Milam’s Musings, firstname.lastname@example.org
The people that seem to lust the most after power are the people we should be most hesitant to give it to.
Now, I should say, my ultimate ideology would unpack the idea of there even being such concentrated power in which to lust after.
But, such a premise would entail dismissing every presidential candidate on both sides, “realistic” ones or not, since they’re all lusting for the power to control 318 million lives (and millions more around the world). Again, normally I’d be fine with this dismissal, but let me narrow the premise:
People that seem to lust after power the most and then mishandle said power ought to never be trusted with it again.
Now we’re at the part where I can be most clear: you ought to not vote for Hillary Clinton if you accept that more precise premise.
Unfortunately, you may not, dear reader, since my premise is predicated on you prioritizing foreign policy and matters of war. If you look at any polling that lists the most important issues to voters, foreign policy will almost assuredly be last or close to it.
And I can’t begrudge people their lack of interest in what goes on thousands of miles away when they’re more concerned about the immediacy of the economy and health care. It’s hard to find the wiggle room to understand this while, nevertheless, imploring people to tighten this empathy gap.
For instance, it should matter far more than it does that the United States has been bombing countless Muslim-majority countries for the last 15 years with little-to-no accounting of it, under both a Republican and a Democratic administration.
But first, let me back up.
Clinton has been in the public spotlight and within the halls of power since becoming the First Lady of the United States in 1993. Then she was a New York Senator for eight years, during which she laid the groundwork for a presidential bid in 2003. In 2006, she officially began a run for the presidency and, of course, lost to Barack Obama. She became his Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013.
Then she announced her bid for the presidency in 2015, in what was supposed to be a “slam dunk” campaign for the Democratic nomination, but Bernie Sanders, the persistent email scandal, Clinton’s general likeability issue and whether people can trust her are interfering with that.
Her desperation to hold the most powerful office in the world is clear. But she’s had power before, as the First Lady, as a New York Senator and as Obama’s Secretary of State.
Subsequently, her record of mishandling that power is clear.
For starters, she helped perpetuate the racist myth of the super predator in 1996 and supported the 1994 crime bill, the worst crime bill in American history.
Now she wants to tout herself as a criminal justice reformer since that’s the way the political winds are blowing, but there’s no reason to trust her on that score.
Secondly, and most importantly, she voted for the Iraq war in 2002. In a sane world, that would be enough to disqualify her from the presidency since it was the worst foreign policy blunder since Vietnam.
I “could” see the argument for still voting for Clinton despite that vote, if Clinton had learned from her “mistake.” Instead, she went on to spearhead the bombing of Libya as the Secretary of State in 2011 with predictably disastrous results for that country and the region.
She’s also hawkish on Syria, supporting a no-fly zone, which would directly bring the United States into conflict with Russia, a position Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio also holds.
And she has been combative on Iran. Sure, she supported Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, but her verbiage was hawkish as ever, saying, “The United States will never allow you to acquire a nuclear weapon,” adding, according to CNN, that she, “will not hesitate to take military action if Iran attempts to
obtain a nuclear weapon.”
Yet The New York Times editorial board endorsed her in the Democratic primary, saying she’s one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history. On what basis? As I said, the Iraq vote should be disqualifying, but if you add in Libya, Syria and Iran, as well as the long-standing war in Afghanistan, Clinton ought to hardly be considered “qualified.”
The Times even acknowledges her no-fly zone position, saying, “we have no doubt that Mrs. Clinton would use American military power effectively and with infinitely more care and wisdom than any of the leading Republican contenders.”
However, as I mentioned, Rubio supports a no-fly zone, too. Was Clinton showing “infinitely more care and wisdom” when she voted for Iraq? When she gleefully celebrated Gaddafi’s death while Libya disintegrated into a civil war? When she continues to be just as bellicose to Iran as her Republican counterparts?
The trade-off for Democrats seems to be that they can tolerate Clinton’s hawkishness, just as they have Obama’s (although he’s certainly less so, but that’s not much of a compliment), so long as she’s solid on health care, the environment and the economy. And they can certainly tolerate it more than they could a similarly destructive Republican president that’s much less “solid” on those same domestic issues.
And I don’t know what to do with that as a writer about politics. But as a voter? I prefer not to give my vote to a hawk. There is no lesser evil option here; there’s a hawk in either direction.