Some Thoughts on HRC

An amplification on the question of likability.

Clinton CFR SpeechIn the comment thread of Doug Mataconis’ latest post on HRC’s e-mail, I stated the following:

Count me as one of those people who doesn’t particularly like HRC but find her more than qualified for the office.

To which Loviatar responded:

Seriously though, could you please explain the dislike.

Let’s start with a foundational point: I don’t especially like most politicians, and that point of view has grown with age. Of course, I will also state that as I get older, I am less concerned with whether I like a politician than I am concerned as to what kind of job they would do.  As such, like and dislike aren’t really the issue. Mainly what I was trying to point out in the conversation thread is that my views on HRC are not about emotional preferences (i.e., like or dislike), but to my (hopefully) dispassionate assessment of her qualifications.

Still, it’s a fair question, so here are some things off the top of my head.

-I am not fond of the political dynasty aspect of her candidacy.

-To that point, I think having been in position of privilege for a very long time (first lady in Arkansas, then FLOTUS, then US Senator from NY, etc.) has kept her is a fairly rarefied position that does lead to her being prone to a more cavalier attitude towards the applicability of the rules to her.

-Also on the dynasty thing:  the Clinton Foundation is a good illustration about the difficult relationship between the power of the past, the power of the present, and the potential power of the future.  That is, there is no doubt that the Clinton Foundation can raise money and get things done because of the past (i.e., the Bill Clinton presidency).  However, one cannot ignore that the fact that HRC was SecState didn’t also augment interest in that Foundation, as does the future prospect of another Clinton presidency.  The influence nexus here is problematic, in my opinion.  Foundations and actions of past-presidents tend to exist in a context whereby that president is out of power and can never get back into power. This is not the case with Clinton Foundation, as it remained connected to power (Senator and Secretary Clinton) and to likely future power (President Clinton).

-While I think that many of the criticisms leveled at her are disproportionate, but I don’t find her to be as transparent as I would like.

-I find her to be a bit more of an opportunist than I would prefer.  The NY Senate run is a good example of this, which also builds on the political dynasty issue.  While I think she won fair and square and was a competent Senator, there is no arguing the fact that the main reason she as able to run and win is that she was a former FLOTUS, not because she had cultivated a political career in New York state.  I will say that, unlike some, I think that being FLOTUS is a legitimate resume line.

-While I recognize that a lot of what is thrown at the Clintons over the years has been about politics, I would say that they have generated enough of their own problems to make one prefer a non-Clinton on the ballot.

I have a couple of policy-based reasons as well:

-She is too hawkish on foreign policy for my preferences at the moment.

-I find some of her associations with high finance to be concerning given the problems they helped create.

I recognize that a lot of what I have listed could also just be generic problems that politicians have, which is true (and hence my statement above about like/dislike).

Regardless of likability, she is manifestly qualified to be President.  And in the least daring statement of my professional career I will further state that she is far more qualified for the job than is her major party rival (and, indeed, the gap on this dimension between the two is likely of historical proportions).  As such, the issue of likability is way down my list of concerns at the moment.

 

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Pch101 says:

    So in summary, you’re unhappy that (a) she has a family member who is a politician, (b) she relocated from a Southern state where her party has lost considerable ground to a state that is Democratic and (c) her foreign policy views are similar to those of Harry Truman.

    I’m sorry, but that’s just not a particularly compelling indictment. This could describe a lot of politicians, yet only Hillary Clinton is targeted for being some sort of pariah.

  2. MBunge says:

    @Pch101:

    So…people aren’t even allowed to dislike Hillary? I mean, it actually is one thing to say “I disagree with your reasons for disliking her” and something quite different to say “your reasons for disliking her are invalid,” and Pch101 is pretty clearly stating the latter, while simultaneously conflating Steven Taylor’s feelings about Hillary with attitudes that are far more harsh and unforgiving.

    Mr. Taylor EXPLICITLY states that he finds Hillary completely qualified for the Presidency AND that his own personal feelings about her aren’t that important to his evaluation of her as a candidate…BUT EVEN THAT IS NOT SYCOPHANTIC ENOUGH to satisfy Pch101.

    And you really think it’s we Hillary-haters who have the problem?

    Mike

  3. @Pch101:

    I’m sorry, but that’s just not a particularly compelling indictment.

    Did I present it as otherwise?

  4. @Pch101:

    This could describe a lot of politicians, yet only Hillary Clinton is targeted for being some sort of pariah.

    Also, this makes me wonder how closely you read the post. I said:

    Let’s start with a foundational point: I don’t especially like most politicians, and that point of view has grown with age. Of course, I will also state that as I get older, I am less concerned with whether I like a politician than I am concerned as to what kind of job they would do.

    And, perhaps more to the point:

    I recognize that a lot of what I have listed could also just be generic problems that politicians have, which is true

  5. Mr. Prosser says:

    Well reasoned and explained. Like and dislike are irrelevant to the issues. I don’t want to have a beer with my president, I want that person to do a difficult job well.

  6. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I recognize that a lot of what I have listed could also just be generic problems that politicians have, which is true

    Yet you treat them differently, anyway.

