Polite Disagreement: Hillary Clinton for President?

For Assignment 4 in the Commenting Bootcamp, I had to find a post that I disagreed with, whether it was the premise or specific sections of it. I would then politely state my point of view.

It’s not easy finding a random post in this regard, so I decided to go by a tag: politics. That sped up the process and I immediately saw some posts concerning the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. One post really stood out to me: konigludwig, who runs The Progressive Democrat, wrote “How Can The Democrats Fight The Entrenched Powers?” I read that post.

What Was the Post About?

In the post, konigludwig pointed to two editorials from two liberal — oh, excuse me, Progressive (yuck!) — publicans. The first was “Hillary Clinton for President” by Jann Wenner (Rolling Stone) and the second was “Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination” from The New York Times’ Editorial Board. There was also a complaint about these two posts: konigludwig found them to be condescending.

On What Grounds Did I Disagree?

As I write this post, my comment is in moderation, but here is what I wrote:

Hi, I wanted to read this post since the topic jumped out at me. I have a slight disagreement with your premise. The two editorials you linked to are more dishonest than they are condescending to me.

What stands out more is the dishonesty and disingenuous claims of the authors. They do leave out important information about Sanders (like his record on various issues). In particular, the editorial from The New York Times goes to incredible lengths in terms of license. It quickly brushes asides some valid concerns voters have about Hillary Clinton while promising that she would do so many things.

That said there is some truth in both editorials. How will Sanders contend with the Congress we have? That’s a valid question and concern. By 2012, it was determined that Congress was the least productive in the history of the United States. The Republicans would never give Obama an inch, so how would Bernie Sanders be treated by these same Republicans and the Democratic establishment? He would need many new members of Congress to help him with his agenda.

What Bothered Me about Those Editorials?

Particularly, these quotes from the Rolling Stone editorial stood out to me:

“I keep hearing questions surface about her honesty and trustworthiness, but where is the basis in reality or in facts?”

Maybe people who have looked at her record can support these concerns? It’s a crazy idea, but we do have proof of her support of the “Three Strikes” Bill. This is one of Bill Clinton’s mistakes because of how damaging the law was, particularly to the Black community. You can also look at Hillary Clinton’s votes as a Senator to see where she lined up with George W. Bush on the issues. There’s also concerns about statements she made and how she ran her last presidential campaign.

More than that is the question of how she can appeal to enough non-Democratic voters and younger voters. She is a polarizing figure to Republicans and it’s fair to ask if she can appeal to enough of them. Younger voters feel like she doesn’t respect them and she would definitely need enough votes from them. Brushing them off won’t help.

“Clinton’s vote authorizing Bush to invade Iraq 14 years ago was a huge error, one that many made, but not one that constitutes a disqualification on some ideological purity test.”

This is more than “some ideological purity test.” It’s ultimately about judgment.

When there was talk about invading Iraq, I somehow knew it was going to happen whether or not the American public wanted it. And thinking about it, the authorization was just a formality. In short, those who voted for the authorization were likely fooled. I think John Kerry legitimately was.

I wasn’t even old enough to drink, but I wasn’t fooled. That means I’m much younger than Hillary Clinton and for her to be fooled by the authorization says a lot about her…unless she wasn’t fooled. Then that would say something else about her. And it’s funny that The New York Times article would refer to her as being “more hawkish.” What would that mean if Hillary Clinton became president? Would she have more of a role in Syria? Would she adopt the drone program and do as much or more than Obama has done now?

Sanders blaming Clinton’s support of “free trade” policies for the loss of jobs in Detroit is misleading. The region’s decline began as foreign automakers started making and exporting cars of clearly superior quality. The Big Three saw their market share slipping, and pressed the White House to enact import quotas on foreign cars instead of facing the competition head-on and improving their own products. This backfired when foreign companies built their own factories in the United States and directly took on Detroit.

The part in bold is too simple a statement. There is something to say about the outsourcing of American jobs, but it’s unclear how free-trade agreements have affected jobs in Detroit. The American auto industry’s decline is complex and one big reason is bankruptcy. That bankruptcy was tied to gas prices, car prices, and pensions (especially in GM’s case). On this, I would say that both Bernie Sanders and Wenner were both guilty of making oversimplified, if not dishonest, statements.

Where Do I Agree with the Editorial Authors?

First: The Democratic debates had more substance and we can thank Clinton, Sanders, and the moderators for that. Also, Sanders has forced the “moderate” Clinton more towards the left. In contrast, the Republican debates have been plagued by ad hominem attacks.

Second: There is one big question that Bernie Sanders’ supporters don’t like to answer: Just how can he get enough support from Congress to advance items on his agenda?

I’m not even questioning whether or not his agenda is realistic, but will Congress work with Bernie Sanders as president? When you look at how partisan and thus unproductive Congress has increasingly been since 2000, would it not be fair to doubt it would be willing to work with Sanders?

Now, for anyone who wants to support Hillary Clinton’s bid for president, I get that her experience and toughness are big draws. Anyone can look at her record and see that she has qualifications coming out the ying-yang. She may just have far more clout than any candidate when it comes to dealing with Congress and world leaders. Also, I would understand if others think it’s time that the United States put a woman in office, too. This prospect alone is exciting. And that’s all that needs to be said.

It’s the intellectual dishonesty from some Hillary supporters that really gets me. And sometimes it looks like some people are settling for Hillary Clinton, like when Touré Neblett was reading the company line when he was still employed by MSNBC. Many liberals — oh, excuse me again, progressives — are being told to fall in line and support the establishment candidate. Again, I can understand if people truly believe that Hillary would bring more clout to the party as president. I just don’t care for the extra stuff in the editorials or the condescension and lies about Bernie Sanders. You don’t have to tear one candidate down to prop up another. And it would be unwise in this case, especially when dealing with the prospect of a Donald Trump nomination.

Honestly speaking, Hillary Clinton needs all hands on deck. But can she gain enough support beyond the Democrats? That is the biggest question about her campaign in my humble opinion, because so much damage has already been done to her image already. Now, if she can embarrass her opponent as nominee, she may just become president.

I say this while trying to remain as unbiased as possible.

Boy, this post was longer than I thought it would be.

Have any thoughts on the subject? Time’s yours.

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