A truly bipartisan coalition appears to be forming on Facebook:
As the new school year gets fully under way and presidential hopefuls work the young voter circuit via social networking websites, one online group - Facebook's "Stop Hillary Clinton (One Million Strong AGAINST Hillary)" - is seriously outpacing its pro-candidate rivals in attracting new members.
With more than 418,000 members, Stop Hillary Clinton has now surpassed "Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack)" as the largest group for or against a presidential candidate on Facebook. (The pro-Obama group has 355,000 members.)
The anti-Clinton group is growing at 10 percent per month, said Micah Sifry, co-director of Tech President, a blog group that tracks and studies how political candidates use the Web.
I won't be joining this group, and I would encourage other progressive activists not to do so (which, I am sure, will cause some of the commenters in this thread to feel justified). I explain why in the extended entry.
|It is not just that I have never really been all that anti-Clinton, as this old post from January 2005 will attest. It is also not that I intend on endorsing her during the primaries, which I do not intend to do (I am mainly focused on endorsing issue positions right now). Rather, it is simply that I don't get why Hillary Clinton would be so much worse than pretty much any of the other Democratic candidates. Consider the following:
- Connections to the establishment: This is one the biggest charges lobbed at Hillary Clinton. Over a year and a half ago, I wrote an article laying out the case that her extensive establishment connections was the main reason why the blogosphere and the netroots were not very friendly to Hillary Clinton. I still think that is a fair assessment, but what non-Clinton candidate really breaks free of the establishment? Hillary Clinton is simply not more tied to the establishment in any profound way than other major candidates. What differences there are small and of degree, not of factors. Has anyone lined up a series of outsider staffers? Has anyone broken free of the reliance on $2,300 donors? Sure, there is a difference on lobbyist money, but that is hardly a gaping chasm considering broad, overall similarities in staffers, policy positions and donors.
- Iraq: The main charges against Hillary Clinton on Iraq are that she voted for the war before it began, that she has not apologized for that vote, that she has not led the fight against funding in the Senate, and that she will leave a large amount residual troops in Iraq. However, at least two of those charges can also be applied to every other Democratic candidate who is not Kucinich. So yeah, she has some weakness on Iraq, but that can be said about every Democratic candidate running for President, period. Again, we are talking about a difference in degree, not in factor.
- Other policies: Clinton has very similar health care plans to the rest of the field. Edwards has even commented on how similar his plan is to Clinton's. When it comes to global warming, Clinton, Edwards and Obama have the exact same cap and trade plan. Obama in particular has lined up several hundred D.C. policy experts to create a non-stop run of positions that match up with those in the elite Democratic consensus.
- Electability: Regular readers know that I don't but the anti-Clinton electability attacks. In posts like Electability Data Does Not Support Anti-Clinton Electability Narratives and Poll Shows Clinton Would Not Hurt Democrats Down Ballot, I have made this case. What polls there are showing Clinton doing worse than other Dems are not reflected in any broad analysis of polls by more than two percent, and that small amount can easily be chalked up to lower name recognition and attacks that simply haven't happened yet.
My point is this: considering the differences between them are not particularly large in terms of policy, electability, or connection to the establishment, why would I be anti-Clinton and not also anti-pretty much the entire Democratic field? There are differences, but those differences are nowhere close to being large enough to justify being anti-Clinton at all costs. It is entirely possible that looking similar to the other candidates is actually part of Clinton's campaign strategy. However, even if that is true, I have to say that the Clinton campaign has done an excellent job of executing the strategy, and that the other campaigns have not done a great job fighting back against it.
Now, there are some bloggers who think that not being anti-Clinton means you are afraid of Clinton. Here is one such comment:
The fence-sitting of the bloggerati smells to me like a fear of losing traffic.
And here is another one:
And if you're not doing something for fear of straining your relationships with people in power, friends or not, it's time to reevaluate your priorities.
Now, some may consider accusations that bloggers aren't on the Stop Hillary bandwagon as justified questioning of corrupt blogger motives. I assert, rather, that such accusations are baseless, trolling slander of people who justifiably no longer see a gaping difference between the Democratic candidates. Sure, there are some differences, but they tend both to be small, frequently based on personal characteristics, and are not even always negative for Clinton (for example, she has a very similar, and sometimes superior, progressive voting record compared to the rest of the field).
Let me rephrase this entire post with a thought experiment. How can I join a Stop Hillary Facebook group and, for example, not also join a stop Barack Obama facebook group? What are the gaping differences that make Clinton utterly unacceptable and Obama acceptable? Repeat this process for every candidate, and see if you end up with anything consistent across all candidates you find acceptable. If there is a coherent meaningful political philosophy to be gleamed from this, I will be stunned.