In 1964, Hillary Clinton had her first brush with power when she campaigned for Barry Goldwater in his unsuccessful bid to become US President.
Goldwater was a deeply interesting man, an honest man and a thinking man. Although much of his rhetoric was that of Cold War bluster, in reality his more mild mannered successors did many of the inane things which his opponents accused him of advocating.
When Goldwater became the Republican nominee for president in 1964, it was deeply controversial. People thought that the party would split between a moderate and conservative wing. A would-be time traveller would be forgiven for calling it a ‘Donald Trump moment’.
In his speech from the nominating floor, Goldwater uttered the famous statement: “Let me remind you, that extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice and let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue”.
Goldwater was being simultaneously serious and sarcastic, taking the ‘extremist’ label his opponents tarred him with and inverted the meaning and context. The humour was lost on many, it seems even on the young Hillary Clinton.
Fast forward to today when the humourless Hillary Clinton is a Democrat and is attempting to paint her Republican opponent as an extremist.
However this betrays the facts. Hillary Clinton is a practitioner and advocate of policies far more extreme than anything Goldwater would have dreamt of.
Goldwater was something of a Cold War Manichean and once the Cold War was over he thought that the game was over. One could sum up his attitude as: that’s it, no more wars to threaten.
Yet for the generation which came to power after the Cold War, the big lies of Goldwater’s opponents stood revealed. The other Cold Warriors really just wanted to enrich their public profile and in many cases their private purse by warmongering, no matter who the enemy of the day was. Hillary Clinton is a prime example of this.
Clinton has never met a war she didn’t like, from Goldwater’s Cold War, to the Gulf War, to her husband’s bombings of Iraq, the war on Yugoslavia, the bombing of civilians in Sudan, to George Bush’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
On becoming Barack Obama’s Secretary of State, she was the leader of the ‘war party’.
Libya which is now even more of a failed state than Iraq is testament to Hillary Clinton’s personal crusade. But she hasn’t stopped there. She now wants war on Syria; she wants cyber war; she wants to revive a Cold War with Russia. At the buffet of war, there is no item which Hillary Clinton will not pile on her plate.
The most honest part of the first Presidential debate was when Hillary Clinton advocated war and gloried in her war record, whilst Trump said he opposed the Iraq war and expressed scepticism towards all of the wars Clinton advocates. The chasm between extremism and moderation was made clear for all to see.
Why then is Trump portrayed as the extremist by the Western media?
One can effectively answer this question by reworking Goldwater’s famous expression: Hillary Clinton is an exemplar of moderate rhetoric in pursuit of extremism, whilst in the case of Trump the inverse is true.
He uses flamboyant rhetoric, the humour of which is often lost on overtly literal media flunkies, in the pursuit of what constitutes the most moderate and sensible foreign policy of any contending US presidential candidate in recent memory.
But there is another reason that Trump is portrayed as some kind of extremist.
In more ways than one, he has taken on the Washington and globalist establishment; he has taken on the military industrial complex; he has taken on Wall Street; he has taken on big trade (think TTIP); he has taken on big media and embraced new media and social media.
For the establishment this does indeed make him an extremist, an extremist in the defence of liberty.