Why Clinton is the antithesis of Iowa's Democratic platform
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Iowa is a state of only 3 million people, yet leads the nation in the production of corn, soybeans, pork, eggs and other commodities. According to the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Hawkeye State's agriculture dominance helps the American farmer produce "enough food to feed about 155 people worldwide, making them among the most efficient producers in history." In addition to its status among the nation's top agricultural producers, Iowa's Democratic caucus propelled President Obama's first campaign by voting the then-Illinois senator first and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination O'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto Conservatives pound BuzzFeed, media over Cohen report MORE third in 2008. Similar to Obama in 2008, Iowans can make history by placing values and vision above billions of dollars in campaign donations (including money from foreign donors like Saudi Arabia), to decide the direction of the Democratic Party in 2016.

Perhaps the best way for Iowa's Democrats to decide between Hillary, former Gov. Martin O'Malley (Md.), former Sen. Jim Webb (Va.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Bill Maher defends Bernie Sanders campaign over sexual harassment allegations MORE (I-Vt.) is to compare their political philosophies to the "2014 Iowa Democratic Party State Platform." Unfortunately for Team Clinton, $2.5 billion and global name recognition won't move Clinton any closer toward the positions Iowa Democrats hold on war, foreign policy, social issues and Wall Street. Although Clinton has decades of name recognition and billions in campaign financing, when compared to Iowa's progressive vision for America, the former secretary of State is the antithesis of its Democratic platform.

Iowans who delve into Clinton's viewpoints on war, Wall Street, marriage equality and other key issues will see that people like O'Malley offer an infinitely better alternative to Clinton's more poll-driven and politically expedient vantage points. A closer look at Iowa's Democratic platform illustrates that the former secretary of State and first lady is on the opposite end of where Iowa stands on a wide variety of topics. According to Iowa's Democratic platform, issues like foreign policy, the economy and social issues are presented in a boldly progressive outlook:

On marriage, Iowa Democrats support "Non-discriminatory parenting adoption rights including ... LGBTQI and religious/nonreligious affiliation" and "Universal marriage equality."

On commerce and trade, they support "Trade agreements providing living wages ... [and] sound environmental/humane conditions."

On energy, they oppose "Fossil fuels/nuclear power subsidies" and "Tar sands oil/Keystone XL Pipeline."

On international affairs, they support "Combating terrorism as an international criminal problem with measured, rational and proportional responses" and oppose "Preemptive war without an imminent threat to US security" and "Militarization of US foreign policy."

On the Middle East, they support "Continued peaceful effort to resolve the Syrian conflict and provide humanitarian refugee relief."

As anyone can see from even a cursory glance at Iowa's Democratic platform, progressives in Iowa might easily find fault with Clinton's past and current views on key aspects of their vision for Iowa and the rest of the country.


On foreign policy and war, Clinton is more of an Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst Republican than Iowa Democrat. Clinton voted for both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars; she sides with neoconservatives, according to The New York Times; and has been described by Vox as more hawkish than Obama. If there's any question that Clinton shares the views of Republicans on war, noted neoconservative Robert Kagan is quoted in The New York Times as saying, "I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy. ... [I]t's something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else."

Forbes has referred to Clinton as the "2016 Neoconservative Standard Bearer," The Nation writes that she's echoed "the Neocons and the Far Right" and Salon published an article headlined "Don't Do It, Hillary! Joining Forces with Neocons Could Doom Democrats."

Therefore, it's obvious that Clinton will be even more inclined than Obama to engage in military interventions and aggressive foreign policy. This type of militarist mindset runs contrary to the view Iowa Democrats have toward, "preemptive war without an imminent threat to US security."

Her advocacy of arming the Syrian rebels also goes against the Iowa Democratic platform, as is Clinton's bombing intervention in Libya as secretary of State. It's important to note as well that Clinton used the term "smart power" in relation to Libya and Syria, when history has shown that U.S. military intervention had adverse effects in Libya. In a chaotic Middle East, Clinton's vision of "smart power" has produced the opposite of stability and democracy.

As a result of Republicans and Democrats like Clinton who voted for Iraq and Afghanistan, 49 Iowans have lost their lives in war and 338 Iowans have been wounded in battle according to iCasualties.org. In addition, the nationwide backlog has affected Iowa and 6,000 of its veterans are still waiting for their disability claims. In contrast to what military families in Iowa and around the country have experienced because of reckless foreign policy, Iowa's Democratic caucus should remember that Clinton advocated for the Iraq invasion on the Senate floor in 2002.

Also, the Iowa caucus should remember that O'Malley was "a longtime critic of the Iraq War" and Webb wrote a poignant Washington Post article against the Iraq invasion in 2002. As for marriage equality, Clinton evolved "just in time" to become president, while O'Malley signed Maryland's gay marriage bill (while Clinton was against gay marriage) back in 2013. O'Malley is vehemently against the Keystone XL pipeline, while Clinton "won't talk" about this or any other controversial topic without public opinion polls on her side. Finally, O'Malley has called the Trans-Pacific Partnership an example of "bad trade deals" while of course Clinton is still "on the fence" pertaining to the deal. While candidates like O'Malley, Webb and Sanders are outspoken, Clinton for some reason utters every word with shrewd calculation and a penchant for vapid centrism.

Most importantly for the state of Iowa, chances are that candidates who mean what they say (in addition to a candidate compared to President Kennedy by the The Daily Iowan) like Martin O'Malley and a decorated Vietnam veteran like Jim Webb will remember and owe a debt to Iowa forever if nominated by its Democratic caucus. When Team Hillary prescreens and "selects" the five Iowans deemed worthy of attending her events, this says something about Clinton's true feelings on the democratic process. If indeed Democrats in Iowa choose O'Malley or Webb over Clinton, the Hawkeye State would be sending a powerful message to New Hampshire and the rest of America. This message would be that sincerity and genuine policy advocacy trump billions in donor money, disingenuous centrism and name recognition.

Goodman is an author and a journalist.