I am one who will be voting for Hillary, but without a lot of enthusiasm. Now I am not sure how much I am being affected by years and years of media attacks, some of which certainly is ridiculous (Benghazi comes to mind). I’m also not sure how much I’m impacted as a male by subconscious bias against women in positions of power. I actually think that plays a role. All that said, even trying to adjust for those factors, I do think some of my discomfort is justified. The things that bother me include:
- The Clintons have taken advantage of their political clout to enrich themselves. For those of us that think there’s too much money in politics, the Clintons are not people who shy away from that money. Bill takes the millions from a for-profit university. Hillary takes the millions in speaking fees from Wall Street, corporations, and other lobby organizations. They don’t really go out of their way to make sure that the operations (in both actuality and appearance) of their Clinton Foundation (which I do believe the preponderance of the evidence shows by and large does good charitable work) are totally separated from their government work. For those of us that think money buys undue influence regardless of whether there’s any specific quid pro quo, Hillary doesn’t seem like she really can credibly be the champion of changing that.
- The e-mail thing. The reporting on this is frankly confusing, probably because of being in the middle of a Presidential campaign, competing interests either want you to think it’s a big nothing that should go away immediately or the greatest crime ever perpetrated against humanity. But from the things I read, I’m not that concerned over the supposed “classified” e-mails, as my understanding is that the true top-secret e-mails are on its own system. Maybe some minor information from the “classified” system may have leaked into discussions on the “non-classified” side of things. But my guess is that’s probably quite common.
My concern is that there was ever a private server for work e-mails at all. I’m expected to do all my work communication via my work’s e-mail and it shouldn’t be different for government officials. I think if I set up a private server to handle my work e-mail and my employer found out, they would find that very suspicious. This was then compounded by the decision to also use that same e-mail for private use. Once again, if I choose to use my work e-mail for private matters, it’s with the understanding that my employer still owns those e-mails.
So once it came time to turn the e-mails over, the Hillary team wanted to just hand over work e-mails. The problem is that they themselves made the determination of which e-mails where work-related and which were private. Personally I think once the decision was made to use the e-mail for both work and private purposes, she should have turned over all the e-mails. At the very least, a third-party should have been brought in to sift through them (what admittedly was probably an almost impossible task given the thousands and thousands of e-mails).
- I am definitely of the opinion that Hillary is going to be more aggressive with foreign concerns than Obama has been. The people she has brought onto her national security team seems to support the view that it’s likely we will have more military involvement overseas, not less.
- Issues of trust/spin. The lawyerly spin they often present to the public sometimes reaches the point of absurdity (it depends on the what the definition of “is” is anyone?). A good example was Hillary’s clumsy attempts to try to argue that FBI director James Comey had really confirmed her version of the e-mail issue. I think she was going for a A equals B and B equals C so A must equal C logic. A = What I told the FBI B = Separately, what I told you, the public. C = Comey said A was true. Therefore what I told the public was also true. Of course, this clearly falls apart because one, Comey just said he had no reason to think Hillary was lying, which is a different statement than saying she is telling the truth. And two, it’s quite clear Comey was not supporting Hillary’s version of events, and was making no statement in regards to what she was telling the public. So it just comes off as obvious spin.
Hillary clearly also doesn’t trust the press, so she is sometimes so reluctant to release information. This is sometimes to her own detriment. The whole pneumonia thing is a good example. Instead of just disclosing she had pneumonia and taking the time off to recover, she instead worried about how that would play given how some of tried to make her health an issue and tried to push through it. Then she was caught collapsing into her car, which provided far more fuel for the health issue than had she just stayed home and rested (and also was evidence that she wasn’t doing her own health any favors). Even when busted, the team tried to first say it was mere overheating (which probably wasn’t exactly untrue, just not the root cause) before finally coming clean.
I don’t think she was wrong in thinking that people would have raised questions had she come out saying she had pneumonia. And she probably really did think she could just stubbornly push through it. But while it sounds corny, I think most often, honesty really is the best policy. Yes, there would have been questions. But rest, recover, and come back strong and the questions will fade because you will prove that you are fine, because you are fine. Instead, those who have a question of trust received more ammunition.
All of that said, she doesn’t have to be the best candidate in the world. She only needs to be a better candidate than Donald Trump. Hillary is the establishment for sure. But she is also smart, capable, and experienced. In short, she is qualified to be President. And if she were able to enact the positions she has taken, for the most part I would say they would represent steps forward for this country. Is she my favorite candidate? No. But is she better than Donald Trump? Yes, and it’s not close in my mind.
As far as Trump and his issues go, that’s a post for another time. But I guess if I were to summarize, I would say Hillary is a bit of a capable but unsavory politician. Trump is an unsavory human being.