    Clinton gets singled out for no particularly good reason. The issue isn’t that you aren’t in love with her — I’m not, either — but that you direct more venom in her direction than you do toward others who are pretty much the same.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    Steven, I find myself generally in agreement with your assessment of HRC and will vote for her in November. As a Democrat my one wish for the recent primary season was that the Dems would have fielded a compelling alternative to HRC, but they didn’t. For reasons I won’t get into, I do not believe that Bernie was qualified to be President.

    That said for ideological reasons I would vote for the Democrat irrespective of the Republican nominee, simply because the GOP has moved so far to the right that I have difficulty thinking of a Repug that I might vote for with the possible exception of Charlie Baker.

  8. @Pch101:

    Yet you treat them differently, anyway.

    Clinton gets singled out for no particularly good reason.

    She got “singled out” for two reasons: 1) she is the nominee of a major party, hence making her the target of conversation and, more importantly 2) I was directly asked a question about her.

    The issue isn’t that you aren’t in love with her — I’m not, either — but that you direct more venom in her direction than you do toward others who are pretty much the same.

    I am honestly curious as to where you see venom in this post (and to what you are referring in terms of my treatment of others).

  9. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I just realized that I was confusing you with James Joyner, who frequently makes the “I don’t trust Hillary Clinton” arguments with no particularly good reason. My apologies for the confusion.

    That being said, it would seem that Clinton’s greatest flaw is that she is a typical politician. That isn’t particularly noteworthy, yet her alleged trustworthiness invariably arises as a topic because the Republicans have devoted the last 2+ decades to demonizing her without any sound justification.

    These vague unsupported accusations that have no merit are the basis for the New McCarthyism. It was before my time, but I wasn’t particularly fond of the Old McCarthyism, either.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Pch101:

    you direct more venom in her direction than you do toward others who are pretty much the same.

    It seems to me that Steven has been consistent and reasonable in his comments on Clinton. I don’t see the venom.

  11. Thor thormussen says:

    Pch101 misfired. Happens to the best of us.

  12. Thor thormussen says:

    I don’t like listening to Hillary for whatever reason. But the fact is, she’s supremely qualified, and as all these bullshit investigations show, she’s incredibly ethical. Add that to the fact that the GOP is the living embodiment of basically everything bad about America, and the choice is very easy.

  13. @Pch101:

    I just realized that I was confusing you with James Joyner, who frequently makes the “I don’t trust Hillary Clinton” arguments with no particularly good reason. My apologies for the confusion.

    Gotcha/no worries.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    I agree with everything Steven Taylor said.

    But because Taylor is responding in personal terms and not going into the broader explanations for HRC’s ‘unlikability,’ I will broaden it out.

    1) There is plenty of reason not to agree with Hillary, plenty of reason to find her less-than-optimum.

    2) People are free to like or dislike who they wish. I dislike raw tomatoes, though I don’t really know why, it’s purely subjective.

    3) But Hillary is not the object of reasonable disagreement over policy, or of simple indifference or casual dislike. She is hated. And there is simply no basis for hatred of Hillary. She does not drown puppies or put her cigarettes out in the faces of orphans.

    4) So we must look elsewhere for an explanation of the hatred. And when you go looking for irrational hatred, you must necessarily look to irrational feelings, prejudices. And that’s where we find the dark underbelly of American politics in things like race hatred (Obama), religious bigotry (JFK and Romney) or misogyny.

    5) It’s an interesting fact that in years past, back in the 70’s, there was no gender gap. More recently, Romney had a ten point gap, about the same as Carter and Reagan had. But now there is a much larger gender gap of about 16 points between men and women in recent polls. The gap increases among college-educated men and women, so this cannot be dismissed as an education-based phenomenon.

    6) No one who spends more than an hour on Twitter can fail to have learned that misogyny, the hatred of women as women, is a widespread and virulent phenomenon, replete with threats of rape. Anyone who doubts the insane intensity of misogyny at this point is willfully blind.

    7) So we are left with no rational explanation of Hillary hatred other than the obvious one: she’s a woman. Men hate her, women don’t. (Oversimplification, but in effect, true.)

    Hillary is not hated because of her policies. She’s not hated because she’s a former FLOTUS. She’s not hated because of her failings, unless we are to believe that only men have noticed. No, she’s hated because she is a strong, capable woman in an era of male panic.

  15. Joe says:

    I am with you on the dynastic thing. I really feared a Clinton/Bush (though that sounds pretty good by comparison to what we have). And, though I don’t disagree that Clinton is opportunistic, I fear that criticism is open to attack as latently sexist. No one becomes President by accident (though Trump may yet). What about those Kennedy boys? They were opportunistic and dynastic. How about that whole Taft thing. What did that guy not do to become President?

    In the end, I will give you the dynastic thing. And I will also agree that few have sought that office with a better resume. I hope that resume pans out the way we hope. Many people look good on paper (Taft) without working out well, while others with no apparent relevant experience (Lincoln) do quite well.

  16. @michael reynolds: Without a doubt, the issue of why she is disliked in the broader public is a whole other conversation.

