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Ralph Nader > In the Public Interest > Clinton Bashing

Now it’s Clinton’s turn to soar upward in the moonshine polls. Much arching of the eyebrows has been directed toward Bush’s earlier statement that he “will do whatever it takes to get elected.” Clinton is a little different. He will say whatever needs to be said to get elected.

A few weeks ago in a rhetorical whirl he said “I am pro business and pro labor, pro environment and pro growth and pro America. “There goes Bill again. He’ll tell you what you want to hear, with a new twist being a call to responsibility by the poor, workers, parents, except corporations. He has yet to deliver a speech on corporate responsibility to avoid committing crime, demanding welfare or fleeing the country if the companies don’t get their foot-stomping way. Because his positions are so bland and similar to those of Bush, except for taxing the very rich a little more, the Clinton character issue will come to the forefront once again.

This probably will not focus on his multiple infidelities that scores of his friends, acquaintances and observers have volunteered to wryly mention over the years. After all, he is for strong family values. And because the lowly tabloids sprung to describe his affairs, the mainstream press won’t touch the subject short of a validated videotape. Absent this evidence, Clinton has been inoculated by the Star and Gennifer Flower’s $150,000 store sale from future disclosures.

The character issue this time will be more substantive and less gonadal. Clinton goes with the power structure every time on his road to political power. He has even suppressed his wife, Hillary’s personality and stature by consigning her to attending teas with the spouses and baking cookies which she passes out in little bags. The “loyal helpmate” noted the Washington Post, using a word that most women resent. Hillary has been muzzled. Given her talent and lawyerly inclination to voice strong opinions, this transformation is more than a tactic. It amounts to an expedient surrender of her identity to the larger ambition in November. Next month, look for a number of Hillary interviews in Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and other cuddly women’s magazines certifying her as a homemaker type of person.

The Clinton campaign is in full production of illusions. Keep saying one thing after another and never mind that you did just the opposite as Governor of Arkansas where Clinton’s political character was forged.

Here is the routine. Produce many pictures with common folk in that poor state at country fairs and other amiable gatherings. Then tax them more while letting the corporations off easily with periodic tax abatements and other subsidies that are called incentives.

Let the corporations turn parts of the state’s water, land and air into polluted sewers. But tell national think tank audiences in Washington and New York how much you support a clean environment.

Meet regularly with corporate lobbyists and fly on corporate planes with their executives. Then let desperate people up against the corporate boot wait for months before you give them a meeting.

That is what happened in Jacksonville, Arkansas to the mothers and fathers of toxic-poisoned children who begged for over a year to see the Governor of this small state about the well-connected companies who were poisoning their town. The meeting produced nothing.

The state government that he has governed for nearly a dozen years came in 50th in occupational safety enforcement and 48th in environmental programs according to reputable national citizen groups’ evaluation. Corporate law and order is not to Clinton’s taste. He figured out that signalling softness on corporate crime, fraud and abuse will smooth his way to the White House among the king makers.

Clinton had one crusade — he took on the school teachers in Arkansas and subjected them to testing. He taxed the masses to increase the educational budget. But to the banks, the utilities and other industries who have made Arkansas into a plantation of privilege, greed and power, Clinton looked the other way.

The day before Clinton’s acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention in New York City, Jerry Brown offered him an olive branch. Adopt limited terms, repeal of the White House/Congressional Pay Grab and a $100 limit on any political contribution as a humility agenda to be presented to Congress next year. Clinton said no. Well, Brown replied, can you just adopt in the Party Platform the $100 reform to tell the American people that you are serious about getting federal politicians off the buy or rent auction block? Even this request Clinton turned down.

The story behind why Jerry Brown did not endorse Bill Clinton portends more about Clinton’s character than about Brown’s persistence.