By: Jim Sterling
By most accounts, What Happened by Hillary Clinton is the desperate attempt of an out of touch politician to blame anyone but herself for her embarrassing loss to President Donald Trump last November. But, as the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day!
Sandwiched between rationalizations and excuses for losing to one of the most unqualified candidates in presidential general election history, lies a salient and astute observation about the Republican Party and its support of Donald Trump. Namely, Clinton takes the right to task over their blatant hypocrisy and abandonment of their stated principles.
“…Traditional Republican ideology is bankrupt,” Clinton declares. “For decades, the big debates in American politics were about the size and role of government. Democrats argued for a more active federal government and a stronger social safety net, while Republicans argued for a smaller government, lower taxes, and fewer regulations. The country seemed fairly evenly divided, or perhaps tilted to the center-right. Then Trump came along and pulled back the curtain on what was really going on…”
Clinton correctly illustrates the pre-Trump political divide and the general view of both sides of the spectrum. She then uses the right’s support of Trump to draw a conclusion that the Republicans never really believed in those values, to begin with.
“…We learned that many Republican voters didn’t have any problem with big government, so long as it was big government for them.”
Wow! Talk about kicking the GOP square in the teeth! And it’s a criticism that libertarians should be more than familiar with. For decades, libertarians have pointed out that the GOP only seems to believe in limited government when they’re not in power. With Trump, a pro-deficit spending, pro-cronyism, anti-trade, pro-central planning candidate, the GOP really dropped any pretext that it is the limited government party. Hillary then draws upon past GOP hypocrisies to nail home the message.
“Perhaps this has always been true–you may recall the infamous sign at Tea Party rallies that read, with no hint of irony, “Keep Your Government Hands off My Medicare”–but Trump brought it out into the open. He promised to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, while abandoning free trade and getting tough on bankers, in direct contradiction of Republican orthodoxy.”
As much as it pains me to admit this, Hillary is right. The secret love for big government when it comes to things they use or advocate for has always been a hallmark of the GOP. Trump ran on a platform that rejected most of the things Republicans claim to care about and he won.
“Once in office, Trump abandoned most of his populist promises and largely hewed to the party line. But that shouldn’t obscure the fact that many of his voters wanted to chuck orthodoxy and preserve entitlements.”
She is unfortunately correct. And now we have a president who believes in big government who will most likely have a challenger who also believes in big government come next election. What choices we have!
Hillary then concludes that the GOP rhetoric is only suited for an opposition party. Once they have to actually govern, the consensus falls apart.
“When Republicans were opposing Obama or attacking me, they could unite against a common enemy, but now that they’re in power and people actually expect them to deliver results, we’re seeing that there’s little holding the Republican Party together.”
Clinton’s right. That doesn’t mean the Democrats aren’t full of hypocrisy and also barely held together. But on this count, she’s spot on.