  17. Ratufa says:

    Like Michael, I agree with Steven Taylor’s assessment of Hillary, including the statement that many of the criticisms about her could be made about any successful politician and Washington insider.

    Unfortunately for Hillary, the public doesn’t have much trust in politicians or the federal government, so excuses that she is like other politicians may not have the intended effect. This is especially true given that her opponent, however loathsome he is (and he’s very loathsome indeed), is neither a conventional politician, nor a Washington insider. It doesn’t help that Clinton is not as skilled a campaigner as our previous two Democratic Presidents, who were both exceptional in that regard, or that she’s been subject to a multi-decade smear campaign.

  18. Hal_10000 says:

    As resident Clinton Derangement Syndrome sufferer (TM), I agree with a lot of that post. You articulated it much better than I have in about 700 comments on the subject. I have no doubt she’s qualified. And if, for some odd reason, they started asking random people for advice on how to beat Trump, I would try to give my best. As much distaste as I have for the Clinton, she is sane, Trump is not.

    But Hillary is not the object of reasonable disagreement over policy, or of simple indifference or casual dislike. She is hated. And there is simply no basis for hatred of Hillary. She does not drown puppies or put her cigarettes out in the faces of orphans.

    A lot of politicians are hated. George W. Bush was deeply hated. Probably her gender plays a role here but I think the larger issue with Clinton is that she never goes away. She has been around for 25 years. She has been in the public eye almost as long as Richard Nixon was. If she serves two terms, she will have been a part of my life longer than my gallbladder was. The hatred that appeared in 1991 has basically never gone away and only intensified because there’s never been a chance to bury the hatchet. You’ll notice that Clinton’s approval numbers went up substantially when she was out of the public eye and then dropped again once her campaign began.

  19. David M says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The hatred that appeared in 1991

    Confused as to what could have been a reasonable explanation for this in 1991…

    …and if the hatred appeared instantly, I’m not sure the fact she’s been around for 25 years is relevant.

    And in general, if she was disliked for being in Washington too long, or for being the nominee for president, shouldn’t George HW Bush, Bob Dole, and John McCain have been equally hated by that logic?

    The lack of a reasonable explanation for why Hillary is hated in a way other equivalent politicians aren’t? That is the question that should cause some introspection and self evaluation among her more strident detractors.

  20. PJ says:

    @Hal_10000:

    You’ll notice that Clinton’s approval numbers went up substantially when she was out of the public eye and then dropped again once her campaign began.

    Was she out of the public eye while serving as Secretary of State?

  21. restlessness says:

    @Hal_10000:

    A lot of politicians are hated. George W. Bush was deeply hated.

    Well, he did start off on the wrong foot when the Supreme Court had to decide the election, but I think that early on the disagreements were normal policy issues. For instance, I thought he squandered the trend to surplus that he inherited on tax cuts rather than paying down the debt.

    But he wasn’t hated until after he pursued a war that killed over four thousand US troops and undetermined tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, for a reason that turned out to be a lie.

    Nixon was hated, when it was found that he had, at minimum, been involved in covering up a politically motivated burglary.

    Those are pretty egregious acts. What egregious act did Hillary Clinton do in 1991, that has cause so much dislike for the last twenty five years?

  22. Tyrell says:

    “too hawkish” if Hillary gets elected maybe there will be no more of this “drawing lines in the sand ” stuff and she will stand firm against some of these dirtbag countries. President Truman was a good president and had a good foreign policy.

  23. Bob@Youngstown says:

    No one has mentioned another obvious problem that HRC has……her sex.
    Like it or not I think that some of the Hillary Hatred is rooted in the notion that women have no place in politics.

  24. Hal_10000 says:

    @restlessness:

    Your memories of the Bush years are very different than mine. The hatred of Bush was deep and irrational to the point of insanity in some quarters. They blasted Bush for “gutting” spending he was actually increasing. They claimed the Iraq War was a ploy to make money for Haliburton. At one point, a third of Democrats believed that Bush knew about 9/11 in advance. Even in Iraq, there are many Democrats who still say he deliberately lied (rather than relied on bad intelligence). I personally knew people who called him “Bushitler” and can remember when they google-bombed miserable failure. Michael Moore’s factually challenged movie became a huge hit.

    As for Clinton, her problems really started when she took the lead in a healthcare reform effort that was very unpopular (and deservedly so). It was heavily opposed by conservatives but even many Democrats balked at it. It was done with notable lack of transparency and accountability she did a very poor job of pushing it. The first time I ever heard anyone say anything truly nasty about Clinton was a doctor responding to her statement that they would finance Clintoncare by “squeezing the providers”. She bounced back to popularity once she became SoS.

    I will agree that the hatred of Clinton sometimes gets really bad crazy: Vince Foster and all that. I can even remember, in the 90’s, some prominent dingbat insisting that she was a lesbian witch.

    (Being me, my natural response was, “Really? I may have to reconsider my opinion of her. Maybe she should be President.”)

