Saturday, July 26, 2014

What sort of president...

...would Hillary Clinton be? Longtime Hillary-watcher Walter Shapiro says:

Ultimately she has an orthodox, mainstream, centrist, Eisenhower Republican view of the economy. It is much to the left of today’s Republican Party since there are no Eisenhower Republicans left, but it is also much less in keeping with large segments of the Democratic Party. I can see her being very involved in raising the minimum wage, because it’s not as if hedge-fund billionaires are on the barricades against it. But trying to do a better, tougher version of Dodd-Frank? Let’s merely say that the polls would have to get very dismal for Hillary leading up to the 2020 election for that to even be on her agenda. 

Maybe Mr. Shapiro is right. But I hope a Hillary Clinton presidency would more resemble that of another Republican, Theodore Roosevelt. (I think she has more liberal instincts than she's shown.)

In 1912, when TR ran on the Bull Moose ticket he called for:

  • A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies.
  • Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled.
  • Limited injunctions in strikes.
  • A minimum wage law for women.
  • An eight hour workday.
  • A federal securities commission.
  • Farm relief.
  • Workers' compensation for work-related injuries.
  • An inheritance tax.
  • A Constitutional amendment to allow a Federal income tax.
  • Women's suffrage.
  • Direct election of Senators.
  • Primary elections for state and federal nominations.
  • Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions.
  • Registration of lobbyists.
  • Recording and publication of Congressional committee proceedings.

That was a pretty progressive platform for a hundred years ago. But most of it came to pass eventually.

So what could Hillary do to build on TR's (and President Obama's) legacy? How about strengthening the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank; lowering the age for Medicare and Social Security; ending the wars on labor unions, women, gays, etc.; raising the minimum wage; expanding the estate tax and raising taxes on the 1 percent; and passing meaningful campaign finance reform. Oh, and while we're at it, how about immigration reform?

That would be a pretty good start, wouldn't it?

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