Betraying Her Roots

by Jonah Goldberg

If you actually listen to the Hillary interview linked below one thing really strikes me. She talks movingly about the lessons she learned from her hardworking, self-sufficient father. But nowhere does she actually account for the fact that her philosophy today is 180 degrees in the other direction from her father’s.

I know I’m only one of 17 conservatives who has actually bothered to read It Takes a Village but it does seem worth noting that its message is completely and radically different from self-sufficiency and the autonomy of the family. In Hillary’s village social workers, corporations, politicians, neighbors, schools , everybody has not only a right, but an obligation, to get involved in everyone’s life, particularly the life of kids. Again: Hillary Clinton has said that we need to get beyond the idea that there’s any such thing as someone’s else’s child. I find that  horrifying. 

Hillary wants credit for coming from Mayberry and telegraphs that her values are small town America values. But the fact is her political philosophy is totally at odds with that. Gibson notes how Hillary underwent a “political transformation” in college. And everyone is familiar with that story by now. But, what he doesn’t say is that Hillary rejected the lessons of her father. Indeed, it seems no journalist ever bothers to ask her in a serious and thoughtful way about the contradiction between her boasting of imbibing her dad’s conservative values and the consequences of her political transformation. 

In its form, this spin reminds me a bit of Hillary’s answer in the YouTube debate when she was asked if she was a liberal.  “You know,” she said, “it 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. 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.”

“I prefer the word ‘progressive,’” Mrs. Clinton continued, “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.”

Now the brilliance of this answer was that it sounded like she wanted to take credit for all the positive connotations of liberalism and none of the negative ones. And that is what she wanted  to do. But the simple plain historical fact is that the Progressives were the enemies of the freedom-loving 19th century liberals. They were the ones who loved  big government. When she calls herself a “modern progressive” she is in fact reaffirming her faith in big government while sounding like she stands against it. I mean, come one, does anyone think Hillary Clinton is truly hostile to big government? Really?

The similarity is striking insofar as in both cases Hillary is taking credit for a past she in fact has cut herself off from. She is in no way shape or form a 19th century liberal and she is in no way  shape or form a believer in the rugged individualism of her father. But she doesn’t want you to know that.  And neither does Charlie Gibson.

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