  25. Slugger says:

    Does “dynastic” have a different meaning than what I think? I don’t remember a House of Rodham being very important in American history. Her husband comes from a small town in Arkansas and had beginnings that were not very Hapsburg-like.
    I dislike HRC. I am trying to figure out why. I rmember seeing lines outside a bookstore the day her autobiography came out in 2002 or so. I thought that people were crazy to buy it. However, I am having trouble coming up with concrete reasons.
    I will never forgive the Republicans for forcing me to vote for her. You silly f*cks could not give us a better alternative than an ignorant reality-TV show clown!

  26. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Good read, Steven. Your take is largely why I supported Obama in 2008. The idea of our Presidential history running Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton from 1980 through 2016 was anethema to me.

    But this is not an ordinary election, and there are eight years of distance. And there are only two people who will be on the ballot in November who have a legitimate chance of victory, with one of them being singularly unqualified to run this country.

  27. David M says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Bush really did lie. http://www.vox.com/2016/7/9/12123022/george-w-bush-lies-iraq-war

    No mainstream Democrats actually believed Bush knew about 9/11 in advance, and 9/11 trutherism is not even allowed at places like Daily Kos.

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    People hated George W. Bush for a reason: Iraq. Just like they hated LBJ and Nixon for Vietnam. In all three cases the president either lied outright or at the very least misled us into wars and then proceeded not to win.

    What is the parallel with Hillary?

    Now, you could perhaps suggest that Hillary should be hated for her Iraq vote, but for one thing that vote shows just how much Democrats supported Bush, and for another thing people had a hate-on for Hillary long before that and for a third thing, the people who hate her liked the war.

    There is a major difference between hating someone for lying you into a shitstorm, and hating a person because she has a shrill voice.

    So, lacking a rational reason for hating Hillary, the obvious explanation is that she is a woman, in particular a woman is as smart and capable as anyone, a woman who is not easily sexualized. It’s sexism at the least and misogyny at the worst.

  29. Gustopher says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Even in Iraq, there are many Democrats who still say he deliberately lied (rather than relied on bad intelligence)

    Deliberately lied, or relied upon clearly bad intelligence being pushed by people who had a vested interest in toppling Saddam Hussein and which happened to fit the existing goals of Bush and Cheney? It’s a distinction without a difference.

    Everyone has blind spots because of their ideology and beliefs. Before committing our nation and our troops to a war of choice, an administration has to probe those blind spots.

    So, lying or incompetent. Given how the war turned out — it was a cakewalk, we were greeted as liberators, and we were able to set up a functioning, multicultural democracy that didn’t leave a massive power vacuum — I think the question of incompetence is clear.

    Definitely incompetent. Possibly lying, possibly just incompetent.

  30. Chris says:

    Well said.

    I’d prefer s/he be both likeable and qualified but if I have to choose, I’d prefer my dentist or auto mechanic or president to be qualified over likeable.

    Hook ’em

  31. Gustopher says:

    I think a lot of the hatred comes from her navigating the boundaries of tradition very poorly.

    She was Hillary Rodham for the first decade of her marriage, changed to Hillary Rodham Clinton for her husband’s run at retaking the Arkansas governorship, stuck with that for years, and then quietly dropped the Rodham when running for President. It seems dishonest to change your name that way, to appeal to different groups.

    Her comments about staying home and baking cookies and having tea, were really dismissive of stay at home mothers — and families that would have preferred that if they could have afforded it. So she baked cookies and posted her cookie recipe.

    And then she ran the Healthcare fiasco — stepping outside the bounds of the traditional First Lady role much to the annoyance of the right. I don’t like someone who is not elected or cannot be fired to take that much of a policy role — I think that creates an inherent conflict of interest.

    She’s the first truly prominent woman in American politics, and she got to that position in large part by riding on the coat tails of her husband. I can come up with a hundred rationalizations of why this is ok — it was the only way she could at the time, or it gave her an opportunity to help others and she took it — but it seems unseemly.

    To a certain extent, it isn’t fair. Our first black president had to never ever show anger, lest he be the angry black man. Our first woman presidential candidate has to simultaneously be competent, but not threatening, and show leadership without being bossy.

    And I think even as far back as 1991, it was clear that she wanted to be president, and she’s been judged for that the entire time.

    The fact that Bill Clinton is kind of low class didn’t really help matters either. JFK had Marilyn Monroe, Bill Clinton had a collection of big haired trashy women from Arkansas (Monica Lewinsky was a big step up for him).

  32. stonetools says:

    If you look on Hillary’s career, dating back to her commencement speech at Wellesley, her work as an advocate for the Children’s Defense Fund, and her work on Nixon’s impeachment, Clinton’s career has been admirable.It’s difficult to understand the Hillary hate as being based on anything but raging misogyny at this uppity woman. It’s compounded by her advocacy of behalf of children, minorities, and the downtrodden.That truly set off the rich, the powerful, and the racists.
    The right wing advocacy group Judicial Watch was founded by a right wing attorney and is funded by conservative billionaires. It has it’s sole goal the destruction of the Clintons.In fact, a lot of this inexplicable Clinton hatred becomes quite explicable if you understand it’s a product of a deliberate campaign over 25 years by conservative groups to foment hatred against the Clintons. To a certain extent, it’s the best hatred that money can buy.
    All of this may have backfired a bit since it makes nuanced, critical discussion of Hillary Clinton impossible. People might be somewhat skeptical of Hillary Clinton (people like me, for example) would like to have a nuanced discussion of Clinton’s policy positions. Instead we are forced to come to her defense against raging a$$holes who think that she killed Vince Foster to cover up her lesbian affairs and who think she plans to overthrow the Constitution and impose Marxist Leninism upon her inauguration.

