What defines a "progressive" and is Hillary one?

I’ve never quite gotten my hands around the meaning of the term “progressive”, especially as opposed to “liberal”, in American politics. I know there are quite a few self-proclaimed progressives on this MB, so I’d like hear it form the horse’s mouth (so to speak).

And since she’s running around now claiming to be a progressive, I’m curious what actual progressives think about Hillary Clinton. Can she legitimately claim to be one? It’s hard for me to imagine that “progressives” would have voted for the Iraq AUMF, bombed Libya (and now Syria), taken buckets full of $$ from Wall Street firms (just off the top of my head). But as I noted above, I’m not so sure I have a good handle on what it means to be one, so I could wrong.

Putting it here because I’m more interested in reading what folks have to say rather than debating.

n.b.: Not wanting this to turn into a bash Hillary fest. I’m sure if she’s the Democratic nominee for president, most of us Americans on this MB will be voting for her. I almost certainly will, and I think she will be a perfectly adequate, although not great, president.

She is interested in her career progressing to the White House.

So year, she’s a “progressive”.

I’ve always thought of myself as a small “l” liberal. However, on the political spectrum between Bernie and Hillary, I’m much closer to Bernie’s definition of “progressive”. (But if I had the option, I think I’d choose Elizabeth Warren.)

BTW, I realize this is not black and white. I’m sure HRC aligns with progressives on some number of issues. If someone is, say, 75% aligned with what progressives think, i’d be willing to say that person is a progressive. At 50%, I’d look askance at a claim of being one. And of course, if we’re going to do the math, we have to take a weighted average of the issues since some are much more important than others.

ETA: Jackmannii, that was funny. :slight_smile:

IME, progressive means basically the same thing as liberal, it’s just that the right-wing media succeeded in making liberal into a dirty word and so liberals had to come up with a new word for liberal. Younger liberals tend to self-identify as progressives more, but I think that’s mostly just because they grew up in the Rush Limbaugh/Fox News era and have internalized the negative implications of the word liberal more than their older brethren.

Maybe. Hasn’t “progressive” been around for a very long time? Why did we need a different label long before the RW demonized “liberal”?

Turn of the 21st century progressives borrowed the term from turn of the 20th century progressives, but they’re not directly related otherwise.

I didn’t know that. What are the differences?

That’s my take on it. There’s no real difference between liberal and progressive. Liberals took up the progressive label because the word “liberal” had been demonized.

The progressives of the 1890s-1930s became the liberals of the post-WWII era (both of which included some Republicans). With Reaganism liberal began to be a dirty word, so now progressive has been taken up.

Here’s an article of the Progressives of the early 20th Century.

Wikipedia has a write-up on the Progressive Era from around the turn of the 20th century. (Colibri types faster than me…)

As for a modern definition the entry on the Congressional Progressive Caucus describes their principles:

“Their policy agenda is rooted in four core principles: (1) fighting for economic justice and security in the U.S. and global economies; (2) protecting and preserving civil rights and civil liberties; (3) promoting global peace and security; and (4) strengthening environmental protection and energy independence. Their fundamental fairness plan reflects national priorities that are consistent with the values, needs, and hopes of all Americans, not just the powerful and the privileged.”

As for Hillary Clinton, well, her venn diagram might overlap a tad with the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but IMHO she is by no means a true believer.

Aside from a few supporting Eugenics, that sounds like it could apply to modern liberals/progressives. There’s pro-prohibition, too, but that was a unique issue of the times, and perhaps a lesson that had to be learned.

On the couple of times I attempted to listen to Janeane Garofalo’s horrible show on Air America I assumed she used progressive so that she could call Republicans regressive about 10 times a minute. In American politics progressive and liberal are the same.

‘liberal’ isn’t a word we use very much here, except for members of The Liberal Party, an electoral irrelevance for much of the past century, though they had a taste of coalition government in the last electoral cycle. ‘Progressive’ would be how many here on the Left would describe themselves instead, especially if they don’t want anything to do with the Lib-Dem party.

The term’s use by modern day progressives is certainly hearkening back to the earlier progressives, so it’s no coincidence that they believed in some similar things. I’ve always suspected part of it is trying to wipe away the right-wing caricature of the wimpy liberal and replace it with visions of Teddy Roosevelt and the various other brash progressive-era reformers.

Has Clinton ever actually published a platform list? How do I know if I agree with her?

Health care is pretty well assured, given her commission on health care reform when Bill was President. Women’s issues seem highly likely; I can’t imagine her taking a pro-life position.

On what issues would she differ from the liberal line? What’s her view on free trade? (This being one of the places Obama seems to differ from the liberal line.)

Although it’s mostly just the Rush Limbaugh factor, “liberal” did originally mean something closer to the modern “libertarian”: Support for limited, constitutional government that respects individual human and civil rights (including property rights), as opposed to aristocracy, absolute monarchy, theocracy, and so on. Even now, there is such a thing as conservative liberalism, and in many countries outside the United States, liberal still means something more like libertarian (as in the Liberal Party of Australia). In the U.S., liberalism has overwhelmingly come to mean “progressive liberalism”, the 20th/21st century branch of liberalism which still supports limited, constitutional government that respects individual human and civil rights, but has now also evolved to include a desire to secure at least equality of opportunity in the economic sphere, and I would say to have the government support individuals and allow them to realize individual liberty by doing things like guaranteeing access to basic education and healthcare for all. (And therefore puts much less emphasis on the “limited government” part of things than 19th century liberals did, though modern progressive liberals still generally don’t want the government to poke its nose into people’s bedrooms or get involved in religion.) In the U.S. other, older kinds of liberalism now need a modifier if you want to talk about them (like “classical liberalism”).

You know how Hillary’s been running all around, talking about how Bernie will ruin everything that Liberals have accomplished in the last eight years by trying to make big changes? And how we should all be happy with little improvements rather than swinging for the fences?

Progressives are the people calling her a disingenuous old cow over it.

That’s because Hillary is not a Progressive. She’s barely a Liberal. She’s less liberal than Obama, for example (and he’s not exactly a Liberal poster child, either.). Hillary is a centrist. She generally approves of liberal goals, but she’s not willing to upend the status quo for them - especially if there’s money involved. I don’t believe for a minute that Hillary would have pushed for gay marriage or the ACA, to pick two examples. Everything she does, she does with an eye to the polls for next election.

I’m a Progressive. I’ll vote for Hillary, if she wins the nomination, and I’m sure she’ll do a reasonable job if elected. She’s sane and smart, which puts her well above her Republican challengers. But I don’t like her and I don’t trust her. I’m not convinced that she’s more electable than Bernie, even though I’m awake to all of Bernie’s shortcomings. I’d respect her a lot more if she didn’t lie about who she is.

According to Daily Kos, Hillary Clinton was the 11th most Liberal member of the Senate when she was there:

I’d argue that is more than sufficiently “Progressive”.

Yeahhhh, no. The conclusion of your article says:

Progressives are not the mainstream of the Democratic Party. We’re the bomb throwers who are fed up with trying to work with the conservatives.

I would also point out that that article is rating her Liberalness based on how she voted eight years ago, during very different times and congressional makeups.