Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Clinton Proves Best PR in the World Can’t Sell a Terrible Product

shutterstock_386634694Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Democrats don’t fight over the size of their presidential candidate’s genitals. But that’s little reason for Democrats to gloat in 2016. If Democratic officials get their way — at this writing, that seems more likely than not — Hillary Clinton will win her party’s nomination partly due to the same reason as Donald Trump seems poised to win his: massive ignorance on the part of the voters.

The result will be a yuge disaster.

At a Democratic debate on February 4th, Hillary Clinton was asked about the three speeches for which Goldman Sachs infamously paid her $675,000 as recently as 2013. (Would she release the text of those talks, so the public could judge whether she had promised special favors to the corrupt Wall Street firm? “I’ll look into it,” she promised.

By the next morning, The New York Times reported, it was clear that the Clinton campaign planned to stonewall the people’s right to know: “it did not appear that much looking was underway.”

“I don’t think voters are interested in the transcripts of her speeches,” Clinton’s pollster told reporters. This, like many things that come out of the Clinton spin machine, was not true. Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary in a landslide in large part because Democrats in the Granite State believed she was covering up something shady in her Wall Street speeches.

More than a month later, at the Flint debate on March 6th, she was still taking flak for Speechgate. By then Hillary had settled on a line about as far removed from “I’ll look into it” as “stick it where don’t shine”: “I have said,” she said through her plastic grin, “and I will say again, I will be happy to release anything I have as long as everybody else does too.” Which is nonsense: no one expects Republican candidates to yield to demands from a participant in a Democratic primary.

For an old guy, Bernie struck like a viper: “I’m your Democratic opponent. I release it. Here it is!” the senator scoffed, throwing invisible pieces of paper at the audience. “There ain’t nothing! I don’t give speeches to Wall Street for hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Bill and Hill have raked in $153 million in speaking fees since 2001. Which is more than the GDP of three countries. But how many Democratic primary voters know that she is one of the most personally corrupt leaders ever, or that the Clintons have probably sold more political access to corporations than every other American politician in history combined? Based on tracking polls and her current delegate lead, roughly the same number of Democrats is aware of Hillary’s record as Republicans who believe in science.

Granted, the fix is in for Hillary. The DNC scheduled debates at times when no one would get to see Bernie. The wildly antidemocratic superdelegate system designed to prevent progressives from getting nominated has been working perfectly. Super Tuesday, another scheme to conservatize races by frontloading southern states, went to her. And corporate media doesn’t cover him. Given the obstacles, he’s kicking ass.

Nevertheless, watching Hillary’s tortured defense of her indefensible refusal to cough up her Wall Street transcripts the other night, I was struck by how easily a voter who comes to Clinton v. Sanders cold, ignorant of the two candidates’ records, could conclude that she’s more qualified for the presidency. She’s great — if you don’t know your stuff.

Judging from the results so far, many Democratic voters are voting based on vague impressions rather than the hard facts — which makes them no smarter than the conservative evangelists backing the vulgar, thrice-married, breast-ogling Trump.

Befitting her long tenure at the devil’s crossroads of big money and big government, the former First Lady and Secretary of State came off as far more polished than her rival, the independent socialist Senator from one of the nation’s tiniest states.

Hillary isn’t president yet, but she played one on TV. She namedropped and Beltway-wonked and reminded us that she “traveled around the world on your behalf as Secretary of State and went to 112 countries” (attending state dinners and sightseeing is what passes for a hardship). Hapless Bernie, arrested during the civil rights movement at the same time Hillary was campaigning for right-wing racist Barry Goldwater — why would any black voter support her against him? — swung and missed a slow, low pitch right across home plate, unable to summon up a good answer to what “racial blind spots” he had.

(Correct answer: “I’ll never be black. So I’ll never know what it’s like to be black. As president, I will be surrounded by black people and I will listen to them.”)

As usual, Hillary looked the part. She rocked her straight-out-of-central-casting first woman president look with a overpriced designer Dr. Evil jacket that evoked the catty, nasty dictator played by Kate Winslet in the dystopian “Insurgent” movies.

Thanks to HD TV, Bernie’s off-the-rack suit highlighted his dandruff.

Hillary looks presidenty. She talks presidentish. A lot of voters don’t know how badly she screwed them, especially by pushing NAFTA and free trade. So she is favored to win the Democratic nomination. But she’s a terrible candidate. Tracking polls show that she has lower odds than Bernie of defeating Trump in November.

Just wait until Donald and his shiny new best friend the GOP establishment — who will fall in line, they always do! — start reminding voters of the colossally corrupt record Hillary has trying to run away from. Bernie has been too polite to call her out. Donald? He’ll be beyond brutal.

As they say in P.R., all the marketing in the world can’t compensate for a bad product.

Hello, President Trump.

More articles by:

Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net, is the author of the book “Snowden,” the biography of the NSA whistleblower.

October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
Ramzy Baroud
That Single Line of Blood: Nassir al-Mosabeh and Mohammed al-Durrah
Zhivko Illeieff
Addiction and Microtargeting: How “Social” Networks Expose us to Manipulation
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
What is Truth?
Michael Doliner
Were the Constitution and the Bill of Rights a Mistake?
Victor Grossman
Cassandra Calls
Ralph E. Shaffer
Could Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing Ended Differently?
Vanessa Cid
Our Everyday Family Separations
Walaa Al Ghussein
The Risks of Being a Journalist in Gaza
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal and Treachery—The Extremism of Moderates
James Munson
Identity Politics and the Ruling Class
P. Sainath
The Floods of Kerala: the Bank That Went Under…Almost
Ariel Dorfman
How We Roasted Donald Duck, Disney’s Agent of Imperialism
Joe Emersberger
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s Assault on Human Rights and Judicial Independence
Ed Meek
White Victimhood: Brett Kavanaugh and the New GOP Brand
Andrew McLean, MD
A Call for “Open Space”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail