Archives of the Unpublished: Some thoughts on the 2016 election from 2015

It’s interesting to look back on things you wrote years ago and see how well they withstand the test of time.  Thoughts I shared with the Democratic Town Committee in August 2015:

People who I’m pretty sure like the direction Sanders says he wants to take the country are throwing in early for Clinton.  I’m not sure why.

A fellow committee member posted the following to the listserv:

Here is a link to a blog by a friend I trust on political issues… This one about Hillary.

Doug is a thoughtful person.  I shared my take on his post:

I more or less agree with Doug’s assessment of her.  I don’t think she wants “the whole loaf” – I think that at heart she’s a socially-liberal Eisenhower Republican – but otherwise I pretty much agree with his assessment.    A passage of his which particularly captures my lack of enthusiasm for her:

“The trick that I don’t think either Bill or Hillary (or Obama) ever mastered was how to take the half-loaf while continuing to raise energy behind the full-loaf vision we really need. Bill Clinton showed how to minimize the damage of the conservative consensus that formed during the Reagan years, but he never reversed it or inspired a new liberal consensus. Neither has Obama, and I’m skeptical that Hillary will either.”

Some specifics:  She came out today with a good-sounding energy plan but she won’t make a statement on Keystone XL.    If you’re serious about the former then you need to have a position on the latter.  Another example, she makes strong statements about the need to address income inequality but she won’t make a statement about where she stands on the TPP.   That’s frustrating to me.    Those things aren’t independent.

Leaders need to lead.   Making speeches is fine – narratives do matter – but beyond making statements about where they believe the country needs to go and how they plan to get there, leaders need to take definitive action towards achieving those ends.   Maybe Clinton, by not taking specific positions, is trying to keep her powder dry until after the election – don’t make statements which will motivate people to turn out for the opposition.   Perhaps?  I can’t tell and it bothers me that there are major issues where I don’t think I know where she stands.   I know what she says but I don’t know, if elected, what political capital she’ll be willing to burn or what heads she’ll be willing to bust in order to accomplish what she says she believes we need to get done.  (Political capital is worthless if you don’t spend it and, in the current political environment, if she’s not willing to bust heads then that would be a problem in and of itself.)   In contrast, I’m pretty confident that I know what Sanders will stand up for.   He may not be able to achieve his stated ends but I know that he’s going to give it everything he’s got.

Closing statement:  Whatever reservations I have about Clinton I know that she’ll be at least 1000x preferable to whatever sack of shit the Republicans nominate. I prefer Sanders over Clinton but once the nomination is settled my reservations are beside the point.