Trusting Hillary

Last week, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, while admitting that his own political party has gone “batshit crazy”, referred to Hillary Clinton as “the most dishonest woman in America”. He was joking – kind of (video here). 

This week, former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, while attacking one of this year’s candidates, said “a person as dishonest and untrustworthy as Hillary Clinton must not become President” (transcript here).

Obviously, characterizing Clinton as dishonest and untrustworthy is standard song and dance for Republican politicians. What’s been surprising lately is how many Democrats are making similar statements. The Democrats in question are generally the ones who support Clinton’s opponent for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders. 

I bring this up because “73angelD” posted this comment on New York Magazine‘s site yesterday:

73angelD: “There are many middle-aged female Sanders supporters like myself who do not trust Clinton.”

That type of thing from a liberal or progressive voter who should and almost certainly will vote for Clinton in November raises an interesting question. So I asked it:

PersonaObscura [that’s me!]: “I’m honestly confused. What is it that you don’t trust Clinton to do? Do you think she’ll be remarkably less liberal in office than she says she’ll be? Or her voting record in the Senate indicates? She’s always seemed to be more liberal than her husband, but less slippery.”

Which someone else tried to answer: 

Madapalooza: “We don’t trust her irresponsiblity due to the email scandal, her being a Goldwater Girl, her taking hundreds of thousands from the institutions she “claims” she’s going to regulate, withholding the wall street transcripts, the fact that she not once but twice dismissed black protesters who simply asked her to explain her racial remarks on television, her husband sabotaging the voting polls in Massachusetts on super Tuesday, ect, ect…”

Resisting the urge to comment on those particular “offenses” (and the more powerful urge to correct the “ect, ect”), I replied:

PersonaObscura: “You listed things you don’t like about her or her husband, but trust has to do with what you expect her to do as President. Based on everything she’s said and done in her life, and what we’ve gone through as a nation in recent years, it’s reasonable to expect her policies will be to the left of Bill Clinton’s and to the right of what Bernie’s would have been. This will be our choice in November: a relatively liberal Democrat vs. some right-wing goon.”

The discussion probably went on from there (my policy in these matters is to say one or two things and then exit, often pursued by an angry elephant or donkey).

As we traverse the next eight months, we should all keep in mind that casting a ballot in a Presidential election amounts to making a prediction. Who do we predict will have the most success carrying out policies we endorse? We can’t be certain, so we need to make an educated guess.

In Hillary Clinton’s case, it should be obvious to everyone that she will tend to do her job like President Obama has done his. She won’t govern like a democratic socialist or a reactionary Republican. There is no reason to think she has been hiding her real intentions for the past 50 years. Therefore, we can trust her to govern like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, not like Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush or his feckless son.

She will try to reduce income inequality, create middle class jobs, move us closer to universal healthcare, reform our immigration policies and protect the environment. She will pay attention to science. She will take a particular interest in issues facing women and children. She will be pro-market but not necessarily pro-big business. She will nominate reasonable people to be judges.

Likewise, she will allow the CIA and NSA to stay in business, authorize drone strikes and allow Israel to get away with very bad behavior toward the Palestinians. We can trust her to do these kinds of things, the good and the bad. That’s the kind of trust that’s relevant.

Saying you don’t trust Hillary Clinton is an easy way to criticize her without bothering to explain what you don’t trust her to do. As President, she will often disappoint us, but who knows? She could turn out to be almost as progressive as the Republicans fear. It’s about time they got something right.

The article referred to above is here. The author’s thesis is that some conservatives are voting for Sanders because they don’t like uppity women. I don’t recommend the comments!

PS:  A few words about Hillary Rodham back when she would have been Feeling the Bern:

In her junior year, Rodham became a supporter of the antiwar presidential nomination campaign of Democrat Eugene McCarthy. In early 1968, she was elected president of the Wellesley College Government Association and served through early 1969. Following the assassination of MartinLuther King, Jr., Rodham organized a two-day student strike and worked with Wellesley’s black students to recruit more black students and faculty. In her student government role, she played a role in keeping Wellesley from being embroiled in the student disruptions common to other colleges. A number of her fellow students thought she might some day become the first female President of the United States….

That summer, [after graduation] she worked her way across Alaska, washing dishes in Mount McKinley National Park and sliming salmon in a fish processing cannery in Valdez (which fired her and shut down overnight when she complained about unhealthful conditions). [Wikipedia]