For supposedly being an old-hand at politics and the arrow-tip of America's biggest political machine, Hillary Clinton is very bad at politics. And the manner of her ineptitude speaks badly for the future presidency she aspires to. She is stupid in her political moves and blind to the reality of people who aren't Hillary Clinton. These are horrific shortcomings in a president.
Let's look at her conduct in Michigan. It isn't just that Bernie Sanders beat her but that she crippled herself with some dumb moves while he played things very smart. But more on his Michigan strategy another time. Let's stay with Hillary.
First of all, Hillary Clinton marched into Michigan and attempted to smear Sanders by distorting his record on the auto industry bailout. Tactically, it is stupid of Hillary to distort anything. It's bound to boomerang on her since she already has a high score on "not honest" and ''not trustworthy". In reality Sanders voted for the auto bailout in its original form but not when it was wrapped into a bailout of the same banks which had caused the 2008 crash. Since his chief targets in this world are those banks, he had to vote against helping them. He wouldn't be Bernie Sanders if he hadn't. (He'd be Hillary Clinton, a changeling.)
Not only did she make this misguided charge during a heated debate, she also did it in her ads when, one would think, she'd had time to reflect on it as a possible mistake. And why is it such a mistake, beyond being a distortion?
Because it was a colossal slap in the face to the United Auto Workers, the big — and still quite influential — union in Michigan. She as good as said to the UAW leadership, "You know-nothings! I'm the smart one in the room and I'm gonna wise you up about Bernie Sanders' voting record on the most important issue your union ever faced."
When the UAW leadership got through laughing, they probably were pretty damned angry. She had insulted them! How could she think they — of all people — wouldn't know exactly what Bernie Sanders had done vis-a-vis the auto industry?
It's THEIR BUSINESS to know this kind of thing!
They know Bernie supported saving their jobs. And they also know that Sanders opposed, and still does, the trade deals that took away a lot of the American auto industry jobs. And they aso know that it was Bill Clinton, with a smile from Hillary, who screwed the auto industry with his trade agreements. Now here comes Hillary, blundering into Michigan and adding an insult to the injury Bill had already dealt the union leaders. By now, compared to Hillary, Bernie's probably looking pretty good to the UAW. I'm sure the word went quietly through the ranks from the top UAW guys, "Go with Sanders."
Will the UAW eventually endorse Sanders publicly? Who knows. But notice that they have NOT endorsed Hillary. Golly willikers, that's pretty strange. After all, lots of Democratic party bigwigs and officeholders jumped on the Hillary train in the early days. Why wouldn't a union?
Because a union has to be really sure they can trust the person they are endorsing. After this person gets elected, the union is going to need things, such as fair labor laws, and they need to know that the person they endorsed will not only talk the talk but walk the walk. Hillary is not really trustworthy.
They also need to know that the person being endorsed has a good chance of being the nominee. Going with a tree-legged horse is not a good bet and makes the leadership look as lame as the defective horse. But at the same time as being cautious, the union would want to endorse early enough to be able to say later to the successful nominee,"Hey, kiddo, we were with you early on when it really counted."
I'll bet you have a question, haven't you? Why didn't the UAW endorse Hillary Clinton before she bumbled into Michigan? She must have seemed, on the basis of polls, to be a sure bet. And when would the UAW endorsement ever mean as much as it could before the Michigan primary? After all Detroit is the birthplace of the UAW.
As a matter of fact, why have the major unions all been so slow in endorsing in the Democratic primary? The UAW, the Teamsters, the AFL-CIO — all are sitting quietly on the sidelines.
Two possible reason. Early on, perhaps the reason was Joe Biden. The unions may have been waiting to see if Joe was going to be a candidate. He is beloved of the unions. Then, when Joe stayed out, along came Bernie Sanders. The unions probably—though quietly—love Bernie. He's all about the working guy and social justice. The union leadership, of course, is generally very liberal.The term "social democrat" is to them an endearment.
But what's best about Bernie for the unions is just that he is there. He's their card to play against Hillary, she who smiled while her husband sent union jobs to Mexico and China. As things tighten for her in the primary, and the signs are that they will, heaven knows what she will be willing to promise to get the unions' support. Already Bernie's presence in the race and his stand on issues has forced her to try to match him on promises of job creation and ameliorating the harm done America's workers by NAFTA, Bill Clinton's infamous trade pact.
Never forget this. Many of the smartest players in politics are union leaders. They had to play a political game to get their position. They have to play a political game against the employers. They have to play one against the politicians. The smartest and best of the union players care deeply about their members and about this country. They have to be alert to the moves and knowledgeable about the whole scene....all day long, day after day, year after year.
Hillary coming into Michigan and trying to con them about Bernie Sander's record shows how unreal other people are to her. She doesn't respect them. She doesn't get them. She doesn't see them. That's why people say she doesn't care about them. Because she doesn't. They aren't real. It's all about Hillary. To go into Michigan and not care about the UAW means you ought to go home to your own planet and stop annoying the rest of us.
And that's a consummation devoutly to be wished!