How I Defend Hillary Clinton
In my last blog post I asked Donald Trump supporters how they defended their candidate. The misogynistic, narcissistic, predatory comments that have recently been in the news are enough to disqualify him from the presidency, but even if he’s given a free pass, there are plenty of other reasons why he doesn’t deserve anyone’s vote.
A few people commented on my post, and brought up Hillary Clinton. I expected as much. I’m going to vote for Hillary Clinton for president, so I thought it’d be a good idea to explain how I defend her. She’s the candidate I’m voting for, so I should have reasons why I defend her.
But before I continue, let me make two points clear. She’s not my first choice for President. I’d much prefer a more liberal candidate like Bernie Sanders. But she’s the most liberal candidate who has a chance of winning, so I support her.
My second point is something that many people do not understand. Defending her does not involve justifying her negatives by stating that the other candidate has worse negatives. Donald Trump is an idiotic asshole. And idiotic assholes shouldn’t be president. I can’t put that any more simply.
And although I do think that Clinton should get the vote of anyone who thinks they’re voting for the lesser of two evils, or anyone who subscribes to the Anyone But Trump line of thinking, she would deserve my vote regardless of the identity of her Republican opponent.
I don’t think political or government experience is a requirement to be a good president. Good policy judgment is more important. That’s why I had no problem supporting a first-term senator for the presidency in 2008, and I haven’t once regretted that support.
During her time as Secretary of State, Clinton repeatedly displayed good policy judgment. She came into office at a time when the diplomatic presence of the United States was at a low point, and she advocated for an increased diplomatic presence around the world, but especially in Iraq, where U.S. diplomacy had been left to the Defense Department up until that point.
The importance of a candidate’s advocacy for peaceful and diplomatic resolutions cannot be overstated.
Without a doubt, Clinton has had lapses in policy judgment. She supported the Iraq war, ignoring critics who correctly pointed out at the time that the Bush Administration justifications for the war were erroneous. She, like almost every other Senator, voted for the USA Patriot Act in 2001. But she opposed the Bush tax cuts, the Iraq War troop surge, and the bailout of the financial system, all of which were difficult votes, but votes that I agreed with.
Because negative campaigning works, and because of her long history in the public eye, we have heard more about controversies involving Clinton that we have about her actual policy positions. However, most of these controversies have been blown out of proportion for political reasons, or are based on outright fallacies.
Few issues have transitioned into a purely political controversy more than the attacks in Benghazi that occurred while Clinton was Secretary of State. Numerous investigations spent millions of dollars trying to find “the truth” about what happened in Benghazi and how Clinton responded. In the end, a House committee investigation that lasted two years, cost more than $7 million, and became bitterly partisan, differed little from the numerous other investigations, reports and testimony over the years.
General David Petraeus, who also served as CIA director, said, “I am not sure that the amount of scrutiny spent on this (Benghazi) has been in the least bit worth it.”
Clinton didn’t handle the Benghazi response perfectly. I don’t believe she intentionally lied or failed to act.
When the Secretary of State uses a private e-mail server to conduct government business, and takes preventive action to ensure electronic communication doesn’t go through servers in the State department, it raises questions.
But before you jump to conclusions, you should keep in mind that the Secretary of State then informed Clinton how to do the same. Yes, I’m talking about Colin Powell. So it seems patently unfair to assume that Clinton had some fishy reason for using a private e-mail server, when, in fact, she was just doing what a predecessor in the previous administration did.
She was careless in her use of e-mail. She used poor judgment in using private servers. However, the F.B.I. concluded that Clinton did not intentionally transmit or willfully mishandle classified information.
She’s not a perfect candidate. I wish she were more liberal. But ultra-liberals don’t win national elections. I wish she weren’t so secretive. But in today’s environment of half-truths, willful misrepresentations and distortions, and outright lies from politicians, talk radio entertainers who pose as legitimate policy experts, and the fringe elements who believe any tidbit of information without questioning its veracity, I somewhat understand her instinctual secrecy.
Despite her faults she’s the most progressive candidate who has a chance to win the presidency in 2016. So I’ve made an informed, thoughtful choice to support her.
And like my choice to support President Obama in 2008, I suspect I’ll never regret that choice.