Hillary Clinton – My Thoughts

Don't panic. Most of my blogs are about other things, but I did offer comments on Trump, and said that a future blog on Clinton would be coming after the DNC convention. Incidentally, those Trump comments generally were well received, even with his supporters, and generated a lot of feedback. I'll try address Hillary Clinton in a similarly balanced way.

First off, as we are seeing in Trump's campaign, politics is a profession. Or not. People do it over a lifetime and get experienced in the field. Some people might eschew that approach, desiring a house-cleaning and a "throw the bums out." But that rarely  happens. Incumbents in Congress get re-elected at a more-than-ninety percent rate. While it's appealing to want a fresh approach, our system of government is designed to move with a deliberate speed and with checks and balances.

Hillary Clinton is not new on the scene. In fact, she's been a high-visibility person in and around government for thirty years counting her time as First Lady of Arkansas (1979-81 and 1983-92) and of the United States (1993-2001). In  both cases, she was active in policy in certain areas. In addition, she was elected as Senator of New York, replacing Daniel Patrick Moynihan, where she served two terms (2001-2009) before agreeing to leave the senate and join President Obama's administration as Secretary of State between 2009-2013. She grew up in suburban Chicago and attended Wellesley College and the Yale Law School. Whether you like her or loath her, and there are plenty in both camps, her achievements in life are remarkable, including her nomination as the first woman candidate for president by one of the two major political parties

Ms. Clinton is said to be very warm and compelling personally in private, but she does not project those qualities in the public space. She is known to be hard-working and a policy wonk, but one who appears cold and calculating, parses every word, and is surrounded by a super-loyal team that is as protective as any mama bear. Her hyper-kinetic husband, former president Bill Clinton, is quite a contrast, has a track record of sleazy personal actions to go with an outstanding record as president, and connects well as a speaker.

Her track record would seem to make her the most, if not one of the most, experienced and qualified persons ever to compete for the While House based on her record as a former secretary of state, senator, and prior to that. She is said to know nearly every world leader. As former first lady, she tried (and failed) to create a unified payer health care insurance system. As senator, she voted to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq, and has been in favor of most trade agreements as both senator and cabinet member. That is, until recently, when she has reversed herself on the TPP based on the traction that both Sanders and Trump generated. Now she is against the TPP as written.

She is running, more or less, on the Obama policies (TPP not withstanding). Looking back at "five thousand feet," the Obama term (with Clinton as a key player) will be remembered for withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq, then re-engagements when the replacement leadership was missing or unsustainable, a failed (non)policy in Syria, and another dangerous vacuum in Libya (when these "bad guys" are removed, it's important to understand what replaces them, and it often ain't what we would like). A long, somewhat languid but solid economic recovery has taken place since the two Bush 43 recessions: the dot com and real estate bubble in late 2000; and the very dangerous world-wide financial melt-down in the fourth quarter of 2008. Overall, the employment numbers (see the interesting Wall Street Journal article of March 5, 2016) have recovered nicely, but slowly, to numbers reflecting virtual full employment (it's true, read the article), the best since just before the late 2000 bubble burst, as well as record stock market valuations.  Of course if you were a twenty or thirty year employee of some company in the Midwest who just saw his/her job moved to China or Mexico or somewhere else, you aren't impressed with this overall economic recovery. And if you are like a large swatch of Americans living from paycheck to paycheck at a near-minimum wage, the rosy stock market numbers are not much of interest and don't do a hill of beans for you.

The social climate has changed as well. The "secularization" of the country, especially with younger and urban Americans, along with the LGBT legal rights movement, have not set well with rural and older Americans. With these changes, along with rapidly increasing ethnic diversity, there is a head wind, or a tail wind depending on whether or not you see "your country" as coming or going. Hillary Clinton has embraced the social changes for the most part. Many citizens are fearful and have not. Yet like it or not, these demographic changes are permanent in the U.S.

So we have a candidate who has a great deal of experience, with a measurable track record. She has the laurels and bruises of many years in the public arena. She should be better than Obama at negotiating across the aisle, which I think is needed.

You can make a case that Hillary Clinton is experienced, smart, hard working: the perfect candidate, or a curse upon humanity who makes big picture errors, conceals her thoughts and makes stupid decisions like setting up a private email server in Denver, Colorado. She is almost as headstrong as Mr. Trump in never admitting to mistakes when most can see them from a mile away. Frankly, one question is whether her close advisers, those super-loyal and trusty aides, are too obsequious; whether Hillary Clinton allows real input to which she listens. No one thinking several steps ahead to a possible presidential campaign ever would have counseled her to set up an email server in that manner.

