Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hypocrisy gets real for Hilary Clinton in Florida debate

I took my time watching the Democratic Debate hosted by Univision on Wednesday night. I couldn't watch it live, so I watched it on YouTube (watch the video here).

They asked questions of Clinton that no one in any debate has asked so far. To be fair, they brought one or two questions out of history for Sanders, too. They made up questions on the fly. Compared to American mainstream media, there weren't many softball questions for the candidates in this debate.

The moderators mostly spoke in Spanish as would be expected for a Hispanic audience, but they asked their questions in English. The debate was held in Miami, Florida two days before this post. I just want to highlight 3 very interesting incidents from the debate in this post and encourage you to watch the debate, too. I will tell you right now that most of this post is about Clinton since Sanders did what I would expect him to do: link the oligarchy America has become to establishment politics.

First, there was the question of indictment. Moderator Jorge Ramos flat out asked Hilary if she would drop out of the race if she was indicted. She was not amused. But this is a question that no other moderator in any other debate has posed (as far as I know). Hilary did not want to lend any legitimacy to the question and refused to even answer it. This to me, is an arrogant reaction, as if she's sure she won't be indicted. Maybe she knows that the investigation has already been scuttled or will be delayed long enough for her to proceed to the nomination. If so, that would be news to the rest of us.

Paired with the question of indictment, Ramos asked Clinton who gave her permission to run her own email server for official government business. Hilary said that people in a previous administration have done the same thing. Oh, you mean like the Bush Administration? Hilary really didn't think that she needed permission from anyone to run her own email server to pass communications in her capacity as Secretary of State. Her point is that since people in the Bush administration had done the same thing, it's okay for her to do it, too. In this debate, isn't she trying to distinguish herself from the Republicans? At all? Who cares about laws and regulations, right?

Then there was an exchange regarding her support for interventionism in Latin America, a region the audience is deeply sympathetic to as a place of origin. Common Dreams and The Intercept both have very thought-provoking analyses of the exchange here, but suffice it to say, that while Clinton was nitpicking Sanders' record on his votes concerning Latin America, Sanders blasted Clinton for her support of regime change there. Considering Clinton's support of a few select despots around the world, it's hard to see her taking the high road here.

The final incident I want to note is the closing remarks. At the end of Clinton's remarks she got some rousing applause. She is followed by Sanders and at the end of his closing remarks, he got a standing ovation by a large majority of the room. But that's not the biggest surprise. The biggest surprise was watching Clinton laugh nervously as she looked on.

To me, that nervous laughter captures the essence of who Hilary Clinton has become: a candidate attempting to co-opt the support of a political revolution, with very little success. Considering the crowds that Sanders has been drawing in Florida, nervous laughter is probably all she can muster in Florida.
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