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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Cometh the Hawk

With the vulgarian no longer at the gate, having stepped back in order to practice self-immolation, it comes time to consider the pending result.

Which is that we will have a president who is secretive, warm in private and cool in public, with a soft spot for the rich and a hawk on her shoulder.

If her opponent had not had a nearly supernatural ability to dominate the day's news day after day, if he had not been, as one of our employees who supports him said, such an incredible "loud mouth," the leak of the Clinton campaign's internal emails, very likely by a Russian hand, would have caused quite a stir.

It contained, after all, what Bernie Sanders was harping on about, her speeches to Wall Street, and the elements in those speeches her own staff correctly saw as damaging.

Just as Bernie seemed to suspect, her speeches on the topic of economic fairness showed a cozy friendship with the bankers of Wall Street, a skepticism about regulating their conduct, and a rejection of any notion that economic game is rigged in favor of the affluent. But, as a staff member noted, she understands that the public sees it that way.

"They are angry," said the staffer. "She isn't."

On my street of comfortable, older apartments in Pasadena not far from Caltech, there are no signs for candidates, other than an old, home-made "Feel the Bern" sign still hanging under a tree.

But one block south is a district called Madison Heights that has nice, big houses. The neighborhood is often the setting for family comedies, conveying the image of a comfortable all-American neighborhood.

Driving through there the other day, I was startled to see signs on almost half the lawns, even more surprised to see the large majority for Clinton.

The well-off citizens of Madison Heights support status quo Clinton over barn burner Trump.

But if you go east, where the houses drop in price, where the population is more white and more working class, there the Trump signs dominate.

And much more than any emails, more than Benghazi or Whitewater, or all the conspiracies peddled and bought on the right, that is Hillary Clinton's true deception, that she feels that great divide between the haves and have nots, understands the backwater of life that old factory workers and union members have fallen into.

When she in fact does not. As her own staff attests.

So on that dominant economic issue of our time, Clinton is unlikely to ameliorate the sweeping damage that has been caused by a shifting economy or do anything to break up the concentration of wealth in the upper echelon of our society.

And on the dominant foreign policy issue of our time, the shifting tides of war around the globe, she is more likely to take us further into the quagmire of the Middle East than get us out.

The lead story in last Sunday's New York Times noted that, despite Obama's preaching of dialogue and diplomacy, the U.S. has this year dropped bombs in seven nations and has sent special operation forces into many more.

Who knows what new conflicts will arise next year, or which will spread. But we do know that the nation's first female president is likely to rule with a very sensitive trigger mechanism.

In Yemen, in particular, what possible purpose can the U.S. accomplish by helping the Saudis bomb funerals and hospitals, while aiding and abetting mass starvation, in order to suppress an ethnically based rebellion. It is one of the few places where we have no strategic interest in the conflict and should simply get out.

But any bet that Clinton will move in that direction would come with terrible odds.

Trump had something going when he attacked Clinton for actively pushing the bombing campaign in Libya. But as our drones keep firing, our opaque troops continue to fight, our planes continue to bomb, Trump and indeed our nation are focused on his sexual conduct.

And partly for that, we need to start thinking about a Clinton presidency and what that will drag into the people's house.

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