Hillary Clinton: Candidate of Last Resort

I would like to first express my condolences to the victims of the Boston bombing and their families. That event was a horrific tragedy, and it is also heart breaking that, through the ages, some human beings have continued to do such horrible things to one another. The main point of my post relates to the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton has stated before that she does not plan on running for president. My reaction to this is, “You promise?” Believe me, I would love to have a female president. But I don’t want it to be Hillary Clinton. I think either Margaret Hoover from the GOP or Elizabeth Warren from the Democratic Party, for instance, would be great. In fact, I believe that one of these days, Chelsea Clinton could make a great president, but I hope it doesn’t take that long to get a woman in the White House. But again, I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president. There are several reasons for this. Those of you who know me well can probably guess that the biggest one is her record on marriage equality. President Obama and Vice President Biden both risked their reelection by reversing their previous stances and announcing that they supported gay marriage. Hillary Clinton waited until well after the election. If she never runs for another public office, the historical record will show that not once in her life did Hillary Clinton ever risk losing an election by supporting equal rights for gay people. If she runs in 2016, the record will show that she kicked back on the fence rifling off nonsense about civil unions while Barack Obama risked losing his presidency by supporting marriage equality, then changed positions once Obama proved a supporter of gay marriage could win and once the tide had clearly turned momentously. If Clinton runs in 2016, I am going to be reminded of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where Calvin puts his rubber duck in the bath tub “to check for sharks,” before getting in himself. In essence, it will look to me as if Clinton used Obama as a rubber duck to see if homophobic shark voters would devour him for supporting marriage equality. Furthermore, while I do not blame Hillary Clinton for  Bill’s homophobic policies, she has not done a good job disassociating herself from them and, in fact, took four years longer than him to support equal rights. In 2007, Clinton said she wanted to repeal Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act-instead of the whole vile piece of legislation. I could be wrong, but it is hard for me to imagine her fighting to repeal DOMA with the necessary amount of vigor, as it was her husband who signed it. Hence, she might feel that aggressively attacking the law as discriminatory and immoral would be repudiating her husband. And most people don’t like openly repudiating family members. I love Meghan McCain for her gay rights support, but she wasn’t exactly taking the fight to her Dad over his support of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The second reason I would prefer Hillary Clinton not become president is that as a Senator she sponsored an anti-flag burning law. The best that can be said of the amendment is that it would not have meant a blanket ban on flag burning. It would, however, have made flag desecration with intent to incite violence illegal, as well as making it illegal to intimidate someone by burning a flag or burn someone else’s flag (presumably without their permission.) There were plenty of problems in this proposed law. Neither Clinton nor her cosponsor, Senator Robert Bennett, saw fit to define what constituted an attempt at inciting violence. This would have necessarily been left to judges, juries, and district attorneys, and it is not far fetched to imagine many of them using the law to punish people ostensibly for intending to incite violence but really for the act of desecration itself. And since any act of flag desecration is likely to result in violence by angry bystanders against the person doing the desecrating, Clinton’s proposed law was particularly ripe for abuse. The intimidation clause was also so vague that it could have easily led to free speech violations. And, of course, burning someone else’s property without their permission is already a crime, so that part of the law was comically unnecessary. One of the things I most admire about the Democratic Party (aside from its CURRENT support for civil rights) is that although mainstream Democrats have frequently supported over-extensions of government power in areas like the Patriot Act and the War on Drugs, they have generally opposed anti-flag burning laws. Not so with Hillary Clinton. The third reason that I am not particularly enthusiastic about a Hillary Clinton candidacy is her record on the Iraq War. In 2002, Hillary Clinton voted for a resolution that authorized George W. Bush to use military force against Iraq at his discretion, without needing further approval from the Senate or the House. There is a popular claim going around that all but one Senator, or every single Senator, voted for the Iraq War. A quick trip to the public record will make it clear that this claim is not even close to true. In actuality, twenty-one Democratic Senators, one Republican Senator, and one Independent Senator voted against it. Russ Feingold, Jim Jeffords, Lincoln Chafee, Barbara Boxer, Mark Dayton,  Patrick Leahy, Daniel Inouye, and Ted Kennedy (yes, I know the last two are deceased), among others, would have something to say if you told them that only one Senator voted against the Iraq War. Then, we come to the House, where the “nay” votes numbered well over a hundred. My point is the “damn near everyone voted for the war” argument that was compelling with regard to Vietnam and Afghanistan really falls flat in the case of Iraq. Had Hillary Clinton been nominated in 2008, she would have had a very tough time criticizing the Iraq War during the campaign, since it would have seemed that she was simply bending to the will of the public. Barack Obama, on the other hand, had opposed the Iraq War at the beginning and hence had a much easier time criticizing it. It is true that Obama voiced support for the war in 2004, after it was already underway, but at least if he’d had his way, the war never would have started. Furthermore, I believe that if Hillary Clinton had been elected in 2008, we would currently have far more troops in Iraq than we do now. After all, she repeatedly refused to apologize for her pro-war vote and voiced support for maintaining a reduced troop presence in Iraq “for the foreseeable future.” Everything that I have said can easily be corroborated by a quick trip to Google. Now, since I believe in fairness, I am going to address an allegation made against Hillary Clinton back in 2008. During his primary battle with Obama, there were accusations made that she was racist. The lion’s share of evidence gives lie to this accusation. However, there are other potential candidates for president in 2016 who are also not racist, have significantly stronger gay rights records than Hillary Clinton, and would be better choices for president. If, Heaven forbid, the 2016 presidential contest is Hillary Clinton vs. Marco Rubio, then believe me, I will heartily support Clinton. Rubio’s gay rights record makes Hillary Clinton’s look downright phenomenal. But I am not and will not be excited about her candidacy if she runs in the primaries.

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