Would I vote for Hillary Clinton?
Would I vote for Hillary Clinton?
A buddy of mine recently posted this on Facebook:
"For anyone thinking of voting for Hillary if she is the nominee. What would be the reasoning behind your vote?"
I am open to other candidates, but unless someone I like better comes along, I will likely vote for Clinton.
My reasoning follows this general pattern for any election choice, this one included:
1) Are they smart?
2) Do I agree with their policies?
I cannot abide ignorance. Some may not like Obama or his policies, but you have to admit he's a remarkably intelligent and educated person. As was Bill Clinton. W Bush was not the sharpest knife in the drawer and that caused a lot of problems, in my opinion, because he couldn't properly process and analyze all of the info given to him from his cabinet. HW Bush, however, was incredibly smart. I may not have agreed with his policies, but no one can deny he was whip-smart.
Hillary Clinton is also very smart, regardless of what you think of her policies. I don't want to "have a beer" with my President. I want the President to be "someone who is embarrassingly superior to me."
Jump to 7:05 in the following video to watch Jon Stewart say it better than anyone else.
"You know, I hear what you're all saying, but doesn't elite mean good? Is that not something we're looking for in a President anymore? ... I know 'elite' is a bad word in politics, and you wanna go bowling and throw back a few beers, but the job you're applying for, if you get it and it goes well, they might carve your head into a mountain. If you don't actually think you're better than us, then what the fuck do you think you're doing? ... In fact, not only do I want an elite president, I want someone who is embarrassingly superior to me. Somebody who speaks 16 languages and sleeps 2 hours a night hanging upside-down in a chamber they themselves designed..." - Jon Stewart
I put Policy after Intelligence, because even if I agreed with someone's policy positions it's just not going to work if that person is an idiot.
Here are some of the topics important to me, not necessarily in this order.
Personal and Civil Rights
This area covers several topics. I'm a firm believer in personal freedom, which is why I support universal gay-rights. It seems completely ludicrous that anyone could be against that. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party hasn't been great on this topic until just recently. However, when given the choice between a Republican who thinks gay people should be second-class citizens or a Democrat who finally started supporting things like same-sex marriage in the last year or two, I'll take what I can get. I'm also Pro-Choice, which you can't really find in a Republican candidate for President. This type of policy is one of the greatest hypocrisies of the Republican party, in my opinion. They supposedly want Big Government out of our lives, but they always seem to want it in our bedrooms and in our genitals. Even Libertarian Republican candidates like Rand Paul don't support same-sex marriage which, again, is ludicrous to me.
Clear Separation of Church and State
There are no candidates that fit perfectly with me on this. While Clinton believes in the separation of Church and State, she also believes that a politician's decisions should be informed by their religion. This is one of the reasons I chose Obama over Clinton for the 2008 election. Obama made it clear that when making policy decisions, that it had to be done with real-world evidence and not based on a religious belief because that policy had to apply to everyone regardless of religious belief. But what do I get from the Republican side? Half of them, like Ted Cruz, sound like they want a Christian theocracy! Rand Paul thinks Religion should be allowed in government, so that doesn't help much. Again, Democrats aren't good on this topic either. The best I've been able to do so far on this one was Obama, but he can't run again.
Trickle-down Economics has a long history of failure. Demand-side Economics creates jobs, not Supply-side. A business owner will not hire workers if there is no Demand for the product. It doesn't matter if you give them a 0% tax rate. Without Demand, there are no jobs. Just about all Democrats, including Clinton, support Demand-side Economics, so they generally get my vote in this territory. I am a capitalist and a entrepreneur, so when I reject lower taxes on businesses, you can be sure I'm doing it because I think it's the right thing for the economy and not out of thought for my bank account.
We've been at war for bad reasons for too damn long. Too much blood and too much treasure for no benefit. I'm not anywhere near a pacifist, but if we are going to sacrific human lives and trillions of dollars, then it needs to be done for a good reason to produce good results. Clinton is too hawkish for my tastes, however I often wonder if she does it as a way of fighting the unspoken sexism she has had to deal with during her entire career.
In other words, women have often had to act aggressively/masculinely in order to be taken seriously or not dismissed as a decliate flower. So, perhaps Clinton appears hawkish because she's had to play that role. Anyone who has seen her face during the Bin Laden raid knows that she understands that military action is not to be taken lightly.
I think Obama tries his best not to be hawkish, which is why he has done the best he can fighting necessary fights with drones, airstrikes, or just by supporting the local non-American troops so they can do the bloody work.
However, I'm not comfortable supporting all of the drone strikes we do, because too many innocents are being killed. Obama oscillates back and forth across my line of comfort when it comes to being a hawk, but Clinton is definitely more hawkish that Obama... so she's not my ideal. Again, however, my alternative on the Republican side generally ends up being gung-ho military supporter because that's what the Republican stereotype has become. What's worse than the gung-ho stereotype, however, is that some Republicans have recently talked up a lot of gung-ho military action, and then voted against authorizing Obama to actually take that action. That means either a) they were lying when they said we needed to attack, or b) they were telling the truth when they said we needed to attack, but are willing to put us at risk because they don't want to be seen supporting Obama.
With regard to foreign policy, the biggest item in my list is Israel vs Palestine. I think it is undeniably clear that we need a two-state solution. Palestine needs to be recognized as a State and Israel needs to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories. Israel can still be our ally (although I'd like them to act like it a lot more), but the conflict needs to end and the only proper way to end it is with two recognized States.
If you can't accept Science, then you're out. If a candidate is asked, "Do you accept the Theory of Evolution?" and they say No, refuse to answer, or balk at such a ridiculously easy question, then you're in violation of #1 above.
Let's be clear:
The Earth is billions of years old.
We share an evolutionary ancestor with Chimps.
Vaccines work and are safe.
The climate is getting hotter, we're contributing to it, and we need to act to save ourselves.
If any of these things are a problem for you, then you can GTFO.
So, when you add all of that up, Hillary Clinton is my best option even if she isn't my ideal candidate. Others who would be closer to my ideal would be Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. I'm not sure Bernie Sanders has the charisma or support to win the Presidency, but I'd be happy to see him try. If Elizabeth Warren decided to run, I would not only vote for her, I would volunteer to help with her campaign. Warren is smart as a whip, fully supports personal rights, is a vocal supporter of intelligent fiscal policy, she supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, etc, etc, etc.
It would be sad to see Clinton get the rug pulled out from under her in 2008 and then again in 2016, but such is life. I think Hillary Clinton would be a lock to win if she put Warren on the ticket with her as VP. Then I'd be happy to take 8 years of Clinton and 8 years of Warren after that.