Vox’s Matt Yglesias says progressives would be wise to embrace Hillary Clinton because she has a track record of caring more about results than process. In other words, she’ll bend or even break the rules to get a win for the progressive cause.
Yglesias writes, “Clinton’s record in politics is characterized by a clear willingness to push harder than the typical public figure against existing norms.” That’s a fairly gentle way to describe Clinton’s history of steamrolling anything that won’t land her in prison. That’s the kind of creative use of raw power progressives should want in the White House, says Yglesias:
She truly is the perfect leader for America’s moment of permanent constitutional crisis: a person who cares more about results than process, who cares more about winning the battle than being well-liked, and a person who believes in asking what she can get away with rather than what would look best. In other words, as nervous as the rumblings of scandal around her emails make many Democrats, the exact same qualities that led to the server drama are the ones that, if she wins, will make her capable of delivering on the party’s priorities in a way few others could.
The really striking part of Yglesias’s argument is not that he sees Clinton’s essential dishonesty as a plus; it’s much worse than that.
Seven months ago, he wrote a lengthy piece titled, “American democracy is doomed.” The gist of his argument was that congressional gridlock had led two successive presidents to violate some basic norms of governance in order to get things done. And furthermore, that tendency could lead to the collapse of the entire American system in 20 to 30 years. In other words, Yglesias is now cheering for something which he recently said could lead to the collapse of the Constitution. Talk about going outside the norms to win.
Since it’s impossible to downplay the hypocrisy of his position, Yglesias embraces it. When President George W. Bush used his executive power, he admits, progressives like himself considered it a sure sign of creeping fascism:
Back when George W. Bush was president and I was working at a liberal magazine, there was a very serious discussion in an editorial meeting about the fact that the United States was now exhibiting 11 of the 13 telltale signs of a fascist dictatorship. The idea that Bush was shredding the Constitution and trampling on congressional prerogatives was commonplace.
A few years later, Yglesias is now ready to embrace the “fascist dictatorship” and, potentially, the end of America as we know it, so long as the dictator is to his liking.
As a reason to ignore Clinton’s email scandal, this seems less a defense than an admission of guilt. It’s the equivalent of suggesting that Bill Clinton may be a cheating cad, but if your marriage is doomed anyway, wouldn’t he make a great wingman?