On Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties, Hillary Clinton Is Not a Progressive

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/J
Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

If George Bush claimed he were a progressive, we would rightly laugh. Yet no one -- no one -- challenged Clinton's unequivocal claim to progressivism at the CNN Democratic debate earlier this week. Below is a list of six reasons why Clinton -- far from being a progressive -- could be little different from a slightly liberal George Bush, especially on foreign policy and the protection of constitutional rights.

(1) Clinton voted to authorize the so-called "Patriot" Act in 2001, and then to re-authorize that unconstitutional act in 2006, throwing our Fourth Amendment rights under the bus.

(2) Clinton is as hawkish as John McCain. As Former Congressman Joe Scarborough has pointed out, Hillary Clinton is "the neocon's neocon ... she will be more of a sabre-rattler and more of a neocon than the Republican nominee ... There's hardly been a military engagement that Hillary hasn't been for in the past 20 years." As Clinton's vote for the disastrous Iraq War suggests, it is far from clear that Clinton would refrain from the unnecessary use of force if elected president.

(3) Clinton supported criminalizing flag desecration, a disagreeable practice that nonetheless deserves First Amendment protection, when she proposed the Flag Protection Act of 2005.

(4) When discussing Edward Snowden at the Democratic Debate, Clinton skimmed over the U.S. government's violations of federal law and instead condemned Snowden, suggesting he "face the music." In addition, she repeated the controverted claim that Snowden could have successfully acted as a whistleblower; as John Cassidy points out, this argument is clearly wrong: The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 doesn't cover intelligence employees, and the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act is "little more than a trap."

(5) Unlike Bernie Sanders, Clinton apparently supports the death penalty. In a 2000 run for Senate, Clinton was quoted as saying the "death penalty" has her "unenthusiastic support." She has been mostly quiet on the issue since then, but all indications point to her continued support of a practice that murders the wrongfully convicted, disproportionately targets poor and black Americans, and heavily tarnishes our country's moral fabric.

(6) Clinton's personal opinion on gay marriage did not "evolve" until March 2013, when the political winds were clearly blowing in the direction of marriage equality.

Hillary Clinton is a conservative Barack Obama or, perhaps, a liberal George Bush. But she is not a progressive. On civil liberties and foreign policy, she is a right-wing Democrat. And progressives should keep that in mind when casting their votes during the Democratic Primary.