What would a Hillary victory represent?

Given that the US has election fever, I have decided to point readers to an article written for the London Review of Books in August 2007:
To be sure, like many left-of-centre individuals of her generation, [Hillary Clinton] has shown a marked commitment to improving the lot of traditionally disadvantaged groups. She became convinced early on, Bernstein remarks, that the ‘tragedy of race in America must be made right’, and from her student days she conscientiously sought out black friends, while also setting out to learn. One of her earliest mentors was Marian Wright Edelman, the first black woman to be admitted to the bar in Mississippi. Hillary has also repeatedly championed women’s rights in the States and overseas, and she makes a point herself of advancing talented women. Her campaign manager, head of operations and policy co-coordinator are all female – as, it bears considering, are 54 per cent of the current US electorate. Yet she can still appear confined within some of the radical priorities of the later 20th century, and unable or unwilling to generate a comprehensive and compelling vision of America and of the world’s present and future. Issues to do with race, gender and the dispossessed come naturally to her. But it is Al Gore who has hammered out an informed and powerful position on the environment, energy conservation and global warming. She has only belatedly borrowed some of his language and ideas. And it has been John Edwards who has tried steering the Democratic Party firmly back in the direction of economics. He, not Hillary, has been the most eager to address the gulf between America’s rich and poor. A one-time Democratic senator’s critique of Hillary’s initial, hard-line support of the Iraq war therefore seems more broadly applicable. She puts herself, he argued, ‘in the position of looking backward, not forward, of caving to conventional wisdom instead of moving in the direction of . . . new ideas, being bold.’

No comments: