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Why I’m Not Voting for Hillary Clinton

I don’t think I’ve ever voted in a meaningful presidential primary. I’ve assumed that my primary vote wouldn’t matter unless I moved back to New Hampshire. But here I am, 10 days away from the primary, and the outcome is in question for both parties. I’m a registered Democrat these days (I know that’s news to some of you, but I changed parties a while ago). So who am I voting for? I can tell you I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton.

I strongly believe that politics today and the culture of Washington is broken. I believe that both parties are guilty of playing positions for the sake of victory. They’re not fighting for what is best. They are fighting for a victory. They tell their supporters that “best for the country” and “victory” are the same thing, but this is not the case. The world is not divided into simple black-and-white, us-versus-them issues. No party has a monopoly on good ideas. No party is right on every issue. Anyone who claims they have all the answers is not to be believed.

I think Hillary Clinton represents the ugly side of partisan politics. I recognize that she has been demonized by the ugly side of the conservative movement, but that does not absolve her of blame. But she hasn’t just stooped to their level. She has embraced the “politics of destruction” as her own.

Furthermore, I am unconvinced that her positions are her own. I’ve listened to her talk and read her statements for years. I’m left with the impression that she only speaks after consulting her pollsters. If it won’t get her elected, she won’t say it.

I recognize that these statements are subjective and hard to prove. Let me offer a few examples.

First up is her attacks on Obama for talking about Ronald Reagan. Clinton claimed that Obama “said that he thought the Republicans had better ideas than Democrats the last ten to fifteen years.” Her husband went farther, saying “[Obama] said President Reagan was the engine of innovation and did more, had a more lasting impact on America than I did. And then the next day [Obama] said, ‘In the ’90s the good ideas came out from the Republicans.'” And then there is the radio ad Clinton ran in South Carolina that accuses Obama of endorsing ” . . . ideas like special tax breaks for Wall Street. Running up a $9 trillion debt. Refusing to raise the minimum wage or deal with the housing crisis.”

These attacks are distortions. You can hear Obama’s statements, in his own words, here and here. He was not endorsing the policies of Reagan. He was speaking, in a historical sense, of Reagan’s legacy. He did not endorse the policies that the Clintons vilified. Clinton apparently did not think that her ideas were enough to win over voters. She felt that she needed to distort her opponent’s position in order to win votes. And, she thought that the distortion was justified. The ends justified the means.

We should be choosing our next president on the basis of their ability to govern well. I’m deeply suspicious of a candidate that thinks the best way to demonstrate leadership is to distort the statements of her opponent.

My second example is Clinton’s use of terrorism and fear of terrorism to scare voters. I believe that President Bush has repeatedly used this tactic to push his policies. I want voters to make a rational choice at the ballot box. They shouldn’t make their choice out of fear. Clinton said “And look what happened in Great Britain. Tony Blair leaves, Gordon Brown comes in, the very next day, there are terrorist attacks. Thankfully, they were unsuccessful, from London to Scotland. So, you’ve got to be prepared on day one with everything ready to go.”

Obama correctly recognized this as the scare tactic that it is: “When Senator Clinton uses the specter of a terrorist attack with a new prime minister during a campaign, I think that is part and parcel with what we’ve seen the use of the fear of terrorism in scoring political points.”

My third example is older, but serves to support my claim that she is a slave to her pollsters. March of last year, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace said “I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that [the U.S. military] should not condone immoral acts.” Clinton was already a candidate for president. Her first answer was very weak: “Asked on ABC News on Wednesday if she agreed with General Pace’s view that homosexuality was immoral, Mrs. Clinton said, “Well, I’m going to leave that to others to conclude.””

The next day she had a new take on the issue. I can only assume this was after consulting with her presidential advisors. It would be hard for her to win the Democratic nomination without support from gay and lesbian voters: “‘I disagree with what he said and do not share his view, plain and simple,’ she said. ‘It is inappropriate to inject such personal views into this public policy matter, especially at a time in which there are young men and women in such grave circumstances in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in other dangerous places around the world.'”

I ask, if it was so plain and simple, why didn’t she say so herself? Why did she need a spokesman to say it?

I’m not sure who I want to be our next president. I’m sure I don’t want it to be Hillary Clinton.

Comments

Comment from Steve
Time: January 28, 2008, 1:00 pm

Dan,

Switching parties is a big surprise and a big change, if you feel comfortable would you mind sharing why you made the change?

Comment from dunster
Time: February 7, 2008, 12:04 am

I owe an answer, but it’s taken longer. Next week maybe. (I’m booked through Monday, timewise!)

Comment from Drake
Time: February 8, 2008, 10:26 pm

Obama!

And the party change is a, um, change.