There is a False Narrative that this is an Election between Two Terrible Candidates

There is a false narrative which has been perpetrated in this election which is that this election is one between two bad and unlikable candidates. That narrative is completely false.

This is an election between one very good and very qualified candidate and one completely unqualified con man.[1] It’s not even close. And that people think it’s close is really starting to piss me off.

Hillary Clinton is Essentially the Democratic Version of Mitt Romney

If you really look at it, you can see that Hillary Clinton is very much the Democratic version of Mitt Romney. A very qualified candidate who has really wanted to be President for a long time. And who would basically bring a lot of stability without a whole lot of innovation. At the moment, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

Neither one is inspirational. Hillary, as she herself has openly acknowledged, is not inspirational the way that her husband or our current President are. But then, were Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, or either President Bush inspirational? It’s not a qualification to be President. And I’m not sure it helped Obama much, given the total intransigence he was received with by the United States Congress.

Back in 2012, I took Mitt Romney to task for his hypocrisy in running for President. If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you know that I didn’t excoriate him; I just thought Obama would be a much better President. I took Romney to task for the following reasons:

  • He had completely reversed himself on abortion, pivoting from being adamantly pro-choice while running in Massachusetts to being adamantly pro-life while running nationwide.[2]
  • He had thrown his signature achievement as Governor – the universal health care act that became the model for Obamacare – under the bus for the sake of political expediency.

Hillary Clinton has also changed some of her positions, although for reasons set forth below, I think her changes in position are much less egregious than those of Romney.[3] The three obvious changes in position have been:

  1. The 2002 Iraq war resolution, which authorized the Bush administration going to war against Iraq. She was in good company with other Democrats in that vote, including Joe Biden, Tom Daschle, Chris Dodd, John Kerry[4], Harry Reid and Chuck Shumer. There were 29 Democratic Senators who voted in favor of this resolution, in large measure because the Bush administration lied to them.[5] Hillary Clinton, like so many of her colleagues, regrets that vote. It was a mistake, which she has readily admitted. But she was hardly alone.
  2. Hillary has “evolved” on the question of gay marriage. In 2008, just like Barack Obama, Joe Biden and the rest of the Democratic establishment, she was in favor of civil unions, which are a close cousin to actual marriage. People forget that back in 2004 John Kerry’s candidacy was torpedoed in part because of the Goodrich decision, which Karl Rove hung around Kerry’s neck as if Kerry had had anything to do with it.[6]
  3. Hillary has changed her position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements, including ones negotiated by her husband. This is probably the most serious issue relative to her changing positions, and I think it’s one where she has come to recognize the depth of opposition to these kind of trade agreements on both the right and the left. Certainly the adamant opposition of both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to the TPP have given Hillary pause. To be fair, it should be noted that these trade agreements are not the reason we don’t have manufacturing jobs in middle America.[7]

I’ve been hard on Hillary Clinton in the past, calling her the candidate of the liberal corporatocracy. But she is also a good woman. And a very solid candidate. When she was in the Senate she won over many of her colleagues by being a work horse instead of a show horse. And she’s been absolutely steadfast in fighting for women, for children, for the elderly, for the disabled, and for any number of people who don’t have a natural advantage in our society. During her eight years in the Senate, Hillary Clinton was a sponsor or co-sponsor of the following legislation, among numerous others:

  • Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 10 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)
  • Elder Justice Act of 2008 1070 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 1 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)
  • Perpetual Purple Heart Stamp Act 1390 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)
  • Marine Vessel Emissions Reduction Act of 2008 1499 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)
  • Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act 1577 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)
  • District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009 160 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)
  • Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2007 1695 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)
  • National Women’s Rights History Project Act 1816 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)
  • Paycheck Fairness Act 182 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)
  • Fair Pay Restoration Act 1843 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)
  • National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2007 1926 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)
  • Small Community Drinking Water Funding Act 1933 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)
  • Free Flow of Information Act of 2007 2035 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)
  • Equal Justice for United States Military Personnel Act of 2007 2052 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)

In addition, while she was the Senator for New York, she

  • Voted against President Bush’s two major tax cut packages, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.
  • Pushed new Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid to create a Senate war room to handle daily political messaging after the 2004 elections.
  • Opposed the Iraq War troop surge of 2007.
  • Voted in favor of a war-spending bill that required President Bush to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq by a deadline.
  • Cast several votes in favor of the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007.
  • Voted in favor of the $700 billion law that created the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
  • Called for an investigation into whether the body armor issued to soldiers in Iraq was adequate, along with veteran and Virginia Senator Jim Webb.

She is a good woman, and she had a very solid record in the Senate. And yet, she inspires this revulsion that Mitt Romney never inspired. People hate her for reasons they can’t actually articulate. Benghazi? How is she at fault for Benghazi? The email “scandal?” Give me a break! As the Daily Banter has previously pointed out, if you’re liberal and you think Hillary Clinton is corrupt and untrustworthy, you’re rewarding 25 years of Republican smears.[8]

This Isn’t a Close Call

As Bernie Sanders articulated in his speech last night, this isn’t even a close call. Any “objective analysis” makes it clear that Hillary is a much, much better candidate than Donald Trump, and also that Trump is completely unqualified.

