Hillary Clinton says she doesn’t really like the descriptive word “liberal,” preferring to be characterized as a “progressive.”
“You know, (liberal) is a word that originally meant that you were for freedom … that you were willing to stand against big power and on behalf of the individual,” she said at the CNN/YouTube debate. “Unfortunately, in the last 30, 40 years, it has been turned up on its head, and it’s been made to seem as though it is a word that describes big government, totally contrary to what its meaning was in the 19th and early 20th century.” She continued: “I prefer the word ‘progressive,’ which has a real American meaning, going back to the progressive era at the beginning of the 20th century. I consider myself a modern progressive.”
Others already have made the point it is significant that Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic Party candidate for president, is running away from the liberal label.
It’s not surprising. Hillary Clinton, like her husband, always has been about obfuscation, about hiding true agendas, about sowing confusion in the minds of prospective voters about her real intentions, because she knows the American people would never follow her or elect her if they understood who she is and where she wants to take America.
Yet what no one else has observed with regard to this quote is what it actually reveals about Hillary. It relates directly to Hillary’s political roots and her recently released Wellesley thesis on her radical hero, Saul Alinsky.
While Hillary may defend liberalism today, I don’t think she ever considered herself one. Having some firsthand familiarity with the “New Left” of which Hillary was a part in the 1960s, I can tell you the radicals of that movement had no use for liberals. Liberals were sellouts to them. Liberals were at best “useful idiots.” Liberals were people who could not be found when the going got tough. That’s the way Hillary and her hero, Saul Alinsky, viewed liberals. It was the same way the “Old Left” — the Communist Party — viewed liberals.
In her thesis, Hillary quoted Alinsky as explaining the difference between a liberal and a radical: “The liberal refuses to fight for the goals he professes.”
I’m sure Hillary still sees herself today as a “radical.” But she could never use that term and remain a viable politician. So she has adopted another term — “progressive” — which means the same thing to those in the know. This is the favored term of the Communist Party, too. They don’t call themselves liberals, either. They call themselves “progressives.” They always have. Nothing has changed.
In fact, who were the leaders of the Progressive Movement of the early 20th century with whom Hillary so closely identifies? Among the most notable leaders were W.E.B. Du Bois, a Communist Party member, and Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood and an advocate of racial eugenics, an idea that inspired Adolf Hitler to kill six million Jews. I don’t exaggerate. These are people and ideas that get Hillary’s adrenaline pumping.
Hillary is being honest when she says she’s a “progressive” and not a liberal. Seldom have I witnessed such candor from her. At the same time, in her soft defense of liberalism, she does resort to spin.
She suggests liberals somehow have gotten a bad rap. She doesn’t explain how, but liberals have become misunderstood as promoting big government and not standing up for individual freedom.
Let’s be clear: There is no misunderstanding about modern liberals. They simply are being judged by their words and deeds. Liberals dominated the American political scene for a generation, and people were able to see for themselves how they governed and what they actually believed.
“Liberals,” in today’s parlance, see government action as the first step toward solving any problem. How else should they be understood except as proponents of big government?
Yet be warned because “progressives” of the Hillary stripe will, if given the opportunity, put liberals to shame when it comes to nationalizing every remaining aspect of American private life.