  33. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Let’s face it, in the runup to the Iraq War, there was a lot of lying. Mother Jones has a detailed timeline here
    When you see it set out that way, it’s amazing how much the Bush Administration lied.

    Within that timeline are several instances that show that the administration knew d@mn well that the intelligence was weak, yet they went ahead anyway.One example:

    10/8/02 Knight Ridder reports: “[A] growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats in his own government privately have deep misgivings about the administration’s double-time march toward war. These officials charge that administration hawks have exaggerated evidence of the threat that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein poses…’Analysts at the working level in the intelligence community are feeling very strong pressure from the Pentagon to cook the intelligence books,’ said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.”

    If you were someone whose relative died as a result of this fustercluck, then you really do have reason to hate Bush.

  34. An Interested Party says:

    To a certain extent, it isn’t fair. Our first black president had to never ever show anger, lest he be the angry black man. Our first woman presidential candidate has to simultaneously be competent, but not threatening, and show leadership without being bossy.

    Bingo…being among the first to join an all-white, all-male club would obviously engender some nasty reactions from many…just as some people like to deemphasize the role of racism in those who hate Obama, there is a similar minimization of sexism in those who hate Hillary…I can’t help but wonder how so much of what she does/has done would be excused and/or overlooked if she were a man…

  35. JKB says:

    Hillary’s great as long as you can get past her long history of malfeasance and corruption. Oh and the lying, it’ll be good to have a president that no rational person on Earth would ever take at her word or promise.

    The late and great Bill Safire’s magnificent 1996 piece, “A Blizzard of Lies,” nailed her:

    Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady — a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation — is a congenital liar.

    Drip by drip, like Whitewater torture, the case is being made that she is compelled to mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit.

    Therefore, ask not “Why didn’t she just come clean at the beginning?” She had good reasons to lie; she is in the longtime habit of lying; and she has never been called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends.

  36. An Interested Party says:

    @JKB: BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! You expect us to take seriously a blogger who wrote this…

    There is a new Trump on the campaign trail who is highly unpredictable, savvy, and very nimble.

    That old chestnut that he quoted from William Safire was silly when Safire first wrote it…it hasn’t improved with age…you will pardon us if we don’t take you or your linked blogger very seriously…

  37. David M says:

    @JKB:

    As always, it’s good to remember that Hillary Clinton is a relatively honest politician: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/hillary-clinton-one-americas-most-honest-politicians

    So if you truly care that our leaders are honest, voting for her is the only choice.

    And there was zero basis for that column in 1996, kind of proving the point that there isn’t an honest or reasonable explanation for why she is hated so vehemently.

  38. restlessness says:

    @stonetools:
    @Gustopher:

    I was working on a reply to @Hal_10000 but had to leave to eat delicious ravioli at Piacere Mio’s, in honor of my youngest’s 19th birthday. You both said was I was trying to say with much more eloquence, thank you.

    I will point out that Robert Kennedy served as his brother’s Attorney General, and don’t remember hearing that that was a bad thing. Granted, I was in elementary school at the time, so have few contemporary memories…

    Oh, and @JKB, I refer you to this

    https://thepolicy.us/thinking-about-hillary-a-plea-for-reason-308fce6d187c#.ded4yk1qi

    To this day, that exact phrase is still proudly used by many on the right. This, even though Safire was eventually proven wrong about everything he had written. And despite the fact that he stated himself that he would have to “eat crow” if she were ever cleared, Safire never apologized or even acknowledged his many errors once that happened. Because as we all know, swift-boating means never having to say you’re sorry.

  39. Monala says:

    @Gustopher: Dolly Madison? Eleanor Roosevelt?

  40. Ravi says:

    I’ve been a Hillary supporter for almost all of the 2016 election cycle (ever since it was clear the Democratic primary field wasn’t getting any bigger). Nevertheless, I’ll admit I had had a certain amount of dynastic queasiness that can be summarized by the following question: “Why, oh why does the first female President have to be a former First Lady?”

    Then I read this:

    http://www.vox.com/2016/7/28/12319508/hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-dynasty

    and it turns out my question has an unexpected answer: “Because that’s how these barriers are broken.”

    It’s also worth noting that this goes beyond the international comparisons made in that article. For example, both the first female senator (Rebecca Felton, appointed) and the first woman to win a senate election (Hattie Caraway) had husbands who were prominent politicians. In particular, Hattie Caraway won reelection after being appointed to her late husband’s seat.

    With that context, I don’t see how it is fair to fault Hillary for the dynastic aspects of her candidacy. They may well be a necessary “leg up” that made it possible for a female candidate to get this far in the first place. Instead, I end up disappointed by the prejudices that mean that strong candidates to be the first female ______ disproportionately benefit from those sorts of connections. But that’s not her fault.

  41. Ben Wolf says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: In this election it seems insufficient to vote for Clinton: one must love her.

  42. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: Michael, that’s a simplistic argument and therefore cannot possibly be correct. There’s more at work than male panic when a majority of women also view her negatively and when nearly every presidential candidate suffered from unusually high disapproval numbers. Not to mention it’s unlikely white men are more panicked about a woman than they were an african-american.

    Thomas Ferguson speculated that modern American politics can be divided into political eras: the first, dating from the early 20th Century, he called the era of the political machine. Very local in orientation, votes were brought in by bosses who dispensed money and resources through a patronage system. By the 1960s this system was being usurped by 2nd era politics revolving around alliances with monied interestd with the goal of accumulating massive financial power to roll over one’s opponents while expecting voters to fall into line.

    The book was written in 1986, so what follows is my own speculation: 2nd era politics are over. Social media now gives voters ability to bypass the big money entirely, evidenced by candidates like Jeb Bush who couldn’t buy popular support at any price. Sanders realized this and exploited it to nearly stop Clinton from gaining the nomination, harnessing growing contempt for 2nd era politics to build an effective grassroots challenge. Clinton’s team came to understand this and respond in time to neutralize him but then returned to the traditional playbook of exclusively courting wealthy donors to build the war chest.

    In short she’s a 2nd era candidate ten years into a 3rd era where big money and big interests are hated. On top of that she’s hated by 40% of the country because her name is Clinton. Sexism probably plays a significant role but I don’t think it’s a primary cause.

  43. PJ says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Sanders realized this and exploited it to nearly stop Clinton from gaining the nomination, harnessing growing contempt for 2nd era politics to build an effective grassroots challenge. Clinton’s team came to understand this and respond in time to neutralize him but then returned to the traditional playbook of exclusively courting wealthy donors to build the war chest.

    I understand that there are Sanders’ supporters who still want to believe, but Sanders wasn’t anywhere close to nearly stopping Clinton.

  44. Jen says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Clinton’s approval numbers went up substantially when she was out of the public eye

    She was never really “out of the public eye.” Her numbers went up when she was doing whatever job was at hand, rather than campaigning. It is the weirdest thing: her numbers go up when she’s doing the job she’s elected to (NY Sen.) or appointed to (Sec. O. State), but plummet when she’s on the campaign trail.

    I read with great interest the recent piece on Politico about her time as Wellesley’s class president. She navigated the lines between administration needs and student requests very ably. I also read with interest the Vox piece wherein repeatedly people who work with her say “she listens.” She is a leader, but is a sh!tty campaigner. I do think that Michael is right: much of the vitriol is unadulterated sexism.

  45. Kylopod says:

    @Chris: I’d go further than your dentist analogy and suggest that likability is more relevant to a job like dentist than it is to a US president. Of course I’d take an unlikable but technically competent dentist over a likable but incompetent one any day, but likability is still a good trait for a dentist to have, in a profession where part of your job is bringing comfort to patients. In contrast, likability has very little to do with a president’s ability to do the job more effectively. The only reason we bring up likability has to do with the cult of personality surrounding the US presidency. As I commented on the Anthony Weiner thread last week, we’ve come to treat our politicians sort of like secular versions of clergy. On one level we’re very cynical about them and expect most of them to be opportunistic liars, but on another level we hold them (and especially presidents) to very high standards that we rarely apply to other kinds of executives, and these standards often have little or nothing to do with effectiveness at the job.

  46. @Chris:

    Thanks.

    And: Hook’e’em indeed!

  47. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Ben Wolf: Just because a “simplistic” explanation is offered doesn’t mean that explanation is wholly incorrect.

    I agree with stonetools in that “It’s difficult to understand the Hillary hate as being based on anything but raging misogyny at this uppity woman.” although I probably would not have said “anything”.

    OTOH, Misogyny and sexism, is probably the foundation of HH (Hillary hate).

    When you compound that with the visceral fear that a significant fraction of the ‘merican populace have towards the changing face of american culture (the first black president, the first woman president, Latinos and assorted foreigners “taking over” and installing Taco Trucks on every corner…). It becomes much clearer.

    The disparity between Hillary’s ‘acceptability factor’ once in the job (Senator, FLOTUS, SoS ) versus her candidacy for a new “breaking of the glass ceiling” job is simply that the fear factor is no longer present.

    I would not pretend to understand the motivation of a swath of women who are Hillary Haters, however, my anecdotal relationships with such women suggests that they don’t think that woman are capable to be a good politician and public leader (“Women’s natural talents better used to raise children and husbands”)
    Some have even expressed that women have no place being involved in the “filth of politics” .

  48. Ben Wolf says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: You’re embracing a binary view: people who like Hillary and people who hate her. This ignores a big chunk of our electorate who don’t hate her and still don’t want to vote for her; they’re then labeled sexists no matter what reasons they give.

  49. Ben Wolf says:

    @PJ: You need to slow down and read more carefully.

  50. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Your theory of why people hate Hillary is: big money corruption? No, that’s you still trying to justify Bernie.

    Sanders realized this and exploited it to nearly stop Clinton from gaining the nomination, harnessing growing contempt for 2nd era politics to build an effective grassroots challenge.

    No, he did not nearly stop her. She beat him every way you can beat an opponent. She beat him in raw votes,(55%), in states taken, in total delegates and in pledged delegates, and it wasn’t close. Here’s the Wikipedia summary of the primaries. Bernie took 22 out of 50 states, 11 of which are hardcore Republican states with about a dozen Democrats each. Hillary took CA, NY, OH, VA, PA, FL. . . you know, the states where people live. You do not ‘almost’ beat California with Michigan.

    If distaste with big money corruption were the dominant factor you believe it to be, surely Bernie would have won. Instead he ended up proving convincingly that money can be raised – great piles of it – from average, small contributors. Bernie inadvertently proved the limits of his theory of big money corruption. As did Jeb in another way. And then Rubio. Big money is quite clearly not driving this election.

    People don’t hate because the Koch Brothers and Tim Cook and Warren Buffett spend money on candidates, that’s an almost funny notion of human behavior. Ideologues, college kids, people who live in a world of ideas hate because of policy, but that’s not who hates Hillary. Hillary is hated most fervently by less-than-successful white males. These are the people who are experiencing relative decline – relative to African-Americans, relative to Hispanics, relative to women. And what is Trump’s message? Hostility to blacks, hostility to Hispanics, contempt for women.

    And by the way, having run into quite a few Bernie bros online, I can tell you that misogyny is not a uniquely Republican mental illness.

  51. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher:

    She’s the first truly prominent woman in American politics

    I think Eleanor Roosevelt is a very apt comparison, and just a generation or so before HRC became first lady. And Roosevelt was hated and despised with as much bile as Clinton.

  52. Thor thormussen says:

    You do not ‘almost’ beat California with Michigan.

    LOL.

  53. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Ben Wolf: In this current election, whether you like her is not the relevant question. The relevant question is whether or not you plan to vote for her.

    Anyone who can recognize the Trumpster Fire for what he is and would likely do to the country, and *still* won’t vote for her because… reasons? Its pretty hard to not attribute that person’s motivation to misogyny, since by every rational metric she is the sole thing standing between us and the apocalypse.

  54. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Ben Wolf: I don’t know of any data to suggest that a “big chunk” of the electorate are ambivalent on Hillary.

    Regardless, I was addressing the segment of the electorate who are self-described Hillary haters and how I think they came to that position.

    Come election day, when there is just a binary choice, I would hope that voters make an intelligent choice on objective criteria and not on their viscera.

  55. Moosebreath says:

    Paul Krugman has a good column on point:

    “True, there aren’t many efforts to pretend that Donald Trump is a paragon of honesty. But it’s hard to escape the impression that he’s being graded on a curve. If he manages to read from a TelePrompter without going off script, he’s being presidential. If he seems to suggest that he wouldn’t round up all 11 million undocumented immigrants right away, he’s moving into the mainstream. And many of his multiple scandals, like what appear to be clear payoffs to state attorneys general to back off investigating Trump University, get remarkably little attention.

    Meanwhile, we have the presumption that anything Hillary Clinton does must be corrupt, most spectacularly illustrated by the increasingly bizarre coverage of the Clinton Foundation.”

    Unfortunately, it seems like we are stuck in a repeat on the 2000 election coverage from our so-called liberal media.

  56. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: Good point about Eleanor Roosevelt being hated and a very prominent woman in politics. But, Eleanor Roosevelt never attempted to step out of her husband’s shadow, and take power in her own hands and name.

    I also wasn’t thinking about Sarah Palin, because I was having a nice day, and any day you don’t think of Sarah Palin is a nice day*. And, at a lower profile, Michelle Bachmann and Nancy Pelosi.

    All of them get hated with vitriol by the opposing side. I think Palin and Bachmann are vile, and kind of deserve to be hated, but I don’t think they would quite have gotten there if they were men.

    Carly Fiorina could have gotten there.

    In fact, I’m having trouble thinking of any women in American politics who isn’t demonized. Madeleine Albreight?

    Yeah, it’s just sexism, plain and simple.

    (* I kid, I kid, I actually love Palin. She’s a complete grifter. How much money has she lined her pockets with? All of that could have gone to effectively oppose things that I care about. She’s great.)

  57. Jen says:

    @Ravi: A significant number of women have served in the U.S. House and Senate due to their husbands’ deaths.

    – Lindy Boggs, wife of Hale Boggs, who disappeared (presumed dead) after a plane crash in Alaska.

    – Jeanne Carnahan, former first lady of Missouri and wife of Mel Carnahan, who served as U.S. Senator after her husband was killed (and elected posthumously) in 2000.

    – Joanne Emerson, wife of Bill Emerson, who was elected to her husband’s congressional seat after his death.

    – Mary Bono, wife of Sonny Bono, who was elected to her husband’s congressional seat after his death.

    These are just off the top of my head–I was curious, so I looked on Wikipedia and they list 48 different women who followed the same path.

  58. michael reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:

    And Roosevelt was hated and despised with as much bile as Clinton.

