I don’t like Hillary Clinton. I never have and probably never will. I think she was the worst possible nomination Democrats could make and the only reason she isn’t down in the polls by 30 points is because of the extremely low quality of her opponents. If it weren’t for that, she couldn’t get elected to president of the local PTA.
Here is why:
1) She isn’t a leader
Clinton does not lead or as conservatives like to say about Obama, she leads from behind. She is a poll driven politician. She claims her positions have “evolved”. Coincedentally, her “evolving” happens to be around the same time that polls show 50%+ support for something.
For example, she says she has always been in favor of LGBT rights. However, she didn’t support gay marriage until 2013 when polls showed that the majority of Americans supported it. Before that, she supported DOMA because that is what polls showed was favorable. Then she supported (“separate but equal”) civil unions when polls showed that was the flavor of the moment. Then, she “always” supported LGBT rights as soon as polls showed popular support.
She tried to be a leader once. Back in the 90’s when she lead the Clinton administration healthcare panel, she tried being out in front of the polls and do what was right. She received a lot of public humiliation and a serious smack down in rejection. The lesson she seems to have learned from that is that leading sucks and to wait for popular opinion to drive, then swoop in to claim the glory.
That isn’t leadership. That is being trendy.
2) The constant triangulation
Bill Maher pointed out one of the biggest criticisms of the Clintons is that both triangulate every move. What is triangulation? Triangulation is looking at every side of an issue and then setting yourself at the dead center. It is the political equivalent of the journalistic “fair and balanced” to give equal air time to people who claim that vaccines cause autism. Doesn’t matter how ridiculous the other side is, shoot for the exact middle and work your way down from there. She calls this “being practical” and “getting things done”.
Think of it this way. If you were negotiating selling something and you talked to everybody and they all agreed that it was worth $200. So you go into negotiating and the other side’s opening bid is $10. You then say $200. Eventually, you settle on a price of $75 and you gleefully claim that “at least you got more than $10”.
President Obama tried to emulate this tactic and received massive criticism for it from the left. Remember those times when he started budget negotiations by putting social security on the table? Obama failed at it miserably because Republicans opening bid was “$10, take it or leave it” and leaving the table.
It is a piss poor negotiating tactic to start at what you think you can get, instead of what you want, and then negotiating down from there. That is the tactic of selling the farm to buy a cow. That is the Clinton model of “getting things done”.
How can we trust her? What good will it do for her to get her signature stance of equal pay for women if the solution she negotiates is to lower men’s pay down instead of women’s pay up? Sure, she will claim success because she got equal pay. Did it actually help anybody?
3) She is the definition of a politician
Look up the definition of politician in the dictionary and you will find a picture of Hillary Clinton. I don’t mean the neutral definition, I mean politician as the dirty pejorative that most of us use it as.
Many of her friends and associates don’t understand why nobody likes her. They say that in private she is quite warm and funny. Much like the public persona of Bill, when he isn’t being political. Her public persona though, is the definition of politician. Every single word she says is calculated, scripted, and put through 27 focus groups for the exact wording. Even her lame jokes. You get the feeling that the teleprompter in her speeches has things like *smile here* to remind her.
Yes, she is a policy wonk and that is boring as hell to most people. Doesn’t bother me a bit. Remembering back to the 2000 election, I would rather have the person that will put you to sleep talking about the details of issues as President than the person you can go out and have a beer with. Intelligence is not a bad quality in a President. It isn’t being dry and boring that is a turn off. Clinton is so scripted it is beyond robotic. Most politicians have those fake “heart warming” stories to relate to people. Clinton’s “common person” stories are said as robotically as descriptions of policy nuance. Does anybody think that she believes a single word of it or was it just what did well in focus groups? Even when she appears to be angry about something and claiming to fight for it, do you think “did the teleprompter have *in an angry tone*….”.
She comes off as being as genuine as a $3 bill and she NEVER breaks form.
4) She is bought and paid for
We have set the bar for corruption so astronomically high in the US that you need the starship Enterprise to cross it. Somehow Clinton still manages to go right up to that line or at least give the appearance of going right up to that line.
When a person is officially running for office, there are a lot of rules that come into effect as far as raising money is concerned. They cannot take money for themselves, as opposed to your campaign, and there are limits to how much you can be given. They cannot coordinate with PACs. The list goes on and on.
Remember when Clinton left the State Department and went on the “I may or may not be running for President” book tour. For 3 years she played the “I’m thinking about it” game when everyone knew that she was running for President. What did that mean though? That meant that she could get 6 figure payments for speaking fees, instead of 4 figure campaign contributions. It meant that she could raise unlimited amounts for her PAC and had 3 years of directing the PAC personally. All perfectly legal but have no illusions about it, she was being paid because she was (unofficially) running for president.
Then there is the Clinton Foundation. It does a lot of good around the world. The Clinton’s themselves receive absolutely no funds from the foundation. Those are facts. Dig a little deeper though. There are a lot of multi-million dollar contracts for work that the foundation gives out to companies that are owned by close family friends. The foundation itself may be on the up-and-up, but some of its dealings certainly at least give the impression of impropriety.