All in all, we have an experienced and smart woman running for president. She is a talented but flawed candidate who does not transmit warmth and a comfortable relationship over television. She has made major errors in judgement. She seems to be able to reverse her course when needed. Personally, I think a woman will govern a bit differently than a man, and this may be good.

But bottom line, she is not considered in a vacuum. She is running against god's gift to the Democrats, an inexperienced politician who appeals to those who view things are dark and dangerous, and who clearly has demonstrated that he is a classic authoritarian narcissist. She may not be a choice that people like, but she is the only choice. I think she has the tools to be president. Hopefully a good one.


Please comment in the "comments" space below, or respond to my email (n3bb@mindspring.com). Your support of both "Contact Sport" and "Reunion" are much appreciated. If your book club within two hours of Austin selects either, I will be glad to attend your book club to discuss the selection and answer any questions.


12 Responses

  1. Hillary has a hatred for the average person. What about all of the secret service members who have come out speaking about her psychopathic actions? What about her health? What about all the death in her wake? The establishment must be stopped in my opinion.
  2. Sorry, Jim. Your well-worded argument just does not include the endless list of scandals that have been part of her history. You also made the point that she is a politician. We need far fewer of them in DC. Trump may come across as a bully, but it may be time for change from socialistic monarchy to someone who is not dedicated to destroying the Constitution.
  3. Yes, pretty much, Jim. I don't care if she wears pantsuits and doesn't do TV well. I care if she can conduct foreign policy and global economics well and seems to have a grasp of actual science. Trump? Pfft. Next slide, please.
  4. As well known, it is a rare occasion when one's arguments/views alters another's. You know this, I know this, and I believe that this blog sets out quite clearly your view of Hilliary and the election. Kudos on your clearly written point of view.
  5. She is an outstanding candidate for maintaining the status-quo. Despite having outdone yourself with your eloquence with vocabulary, which I can agree with, I think you did leave out quite a bit about her and Slick WIllie, such as the donations to her foundation, and too coincidental subsequent blessings bestowed upon the donors, and things like that. So scoot over Taormina, make room for me on the couch next to you.
  6. Jim, Thank you for this very thoughtful essay. I found it it well reasoned and well laid out. I agree with your logic and your conclusions. I also agree that, flawed though she is, she is the only choice out there.
  7. Jim: Watch the Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IOpbj8ajZs The real Hillary is not what she projects. She's a socialist, not a progressive or populist. People who know her and have worked with and for her have told the truth about her: vindictive, ruthless, criminal. She should be in jail, not a candidate. But she has leverage on people who could put her there, demonstrating her character traits at work. On Trump: Will Trump fill his cabinet and departments with business as usual bureaucrats? NOPE Is he the Perfect Candidate whose thoughts mirrors mine on all fronts? NOPE Does he say everything the way I wish he would say it? NOPE Can I point to a Candidate that I like better? NOPE Is there any of the other Politician I like better? NOPE Do I like legislating from the White House? NOPE Do I like the so-called "hope and change" that Obama/Clinton brought about? NOPE Positive Evidence on Trump: Obama is against Trump The Media are against Trump The establishment Democrats are against Trump The establishment Republicans are against Trump
  8. Jim, I see why you live near Austin. Please stay there and away from me. I will have to think twice before giving you another contact in the next contest.
  9. Hi Jim, We all know that Hillary does have her problems, as you have mentioned. One that is not discussed very much is her lack of giving "full fledged" press conferences for nearly nine months. Reporters are not allowed into her fundraisers. A writer for the Albuquerque Journal, Quigley, wrote " Her campaign events are tightly controlled and completely scripted, according to the reporters covering her. There is not an opportunity to challenge the candidate. According to the Associated Press, Hillary also refuses to release transcripts of dozen of closed- door speeches for companies and business associates. After leaving the State Dept. in 2013, only five out of 300 fundraisers have been open. Mark Shields, a regular for PBS News Hour, and Jennifer Rubin, a substitute, mentioned that Hillary's speeches are in six figures, yet she won't reveal any of them to the public. One asked "why did they give her that amount of money for her speeches? ... It's more like "Pay to Play.' Is this what we want in a president who rarely has press conferences and controls the press?
  10. JK James George
