by Alex Ubokudom
For better or worse, Hillary Clinton has to go down as one of the most intriguing politicians in history. Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan, but I must say that there’s a complexity to the Hillary Clinton story, the likes of which we have never seen and will probably never see again. I will also admit that much of her political tale is often unfairly told through the lens of her supernova of a husband. We were introduced to Hillary as Bill’s wife. In addition, Bill constantly put Hillary in impossible positions with his selfish sexual carelessness. I often think that she sometimes stares at him as he sleeps, contemplating whether she should suffocate him with a pillow as she yells, “You took away my best feminist years!”
But that doesn’t mean that she is not problematic. Slick Dick Willy aside, there are many red flags that arise when talking about Hillary Clinton. Let’s just keep it 100. If you’re a fan of HRC, I’m not gonna try to sway ya. I’m just gonna point out 5 glaring problems that even HRC supporters gotta admit.
1. The Clinton Campaign Tends to do Some Stupid Shit.
Again, Imma leave Uncle Bubba out of this ‘cause lord knows a whole separate piece can be written about his campaign shenanigans. That said, the history of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s faux pas could serve as a great basis for an adapted screenplay by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell. Let’s review the top three since 2008:
Claiming that in 1996, the then First Lady was sent on a diplomatic trip to Bosnia only to come under enemy fire when she landed:
This was supposed to support the claim that her history as First Lady gave her considerably more foreign policy experience over then Senator Barack Obama. There was only one problem with the story Clinton told: she was accompanied on that trip by her daughter Chelsea, Sheryl Crow, and comedian Sinbad, and if you know Sinbad then you know that loud mouth light-skinned man is gonna speak his truth. When asked about the diplomatic trip the comedian jokingly answered “What kind of President would say, ‘Hey man, I can’t go cuz I might get shot, so send my wife… oh and take a guitar player and a comedian with you.’ Let’s put aside the fact that it’s an egregious attempt to mislead the public, but this plot was enacted with less adeptness than a Scooby Doo Villain. The whole master plan was unraveled by a comedian who’s last memorable performance was in the Arnold Schwarzenegger holiday film Jingle All The Way. Not a good look.
The whole Abuela thing:
Man, this was like one of those moments where you get embarrassed for someone else. HRC, I know you have to shore up that Latin vote, but like this? This Ivy League educated former Secretary of State who dawns from extreme privilege and has never experienced racism or xenophobia is not very much like any abuela I’ve ever met.
The “Nancy Reagan cured AIDS and kissed AIDS babies” moment:
Ok, she didn’t say that verbatim but this was a stupid, stupid moment. Giving the Reagans credit for response during the AIDS crisis is like giving Strom Thurman credit for the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Many have chalked this up to a tired Clinton making a mistake but the hardest working woman in politics doesn’t make historical mistakes like this. She shot 0 for 50 with a batting average of zero that night. Not much more that hasn’t already been said bout this one so I’ll move on.
2. She Is Shameless with the Shameless Plugs.
You gotta give it to her, the woman is not shy. Find any position that could promote her political motivations and HRC will jump on it with the quickness. Now, in fairness, she’s not very different from most politicians in this as many people in the black church are used to only seeing politicians come political season. It’s more so the way the Hillary goes about trying to score these political points.
I’ve already pointed out the abuela fiasco, so my next personal favorite is the Black Girls Rock telecast that aired earlier this month. Black Girls Rock has been going on for the past 6 years and until now they’ve never smelt Hillary Clinton’s perfume. The irony of her appearance is that her presence at the ceremony during election season overshadowed the whole event, making the most important part of a celebration of black women the moment when a white woman came through and legitimized the notion that they do indeed rock. Damn.
I’ll also point out that this shameless plugging is evident in the hashtag #imwithher. Now, I’m not at all dismissing the milestone of electing the first woman president. It’s long overdue. But I’m really not feeling it as an obvert tactic in the pursuit of a personal political goal. It’s one thing to constantly hammer home your record on defending women’s rights or to talk about the glass ceilings in society that still need to be broken. It’s another thing to just keep on reminding me that you’d be the first woman president. I know that. And it feels cheap. Could you imagine Bernie Sanders using the hashtag #GimmeTheJew or Obama using #ImWithTheBlackGuy?
Oh, and have you heard? Apparently she walks around with hot sauce in her purse.
3. The Racial Dog-Whistling of the 2008 Campaign
Many people believe that most of the utter disdain for HRC stems from the reaction many in this country have to women in power positions. I do believe there’s a lot of truth to this. However, I have a deep dislike for Madame Secretary and it all goes back to the winter of ‘08. Back before then, I was pretty indifferent to Hillary Clinton. She was definitely an upgrade from Bush so I had no issue with pledging my support to her should she win the primary. Then Barack Obama won Iowa, competed in New Hampshire, and took South Carolina and the Clintons started treating him like “the nigga that wouldn’t die!”
