Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Why I Support Hillary

OK, I'll try to explain why I'm supporting HRC. In a comment to the previous post, LTG asked me to start a dialog on this subject, and I am honoring that kind request.

There are five issues that lead me to support HRC: (1) hardnosed political experience, (2) health care reform, (3) national defense, (4) religious values, and (5) honesty.

1. Political Experience. Don't get me wrong: I like Obama--heck, what's not to like? His message is hope and change, and he personally symbolizes both. He is an accomplished orator (I will avoid calling him "articulate") and he has now proven himself a good campaigner.

But--call me a cynic, I guess--I don't believe his honeymoon with the media will last until November. When the current, post-Iowa Obama bubble bursts and expectations return to earth, what will happen then? Will the young and independent voters prove once again why they are considered the most fickle and unreliable of demographics?

Obama still has yet to face serious opposition in his national political career. His fellow Democrats treat him with kid gloves: they have never challenged his character. They rarely even mention him by name. It's easy to exude optimism when the public loves you, but when they grow disillusioned and start booing... Do you have the guts to keep going? When Obama's parade meets the buzzsaw of the Republican attack machine, will the result be anything but carnage?

In contrast, HRC is a veteran of the worst Republican dirty tricks. She already knows what it is like to be viciously slandered and hated by millions, and she no longer gives a crap about it. Even her detractors admit she is a tough, strong woman. Do I care that she can be a bitch? Hell yes. That's why I'm voting for her.

2. Health Care. I trust Hillary on health care: I believe it has become her mission in life to put right what was derailed 15 years ago. I think she will work her heart out to make that happen. I trust Obama's heart but not his ability to fight it through to the end. This ties in to the political experience.

3. National Security. I also trust HRC better to make the tough choices when it comes to national security. She is more of a realist; Obama is more of an idealist. But unlike the Republicans, there are certain lines and principles she will not cross. I believe stopping torture is one of them. There is a story that, after listening to women in Darfur describe frankly their experiences, HRC had to leave the tent and nearly vomited. It would probably make the worst political slogan in history, but I want a president who vomits.

4. Religion. On a more personal note, I approve of HRC's privacy concerning her religious views more than Obama's public profession of his faith. The church Obama belongs (the Trinity United Church of Christ) is not mainstream and, if you will pardon the expression, Republicans will use its "Black Value System" to crucify Obama in the general election. I seem to recall LTG brought that to our attention several months ago.

5. Honesty. I am not saying Obama is dishonest. But I think he is willing to allow expectations to be inflated beyond what he knows is reasonable. For example, a little-remarked difference between Obama and HRC is that Obama says proudly he would repeal all of DOMA, whereas HRC says she would repeal only the section that defines marriage federally—she has stated she would not try to overturn the section of DOMA that explicitly allows states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. And yet, if you dig a little deeper, you find Obama is willing to reject that section of DOMA because he argues it is “redundant” with existing constitutional precedent. I ask you which candidate is being more forthright about what rights gay people will or will not get out of their administration.

I think HRC learned from her husband’s campaign that it’s harder to deliver on gay rights than you think. There’s a lot of strange opposition to it that crawls out of the woodwork, under a dozen different rationales. Compromise is necessary to move things forward sometimes. People can forget that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was a step forward from the previous UCMJ policy of "Don't Exist."

Likewise, I think a lot of the bipartisanship rhetoric of Obama is just so much smoke and mirrors. Sure he means well, but I have to think he is smart enough to know reality is different. It takes two to tango, and the Republicans aren’t going to cut him any more slack than they cut anyone else. He can chant that we are “one people” until the cows come home, and it still won’t buy him 60 votes in the Senate.

Obama also says he is against lobbyists and all that Washington stuff, but his campaign is full of Washington insiders and he did not raise $100 million from wide-eyed college students. He has good bundlers too. HRC, on the other hand, actually defended lobbyists. On August 4, 2007 she told an audience in Chicago (which booed her, by the way), “A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans. They represent nurses, they represent social workers—yes, they represent corporations that employ a lot of people.”

Ironically, for one so accused of triangulation and focus-grouping her message, I think HRC tells it like it is more often, while Obama tells us what we’d like to hear. And I guess, when it comes down to it, that's why she has my vote.

Expand this post to read my thoughts in depth. And if you've made it all the way through, thanks for reading!


Raised By Republicans said...

It looks like New Hampshire is going to be close. A lot closer than the polls of a few weeks ago said (when Hillary was the prohibitive favorite) and a lot closer than the conventional wisdom of the past few days too (which heralded Obama as the prohibitive favorite).

So we may all get the chance to see Obama respond to electoral adversity.

I think you are right about Clinton's political ruthlessness. If you like that or want that, she's your candidate. Personally, I think this country will not respond well to someone promising a Democratic "pay back" fest.

