Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why not Hillary?

I used to dislike Hillary, and temporarily joined a Facebook group labelled something like "Join this group if you are AGAINST Hillary for president", until somebody asked me why I was against Hillary.

Hmm. It's a funny thing. I actually began to like like Bill Clinton a lot more after so much time under George Bush, but for some reason I didn't like Hillary even though I had not followed her in the media and really didn't know much about her. So what wasn't to like? I think somehow that the feelings of others had rubbed off on me. I had heard her described several times as a "divisive" figure and I had never heard any particular reasons to like her, and apparently this was enough to give me the same negative feeling. But it really is not good enough.

I checked her Wikipedia entry and it was pretty benign. She doesn't seem concerned with things like Net Neutrality, copyright/patent law, or other things I consider important. And she voted for the Iraq war, which I cannot be happy about, but I guess it was the popular thing to do at the time. On the other hand she had a universal health care plan, maybe not a perfect plan, but at least we can agree in principle.

So I quit the anti-Hillary group. Over time I've become more and more sure that I'd really rather have Barak Obama as president (or Dennis Kucinich or Mike Gravel or Ralph Nader), but it is a little disconcerting to have made up my mind without really considering Hillary at all.

Anyway, I was reminded of my misstep by this slashdot post, directed at someone who was against Hillary:
Why do you dislike Hillary so strongly? I'm genuinely curious. I know there's a lot of folks who hate her, but I don't ever hear it logically explained. I imagine there has to be a pretty strong argument for why you'd support Obama over McCain but McCain over Clinton when Obama and Clinton's policies are so closely aligned and so dramatically different than McCain's.
Good question. I could not have answered it two months ago. The response from "JudgeFurious":
You know, I spent a lot of time pondering that as well. Why does this candidate rub me the wrong way so badly? I didn't mind her husband as President and so I naturally started wondering if it was because of her gender. Was I being sexist without recognizing it? Ultimately I concluded that my biggest problem with Hillary Clinton was her personality and the almost palpable ambition she seems to give off. It's like the woman is just starving for power and will step over just about anybody or anything to get it. I haven't had this kind of negative feeling about a candidate or President since Nixon. Despite his actions I don't much get it from GWB. I do get a sense of it from Cheney however.

She goes into a series of primaries with agreeing to certain terms (like Florida and Michigan not counting for instance) and then when it seems like she might not get her way she starts making noises about changing those terms. She enters a primary in Texas fully aware of how the primary works in Texas (and any protests otherwise she might make border on being insulting in my opinion) and then again you start to hear rumblings from her campaign about the possibility of filing suit to have this changed because it does not favor her. She goes into debates talking about being "co-President" and trying to leverage her husbands coat tails (which I do not fault her for doing mind you) but then denies any real involvment when failures or negatives from his administration are brought up. I see this and think "You were either the co-President or you weren't so what's it gonna be?"

This is the kind of behavior that makes me just cringe at the thought of her being President of the United States.
Another interesting response from "inca34":
The Republican playbook is a general turn-off for me. Character assassination and fear mongering instead of forging plans for the future tends to be the dead giveaway. When Obama had more free reign over his campaign with all the candidates involved, he spoke of plans for the future that he was passionate about and which made sense to me in terms of feasibility. Hillary, for what little she's actually done, has little personality except for what she thinks will get her ahead.

She wants to garnish my wages if I can't afford medical insurance, eh? She wants to fight the war (any war) in XXXX (wherever) because she has vested interested in defense spending? She wants me to feel comforted in her experience by the fact that she's been cherry picked by her husband to be in positions of power for a shorter period of time that Obama has been doing public service-oriented work?

I'm sorry, her story just does not check out. I want nothing to do with her platform or her reforms. Her rhetoric reeks of a lack of substance and a motive for her own personal advancement.

Check the exit polls. The more educated, the more likely the vote was for Obama. This statement is not elitist and does not assume a college degree could trump reality or a good common sense, but the averages should speak for themselves. With a college education one ought to be able to seek truth more effectively. I've researched my candidates come to my own conclusions, and I wish everyone could do that, but that's just not realistic for 300 million people to do. So we rely on the media and the game and hope it all works out in the end.

If politics were about qualifications, I'd suspect we'd have heard more about Chris Dodd and Dennis Kucinich and a few others. I personally would prefer their going to the Whitehouse based off of solid records, good experience, and most important character trait a politician could have: they can't be bought. Obama has yet to be seen, though his discipline with his investments give me a good feeling. Hillary has been bought before, I'm sure it can and will happen again (keywords: walmart board labor union).
I have to agree, Obama's tactics are much more tasteful, his speeches are better, and some elements of his campaign (anti-war, pro-net-neutrality) definitely make me like him more. I don't know if he's going to deal with the corruption of the military-industrial complex, but there's certainly no reason to believe Hillary will.

And Hillary's claims that she's so much more experienced? Well, Obama's senate record is pretty impressive for a first timer, as "Grassroots Mom" explains.

I bought Obama's book "Audacity of Hope". Hopefully it'll convince me that he's as good a candidate as my brother (who campaigns for him) believes. Of course, the real test will come after he's voted into office. But a man committed to change is more likely to clean house than a woman who is not.

As an aside, I am finding McCain to be a suprisingly likable guy. It's a suprise because lately I have expected nothing but evil behavior from Republicans. I say that as a Mormon, which may seem ironic given that Utah is as Red as a rose. But McCain is not against the Iraq war and he is not promising change in Washington. I'm sticking with Barak, but suppose I ought to give McCain a closer look anyway.


Anonymous said...

Hillary would have won against Bush. Instead, she supported Kerry. [A very stupid idea]

At this point, Ralph Nader is the only believable candidate left.

Republican Anarchists will continue to destroy this nation from the inside out if they continue to stay any longer.

Qwertie said...

Hey, I'd vote for Ralph if I thought he had a chance of winning. But the first-past-the-post system, combined with the rules that make it hard for Ralph to get on the ballot, make it impossible for an independent to win.

I wonder why Ralph supports IRV voting, though, it's the second-dumbest voting system next to FPTP (it is essentially a multistage FPTP system, which has no mathematical basis.)