Thursday, June 9, 2016

Michael Brendan Dougherty...

...has a piece in The Week titled "The existential despair of Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump" in which he argues that -- yes, you guessed it -- you shouldn't feel like you have to vote for "the lesser of two evils."

I'm sure you've heard some variation on this already: This will be the dirtiest election in history! Or: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have the highest negatives ever! Or, whatever.

According to Mr. Dougherty:

Don't let anyone tell you that the nearly uncontrollable urge to retch at the thought of this election is disproportionate, or somehow uncivil. When you contemplate the fate of your country in 2016, you have the right to be depressed, or even despairing.

By refusing to choose or — more boldly — refusing to care, you will be joining millions of people, who, in any given year, act as if voting for one of the two major parties is useless. 

Many of your friends will tell you that if you go on this way, refusing to choose, you are engaging in a "both sides" fallacy.

But this really is a "both sides" fallacy. I mean, come on, even most Republicans -- under Sodium Pentothal -- would admit that Donald Trump is unqualified to be president. Right? But when I said this to another couple recently neither one debated the point. Instead, the woman launched into a diatribe about why Hillary Clinton was unqualified for the office: "Benghazi," her email "scandal," the Clinton Foundation, etc.

I was in a good mood (they were buying), so I only responded by noting that Mrs. Clinton had served as both a United States Senator and Secretary of State, two jobs generally thought to be good preparation for the Oval Office.

And I didn't even mention that Hillary had been an integral part of two very successful eight-year administrations. You know, that whole "peace and prosperity" stuff? (Maybe she picked up a thing or two along the way.)

I also didn't talk about all those Republican Congressional committees (is it seven, or eight?) that have spent countless tax dollars and man-hours investigating "Benghazi" without turning up a single thing. Not one! And the email "scandal"? I like to think of myself as a reasonably well-informed person and yet I can't for the life of me get why this is considered a scandal. Do people -- even rabid Fox News-watchers -- really believe that Mrs. Clinton had some sort of "criminal intent" here? Really? (And I'm not including those who think the Clintons had Vince Foster murdered. I'm talking about people who don't own a tin foil hat.)

As for Mrs. Clinton's record in the Middle East, i. e., Libya, Syria, the vote to go to war with Iraq, the nuclear treaty with Iran, et cetera, et cetera -- who has gotten it right in the last however many years? George W. Bush? John McCain? Who's gotten it right ever? Psst: the Middle East is a great big mess -- it always was and it probably always will be. What's the Republican answer? Send more troops! Even Trump doesn't agree with that anymore.

Dougherty concludes with:

Someone will inevitably ask you this question: "But really, gun to your head: Do you want President Trump? Or do you want President Clinton?" You should reframe the question for them like this: "When someone asks, 'Gun to your head: Do you want a gun to your head? Or a gun to your head?' The only response is: 'Just get over with it.'"

(How about, Gun to my head: I'll take four more years of Obama!)

Now, look, I won't go so far as to say I'd like to have a beer with Hillary Clinton. I never cared much for her or Bill. They're both just a little too oily for my taste. But this isn't about having a beer -- I don't even drink beer -- it's about electing a president. (Preferably one who could actually do the job.) And who's the next best thing to President Obama? (No, not Bernie Sanders -- he got beat, remember?) Hillary Clinton. Why? Because she'll continue the legacy of the 44th president. And it's a good one.

P. S. Prediction: I'll say Mrs. Clinton does a good job and is reelected in 2020.


James said...

Well two politicians who got Iraq right were Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders. The libya fiasco just seems like an inability to learn from a past mistake. The nytimes editorial board did a decent job of articulating Clinton's weaknesses and what she needs to do to get right with democrats.

Ed Crotty said...

The slams on Secretary Clinton about Iraq are specious. She certainly was not a war monger - but she was the Senator from New York - home of the now destroyed world trade center - and the Bush Administration and the news media blasted the lie that Iraq was involved in 9/11 24/7 for a few years. I really don't know that she had a choice. I will say that I find the Clintons to be exceptional at finding the center of any issue - and claiming it. They "represent" the core of America. The job of President has some foreign policy implications and she will excel at that - but domestically, the President has a veto. Leadership and new idea should be coming from Congress. It think she will do a fine job for the next 8 years.

James said...

If someone is that easily manipulated by the neocons of the Bush administration and the news media then they probably shouldn't be president.