That is the catch. Everything Clinton has done may be perfectly legal, but at the very minimum, she continually gives the impression of impropriety and certainly at least appears to get herself right up to that astronomically high bar of corruption.
The recent WikiLeaks documents outlining parts of the speeches she gave to Wall St, that she so carefully guarded during the primaries, show that she is beholden to them. With great material such as saying that Wall St took too much blame for the recession. Really? Too much? Does anybody in the working class believe that Wall St received too much criticism or were treated too harshly with their trillion dollar bail outs and multi-million dollar post-crash bonuses?
She also said that she thinks that the only people that should be regulating Wall St are Wall St insiders. You know, the same types of people who have been setting policy and regulating Wall St for the past 40 years or so in which we had the S&L scandal, the dot com boom, and the great recession. So which of those firms that gave her a 6 figure speaking fee will get rewarded with a VP in charge of the SEC?
She also admitted in her speeches that she was out of touch with the common person. When the only people you associate with or are friends with are in the 1%, you tend to have no idea what the concerns are for people who aren’t complaining that they cannot afford a 6th home in Aruba. It is hard to relate to someone who lost their only home because their bank sold their mortgage into a risky investment package. When the only people who get to talk to you are people who are losing $0.10 per multi-million dollar deal because of regulation, then that regulation becomes the annoyance, not the people whose retirement fund it protects.
She has said, of her business friendly tenure in the Senate, that she represented Wall St, so it was her job to support them. What about the millions of other people she represented who couldn’t write her a 6 figure check for a speech? Wasn’t she supposed to represent them also?
5) Anything for power
During her Wall St speeches, she said politicians have to have public and private positions. That was very clear during the primaries. She adopted many of Sanders progressive policies during the primaries. Since then, she has been slowly walking them back. The “red flags” from her Wall St speeches show what her real policies are. Her stances during the primaries weren’t principled or her “evolving”, they were her saying whatever she needed to say in order to win. The leaks show that in reality, she is exactly what the Sanders supporters said she was all along and that her supporters claim that she isn’t. She will say or be whatever she needs to in order to win.
The reality check
With all of that being said, and as much as I hate to say the following, you should vote for Clinton anyway. Sadly, our election process doesn’t allow for a “none of the above” or a do-over. There is one vote, and if nobody wins outright, it goes to the House of Representatives to decide between the top 2 candidates.
Here is why you should vote for Clinton.
1) Trump: Trump is just a walking nightmare. He knows nothing about anything and tries to offend everyone. What few policies he has articulated are terrible and will do great damage to the country. He isn’t fit to be president of a fraternity, much less a country.
2) Johnson: The Libertarian Party is the feel good protest vote against the 2 worst major party candidates in history. However, there is a reality check. The Libertarian economic platform is worse than Trump’s. It is put the middle class (and poor) in the toilet and flush repeatedly, then plunge it just to be sure. That is the reality.
In addition, like it or not, the US is the world leader. Militarily and economically. We have ties everywhere, in every way. We cannot just stop and drop out of the world overnight. While he probably knows and understands more than Trump, Johnson has a distinct lack of knowledge in this area and a platform of isolationism just isn’t realistic or feasible.
Sure, he is pro-pot and pro-choice. Is that really a good trade-off for flushing the economy down the toilet?
3) Stein: She has the progressive credentials. Her heart is in the right place most of the time. However, she is no more qualified or ready to be president than Trump is. She is the progressive “feel good” equivalent to the Tea Party and Palin. No, that doesn’t mean that she is as dumb as Palin, just that she says the right things to make progressives feel good about her on the surface.
4) Clinton: Yes, she will maintain the status quo. Yes, she will fiddle around the edges of social issues to claim progress while giving away all sorts of handouts to Wall St. Yes, she will perpetuate the wars on everything. Yes, Republicans are going to have a meeting on inauguration day and take a blood oath to block everything she tries to do and there will be hearings in the House for impeachment calls at least once a month. Yes, it will be a constant annoying shitstorm of government dysfunction that we all hate and by year 2, congress will probably set a record for only being in session for 10 days the whole year.
Why vote for her with all of those negatives? There is one good reason. Clinton will do the least damage to the country. By maintaining the status quo, her policies may continue the slow decline of the middle class and do very little to move social issues forward, but they won’t throw the economy off a cliff or return social issues to the 1940’s. She won’t completely destroy the US standing in the world or make us a pariah state.
Under Clinton, 4 years from now, things are basically going to be the same. Nobody who works for a living is going to get a raise, even though prices will go up. The only social issues that improve will be due to the first progressive SCOTUS in 50 years.
It will be a holding pattern of slow decline and simply put, that is the best case we can hope for from this election.
As much as it pains me to say it, suck it up buttercup and vote for Clinton.
Unfortunately, this election is lost to the people. All we can do with this election is damage control.
Two years from now though, we need to have a progressive version of the Tea Party wave in 2010. Instead of working within the Democratic party though, it is time to abandon them and start new. We need to start with congress and state legislatures in 2018 and vote out Clinton in 2020. Start a new party or run independents. Sanders gave us hope in 2016. Let’s take that hope and put it into action by breaking the 2 parties in the next 2 elections.