The Leftist Case for Clinton
This is from Milo Beckman, a freelance writer at FiveThirtyEight and the New York Times who makes the case why Hillary Clinton is the perfect candidate for the left - not someone who you should vote for because you’re against the fascist and vulgar Donald Trump. I suggest you read the whole thing because it is powerful and I am only using a part of it.
1. Hillary Clinton is a Deep Thinker
Here is a woman who thinks in single-spaced policy briefs, whose speeches are alternately criticized as being either confusingly wonkish or condescendingly meat-and-potatoes. Where past presidents and nominees have leaned on charisma to balance out their intellect (or disguise their lack thereof), Clinton has instead doubled down on being what she is: a nerd.
Did you know that in 1974 she wrote an article for the Harvard Educational Review called “Children Under the Law” which is one of the most widely-cited works on children’s rights? It’s not exactly the most thrilling piece of election news, sure. But based just on her legal writing and tenure at the Children’s Defense Fund, historian Garry Wills called her in 1992 “one of the more important scholar-activists of the last two decades.”
You may believe Clinton does not share your values, and I’ll get to that in a minute. But let’s dispel with this fiction that Hillary Clinton doesn’t know what she’s doing.
2. Hillary Clinton’s Dedication to Advancing her Values and Ideals
If Hillary Clinton died tomorrow, she’d already be remembered as a towering figure of the progressive and feminist movements.
(Ed. Note: Her resume from 1988 is shown at the site. Read it. It is impressive.)
There’s enough effective activism in here — civil rights litigation, legal aid for the indigent, advocacy for working women — for several articles. But I want to focus on the 1990s.
Older liberals support her precisely because of her independence from her husband, because she dropped jaws by saying, “I’m not sitting here, some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.”
Keep in mind: Clinton was the first First Lady who wasn’t a homemaker. The Republican Party at the time still considered working mothers a threat to “family values,” and Clinton’s very existence in the national spotlight made her Public Enemy №1 of the antifeminist movement. She was branded as a “congenital liar” (PolitiFact: she is the 2nd most honest candidate on record.) She had to bake cookies. The GOP even turned her husband’s infidelity into a political flashpoint, highlighting the instability of their nontraditional marriage.
And she wasn’t just a passive symbol of gender equality. She wielded her platform more vocally and aggressively than any First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt.
(Ed. Note: See the sexism and hatred of Hillary noted below.)
Her Senate voting record makes her more liberal than Obama — and only slightly less liberal than Sanders, a self-described socialist.
3. She is extraordinarily — inhumanly? — pragmatic.
If you believed something strongly and spent your life fighting for it, wouldn’t your natural reaction be to shout it from the mountaintops for all to hear?
If half the country spent decades attacking your personal character with unsubstantiated rumors, wouldn’t your natural reaction be to lose your cool and go off on an angry rant?
But Hillary Clinton is highly unnatural. She has an uncanny ability to comport herself in exactly the way she believes will best achieve her ends, to play her cards at exactly the right time, to recognize the second- and third-order consequences of her every move, to accrue and spend political capital with mechanical precision.
But even to allies, this can be extremely unsettling. It can feel like she doesn’t care about you, and like she’ll say or do whatever she needs to in order to get your vote.
This woman is a machine — and for that we should be immensely grateful.
This goes beyond elections, too. Clinton’s actions started making a lot more sense to me when I started framing them in the context of the two questions I imagine her asking herself:
- What do I have to do to win a seat at the table?
- Once there, how can I most effectively lobby for change?
Clinton gets blasted on the left for taking money from interest groups and giving speeches at banks. But if you think you can get elected in 2016 without a $500 million war chest, if you think you can be a New York senator without shaking hands on Wall Street, you’re just not being honest about the realities of electoral politics.
So Clinton has gotten her hands dirty — to me that is a feature, not a bug. To me, that is the very model of how change happens within massive, complex institutions. I personally aspire to be this clear-minded and goal-oriented in the way I approach problems, at any level of influence.
But sometimes I think this is the very same reason my generation hates Clinton. She’s been a wolf in sheep’s clothing for so long that we just think she’s a sheep.
If you feel this way, here’s what I’ll say: You don’t need to consider her a role model to see that she is an extremely powerful ally.
4. On Foreign Policy
1. Hillary Clinton is a liberal transnationalist. She believes in the primacy of human rights, particularly of individuals against oppressive governments. She dreams of a future system where nations are encouraged to adhere to international norms by something like the U.N. on steroids.
2. Hillary Clinton believes in firm commitment to international agreements. The only way to bring about this future globalist order, the argument goes, is to honor our present commitments and compel others to do the same.
3. Hillary Clinton does not see inaction as morally distinct from action. As long as you’ve factored in all costs — in lives, dollars, and potential long-term unintended consequences — she believes every viable course of action (including inaction) should be considered on its merits. As with domestic policy, she has little patience for non-interventionist ideologues.
4. Hillary Clinton equates military might with moral responsibility. In the end, she is a cold realist: Whoever has the biggest stick sets the agenda. By shirking international responsibilities, the United States transfers power to the next biggest stick.
Pulling this all together, the world according to Clinton is something like a small town without any governance, where the big and strong regularly beat up on the small and weak.
So rather than reinvent the wheel, she wants to co-opt these existing institutions (classic Hillary!) to create a pluralist, democratic, peaceful, human rights-enforcing international order. And until that time, she believes the United States must leverage its position as the biggest and strongest guy in town to punish extreme defectors, those most horrific cases that simply can’t wait for the transnational solution.
In this context, many of Clinton’s “hawkish” decisions make a good deal of sense. Again — I’m not saying I personally support the decisions, but I understand where she’s coming from. It’s not because she doesn’t care about brown lives or doesn’t understand that actions have consequences.
Even more importantly: These are the conversations we should be having, and it seems like Clinton is eager to have them. She is — remarkably — susceptible to reason. In an age of immense polarization and ideological purity, she is an extreme rarity: an electable national politician who cares and thinks deeply about the issues at hand.
And even when I find her specific choices misguided, I’ll feel a great ease of mind knowing that she’s in the Oval Office, getting the briefings, talking to advisors, and calling the shots.
I would like to further delve into the intense hatred of Hillary Clinton by the right.
Hillary Clinton has been the victim of the sexist right for decades. Don’t believe me? Watch this video: Hillary Clinton Endures 40 Years Of Sexism In Under 3 Minutes. The lies about her, the wild distortions of her policies - her very being - this isn’t new; the right has gone after this woman for daring to be an attorney and for caring about people, their lives and refusing to be the kind of First Lady, be it Arkansas or in the White House, who stayed at home, baked cookies and had tea parties.
The Clintons’ political enemies were never shy about manufacturing every kind of conspiratorial scandal under the sun to attempt to hang around the couple’s necks. As The Atlantic wrote just a few days ago, no other political figures in American history have spawned “the creation of a permanent multimillion-dollar cottage industry devoted to attacking them.” (And this is noteworthy in and of itself when we consider the viciousness with which the right despises any Clinton.)
Whereas we normally think of presidential political scandals as involving the person in office and no one else, Clinton-haters made sure that Hillary was not only lumped in with the president but that she was part of whatever “scheme” they had seized upon and inflated — so Whitewater and Bill’s wandering eye during those early years weren’t simply a crisis of character within Bill himself but were also Hillary’s problem. They made sure to highlight her involvement in the land deal the GOP attempted to turn into a high crime within the White House and it was her fault her husband was a serial philanderer, as she either caused her husband’s infidelity or was corrupt enough to stick by her man amidst the allegations (always cynically and only for the sake of her own political gain).
I strongly suggest reading the whole Atlantic piece, too. If you want to see all the ways the Right has gone off the rails and tried to nail Hillary for something, anything! From Whitewater to Vince Foster to Benghazi to emails. They claim she has murdered enemies. (Seriously, WorldNutDaily give you a handy recap of what crazy Republicans believe.) Remember the 11 hour deposition she had to endure over Benghazi? And this was after a dozen other investigations and briefings.
This is what Republicans do; deride, divide and lie.
And this is my, and Hillary’s, response to all the Republican baloney.