Sunday, January 20, 2008

Attention Hillary Clinton Supporters

Right now, Obama's my guy. But I'm trying to mentally prepare for a McCain/Clinton election. I don't think it's a foregone conclusion like so many others seem to, but in case it's there, I want to be ready.

Somebody please give me a reason to like Hillary Clinton. Because right now, I'm undecided.

That's right: after 8 years of W angering me in so many ways, there's actually a chance I'll vote for his party.

Here's what troubles me.

I do not get the sense that Hillary Clinton follows her principles. In fact, I couldn't tell you what her principles are. I get the sense she follows what she believes is popular rather than what is right.

To be fair, I believe that McCain did this in 2000, when he went from the "Straight Talk Express" to speaking at Bob Jones University. That's awful.

But let's compare the candidates on the war.

Both voted to authorize the invasion. I believe McCain did so out of his beliefs; I believe Clinton did so because she wanted to be electable.

McCain 1, Clinton 0.

When Abu Ghraib came forward, McCain loudly, eloquently, and passionately took it to the administration. He demanded answers. I'll never forget him asking Rumsfeld for the chain of command from the torturers up through the Secretary of Defense (and Rumsfeld's inability to answer). I'm sure Clinton was on Bush too, but she was certainly quieter. McCain was better at standing up for what this country should be about.

McCain 2, Clinton 0.

That's right: I believe that McCain is actually better on the war issue than Clinton is. If we had Obama or Gore in know someobdy who actually voted against this goddamned'd be different. But if it's McCain/Clinton, we'll have an election between two war supporters. So I have to go with what they've said about how to prosecute this war. I don't remember Clinton talking much about it. McCain has been quite outspoken, at some risk to his popularity with the Republican base, in criticizing Bush's prosecution of the war. Again, I think it's because, in spite of his '00 missteps, McCain is actually following his conscience this time around. I don't get the sense Clinton is. She's following the vicissitudes of the polls.

Yes, I know that McCain actually wants more troops in Iraq and Clinton wants to pull out. But I can't forgive Clinton for voting to put us there in the damn first place. At least I feel like McCain stands for something. Clinton stands for getting elected.

So, Clinton supporters: You're in danger of losing this lifelong Democrat's vote this year.

Please tell me what Clinton stands for other than attempts to be popular, and please show me what her actions have been that demonstrate it. I want to vote Democratic, but I don't want to vote for someone whose #1 goal is being President rather than standing up for something she believes in.

Either way, if this is the best we can do, I think I'll be holding my nose in November.


tommyspoon said...

I think the score should be McCain 1 Clinton 0. I understand that you are taking McCain's motivations into account, but those are moot to me. A vote for a costly and unnecessary war is still wrong, regardless of the convictions for casting such a vote. IMHO, he should have known better. If he loves the troops so much why did he choose to throw them into an unjust meatgrinder?

You say that Hillary just wants to be president. I say the same thing about McCain. I can smell his desperation and sense of entitlement a mile away. I might have voted for him in 2000 despite that stench, but I can't pull the lever for him now. The smell is overpowering.

RE: Hillary. I have no answers for you. If nominated, I will hold my nose and vote for her, because we've had a Republican in the WH for 8 years too long. Maybe she can be the change agent she claims to be, I don't know. But I'm willing to give her a chance. Lord knows it couldn't be any worse than the previous 8 years. And having a female president would be pretty neat.

God almighty! Is is too much to ask for a candidate that we can believe in? One that isn't handed to us on a bloody platter by the media and the powers-that-be? It breaks my heart that Edwards is tanking. I've even sent him and Obama money last week (I usually don't contribute during the primaries).

I dunno, TRP. Sometimes I feel so disheartened. I'm gonna go watch some football and cheer myself up!

MCMC said...


I'm supporting John Edwards, so you can imagine that I'm not excited about Hillary Clinton.

I want to quibble with your argument, then make my own.

The score oughta be 0-0. As a combat veteran who spent time in a military camp, McCain should've known from the start that this was a bad war. Conscience or not. Also, his position on the war's certainly been influenced by his desire to be the "heir apparent" to George Bush. It's the only reason, I think, he supported the surge.

As for the torture issue you raise, I would suggest context is important. If Hillary Clinton asks the Secretary of Defense for the chain of command, meh. But if a combat veteran from the same party as the Sec. of Defense asks, it's much more powerful.

Let's be careful not to create a "there's no difference between the candidates" argument. That's what got us the Bush administration. A McCain presidency would, by default, mean that at least some neocons will continue to get cabinet posts and other positions. The Bush administration's done a great deal of damage by putting very right wing folks in positions of power. McCain will feel some obligation to do so. Hillary will feel none.

So that's one reason.


TeacherRefPoet said...


You've given me a reason not to vote for McCain. I have several already.. What I wanted was a reason to vote for Clinton. The question was: "Please tell me what Clinton stands for other than attempts to be popular, and please show me what her actions have been that demonstrate it."

Your points are on the money, but my question has still not been answered. I still have nothing to be excited about with Clinton.

GrigorPDX said...

Have you looked at the rest of McCain's voting record and compared it to Clinton's?