So, if you’re a Bernie supporter and you’re seriously thinking about voting for Donald Trump, all I can say is – and how do I phrase this politely? – that you’re an asshole. You clearly didn’t get anything about the substance of Bernie Sanders campaign.

If you’re a Bernie Sanders supporter and you’re seriously thinking about voting for Jill Stein, I get that. Jill Stein is also a good woman. She’s run for Governor here in my home state of Massachusetts in 2002 and again in 2010; she’s run for Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2004; she’s run for Massachusetts Secretary of State in 2006; and she ran for President in 2012. She lost all of those races.[9]

I wish we lived in a world where Jill Stein could have won some of those other races – and I’ve voted for her several times – but we don’t. This is still a political world dominated by two parties – although the Republican party may yet be determined to self-destruct – and we saw in 2000 how a progressive candidate like Ralph Nader really can be a spoiler. So, if you live in a swing state like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan or Florida, you may want to think long and hard about the wisdom of voting for Jill Stein this time around. After all, Jill Stein cannot stop Donald Trump.

If Mitt Romney had become President in 2012 I would have been unhappy, but it wouldn’t have been a disaster. Romney would probably have been an average President, just like he was an average Governor, although he clearly would have taken a much more conservative tack. But he would have been a disaster in one area, that I will be blogging about much more in the future (see below).

Nominations to the Supreme Court

If there were no other reason to vote for Hillary Clinton – and there are many reasons to vote for her – the one reason that any progressive would want to vote for her is the nominations that she will be able to make the Supreme Court.

From a progressive standpoint, Mitt Romney would have made terrible picks to the Supreme Court.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, voted against both John Roberts and Samuel Alito when Bush the 43rd nominate them, and even tried to filibuster Alito’s nomination. Consider that:

  • Antonin Scalia is already gone.
  • Ruth Bader (83) Ginsburg is sure to be close behind.
  • Anthony Kennedy (80) is not long for this court.
  • Stephen Breyer (77) is getting pretty long in the tooth.

The next President could have as many as four Supreme Court appointments! That would be historic. If there were no other reason to vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump – and there are oh so many – that one alone should be decisive to anyone who has a brain. And a heart.

[1] And two reasonably good 3rd party candidates in Gary Johnson/Bill Weld of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party.

[2] I found this particularly egregious at the time because abortion is not a technical policy question but a question on which most adults have a clear understanding of how they feel. In addition, Romney had upbraided Shannon O’Brien, his challenger to the Democratic Governorship, because she had the temerity to question his authenticity, calling her “unbecoming” in the process.

[3] And we need to acknowledge one clear disclaimer, that has often been overlooked in the press: in her three most public positions, Hillary Clinton has been a Presidential Spouse, a Senator from New York, and the Secretary of State. In two of those positions she was essentially acting as a surrogate, either in her husband’s administration or in President Obama’s. Only as Senator from New York can we fairly evaluate exactly what her own position was, as opposed to the administration that she was a part of.

[4] One could argue that Kerry lost the election because of this vote. After all, Kerry’s entire raison d’être for getting into politics was his principled opposition to the Vietnam War. That went out the window when he wouldn’t take a principled position in opposition to the invasion of Iraq.

[5] For those of you who forget, the Bush administration trotted out General Colin Powell, the one member of their administration that they knew Democrats (and the rest of the nation) would trust, to make out the fabricated case that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

[6] For those of you who forget, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health was the first in the nation decision in Massachusetts legalizing gay marriage.

[7] People think that we don’t have manufacturing jobs in middle America because of trade agreements like NAFTA. But that’s not why. We don’t have manufacturing jobs in middle America because that’s how the capitalist system works. In capitalist systems, companies have to maximize their profits. They can do that either by increasing revenue or lowering costs. Offloading jobs to countries that have lower costs is the most obvious way to do that. Companies can do that with or without trade agreements, although trade agreements may make some aspects of that easier. But trade agreements have much more to do with the enforcement of intellectual property rights than the location of manufacturing jobs.

[8] I will be blogging about this in the near future.

[9] Stein has also run for Town Meeting Representative in her hometown of Lexington MA, winning in both 2005 and 2008. These are the only political races she has won.

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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3 Responses to There is a False Narrative that this is an Election between Two Terrible Candidates

  1. Well said and cogently argued. Most of the Bernie supporters I know are on board with this. As one of them said, sometimes you don’t get to pick who you are in the lifeboat with. It’s important that they can row.

  2. Detailed survey, very useful for this un-clued-up furriner!

  3. Pingback: Hillary is not the “lesser of two evils,” America | A (or One) Skeptic

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