Dear Commons Community,
Maureen Dowd comments today in her column on the waffling Hillary Clinton is doing on key issues like President Obama’s trade deal. Dowd sees Hillary’s positions as hurting her image among the progressives in the Demcratic Party who prefer an Elizabeth Warren type to lead them. In her candid style, Dowd writes:
“IT’S hard being Elizabeth Warren.
Especially when you’re not Elizabeth Warren.
Hillary Clinton had an awkward collision last week juggling her past role as President Obama’s secretary of state, her current role as Democratic front-runner and her coveted future role as president.
As secretary of state, she helped Obama push the Trans-Pacific Partnership that is at the center of the current trade fight. In Australia in 2012, she was effusive, saying that the trade pact “sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.”
Now Hillary says she is unsure about the pact and would likely oppose giving President Obama the special authority to negotiate trade deals for an up-or-down vote in Congress. As a future president, of course, she would want the same authority to negotiate trade deals that Obama is seeking in the messy Capitol Hill donnybrook.
But as a candidate pressured by progressives like Warren and Bernie Sanders and by labor unions, she turned to Jell-O, shimmying around an issue she had once owned and offering an unpleasant reminder of why “Clintonian” became a synonym for skirting the truth…”
Aside from the fact that Hillary should be able to take a deep breath and stick with something she’s already argued for, it plays into voters’ doubts about her trustworthiness.
If you want to be president and you shape your principles to suit the shifting winds — as Hillary did when she voted to authorize W.’s Iraq invasion — then how can people on either side of an issue trust you?
Since she hasn’t sparked much passion herself yet, she may be frightened by the passionate acolytes of Warren and Sanders — whose uncombed authenticity is buoying him in New Hampshire.
And, given her own unseemly money grabs, she may not be willing to push back on primal forces swirling around the trade issue about unbridled corporatism in an era of stagnant wages.
But the greater danger for her is in looking disingenuous.
At the end of the day, leaders have to sometimes step up on some issues that are not 80 percent issues. Unfortunately for her, Hillary is not as artful a dodger as her husband.”