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His Turn: Doug Henwood Targets the Clinton Candidacy

my-turn-cover

Among the many books rushed into print to capitalize on the 2016 election cycle is Doug Henwood’s slim volume My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency. Henwood, the publisher of Left Business Observer and a contributing editor at The Nation, takes the position that criticism of Hillary Clinton need not be the exclusive preserve of hack Republican pundits. His perspective, as the “Author’s Note” introducing his book demonstrates, will be unappealingly alien to those identifying as rightists:

It would be a good thing to have a woman president after the 43 bepenised ghouls and functionaries who’ve occupied the office. (OK, there were a few who weren’t half-bad – you wouldn’t need more than one hand to count them.) But, as I argue in this book, if you’re looking for a more peaceful, more egalitarian society you’d have to overlook a lot about Hillary’s history to develop any enthusiasm for her. The side of feminism I’ve studied and admired for decades has been about moving towards that ideal, and not merely placing women into high places while leaving the overall hierarchy of power largely unchanged. It’s distressing to see feminism pressed into service to promote the career of a thoroughly orthodox politician – and the charge of sexism used to deflect critiques of her.1

Henwood’s simple task in My Turn is to show that Clinton can be attacked from the Left. Consequently, much of his writing is hyperbolic and obnoxious, as when he accuses his subject of taking positions to the “right” of “Rudy Giuliani, a mean-spirited Republican hardliner.”2 Henwood also laughably blames Obama for “seeking compromise with a party that wanted to destroy him”3. More ludicrously, Henwood assails what he alleges is Hillary’s sub-rosa “religiosity”:

She buddied up to John McCain, and attended prayer breakfasts with right-wingers like the atrocious Sam Brownback of Kansas (who once described her as “a beautiful child of the living God”). […]

She didn’t attend just any prayer breakfasts – she buddied up to the Fellowship, aka the Family, a secretive fundamentalist organization based in Arlington that has long been a gathering place for the political and corporate elite to pray and network. She had been involved with the organization as First Lady and then graduated to its Senatorial branch. Though there are Democrats in the group, it is laced with right-wingers, and as Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlet reported, has a long history of supporting bloody dictators in the name of free enterprise. Its mission has traditionally been to harness a love of Jesus to the running of the world for profit. While there’s no doubt a large dose of political expediency in Hillary’s association with people that many of her liberal supporters would find appalling, it’s also a sign of her residual deep hawkishness and religiosity. As Joyce and Sharlet write, she supported government funding for religiously provided social services before George W. Bush ever did. Her opposition to gay marriage, which history finally forced her to renounce in 2013, was part political calculation, part Midwestern Methodist.4

my-turn-henwood

Doug Henwood

Henwood, of course, is also highly sensitive to Hillary Clinton’s perceived racism:

Although Hillary led among black voters early in the 2008 campaign, that changed with increasing exposure to Obama. She deployed some nasty race-baiting rhetoric to try to counteract this. Speaking to USA Today reporters after a pair of damaging primary losses in May 2008, she said that “Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again,” thereby hinting at ancient tropes about black laziness and their lack of real Americanness.5

More effective is the author’s assessment of Hillary’s performance as a senator, which – with the notable exceptions of her support for the PATRIOT Act in 2001 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – was comparatively uneventful:

A survey on Congress.gov of the legislation she sponsored or cosponsored provides further evidence of its profound insubstantiality: a resolution “honoring the victims of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103”, a bill to allow taxpayers to designate a portion of their refunds to help homeless veterans, a bill to require country of origin labels on dairy products, and so on. Few of these bills went anywhere. Almost all of her Senate record, the Iraq vote aside, was the legislative equivalent of being against cancer. In fact, she introduced a resolution expressing “support for the goals and ideals of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month”. You just can’t argue with that.6

For all of Henwood’s putative hostility to the Clinton crime family, his study also functions as a de facto whitewash in neglecting some of the couple’s more serious doings. “Her husband’s major scandal was about a blow job” as Henwood would have it – rather than, for instance, the commission of war crimes – and he of course omits the unsavory sort of material offered by the likes of Victor Thorn and Dean W. Arnold7. He acknowledges her corrupt involvement with disorders in Honduras and Haiti; but the toppling of the Gaddafi government hardly seems to have registered as a blip on the author’s radar. He only writes that Libya “turned into a wreck.”8 This, however, may be because Henwood takes the position that Secretary Clinton exercised only a minimal influence over foreign policy in the Obama administration9. Even so, “There’s something reminiscent of Kissinger about Hillary,” Henwood writes: “the ruthlessness, the admiration of toughness and force, the penchant for deception and secrecy, the view of diplomacy as war continued by other means.”10

There is occasional sloppiness in My Turn – for instance, probably thinking of a certain Star Wars alumnus, Henwood mistakenly refers to journalist Alec MacGillis as “Alec McGinnis”11 – but the book is successful in its aim of proving the candidate’s political hypocrisy and puncturing her reputation among Republican diehards as some sort of radical ideologue. My Turn makes clear in terms palatable to the average liberal that the Clintons labor at the behest of the pettiest oligarchs, as this humorous detour of Henwood’s illustrates:

The neo-populist Hillary of 2015 is a long way from the banker-flattering Secretary of State revealed by her emails. She urged her staff to help an associate of private equity (PE) titan Steven Schwarzman – the man with the biggest living room in Manhattan, a major fundraiser for George W. Bush, and a $250,000 contributor to the Clinton Foundation – to get a visa. Schwarzman once said of an Obama administration proposal to lift the “carried interest” tax break enjoyed by PE managers that “it’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”12

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Endnotes

  1. Henwood, Doug. My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency. New York, NY: OR Books, 2015, p. xiv.
  2. Ibid., p. 37.
  3. Ibid., p. 52.
  4. Ibid., pp. 38-39.
  5. Ibid., p. 49.
  6. Ibid., p. 42.
  7. Ibid., p. 57.
  8. Ibid., p. 54.
  9. Ibid., pp. 55-56.
  10. Ibid., p. 58.
  11. Ibid., p. 62.
  12. Ibid., p. 59.
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About icareviews

Propaganda Minister of #AryanSkynet

4 comments on “His Turn: Doug Henwood Targets the Clinton Candidacy

  1. icareviews
    November 7, 2016

    Reblogged this on icareviews.

    Like

  2. Apollonius
    November 8, 2016

    “Schwarzman once said of an Obama administration proposal to lift the ‘carried interest’ tax break enjoyed by PE managers that ‘it’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939′”

    Oy Vey!

    What a horrific display of antisemitism. It’s been 3000 years, but will the hate ever stop?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kerberos616
    November 8, 2016

    Reblogged this on Kerberos616.

    Like

  4. Pingback: His Turn: Doug Henwood Targets the Clinton Candidacy | Hipster Racist

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