I think the health care thing is a push. HRC has said she learned from her past failures regarding health care. But her plan is the most ambitious one offered among the major candidates. That was the fatal flaw in the last attempt. So I would wonder what she's learned.

With regard to Gay rights. I think DOMA is a deeply flawed approach. A better approach is to simply say that the government does not define marriage for Churches only for civil ceremonies. But we won't get that past the Religious Right (or the Religious Left for that matter). So the next best thing is to put it in the hands of the courts. I wouldn't assume hostility to Gay rights based on hostility to DOMA. Also, do the Clintons really have that good a record following through on support for the Gay community? If so it's news to me. I'd always thought that "hedging" was the name of the game as far as Clinton relations with the Gay community.

Now, for the big one. The supposed line that HRC won't cross. I'm far from convinced that HRC would get out of Iraq, stop torturing - sorry, "enhanced interrogations" -, renditions, or any of the abuses of executive power that we've seen for the last 8 years. She promises she won't do these things now. But back in 2006 she was backing Lieberman (who is now campaigning for John "The Escalator" McCain) and making excuses for the Bush strategy in the War on Terror.

I'm sorry Dr. S., I respect your opinion, but I think you have mistaken expectations of a HRC presidency.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I don't understand your comment that, "I wouldn't assume hostility to Gay rights based on hostility to DOMA."

What did you mean to say?

Raised By Republicans said...

What I meant was that, correct me if I misunderstood, you seem to be saying that HRC was preferable to Obama because Obama wanted to scrap DOMA entirely and put the whole question before the courts (thus the reference to the constitution).

I've gathered from previous posts that you are a firm supporter of gay rights in general and marriage rights in particular (as are all the regular posters on this blog I believe).

So when you say that you think one candidate is better than another because of their position on DOMA, I took that to mean that you thought Obama's rejection of DOMA was reflecting at least partial opposition to Gay rights with regard to marriage. I was trying to point out that we shouldn't make that assumption based on that observation.

Most especially given the Clintons' record of making promises about Gay rights and then backing WAY off those promises when it comes time to actually implement the policy. What would "Don't Ask Don't Tell" be if instead of establishing a policy themselves the Clinton administration had pushed it in the courts (as was done in the UK/EU)?

RE: DOMA: It seems to me that DOMA has two main parts. First, it lets states off the hook with regard to recognizing marriages from other states. LTG can ellaborate, but I believe that violates the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution (HELP LTG!). Second, it precludes the federal government from recognizing same-sex or polygamus marriages (that link in itself comes from the Bigots for Jesus movement). This second bit is - at best - redundant because of the 1st amendment. At worst it is undermining the 1st amendment because it implicitly accepts a religious definition of marriage as the only valid one.

If I read DOMA from a policy analysis point of view I see it entirely as a tool to LIMIT gay rights not further them. That it was passed by a Republican majority should be a clue to that. Republicans see it as a firewall, not an opening to future reform. So in my view scrapping the entire law would be a step forward. Especially since courts are increasingly sympathetic to the gay rights movement's arguments.

Obama might be advocating a more pro-gay rights position than Clinton is AND being more politically realistic about how to achieve that goal (i.e. through the courts!).

USWest said...

I haven't seen these candidates up close like RBR. And I am having a really hard time getting excited about any of them. All of them have things that really bother me. And none of them have to do really with policy. My take on policy is that whatever these people say now is going to be mute once in the White House because there are too many obstacles, good intentions aside. We need much more than a new president for change to occur, unfortunately. At this point, it is just my general sense of these people, which I know may not count for much. But here goes.

There is something intangible about Obama that really rubs me wrong. I think, as I watch him and HRC more closely, it will become more clear. My general impression is that Obama is something of a "golden boy", "Silicon Valley slick" type. I am not sure how to really put it any other way. He is too "pure" with an arrogance that I find off-putting. I think. And thus, like Dr. S, I wonder if he can go the distance and fight the political fight.

HRC is competent. I think she is much more nuanced due to age, experience, and yes, gender. Like Dr. S, I respect her privacy on religion and she doesn't wear her emotions on her shirt sleeve. And I think that as a woman, people have different expectations of her than they do of men. They may not realize this, but they do. I think that I understand her a little. I get her, in part because I get accused for some of the same things she does. However, like RBR, I am concerned about her conservative streak in terms of policy. I do think she understands people and that she wants to do what is right. But she knows she has to fight and that the fight may not be pretty. She has the hard edge that government service gives you after awhile- especially if you are a person of substance.

John Edwards bothers me as well, despite my early interest. While I would prefer a candidate who is a bit more liberal that HRC, John Edwards is too liberal to win. I see him as a broken record on the 2 Americas thing. He should take that to the $20K a night lecture circuit and move on to something else in the campaign. It will be interesting to see what happens in S. Carolina.