McCain vs. Clinton

War authorization vote aside, take a look at McCain's record. It is not pretty:

Reauthorization of the Patriot Act - McCain voted yes, Clinton voted no.
Habeus Corpus for Detainees of the United States - McCain, no. Clinton, yes.
Minimum Wage Adjustment - McCain, no. Clinton, yes.
Firearms Manufacturers Protection - McCain, yes. Clinton, no.
Confirmation of Samuel Alito, John Roberts, John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales - McCain, yes on all four. Clinton, no on all four.
Increase Pell Grant - Clinton, yes. McCain, no.
ANWR Revenues Amendment - McCain, yes. Clinton, no.
Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (AKA Bush tax cuts) - Clinton, no. McCain, yes.
Iraq troop reductions/timelines - McCain, no. Clinton, yes.

Yes, the war vote is a vitally-important issue. Neither Clinton or McCain scores points for authorizing the war. But take a look at the rest of the candidates' voting records. McCain has consistently voted against our civil rights, supports the disastrous Bush fiscal policy and tax cuts, sides with corporate interests instead of workers, and supports drilling in ANWR. A candidate with such an abysmal voting record will NEVER get my vote.

Meanwhile, Clinton has voted in a manner generally consistent with what I believe is right. On top of that she's tough, smart, and she knows how to win elections.

As for Obama. I like the guy, but his protestations over the Iraq war authorization ring hollow to me. Easy for him to say, since he didn't have to actually vote and has the benefit of 20:20 hindsight. I'd like to think he'd do well, but he doesn't have a long enough track record to convince me he can live up to his promises. Nor has he managed to win a re-election bid on a national scale, while both Clinton and Edwards have.

I won't be unhappy with any of the three - Clinton, Obama, or Edwards - on the ticket. They all have their strengths and appeal. All three are a cool drink of water after spending eight years trudging through the desert wasteland of the Bush junta. But since the primaries will be long decided by the time Oregonians get to vote, I'm not going to worry about it. I'll be happy with whichever candidate ends up on the final ticket.

I have yet to hear a compelling argument as to why Clinton is not the strongest candidate.

realsupergirl said...

I think you've inhaled too much of the anti-Clinton rhetoric out there. I mean, yes, she wants to be elected more than she wants to stand for something, but the SAME THING COULD BE SAID FOR ANY POLITICIAN. McCain, BTW, lost any support from me he might have had (and I agree, he's the least despicable of the Republicans) when he acted like such a coward over the whole Swift boat ad. That was just pathetic.

Clinton is certainly not my first choice - I too am a Edwards suppporter, so unless some miracle happens in South Carolina, I think I'll already be voting for Not My First Choice come November - but any Democrat is better than any Republican because of the social issues alone. As a woman who is also in a same sex marriage, I trust the Dems to at least try to pass a national civil union bill, rather than just outlaw my marriage, and I certainly trust the Dems to not criminalize abortion, which is the way the Republicans all want to go. As someone who works in social services, I also trust the Dems to continue funding to schools, mental health facilities, etc, rather than letting the Catholic church gradually take control of all of this. I also trust the Dems to come up with a working solution to the disaster we call health care, whereas the Republicans (other than Huckabee, oddly enough) all just want to leave it to corporations and big pharma to try and solve, and we've seen how well THAT worked out.

I'm not a big Democrat supporter - in fact, I'm a registered independent. But I'm so left of both parties I would just like to see whoever the Dem candidate is get in there and shift things back to the left a little, before we become a theocracy.

In terms of the war, I honestly don't think any of the candidates have much of a plan for how to get out, when to get out, or what to do. Perhaps because there isn't one. Bush has fucked things up over there, and whoever comes next is going to take the fall for it.

I personally think Obama is more electable than Hillary, and Hillary is my least favorite of the three top Dems, largely because I am distressed by the possibility of having our political system controlled by two families for the past two decades. Nevertheless, if Hillary is who the Dems pick, then it's likely that's who I'm going with.

GrigorPDX said...

One final thought:

Justice Stephens is 87 years old.

A and I just lost two grandparents in the past month who were born the same year as Justice Stephens. Do you think he can make it through another Republican administration?

The Court is already stacked with justices whose philosophy on human and civil rights I find abhorrent. The long-term damage done by the neocons in and to the executive and legislative branches in the last eight years pales in comparison to the power and potential inherent in control of the Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade, Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona - these decisions have had an enduring effect on our nation far in excess of the vast majority of executive orders and legislative action. Lest we forget, a Supreme Court decision put Bush in power in the first place.

Alito is 57. Roberts is 52. Thomas is 59. They all have very long tenures on the Court ahead of them. Souter is the youngest of the liberal justices at 68. If there is a Republican in office between now and 2012, we're going to see another Scalia or Alito appointed the Court, swinging the 5-4 balance in their favor for decades. We've already seen hints of what is possible in Bush v. Gore and the Terri Schiavo case. I shudder at the thought of what a Court controlled by the likes of Roberts and Scalia could do over the long term. Actions against which we, the people, have no recourse whatsoever.

While all three candidates on the Democratic side have their weaknesses, all have something John Kerry lacked: characteristics that make them worth voting for. But until we have a true multi-party system that allows for serious third-party candidates I'll still vote for any Democratic ticket (even if I have to hold my nose like I did for Kerry) because the risk to our human rights posed by a Republican-controlled Supreme Court is too great to countenance.

tommyspoon said...

I've got a counterpoint up at my blog. Warning! Harsh language! (Not aimed at you, TRP...)