Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hillary 2016, I hope

Hillary vs. Bernie, the fight on the left that's got liberals energized.  I fall in the Hillary camp, and I think she and Bernie have more differences than she and Obama had. It was easy for me to switch from her to Obama once he won the nomination. I will support Bernie if he makes it, but with far less enthusiasm.

What are Hillary's weak spots?

She is too hawkish.
That's a big sore spot for me, but I rank her higher on foreign policy than I do Bernie.  Hillary's been Secretary of State for a pretty hairy time in our country's history, and her comprehensive approach to negotiations includes the threat of our military, sadly and correctly seen worldwide as incredibly powerful. Bernie comes close to taking that off the table. When the bad guys know that, it is not a good thing.  I have great confidence in Hillary's ability to negotiate, much less so for ideologue Bernie who wouldn't be able to bluff the bullies of the world.

She has ties to Wall Street.
Let's not forget that Citizens United was dedicated to fighting the Clintons and the case in which the Supreme Court opened the floodgates was specifically aimed at Hillary. Funny how that's never mentioned anymore when the Citizens United decision is discussed.
While we wait for the next Democratic president to undo the damage from the Citizens United ruling, let's not kid ourselves. The Koch brothers alone are pouring $900 million into the 2016 election cycle. I'm not about to demand any Democrat cut himself/herself off at the knees by not getting as much money as possible to stay afloat. Bernie would go down in flames once the megamoney machine turned on him and he had to rely on supporters sending him $5 each. Bernie's got a nice dream. It's not possible until we change the rules.
Meanwhile, most of the memes you see about campaign donations to Dems are misleading at best, lies at worst. The info is out there, easily obtained. Don't get fooled by right wing trolls.

Hillary hired that Monsanto lobbyist, Jerry Crawford.
You mean the guy who worked on the presidential campaigns of Kerry, Gore and Dukakis? By the way, GMOs are not evil; Monsanto is. GMOs are a science. What has been done with them by Monsanto is the problem. Being anti-GMO is like being anti-medicine instead of anti Big Pharma. Monsanto has weakened legislative efforts at regulation, which GMOs need just as much as medicine does. Personally, I'm glad to hear Monsanto's stock has dropped. It can't fall far nor fast enough for me.

While Hillary never worked for Monsanto, she served on the board for Walmart.
She is criticized for not promoting unions during her 6 years as board member in the '80s. As the only woman on the board, her passions were gender diversity, which she made little headway in, and the environment, with which she had much more success. No, she didn't push for unionization, and I'm frankly surprised that anyone would expect any board member at any corporation to do so. It's just another double standard we reserve for Hillary.

She plays to the polls or is politically calculating.
Hillary's "evolved" on gay marriage. I have no problem with that.
Contrary to claims otherwise, Bernie has also evolved.
Hillary on TPP and NAFTA. As First Lady, she didn't publicly undercut her husband on NAFTA. Her support of it is best categorized as luke warm. Her biographers tell us she privately opposed it.
On the TPP, she supported her then boss, Obama, although always with a qualifier on the final details. She has come out against it now, Oct. 2015, still without knowing all the specifics. Is that a flip flop? Hardly. She was trying to nudge Obama in the right direction months ago and was not supporting the deal as she knew it.
Meanwhile, how much more politically calculating can you be than to run for the nomination from a party that you aren't in? Bernie doesn't like the Democratic Party. He's trashed it over and over in the past, and importantly he does not have support in Congress from either side of the aisle, which our next president will absolutely need. He doesn't mind using the Democratic Party to get himself on the presidential ballot, though.

Bernie's weaknesses?

What bothers me most about Bernie is so many other issues get lost in the shouting about corporate monopolies and the US becoming an oligarchy. Yes, it's a crisis. No, not all boats will rise with the tide. Bernie needs to better understand his crusade against Citizens United is not our only problem, and fixing that won't make everything better for everyone.

His views on immigration are pretty old-school and debunked. No, Bernie, they aren't taking jobs from our kids. That's just stereotyping, and honestly, it sounds like a page out of the GOP fear-the-immigrants playbook.

His stance on gun control also plays to racial stereotypes, something the media has so far given him a pass on.
“I come from a state that has virtually no gun control, but the people of my state understand—pretty clearly—that guns in Vermont are not the same as guns in Chicago or guns in Los Angeles. In our state, guns are used for hunting. In Chicago, they’re used for kids in gangs killing other kids or people shooting police officers, shooting down innocent people.” 
Close your eyes and think of a Vermont hunter. Now picture a cop-killing Chicago or LA gang member. It's a racist statement by a man I do not think of as racist. I'd prefer to think of him as out-of-touch, privileged, entitled. Either way, it does nothing to address the issue of mass killings, a huge and growing problem in the US often involving previously law-abiding white people. Bernie's lily-white Vermont with its lax gun laws is a big part of the gun troubles in nearby states with stricter gun laws. He is pandering to a small set of white hunters in Vermont while what we really need is someone who will stand up to the gun lobby. 

Hillary has a record of being able to negotiate and get things done in both domestic and foreign policy. Bernie, not so much. His rhetoric is inspiring, as long as he's talking about finance reform and can stay away from race issues. But his ability to move anything forward is problematic. Like it or not, we will be working with Republicans for the foreseeable future on legislation.  (Bernie can't even get along with Democrats.)  And we will be dealing with Middle East problems, as we have been for much of my life.

I had problems with Obama compromising so much. In the end, he managed to have a terrific presidency. He is a master at political chess. I see Hillary sharing that quality. Bernie has the desire to be a game-changer, but he won't play the game. Wouldn't it be nice if the rules could change to make that okay? Sure, but the President of the United States doesn't make the rules, and the game is played on a world-wide board. We aren't small. We can't hide. We can't walk away. We need to deal. Ideologues won't win in either arena, domestic or foreign.