Hillary Clinton: launched but not engaged

The Hillary Clinton campaign, twice launched, still doesn’t meet the traditional criteria for a political campaign. Real presidential candidates have always answered questions, both from the press and from non-hand-picked voters. Real presidential candidates have always taken positions on key issues, especially those current enough to be voted on by Congress.

Hillary Clinton refuses. Judged conventionally, she’s still in exploratory mode.

What is she exploring? Two things. The political winds and how much (or little) she can get away with.

The mainstream media, it appears, will let her get away with plenty. Republican contenders, be they governors or neurosurgeons, are expected to opine on a wide range of foreign policy topics. If they trip up even slightly, they are said to be unready for the Oval Office.

Meanwhile, Clinton, who as Secretary of State helped formulate current U.S. foreign policy, opines little. And the MSM makes little complaint.

On domestic policy, Clinton says she wants to be the “champion” of the beleaguered middle class. Right now, a debate is raging over trade. Should President Obama be given the fast-track trade powers he says he needs to finalize negotiations over a major 12-nation deal?

Disagreement over this question is profound, and cuts across party lines. But both sides agree that the underlying issue is momentous. On one side are those who believe that free trade agreements are crucial to a middle class revival. On the other are those who insist that such agreements are job-killers that will only hasten the demise of the middle class.

Where does middle class champion Hillary Clinton stand on fast-track trade legislation? She won’t tell us.

Bernie Sanders speaks for many when he says, “I don’t understand how you don’t have a position on this issue.” Sanders adds:

I am not clear, nor do I believe the American people are clear, as to what Secretary Clinton’s position is. Is she for it, or is she against it? Those are your two options. [Not choosing] is not leadership.

As with foreign policy, the MSM has little problem with Hillary “not choosing.” The Washington Post’s online edition offers this headline from Iowa: “On the trail in Iowa, Clinton and Sanders make trade a hot issue.”

How hot an issue can Clinton be making trade when she won’t take a stand on the central trade issue before Congress?

Only a “privileged” candidate could get away with what Clinton is pulling. No wonder it is said that Clinton seeks not so much a nomination as a coronation. Among all the evidence of Clinton privilege, the form of her campaign is perhaps the most telling.

Our democracy is set up to give us the government we deserve. If we elect avowed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, we will deserve democratic socialism. If we elect reticent Hillary Clinton, we will deserve something well short of democracy.