Should Hillary Run?

Sandra Clark | 6/11/2014, 9:49 a.m.

Questioning Hillary Rodham Clinton as the next president of the United States is not a swipe against America finally electing its first woman chief executive. That’s actually long overdue. It’s not even a reluctance to relive the more challenging days of her husband, former President Bill Clinton’s, era of marital infidelity and the lies that surrounded it. That was way overblown.

The question Democrats must ask as Mrs. Clinton considers a presidential bid is, is she progressive enough to push the country into a more caring nation that supports liberty and justice for all? That’s where we were headed before the conservative tidal wave hit in the 1980s. The push has picked up so much steam in recent years that what was considered conservative is now centrist and the radical right wing – which has never been kind to workers, immigrants, the poor and people of color – is now the bulwark of the legislative and judicial branch of the federal government.

One hopes that America will get a clue and realize that our balance of power is way off. What is needed now is not another inch given to the right, but a solid progressive movement of the sort that ended segregation and paved the way for the election of a black president and, ultimately, a female one. That means, the race or gender of the next PODUS is secondary to their politics.

In terms of leadership, Mrs. Clinton’s senate record is solid if not fancy. She was ranked above average by Gov.Track.Us sponsoring bills, many unsuccessful, in such areas as wage discrimination and forcing medical professionals to honor women's reproductive choices. To be truly cutting edge, she would have voted against giving former President George W. Bush the power to go to war against Iraq. She voted for it. Fifteen of the current members of the Congressional Black Congress, a group largely ignored by President Barack Obama, another centrist, rejected waging war on Iraq in 2002, says TheGriot.Com. Polls at the time showed Blacks roundly opposed going at Iraq.

Mrs. Clinton and her husband have often been at odds with the interests of the Black community. Her presidential candidacy was supported by Cleveland’s own U.S. Representative, the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Yet, it draws concern. During her unsuccessful campaign, she showed a willingness to dig for votes among Whites who couldn't see themselves voting for a Black man. That should give us pause, particularly when one considers her husband signed off on the Crime Bill, the repeal of Glass-Steagall and other conservative moves, some concessions and some he initiated, that had horrifying consequences for the Black community.

Glass-Steagall, which kept commercial and investment banking separate, became law in 1933. It was the response to the other great bubble that burst in 1929. Back then, the economy roared between 1921 and 1929. Alongside the tremendous technical advancements of the period, retail banks were selling stocks of dubious value while handling consumer deposits and loans. When the economy derailed, Glass-Steagall was installed to make certain such a catastrophe never happened again. But Clinton repealed it in 1999, and, well, we know the rest. Can we be certain Mrs. Clinton won’t give Wall Street carte blanche to shred us again?