    Here's a comment, from Jim Brown, a brilliant technical guy and progressive thinker in Silicon Valley. This is posted with his permission. ********************************************************************************** Here are two excellent analyses by Michael Moore, which I agree completely. I suggest that they be read in sequence. http://michaelmoore.com/trumpwillwin/ http://michaelmoore.com/MakeSureTrumpLoses/ I have this set of thoughts to add for those not satisfied with Hillary as a choice. As a volunteer in Jesse Jackson's Operation Breadbasket (predecessor of Push) in the summer of 1968, I saw and heard all three Dem Candidates -- Humphrey, McGovern, and Gene McCarthy, speak to Jesse's Saturday morning meetings. McCarthy and McGovern were the strong anti-war protest candidates, Humphrey the VP in Johnson's administration. And I watched as anti-war partisans, who had a lot in common with Bernie Sanders supporters (youth, not much previous involvement in politics), elected Nixon by abandoning Humphrey, a Senator from Minnesota who had been on the right side of all the issues all his life, but wasn't "pure" enough for them. I watched in 1980 when John Anderson's independent run took enough steam out of Mondale's campaign to make Reagan's victory a landslide. I watched again in 2000, when Ralph Nader's Green Party ego trip cost Al Gore the election, giving us George Bush the second. This time around, disaffected supporters of Bernie Sanders threaten to do it again -- witness their "purer than thou" protests at the Dem convention after many of Bernie's key issues had been adopted by Hillary and the Dem platform, and Bernie had begged them to support Hillary. A vote for either of the two independent candidacies is the same as staying home, and in an election where Trump supporters turn out, becomes a vote for Trump. Third party and independent runs for general elections simply do not make sense, because they almost always contribute to (or cause) the victory of the major party candidate that those independent voters like the least. The place for independent challenges is in the primaries, as Bernie Sanders did, and did awfully well. Approaching my 75th birthday, I was thrilled and inspired to see a man my age on the stump, with so much energy and drive! He's become one of my heroes. Hillary is not a perfect human being, but I don't know any of those. Her husband got caught with his schwanz in the wrong place, she's exhibited some bad judgement on several issues, and even lied about it. He who does nothing does nothing wrong. So far, I haven't seen any evidence of either one of them having their hands in my pocket. If you're concerned about truthfulness, check out this editorial by Nicholas Kristof. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/opinion/sunday/clintons-fibs-vs-trumps-huge-lies.html?_r=0 And there's no question that Hillary's the only candidate really qualified to lead this country -- her priorities are for ordinary folks, and her knowledge and experience with world affairs prepares her for the job. Her prescription for the economy is massive public projects to rebuild our infrastructure, which, thanks to decades of neglect from "small government" and "lower taxes" are in terrible shape. AND those projects put millions of people to work, most of those jobs can be done by those with less than great education, and they're widely dispersed around the country. That, by contrast, with Trump, who knows nothing about world affairs, whose only priority is himself and what people think of him, and who by many accounts has the attention span of a few minutes. This is why many leaders with guts have already condemned him as a candidate -- he clearly has no ability to think through simple issues, let alone complex ones. The writer who ghosted his book and spent many months with him was quoted in "The New Yorker" that he doubted that Donald had read a single book in his adult life. He says he learns about issues from "the shows." His economic plan is the same bogus "trickle-down" economics that gave us the existing imbalance in wealth and wages -- big tax cuts for the rich, small tax cuts for the middle class, no help for everyone else, and huge deficits. In his speech at the Dem convention, Micheal Bloomberg said that as a New Yorker he know a "con" when he saw one. Having lived 42 years in Chicago, I had exactly the same assessment. Bottom line -- I urge all my friends to do whatever you can to be a participant in this election to the extent that you can. Work and vote for the candidate WHO HAS A CHANCE OF WINNING who you believe to be best qualified. Since California is not in play, I plan to do it by again going to a swing state and knocking on doors. And then there's the Supreme Court. The next President will appoint at least one justice, and likely more, and those choices will affect the course of our nation in profound ways for at least two generations. This alone is a compelling reason to go all out for the Presidential candidate who will make good choices, and to work for Senate candidates who will approve those choices. This is not some dirty thing called "politics" done people we call "politicians," this is about our lives, and the lives our children and grand children. Jim Brown
    • JK James George
      Oops, the paragraphs did not space out as I copied and pasted. Sorry, Jim Brown. JG.
  11. Jim I stumbled across this after the election so I have that vantage to reflect upon your comments. Well done! Balanced, Fair, Accurate. Hillary and Donald Trump were both equally polarizing to their opponents and revered by their fans. It was an election for the history books - I am grateful it is over, that I lived through it ( I am a amateur political scientist and futurist) to witness history in the making and that I can tell my family about it in the future if they ask! Your balanced analysis should land you on a major cable network job doing commentary! Keep up the interesting writing. Scott

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