In exchanges with fellow progressives, I would posit there are four reasons to support Hillary Clinton for president: Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Anthony Kennedy, and Stephen Breyer, each a justice of the Supreme Court nearing 80 years of age. With the passing of Scalia, that point has been brought to the forefront.
The subtext of my argument is that Clinton is very electable while Bernie Sanders is not. If nominated, Sanders loses miserably.
Sanders preaches revolution. Political revolutions, though, are like fad diets: high on promise but invariably ending in disillusionment. They run into reality. Since 2008, hope and change has given way to irrational anger and frustration. That is the great lesson President Obama has learned when he speaks about his one regret.
History, both human and natural, teaches lasting change results from evolution, the slow process of change. Whether weight loss or creating social, political, and economic change, new paradigms arise only after patient, dogged effort.
Given that, it’s imperative to look at the big picture. While the tantalizing issue for many progressives is Big Money on Wall St. and in campaign finance, a critical concern is the Supreme Court.
Throughout our history, the Supreme Court has handed down some catastrophic decisions: Dred Scott; Plessey v. Ferguson; Bush v. Gore; Citizens United v. FEC, to name a few.
But then a number of Supreme Court decisions have given dignity to millions of Americans: Brown v. Board of Education; Roe v. Wade; Obergefell v. Hodges (same-sex marriage); King v. Burwell (Obamacare). Those decisions did not come about out of the blue but after years of persistent, tenacious, and painstaking efforts.
And that’s a fundamental difference between Clinton and Sanders. While Sanders preaches revolution, Clinton engenders evolution.
To their disciples, revolution leaders—Lenin, Mao, Fidel—are like Pope Francis speaking ex cathedra: infallible, incapable of committing error and pure in spirit.
From Bernie’s Brigade’s perspective, Clinton is flawed, imperfect. They she is too close to Wall St. and voted to support Bush’s war in Iraq.
But on that, Clinton was far from alone. I recall very vividly the national trauma that engulfed the nation regarding the invasion. My early articles in the Courant took aim at it. While I was being pilloried. Bush’s approval rating skyrocketed to the stratospheric 85-percent level, which, I dare say, likely included many of Sanders current disciples.
Comedian Bill Maher who doubles as a liberal sage said Sanders is qualified to be commander-in-chief because he voted against the Iraq War. By his logic, so am I. But for Sanders, foreign policy is that other issue. Despite declaring North Korea as the greatest threat to our security, Sanders, unlike Marco Rubio, refused to interrupt his campaign to vote on the crucial issue of sanctions against North Korea.
Clinton has called the innuendo and subtle attacks from Sanders an “artful smear.” She’s correct.
It’s a strategy taken right of religious zealots’ handbook. Create a Great Satan and then associate your opponent with him.
Taking money from millionaires and billionaires is not only not a hate crime, it’s necessary for a candidate to win. As I pointed out last week, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Barack Obama took their money while enacting great progressive measures. And there are plenty of deep pockets on the liberal left subsidizing their favorite candidates.
When Clinton arrived on the national scene, she made it clear she was not following in the tradition of first ladies such as Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, and Nancy Reagan. Like Eleanor Roosevelt, Clinton would not know her place. Two decades later, we call Hillarycare Obamacare.
Over the decades Clinton has been a champion of and leader on progressive issues from reproductive and gay and lesbian rights to children’s health. And for that she has been pilloried. In the Citizens United v. FEC case, it was Clinton the rightwing machine was gunning for. It could be called Citizens United v. Hillary.
But Hillary is still standing. Tall.
One great lesson I have learned in life is understanding everyone is flawed. No one is pure. Even political revolutionaries. And the greater the name, the greater the magnitude of his or her imperfection.
Over the course of my life, I’ve made some huge mistakes. So have you. Forgive yourself, learn from them, and move on.
Clinton may be flawed but she’s done heroic work throughout her life. If progressives are wise, they will elect her, Hillary Clinton, President of the United States.