The Democratic left, mostly progressives these days, is not sweet on presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. Signs of displeasure are everywhere.
Bill Curry, who ran for governor of Connecticut -- losing twice to Republican Governor John Rowland, now on his way to prison for the second time -- has laid out in Salon the progressive brief against Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Curry, once White House counselor to President Bill Clinton, has determined that Mrs. Clinton, former First Lady, former U.S. Senator, former Secretary of State in the Obama Administration, is squishy on progressive issues dear to Mr. Curry’s heart.
Some shakers and movers in the administration of President Barack Obama -- progressive central -- may agree with Mr. Curry, who is writing a book about progressivism and the Obama enlightenment. Mr. Curry is not entirely convinced that Mr. Obama is a progressive true believer, though Mr. Curry did bestow a compliment on the president for having genuflected in the direction of true progressivism during the President’s recent State of the Union Address, in the course of which Mr. Obama managed to “strike a new and widely applauded populist chord.” Mr. Obama has been strumming progressive chords since he first came into office. Obamacare, a baby step on the way to universal health care, and the frigid disdain with which the president has treated the so-called other co-equal branches of the US government are marks of progressivism, however unpopular either might be. Some progressives and leftist populists, however, have a tin ear; their senses awaken only to the sound of tumbrels clattering on Wall Street rolling toward the guillotine.
A policy-wonk himself, Mr. Curry holds that policy issues should be preeminent in any truly progressive-populist presidential campaign. Few commentators other than Mr. Curry himself have so far dwelt on the necessity of policy changes in the Clinton camp. Yet, change there must be if Mrs. Clinton is to win the hearts and minds of progressive-populists. Mrs. Clinton’s faith in “global capitalism, or her fondness for military intervention” rub raw progressive-populist aversions. Mr. Curry alone on the left seems to have challenged “her campaign’s basic model of mortgaging itself to the status quo to raise the billion dollars it costs to gather the demographics and pay the consultants to craft the empty ads it takes to win."
Progressive-populists who welcome openness, transparency and what might be called humility in politics should have no difficulty inveighing against Mrs. Clinton’s latest attempt to shove inconvenient corpses under her bed. The idea of a private server, like the idea of private servants, strikes at the very heart of progressivism. By seeking to shelter from public view her public business as Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton “plays into an image that could be her undoing. It’s not the shadowy, secretive Clinton narrative the media loves to push. It’s the true story of the new American oligarchs who play by separate rules; who live privileged lives to which they feel entitled and who condescend to the less educated and prosperous whose expressions of democratic will they trust far less than their own expert knowledge.” Progressive-populists justifiably resent the false and undemocratic Gnosticism of the governing class.
And so, apparently does Valery Jarrett, who is to Mr. Obama what Lady Macbeth was to Mr. Macbeth. For it was not, as might be supposed, some wretched conservative, war mongering worm that leaked to the media news of Mrs. Clinton’s computer perfidy. The leaker was, according to singing canaries in the Clinton camp, Ms. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama administration. And Bill Clinton, not easily riled, is riled about it, according to a recent story in the New York Post:
“OBAMA AND VALERIE JARRETT WILL GO TO ANY LENGTHS TO PREVENT HILLARY FROM BECOMING PRESIDENT.
“Members of Bill Clinton’s camp say the former president suspects the White House is the source of the leak and is furious.
“’My contacts and friends in newspapers and TV tell me that they’ve been contacted by the White House and offered all kinds of negative stories about us,’ one of Bill’s friends quotes him as saying. ‘The Obamas are behind the email story, and they’re spreading rumors that I’ve been with women, that Hillary promoted people at the State Department who’d done favors for our foundation, that John Kerry had to clean up diplomatic messes Hillary left behind.’”
The Post, it may be noted, is not an upper-crust newspaper and appears to be popular, if not populist. Rumors of this kind are the first readings of history. Far in the future – much too far to matter to plodding politicians – we may discover from other sources what was in those of Ms. Clinton’s “private” e-mails she wiped from her private server; and we may also discover who leaked the story to the media. Assuming that Mrs. Clinton is unable to escape the brier patch of scandals that has marred her public career, that information may seriously impact her rise to the presidency.
Perhaps Mr. Curry can be encouraged to write a book about it.