National Commentary

The Most Powerful Woman in U.S. History

nfbenton-mugThe civil, passionate and highly-watched Democratic presidential candidates in their debate Tuesday night shamed the dog-and-pony clown shows their GOP counterparts have been exhibiting.

But with Donald Trump holding to his lead among the Republicans, there is very little chance anything is going to change on their side. It’s a clear case of sizzle versus steak. The Republicans are so collectively clownish because they really don’t have anything to say that they want all the American people to hear.

They excuse their behavior, and their outrageous claims, on grounds that they are trying to capture the base of their own party, and that they will deal with the overall electorate sometime down the line. So, they remain trapped in their little matrix of appeasement to the most rabid nut-case wing of their party.

That’s their excuse. But the reality is that they simply don’t have a message of universal appeal to the American population, because they’re more concerned about where their millions are going to come from, the handfuls of moguls hiding behind Citizens United anonymity.

If the Democratic candidates seemed to sound so good, which is one generally conceded outcome by reasonable observers, is not only because they were relatively civil, but because they struck an entire different chord in their messages.

Unlike the Republicans, they all sought to address the needs not of their rich sponsors, but of the broad majority of the American people. They spoke directly and with clarity to the 99 percent of Americans that are being screwed by the one percent (or, better, the one percent of the one percent) while the Republicans are spending all their time pandering to that tiny percentage. That was the difference.

The job of the Republicans candidates is to generate so much smoke and so many mirrors aimed at somehow turning the 99 percent against each other, giving the upper hand to the marginalized whacko factor that it can take the lead in driving such divisions among the general electorate.

But the Democrats showed that talking sense and taking on the privileged classes makes for great general interest politics, and poses a great threat to those ruling elites in their varied Wall Street and military industrial complex incarnations.

This is why they fear Hillary Clinton, and have ever since they began unleashing their best obfuscating, dissembling tactics against her husband’s presidential campaign in 1992 with one after another empty charges fueling the so-called Whitewater and other scandals. Hillary Clinton began signaling that she could be even more dangerous than Bill when she took on the health care reform issue right at the outset of her first year in the White House.

Every step along the way since then she’s been targeted by powerful forces opposed to what she stands for, but being a remarkably savvy political inside player, she’s continued to grow her brand, so to speak, to where she is now and where she’s headed. She is, singularly, the most powerful woman leader in the history of the U.S. and it’s because she’s earned it every step of the way.

Playing the inside game politically has resulted in some apparently gratuitous compromises and missteps, such as voting for President Bush’s war powers resolution in the fall of 2002 prior to the invasion of Iraq.

But on balance, it is evident that while advocating progressive values and causes throughout, she’s kept her eyes on the prize, and that’s her now imminent shot at the presidency.

As for Sen. Bernie Sanders, he’s a valuable asset to Clinton, and can look forward to an important role in the upcoming election year and beyond. He’ll function like Nathan, the only prophet in the Old Testament who was actually retained in the court of King David and not relegated to mountain tops.

Also, it is clear that with Clinton’s exceptionally strong performance Tuesday that there will be no need now for Joe Biden to enter the race. It was always as a Plan B that the Biden option was maintained. But he can be relieved to see that Hillary, as always, has taken care of herself and will be a furious force in the future of American politics.

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