It needs to be said that Hillary Clinton ran a more racist national campaign against Barack Obama than any other he has ever faced. Not McCain. Not Romney. Clinton. It was the Clinton Campaign who leaked photos of Obama in Somali attire, stoking the accusations that Obama was a crypto-Muslim. It was the Clinton campaign that released the infamous 3AM phone call ad that plays heavily on racially coded messaging (watch it here!! It looks like a 90s commercial for Guardian Alarm). It was Hillary Clinton, herself, who brought up Bobby Kennedy’s assassination in ’68, playing upon the fears that many had/have about the safety of the first black president.
Whether you like it or not, Hillary Clinton has played on racial politics her whole political career. The “superpredator” moment would be one thing if it were isolated but it clearly was not. I’ll put it to you this way, if you have been a lifetime supporter of women’s rights, could you support a candidate that has routinely used sexist dog whistling to further their political gains? Maybe. And if so, I wouldn’t necessarily think any less of you for it. Just know that your girl ain’t shy when it comes to slanging that racial shit.
4. You Ain’t Gotta Lie, Craig, Clinton Money is Funny.
Just the sheer amount of special interest money circulating around the Clintons’ is – as George Clooney puts it – obscene. There’s the defense coming from the Clinton camp that the campaign contributions that she has gotten from Wall Street is not necessarily an indicator that Wall Street would have any special influence over her decision making. One might also add that we live in a post Citizens United world and you can’t really blame Clinton for trying to work in a broken system the best way she knows how.
Well, I’m not an expert in campaign finance so I’ll direct you to articles like this one from Glenn Greenwald via The Intercept in hopes that I avoid sounding like a stupidass. But even if you take campaign finance off the table there’s still the amount of money that Wall Street firms have put directly in the Clinton’s pocket.
At this point, aren’t Hillary and Bill Clinton essentially Wall Street employees? in 2013 and 2014, Hillary alone made $2,900,000 from speeches for financial institutions. And this is money that they put directly in her hand! If I paid a person $3 million over a course of 2 years you damn well better believe that I expect that person to work in my best interest. After you add this to the $17 million Bill Clinton got from financial entities, that’s $20 million Wall Street dollars straight to the Clintons. You’re telling me this don’t give you a little pause, son? (There’s also the issue of world leaders, sometimes of rogue nations, and other global interests making donations to the Clinton Global Intuitive while Hillary was SoS.)
And listen to the example that Clinton offers for evidence that she can, indeed, get tough on Wall Street. She points to a 2007 speech where she describes herself as having told market manipulators to “Cut it out.” Cut it out?! CUT IT OUT?! Madame Secretary, no one voted for you so you’d go to Washington and break up fights between 5th graders! How about coming up with some decent legislation to stop the shit?
5. There’s a Liberal Movement Rising in this Country That Will Burn the Democratic Party if They are not Careful.
A part of me kind of feels for Hillary Clinton. Well, I should say, empathizes with her. Many have defended her by saying she has just done the same thing that male politicians have been doing for years. Well, that’s kinda the point. People want a new politic – not just in the party, not just in the country, but in the world. There is a global financial structure in place that works through politics to benefit the few and depress, suppress, and oppress the many. If the supposedly “liberal” party of the “free world” chooses a candidate that many believe represents that unjust system, you better believe there will be political hell to pay, especially in this political climate.
That’s not to say that Sanders is the obvious choice over Clinton (he is for me, but I’ve heard counter arguments that make sense). But you gotta admit when it comes to many of the big issues confronting us today Sanders has been Steph Curry with the shot on his previous positions: speaking out against mass incarceration, the Iraq war, opposition to NAFTA, defense of Palestinian civilians, Gay rights, the Panama Papers. If Sanders made a rap album about how to be right about shit it would be called The Blueprint 4: I Told Y’all Muthafuckas! I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s going to be very hard for the Democratic Party to embrace this new leftist movement if Clinton is the nominee. We might see the splintering of two political parties.
So there it is, 5 glaringly problematic things you gotta sit with if you are #withher. As I said, this isn’t an attempt at persuasion. This is more of an attempt at veracity. Let’s keep it real, just for a quick sec. And, on that note, if I ever see her on the campaign trail, she betta have that hot sauce on her.
Alex Ubokudom is the creator of the YouTube sketch variety show, BOK TV. He is an actor, satirist, and the resident Michael Jackson Historian for all of Kings County. Alex received half of his tutelage on the mean middle-class streets of Southfield, MI where he had to memorize Tupac lyrics to impress his fellow Detroiters. His formal schooling came from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and The American Conservatory Theater – don’t get it twisted, the brother is classically trained. He is a proud first generation Nigerian-American, as his family is of the Annang people.