Actually, not really a shocker for anyone who (a) has followed Hillary closely and (b) has a good eye for elaborate political theater.
Most people probably remember that New York mayor Bill de Blasio recently drew up a progressive manifesto called a Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality based upon the concept Newt Gingrich pioneered with his Contract for America back in 1994. Huffington Post's Sam Stein and Angela Terkel looked into how closely Hillary Clinton's policy views and record hews to their agenda.Spoiler Alert: She agrees with all thirteen principles of the agenda, as supported by her Senate record and both presidential campaigns. Bill de Blasio, who made big political theater out of withholding an endorsement for Clinton, despite being her campaign manager in 2000 and a longtime ally, is now effusively praising her campaign so far:
On Tuesday, however, de Blasio had only kind words for Clinton, saying he was "optimistic" so far about her direction on issues like immigration, mass incarceration and income inequality.
"We're obviously only weeks into her campaign, but I think she's said some very positive things directly on income inequality -- in Iowa, certainly," de Blasio said. "I think we see a strong beginning from her as she fleshes out her vision."
Indeed, a closer look at de Blasio's progressive agenda further complicates the narrative that Clinton is out of step. HuffPost examined Clinton's position on each of the elements de Blasio's agenda, and found that she is philosophically supportive of all 13 of the principles. Where we couldn't find an answer, we noted it. When she comes up short, it's largely a matter of degree or because she hasn't made her current stance fully known (whether intentionally or not). There are places here where she may be vulnerable to attacks from her primary opponents, who have records with fewer blanks to fill in. But Clinton has her defenders when it comes to her progressivism, including at least one person who has signed onto de Blasio's platform.
"I wouldn't be in this process if I thought it was an attempt to move Hillary Clinton to the left," said former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D), a former presidential candidate who supports Clinton and has signed on to de Blasio's statement of principles. "I view this as a way of setting a marker for Democrats so they don't stray as the way they did in the year before I ran."de Blasio has wisely withheld his endorsement as a way to get a seat at the table while national policy is being set. What's becoming clear about a potential Hillary Clinton presidency is that it will not be totally driven from the White House; Congressional and local leaders will have a prominent role in shaping the discussion.
One would expect that on a matter of executive authority, she'd be enthusiastically supporting the current president, if for no other reason than wanting to have the same executive authority if she becomes president herself.
But Clinton's refusal to support Obama's trade policy push, despite rapturously embracing the rest of his domestic policies, suggests she's more in line with de Blasio than Obama on trade, and at minimum, is respectful of the role that Congress needs to play in shaping national policy:
Clinton’s silence on trade, coming at the worst possible time for Obama, dovetails with her transformation into a presidential candidate eager to align herself more squarely with the liberal wing of her party. In other areas in which Clinton has moved to the left — such as immigration reform and gay marriage — White House aides have been delighted that she has forcefully embraced the president’s governing record.
But on trade, Clinton’s hedge has left Obama without political cover in his increasingly bitter feud with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other progressives, who have fiercely opposed the pact as a boondoggle for big business.To quote digby again, this level of policy discussion indicates that the policy conversations we are having speak to the strength of our party at this moment in history:
And I point out that so far the Democratic race is unfolding as a rather stately campaign of ideas while the Republicans are staging a chaotic three ring circus. Believe me, if there was serious disarray in the Democratic party they'd be giving the GOP a run for its money --- they have plenty of practice. As it happens the Democrats are more progressive, more populist and more cohesive than they've been in many years. That doesn't mean everyone's singing kumbaaya. It means that everyone sees a role in the Party and are taking those roles seriously trying to effect positive change. It's not that they're satisfied by any means. It's just that they're organized. That's the opposite of "disarray."If trends continue, it looks like progressives like Warren and de Blasio won't be banished to the back of the bus. They're going to get some turns at the wheel.
Crossposted at DailyKos