Hillary Clinton speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2013.
  • JStone/Shutterstock.com
  • Hillary Clinton speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2013.

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Glenn Greenwald is a badass Pulitzer-winning journalist who worked with Edward Snowden and exposed the National Security Agency's Orwellian surveillance apparatus last year. Unlike a lot of journalists, though, he's not afraid to stake out unpopular political positions. GQ asked him what he thinks of the potential 2016 presidential contenders, and he responded:

Hillary is banal, corrupted, drained of vibrancy and passion. I mean, she’s been around forever, the Clinton circle. She’s a fucking hawk and like a neocon, practically. She’s surrounded by all these sleazy money types who are just corrupting everything everywhere. But she’s going to be the first female president, and women in America are going to be completely invested in her candidacy. Opposition to her is going to be depicted as misogynistic, like opposition to Obama has been depicted as racist. It’s going to be this completely symbolic messaging that’s going to overshadow the fact that she’ll do nothing but continue everything in pursuit of her own power. They’ll probably have a gay person after Hillary who’s just going to do the same thing.

I hope this happens so badly, because I think it’ll be so instructive in that regard. It’ll prove the point. Americans love to mock the idea of monarchy, and yet we have our own de facto monarchy. I think what these leaks did is, they demonstrated that there really is this government that just is the kind of permanent government that doesn’t get affected by election choices and that isn’t in any way accountable to any sort of democratic transparency and just creates its own world off on its own.

That's strong stuff. If you're not familiar with Greenwald's brand of radical dissent, there's a lot to unpack there:

Let's start with Clinton—why would you call her a neocon? Well, she voted for the Iraq war. She presided over a hawkish, imperial State Department. Over the past year or so, she's earned $400,000 from speaking engagements at Goldman Sachs, where, according to Politico, "Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring," one that condemned Occupy Wall Street-type populists. And last month, echoing her counterparts on the right, she blasted Edward Snowden, instead of praising him as the courageous whistleblower he is, and claimed his leaks had empowered terrorists. Greenwald probably took that last one personally.

A neocon and corrupted by money? Yeah, pretty much. (As a reporter in Haiti, I personally witnessed how she and her State Department underlings engineered a right-wing, business-friendly outcome in that country's 2011 presidential election, and otherwise botched its post-quake recovery process.)

Then Greenwald, who is gay, attacks identity politics, whether they're based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. This is where he opens himself to being pigeonholed as an asshole libertarian white guy, because he didn't include a caveat that yes, indeed, much of the opposition to Obama has been racist—something I'm sure Greenwald would agree with. Taking this interview on its own, it's an bothersome omission that makes him sound the opposite of progressive.

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Which is too bad, because the rest of his critique hits the mark. Obama has largely received a pass for paternalistic rhetoric towards African-Americans and underwhelming policies to address racial injustices. Fuck yeah, it'd be awesome to finally elect a woman prez, but Clinton's brand of feminism, as far as I can tell, hews closely to the corporate "Lean In" version. That's better than no feminist politics at all, but is that the best we can hope for? Is there anyone who isn't a sycophant or a loyal Democrat who's actually excited about anything Clinton has said or done in the past decade—besides wearing sunglasses while texting on an airplane, because it looked cool?

Oh look, both Clintons are still trying to milk that meme.

As for Greenwald's comments on our form of government, consider: if Clinton wins, the names of presidents since the 90s will be Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Clinton. Her election, in light of the affirmation from a recent Princeton study that America is more of an oligarchy than democracy, would leave us with a kind of corporate-backed monarchy (there's also nonstop chatter about Jeb Bush). Hopefully someone—Bernie Sanders? Elizabeth Warren?—runs to Clinton's left in the primary and wins. But don't count on it.