I’ll admit. I was originally going to stay out of this election, having had my share of vocal, passionate and public moments in past campaigns. There were a few reasons I was laying low, not least being I didn’t “get” Hillary. Besides, I’m a registered Independent so, no I didn’t have a dog in the primaries.
Bernie and his arguments landed on my radar and half-paid-attention during the primaries. I watched one of the GOP primaries too (the one where Trump refers to his male appendage) and found myself longing for 2012’s candidates.
Having run a small international consulting business for two decades with clients located on four continents, foreign policy and economics issues are where I’m most intellectually comfortable. Added to this experience is a family history of military and foreign service. That’s where I’m coming from. That and my wonkish tendencies. So, here are a few of the things I’ve learned to move my needle toward full-throated supporter of Hillary:
On her integrity and honesty: PolitiFact’s scorecard rated her statements wholly true 23% of the time, mostly true 29% of the time, and “Pants on Fire” (totally false) 2% of the time.
Donald Trump, in comparison, pulls in a whopping 17% “Pants on Fire” fabrications and only 4% true, and 11% mostly true.
My take: Hillary has been in a media bubble for so many decades she’s damn careful about dotting her I’s, crossing her T’s and wouldn’t dream about including a statement without triple fact-checking. Supporting this is a good editorial by Madeleine May Kunin, former governor of Vermont.
On her vote to authorize military force in Iraq: My initial take on her vote was that she had to prove she had the cajones to stand toe to toe with the guys on this one. Remember, it was a hawkish time in the U.S. We were still hurting over the 9/11 attack one year earlier. I was wrong. Slate did the legwork and dug up the transcript of her words on the floor of the Senate Oct. 10, 2002 before the vote took place. I won’t quote the entire article. You should read it yourself. But here’s the meat of it:
“I believe the best course is to go to the United Nations for a strong resolution” that calls “for complete, unlimited inspections with cooperation expected and demanded” from Saddam.
“If we get the resolution the president seeks, and Saddam complies,” Clinton added, “disarmament can proceed and the threat can be eliminated. … If we get the resolution and Saddam does not comply, we can attack him with far more support and legitimacy than we would have otherwise.” This international support is “crucial,” she added, because, “after shots are fired and bombs are dropped, not all consequences are predictable.”
“Even though the resolution before the Senate is not as strong as I would like in requiring the diplomatic route first … I take the president at his word that he will try hard to pass a United Nations resolution and seek to avoid war, if possible. Because bipartisan support for this resolution makes success in the United Nations more likely and war less likely—and because a good faith effort by the United States, even if it fails, will bring more allies and legitimacy to our cause—I have concluded, after careful and serious consideration, that a vote for the resolution best serves the security of our nation.
My take: There are many tools of foreign policy and by authorizing force, Hillary and the others who approved the vote were able to get the UN Inspectors in. It was a very smart and well-thought out chess move that not only won the support of those on the UN Security Council who were reluctant, but also forced Saddam Hussein to reluctantly allow inspectors back in for the first time since 1998. Supporting her line of thinking is this paragraph found in an Arms Control Association article from 2013:
“If history validates and vindicates the role played by the IAEA and UNMOVIC in the Iraq WMD saga, it must also acknowledge the instrumental contribution made by the United States in backing them up with the threat of force. Indeed, Saddam Hussein is unlikely to have allowed the return of UN inspectors without both a credible threat of U.S. military force being used and a display of UN Security Council unity in demanding a full accounting. Without their return to Iraq after a four-year absence, there would have been insufficient basis for concluding that Saddam had been contained.”
A final thought on this: May George Bush burn in hell for going to war before the UN Inspectors were finished their inspections and setting the U.S. on a path of death, destruction and monetary plunder. Furthermore, why hasn’t the U.S. had an investigation like the Chilcot inquiry in the UK which produced damning findings?
On her seeming sense of entitlement: As I said, I’ve seen this in others and it’s a real turn off. But then I heard this NPR Fresh Air segment with NY Times reporter Amy Chozick who has covered Hillary for years. She makes a strong case for the nominee’s wonkiness getting in the way of social graciousness. I find it easy to believe and something very appealing, actually, since I have a tendancy toward head-in-the-clouds behavior and a strong disdain for sorority girl BS, the phony geniality of used car salesmen and the like.
So there you have it, my rationale for supporting Hillary Clinton for President. It’s not because she’s a woman. It’s because she’s brilliant, committed, and passionate about making our country better for all of us. I look forward to her presidency and think our country will do great things with her at the helm.