Those are just my general impressions.

Just a last comment: Iowa and N.H are two very different places. And it interests me a bit to see how the voting was different regionally.

Raised By Republicans said...

US West is 100% correct about how different Iowa and New Hampshire are. I'll respond to that in detail under the "Early Analysis of New Hampshire" thread.

The Law Talking Guy said...

A couple comments: the voting in Iowa and NH was not that different. Iowa was 39-30-30 (O/C/E) and NH was 36-39-17 (O/C/E). So Clinton and Obama are both polling in the 30% range. The loser in NH was Edwards. The change in voting pattersn was that NH women turned out to support Clinton in a way they did not in Iowa. Otherwise, frankly, the results aren't that different. Obama got 3% less in NH. Not exactly a big change.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I think Dr.S is saying that he thinks Obama is disingenuous by claiming to be more gay-rights than HRC in wanting to scrap DOMA altogether, but really believing that the courts will enforce most of it anyway as redundant. McCain actually has the same position on much of DOMA, btw, that it is redundant under the Full Faith and Credit Clause (not the 14th amendment).

This morning on NPR Obama was asked again why he was the better choice. His answer bears repeating. He said that the only way to get specific changes done is to create a working majority. This cannot be done, he said, unless the American people are inspired - Dems, independents, and some Republicans - to put pressure on their elected representatives. A president who can mobilize the public in that way (i.e., get a 'mandate') can get something done. HRC, he implied, will never be more than a 50%+1 president. He believes this can happen if the context of "change" is taken out of the battles of the last 8 years. Obama is always very measured in his words concerning the past. He does not rail against Bush. He believes that he can persuade a working majority of Americans to support him if he does not require Bush voters to first admit they were wrong. He will not be triumphalist.

This is a different argument from the straw man Dr.S. attacks: Dr.S says Obama belileves he will get a honeymoon from Republicans, or can personally persuade them by sheer magnetism.

I do not think this is a naive position. Frankly, it is what [Bill] Clinton tried to do in 1992, but he never got a mandate at all, just 43% of the vote. Then he lost the Congress 2 years into his administration.

I fear that HRC, even if she could beat the GOP nominee (she can't beat McCain, IMHO, given his appeal to independents) will simply find an intransigent and angry GOP minority in the Senate that will block everything with the wild support of a revanchist GOP base that is determined to see that bitch fail.

Listen to Obama carefully. He's not that slick and he's not that airy-fairy.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Thanks, RbR. Actually, you did misunderstand what I was trying to say. Maybe it was my fault. Let me try again.

As I understand DOMA, you analyzed it accurately--it is entirely a tool to limit gay rights. I was confused by your earlier comment because hostility to DOMA indicates support for gay rights. I was confused because I did not say Obama was less supportive of gay rights than Hillary. My point was more subtle.

Obama claims to be more supportive than Hillary because he opposes both provisions of DOMA, whereas she would still let states off the hook with regard to recognizing other states' same-sex marriages. But if you dig deeper, you see that Obama's "opposition" to that part of DOMA is hollow at best. He doesn't oppose that provision because he feels it morally wrong, but because he says it is constitutionally redundant. In other words, Obama would not force Alabama to recognize Massachusetts' same-sex marriages either. Like Hillary, he knows it would be political suicide to support that.

Incidentally, Obama certainly did not say he wanted to "put the whole question before the courts." (I guess I'm not quite sure where you got that from--that was not the "constitutional" reference.) Only girlie men like Arnold actually advocate abdicating the roles of the executive and legislative branches entirely. (Support judicial activism much?) Besides, as a practical matter, the issue will continue to be before the courts no matter what.

My point was that Obama is not being as forthright as Hillary about what support he offers or will not offer to same-sex couples. Neither offer same-sex couples what they want--neither support same-sex marriage, and both would let states off the hook regarding recognizing each other's marriages. But I think Hillary is more honest about her limits.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I see LTG and I posted simultaneously. My argument about DOMA is marginally stronger than how LTG interpreted my words, but very similar.

Anonymous said...

"In other words, Obama would not force Alabama to recognize Massachusetts' same-sex marriages either."

But the Supreme Court might under the parts of the Constitution that LTG mentioned. I think that is what Obama is suggesting should be the strategy.


Dr. Strangelove said...

I have read nothing that indicates Obama suggested anything of the sort, RbR. (Indeed, I'd be quite surprised if any Presidential candidate actually advocated leaving these sort of issues up to the courts!)

Besides, same-sex spouses who have moved to other states are fighting for recognition in the courts already. It's a constitutional issue.

Raised By Republicans said...

A link to a conservative blog about why they are hoping to face Hillary Clinton.

Anonymous said...


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