As of the voting in various primaries last week and this week, Hillary Rodham Clinton has the surest way to the White House of any candidate who seeks the presidency from either of the major parties. She may not complete the journey, it is true. But even the most ardent Bernie Sanders supporters must now recognize that a lot of brush has been cleared from her path, and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue may once again be Clinton’s address.
It is time, then, to bear down on Hillary Clinton yet more than we have and determine just who she is and what a Clinton II presidency will be all about. Forget the frivolous attacks of rightists. Those who might be inclined to vote for Clinton are the responsible parties now. They must bear down on themselves, so that we can rid the forward-thinking side of our political conversation of its many encrustations—its mythologies, conventions, orthodoxies and the stale assumptions that have been placed over many years in some zone wherein they are taken to lie beyond questioning.
As you may surmise, I take the prospect of a Clinton II era to be a grave matter. It is not that she is a pathological variant of the political shape-shifter, to borrow a phrase from Charles Blow’s excellent column on the collapse of American ideals in Monday’s New York Times. It is Clinton’s consistency that should concern us most.
This is a dangerous figure, and I use the word advisedly, not rhetorically. Over eight years as First Lady, eight more as a New York senator and four as secretary of state, Clinton has proven repeatedly abusive of social order and careless of human life. It is time we face these facts and act accordingly. This holds especially for those given to false consciousness or lesser-of-evils arguments as they decide what to do next November 8.