I just want to say this: I know that us progressive movement folks won't agree with Hillary Clinton on every issue when she becomes president. There will be plenty of powerful big business interests, as well as those in Congress that she has to work every day with, pushing her to support the usual pro-corporate policies. There will be plenty of conservative defense industry types and generals wanting her to be more aggressive militarily. We will have to work our hearts out after she is elected to influence her, her appointees, and the House and Senate to do the right thing. But this election is in no way the lesser of two evils. Yes, it is important to beat Trump, and we should never lose sight of that imperative. But progressives should also understand that it is equally important to elect Hillary president because we will have a genuine chance to get a lot of good things done in a Hilary Clinton presidency. The Hillary I know has deep progressive values and a big heart. She will work with us on a lot of issues, and will move our direction if we organize effectively even when she starts out in a place we don't like initially.
This election is a choice between the most openly bigoted man to run for president since the early 1900s and a woman who has genuinely fought on behalf of progressive values her entire life. With our enthusiastic support, we could help her create a wave election that will decimate Trumpism for a long time to come, and give our ideas a genuine chance to become policy. We need to get to work.

9 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
The Hillary Clinton I Know (Original Post) KMOD Jul 2016 OP
BRAVA! Wonderful read, KMOD! Thanks for sharing. I heard many times over that Hillary was more BlueCaliDem Jul 2016 #1
HRC "the leading advocate for progressive policies in Bill Clinton's administration." Hortensis Jul 2016 #2
There are so many people who just don't know enough KMOD Jul 2016 #6
KNR Thank you! Lucinda Jul 2016 #3
Another great article. athena Jul 2016 #4
K & R! LAS14 Jul 2016 #5
K&R! DemonGoddess Jul 2016 #7
I always thought she was more liberal than her husband democrattotheend Jul 2016 #8
great read. thanks, KMOD! AgadorSparticus Jul 2016 #9


(15,438 posts)
1. BRAVA! Wonderful read, KMOD! Thanks for sharing. I heard many times over that Hillary was more
Sat Jul 30, 2016, 09:22 AM
Jul 2016

progressive than Barack Obama back in 2008, and although our amazing president has proven to be quite progressive - more than any other president who came before him - fact remains that if you look closely, you'll see that those Cassandras from back then were correct - Obama was more centrist than Hillary.

I'm a huge supporter and fan of President Obama, don't get me wrong. But of the reasons why I chose Barack Obama over her was because we needed someone who was slightly less liberal. We were in a crisis of epic proportions, and we needed someone who was, yes, progressive but also somewhat conservative. Now, however, it's time for a strong Progressive to take the White House, build on President Obama's successes and make it her own, and push this country forward with leaps and bounds.


(58,785 posts)
2. HRC "the leading advocate for progressive policies in Bill Clinton's administration."
Sat Jul 30, 2016, 11:52 AM
Jul 2016

Bump for important content. Thanks, KMOD!



(7,906 posts)
6. There are so many people who just don't know enough
Sat Jul 30, 2016, 02:37 PM
Jul 2016

about Hillary Clinton. She has always been progressive, and she has always worked hard to implement progressive policies.

You're very welcome. I loved this read, and love the quote you chose.


(11,605 posts)
8. I always thought she was more liberal than her husband
Sat Jul 30, 2016, 04:50 PM
Jul 2016

And I knew that she often pushed him to the left, like when she threatened to publicly oppose the first two versions of welfare reform if Bill didn't veto them (I believe the first 2 were worse than the one he signed).

On foreign policy and trade, I don't really trust her to be as progressive as I would like, but on issues like health care, education, and economic issues I mostly trust her. I also trust that she will be effective at getting things done even if what she gets done doesn't go as far as I would like.

Latest Discussions»Retired Forums»2016 Postmortem»The Hillary Clinton I Kno...