Hillary Flip-Flops & Special Interest Groups

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from The Gray Area:

Hillary Clinton has been accused of shifting her views on issues such as:

NAFTA. [In 2008,} … Sen. Clinton … said I’m wrong to point out that she once supported NAFTA,” Obama said. “But the fact is, she was saying great things about NAFTA until she started running for president. A couple years after it passed, she said NAFTA was a ‘free and fair trade agreement’ and that it was ‘proving its worth.’ And in 2004, she said, ‘I think, on balance, NAFTA has been good for New York state and America.’” The Clinton campaign said Obama was wrong, that Clinton was critical of NAFTA “long before she started running for president.”

the Iraq War. On October 11, 2002, Clinton voted in favor of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq, commonly known as the Iraq War Resolution, to give President Bush authority for the Iraq War. By February 2007, Clinton made a point of refusing to admit that her October 2002 Iraq War Resolution vote was a mistake, or to apologize for it, as anti-war Democrats demanded. On June 15, 2006, Clinton charged that President Bush “rushed to war” and “refused to let the UN inspectors conduct and complete their mission … We need to be building alliances instead of isolation around the world … Clinton opposed the Iraq War troop surge of 2007. On August 22, 2007, Clinton credited the troop surge and related new tactics with helping to produce the Anbar Awakening in Al Anbar Governorate, but said that overall the increase in troops had not met stated goals: “The surge was designed to give the Iraqi government time to take steps to ensure a political solution. It has failed. In the second Democratic debate of the 2008 presidential race, Clinton said that she voted for the resolution under the impression that Bush would allow more time for UN inspectors to find proof of weapons of mass destruction before proceeding.

Criminal justice reform. Clinton’s words of outrage [are] hard to take seriously given her history on this issue. While condemning overincarceration, she glided over her own role in promoting it and exaggerated her efforts to correct it. She referred only obliquely to the war on drugs, which has played an important role in sending nonviolent offenders to prison. And three decades after the prison population began the dramatic climb that she now considers shameful, Clinton offered almost no specific ideas for reversing it, which makes her look like a dilettante compared to politicians in both major parties who have given the issue serious thought. As first lady in the 1990s, Clinton was a cheerleader for the “tough on crime” policies that produced the “era of mass incarceration” she now condemns. “We need more police,” she said in a 1994 speech. “We need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders. The ‘three strikes and you’re out’ for violent offenders has to be part of the plan. We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets.”

Same sex marriage. Her nascent campaign said she now supports same-sex marriage and wants the Supreme Court to overturn state laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. On same-sex marriage, Mrs. Clinton is following the evolution of Mr. Obama, who also opposed gay marriage in the 2008 campaign but has since said that he has re-evaluated and now believes the law should recognize same-sex marriages.

Immigration. Mrs. Clinton’s operation told The Huffington Post that she supports driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, steadying herself after a stumble from her last presidential campaign.

Trade. Maybe most consequentially, Mrs. Clinton, who in the past praised free trade, broke with Mr. Obama last week when her campaign said she wasn’t sold on the Trans-Pacific Partnership that the president is negotiating. “She will be watching closely to see what is being done to crack down on currency manipulation, improve labor rights, protect the environment and health, promote transparency, and open new opportunities for our small businesses to export overseas,” the campaign said.

At her announcement on Saturday, Clinton delivered a State-of-the-Union style laundry list of policy proposals. Managing to name-check nearly [every special] interest group within the Democratic party.

– Immigrants,

– young people,

– LGBT community,

– union leaders,

– Silicon valley,

– poor people,

– people with disabilities, and

– people of color.

The takeaway here: nothing is authentic in Clinton World,” the Republican National Committee said in a memo summing up Mrs. Clinton’s first week as an official candidate.

But, in a series of post-event interviews on Sunday, her team sought to reassure supporters that the new populist rhetoric was genuine. “I don’t think there is anybody who has been more consistent in her entire career from the day she left law school and went to work for the children’s defence fund,” said Podesta. “She’s fought for children and families and made her priorities clear and her values clear.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is expected to run as the most moderate Republican candidate, seized on Clinton’s new-found populism as a potential boost to his ambitions to claim the political centre-ground.

But, Podesta basically avoided the question on the subject of flip-flop positions of political convenience, special interest group focus and lack of genuine positions and appeal.
I thought that Elizabeth Warren wasn’t running for president,” he joked in an interview with ABC. “But when I listened to Hillary yesterday, it sounds like liberal political consultants put together that speech.”

Christie took a swipe at Clinton on Sunday, calling her out of touch with the real problems Americans face. “How would she know what real Americans are really concerned about?” Christie said. “I don’t know. Is it … when she’s out giving paid speeches? I don’t understand when she would know what she was saying yesterday about real Americans. How would she know?

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