If you don’t have some doubts about a candidate you’re supporting for the most important job in the world, you’re not an adult.
And if you can’t tell the difference between a person who denies climate science, wants to deport 11 million people, reverse Roe v. Wade, target Americans based on religion, and take health insurance from 20 million Americans and one who doesn’t, you’re probably not going to be convinced by a blog — even a really good one.
But, hey, you clicked.
I understand the urge Republicans feel to make the argument that both major party candidate for president are equally terrible. That way they don’t have to admit that their party has nominated the worst candidate in the history of nominating.
To be clear: Democrats have put forward one of, if not THE, most qualified candidates ever to run for the presidency. It’s tough to top Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, or George H.W. Bush, but Clinton’s public service credentials topped Trump’s some time in the middle of 1972.
And it’s time those of us who are excited about sending her to the White House raise our voices in enthusiastic support. This is necessary because desperate Republicans insist Democrats have made a mistake on par with nominating sour, hateful rotting peach of a man who exploits workers and represents all the worst dangers of the fragile male ego.
I was for Hillary Clinton in 2008 and again this year for a simple reason: Health care.
To me, it’s the defining issue of our time because it epitomizes how we’re willing to choose rugged stupidity over smart empathy.
America pays more than enough to insure everyone — as every First World nation does — but we choose not to cover everyone. As a result, we face stupid health costs that prevent us from doing the crucial work of completing the social safety net with universal pre-K, family leave, debt-free college, etc…
With some reservations, I liked Bernie Sanders plan to insure all Americans in one huge leap and what have gladly supported him had he swelled the millions of new voters to the polls necessary to pass his vision. But I was sure that Clinton would at the very least not surrender the spectacular gains we’ve made since 2009 — gains that any Republican president will quickly erase with help from a Republican Congress.
Bill and Hillary Clinton were the first couple to campaign as a “two for the price of one” package in American history. This professed equality in their relationship is one of the reasons Bill engendered the same kind of rage that Barack Obama did from the revanchist right despite being a good old white boy.
Putting the First Lady in charge of health care reform was a historically risky move and it brought out the best and some of the worst in Mrs. Clinton.
But her devotion to ensuring all Americans have access to health care was what I remembered most about her. And I was reminded of it vividly when I saw this Facebook endorsement, which I hope you’ve already come across:
— Erin Ruberry (@erinruberry) July 30, 2016
When HillaryCare failed, Mrs. Clinton was largely sidelined back into a traditional First Lady role — until she helped engineer health coverage for millions of children.
I have a hypothesis about that this that seems ironic given the primary we just experienced: I feel that if the progressive left were as strong in 1994 as it is now, the president would have faced a near revolt for “demoting” his wife. But I also feel that if the progressive left were as strong then as now, it would have passed. That’s the problem with writing fan fiction, the obvious contradictions have to be imagined away.
Anyway, some suggest that Mrs. Clinton overlearned the big lesson of reform’s failure: she should have compromised to pass something.
To many, she has come to personify many of the right-leaning failings Democrats incorporated as they struggled to find their way back to the left.
She is — we’re told — almost singularly responsible for the crime bill, the end of Glass-Steagall and the Iraq War, even though she only voted for one of the three. (John Kerry voted for two of three and never suffered the vitriol Clinton experienced largely because the left was not as potent in 2004 as it is now.)
I understand that there are those who will never forgive her for those failings — and this is their right. But I must point out that she was made to own these failings with almost no credit for the stellar achievements of Clinton Administration in expanding family leave, health care, and voting rights while appointing Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court. She also rarely gets credit for opposing nearly all of the Bush agenda while fighting for 9/11 first responders. And she’s the rare presidential candidate whose accomplishments we’re still learning about less than a hundred days before the election.
Twice she faced two opponents for the Democratic nomination who were wise enough to have opposed the Iraq War. Both opponents fit the general template of successful presidential candidates in that they had not been known to the American public for more than a decade. And if you put almost anyone on a stage with Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, very few of us would look good in comparison.
Yet Hillary Clinton managed to end a divisive primary with grace, twice. And she did a far better job of negotiating her party’s divisions than someone who’s entire value proposition is that he’s the world’s greatest dealmaker.
Clinton is a better candidate today than ever before and the Democratic Party is a better party. This is because even the party’s “moderates” have generally accepted that inequality is central crisis of our time and requires radical government solutions.
Call it the New Liberal Economics. It comes with three parts. First is seeing inequality as created by the rules of the market rather than abstract forces. Building out a view of the labour market that is struggling from secular stagnation, a new demand-side focus to replace the supply-side obsession of the past decades, is the second thread. Finally, there’s a focus on providing economic security, both for families and for access to crucial goods, through a more active role for the state.
Clinton begin her campaign embracing these themes and has only become more full-throated throughout the primary.
Who expects a politician to be perfect? About 90 percent of their job is nodding.
I just expect a candidate not to be a pathological liar who is willing to ride racial division to the White House and unwilling to lose without threatening our 226-year tradition of peaceful transfer of power.
So why is Hillary so widely disliked or even hated? Some beefs are legitimate. Some Americans just can’t handle an ambitious woman, not matter how admired she has been for decades.
Republicans have every reason to be ashamed of their nominee. I refuse to grant the license of self-numbing false equivalence and look forward to electing a fine but imperfect person to the White House. That she happens to be the first woman major party nominee who is already a historic figure in her own right is even more satisfying.
[CC photo by Marc Nozell | Wikimedia Commons]