Letters

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586

Powerage

My argument: for those seniors on a fixed income, or those living in hospital beds or needing to refrigerate their meds, it’s tough to have a power outage for two days (“Paradise Glossed,” Nov. 21). PG&E said they wouldn’t reimburse groceries this year if they decided to turn off the power! And for folks who are ill, who had money to go buy a generator or fuel to start it or the ability to turn it on? What about those with a well? Their power outage means they can’t hose down their roof or barn?

Catherine Renee Gumina

Via Facebook

PG&E should not be turning off our power every time it gets windy to try and solve their transformers causing fires!

J. Kirk Feiereisen

Via Facebook

They have to. I know it seems rough, but when the winds get going and the dry trees snap . . . PG&E is being sued for the deaths last year, and will face more for Paradise. Gotta turn off the ignition factor.

Sharon Jane Hughes

Via Facebook

Opinion: We’ve Had Enough Clintonism

Twenty-five years ago, when I wrote False Hope: The Politics of Illusion in the Clinton Era, I didn’t expect that the Democratic Party would still be mired in Clintonism two and a half decades later. Such approaches to politics continue to haunt the party and the country.

The last two Democratic presidencies largely involved talking progressive while serving Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. The differences in personalities, and behavior, of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama diverted attention from their political similarities. In office, both men rarely fought for progressive principles, and routinely undermined them.

Clinton brought the country NAFTA, welfare “reform” that was an assault on low-income women and families, telecommunications “reform” that turned far more airwaves over to media conglomerates, the repeal of Glass-Steagall regulation of banks that led to the 2007–08 financial meltdown, and huge increases in mass incarceration.

Obama bailed out big banks while letting underwater homeowners sink, oversaw the launching of more missiles and bombs than his predecessor George W. Bush, ramped up a war on whistleblowers, turned mass surveillance and the shredding of the Fourth Amendment into bipartisan precedent and boosted corporate privatization of public education.

It wasn’t only a congressional majority that Democrats quickly lost and never regained under Obama. By the time he left the White House, nearly a thousand seats in state legislatures had been lost to Democrats during the Obama years.

Thanks to grassroots activism and revulsion toward President Trump, Democrats won back the House last month and recaptured one-third of the state legislative seats that had been lost while Obama led the party and the nation.

During the last two years, progressive momentum has exerted major pressure against the kind of corporatist policies that Clinton set into cement atop the Democratic Party. But today, the party’s congressional leaders, like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, are still in a mode loosely replicating Clinton’s sleight-of-tongue formulas that have proved so profitable for corporate America, while economic inequality has skyrocketed.

As 2018 nears its end, the top of the Democratic Party is looking to continue Clintonism without the Clintons. Or maybe Clintonism with the Clintons. A real possibility is now emerging that Hillary Clinton will run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination—but whether she runs or not, Clintonism is a political blight with huge staying power. It can be overcome only if and when people at the grassroots effectively insist on moving the Democratic Party in a genuinely progressive direction.

Norman Solomon

Inverness Park

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1 COMMENT

  1. Mr. Solomon’s screed against the Clintons, and something he calls “Clintonism,” as obstacles to progress made me yawn. I tire of the so called “progressive” wing of the party continually pushing against the Democratic Party as the enemy of an alternate “strawman” progressive platform that has never won the majority of voters. The enemy of progress is the Republican Party and their platform.

    Under Clinton we gained: first Democratic President in 12 years, Brady Bill Gun Control, higher minimum wage, Children’s Health Insurance Program (which covers almost half of the children in the United States), increased student grants, a program to close and repurpose military bases (hello Hamilton), Family Medical Leave Act, Violence Against Women Act, higher taxes for wealthy and lower taxes for for 15 million low income families, reduced debt and deficit, most diverse cabinet in history, most diverse judiciary appointments in history -Sonia Sotomayor to Second Circuit, and RBG to Supreme Court for example, and more.

    And for Obama, I’ll just say the Affordable Care Act saved our family from bankruptcy. Perhaps Mr. Solomon can wait for perfection. Some of us need and rely on incremental progress that can be made in a large, fractious country.

    I’ll take Clinton or Obama over George W Bush and Donald J Trump every day. And make no mistake, those are our choices. Not some utopian progressive agenda vs. “Clintonism.” Obama and Clinton both made changes for every day working people while fighting a growing racist, fascist, misogynist, right wing and a privileged group of progressives who could, for example, sit out midterm elections in 2010 over a health care plan that was purely abstract for them, but was in fact, literally lifesaving.

    As for claiming ownership of the recent blue wave, please Mr. Solomon. Look around, Clinton backed organizations like Emily’s List, Run for Something, Color of Change, Emerge America, Indivisible, and Swing Left powered the majority of wins.

    I applaud the party’s move to the left with exciting young legislators pushing for more sweeping push back on corporate power. You need to catch up and join us, rather than stand outside in the past criticizing.

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