    And by the same sort of people. Eleanor Roosevelt stood up for women’s rights and for civil rights for African-Americans. She was not a sex object and stood firmly on her own two feet. She was not intimidated by men. Men, to put it mildly, tend not to approve of women who won’t stay in ‘their’ place.

  59. michael reynolds says:

    @Jen:

    Yep. It’s one of the entry paths for women in a patriarchal world. You can acquire your husband’s existing political network.

  60. gVOR08 says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    I don’t want to have a beer with my president

    Nor me. But if I did I’d sure rather have it with Hillary than Trump. Or Jeb, or Marco, or Ted (holy gawd), or Mitt, or…

  61. gVOR08 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Even in Iraq, there are many Democrats who still say he deliberately lied (rather than relied on bad intelligence).

    The history seems clear that they created the bad intelligence to support the lie. Bush lied, people died. If, as W claims to believe, there is a hell, W is going there.

  62. Andy says:

    Steven,

    (2nd post since the first seems to be in the spam filter)

    Let’s start with a foundational point: I don’t especially like most politicians, and that point of view has grown with age. Of course, I will also state that as I get older, I am less concerned with whether I like a politician than I am concerned as to what kind of job they would do. As such, like and dislike aren’t really the issue. Mainly what I was trying to point out in the conversation thread is that my views on HRC are not about emotional preferences (i.e., like or dislike), but to my (hopefully) dispassionate assessment of her qualifications.

    I agree that like vs dislike is too personal/emotional a way to frame it. Most people have never met Clinton (or Trump) much less know them personally. All we have to go on is their history, words and actions and it’s those things that trouble me to the extent that I will not vote for Hillary Clinton. Full disclosure, I don’t plan to vote for Trump either – I will likely settle on Johnson.

    I agree with a lot of your concerns. When it comes to President, I vote primarily based on foreign policy. Domestic policy is a distant second simply because there is little a President can do domestically without Congress. So for foreign policy, the problem with Clinton is that she’s much too hawkish for me and her principal advisors (who would hold senior FP positions in a Clinton administration) are even more hawkist. In looking at her record I’ve yet to find a case where she hasn’t taken the hawkish line and she’s consistent in her support for military action when it’s seriously on the table. She hasn’t been on the right side of most foreign policy issues IMO. It’s therefore no surprise that most of the so-called neocon & R2P FP camps support her over Trump. Robert Kagan is actually fundraising for her.

    I would roll the Clinton “dynasty” aspect into a bigger package. Yes, the dynasty aspect bothers me, but that’s a symptom of a dysfunctional political system which favors elites and the connected. Clinton is at the top of that and is a poster child for the 1%, the elite establishment, or whatever you want to call it. Personally, I don’t think that group has done a good job running the country and I don’t want to enable them with a vote for Clinton.

    There are other issues I have with her policies, though it’s really foreign policy where the buck stops for me. While she is undoubtedly one of the most experienced candidates in recent history, it’s the wrong kind of experience which will, IMO, lead to poor decisions.

  63. JWh says:

    @Pch101

    you direct more venom in her direction than you do toward others who are pretty much the same.

    1) Taylor’s post contains zero venom. At best, it’s a mildly corrosive Diet Coke.

    2) Right now, at this moment, Hillary Clinton gets singled out for criticism by a lot of people, across the political spectrum, because she is one of only two people running for president on a major party’s ticket. Take on that role, you get criticized.

  64. MBunge says:

    @michael reynolds: So, lacking a rational reason for hating Hillary

    Most people don’t hate Hillary. I’m pretty sure there’s no way any rational person could assign that emotion to Mr. Taylor, but anyone who expresses any reservation about her gets called a “hater” just as anyone who thinks the Clintons might not be the most honest and honorable people in the world get lumped in with the whack jobs who think she killed Vince Foster. And that happens because Hillary supporters are as irrational as all get out.

    There are a lot of people who don’t like Hillary. I would imagine the reasons for that are the fairly obvious ones.

    1. Her husband is a scumbag and she’s been his chief enabler.
    2. She’s insulted and belittled things and values they hold dear.
    3. They’re tired of this uninspiring and relatively unimpressive woman being shoved down their throats like she’s a combination of Mother Teresa and Joan of Arc, which is probably why so many young people preferred Bernie Sanders.
    4. People feel like she’s gotten away with stuff. By the way, if the Clintons needed money after leaving the White House, why didn’t Hillary get back into cattle futures? I mean, she was so successful in it before.
    5. They’re just tired of her because she’s been in their lives for a quarter-century.
    6. They’re turned off by the Hillary Harpies, like the ones in this thread, who act like that “Leave Brittney alone!” kid from the Internet.
    7. Her personality is rigidly offputting.

    And that’s not even getting into disagreeing with her policies or thinking she’d be a terrible President.

    Is there some sexism mixed in all of that? Sure. But on the other hand, it seems like there are quite a few who dislike Hillary but love Elizabeth Warren. And racism, which Black Lives Matter tells us is one of the most pernicious and violent evils plaguing this country, hasn’t handicapped Barack Obama nearly as badly as “sexism” has supposedly affected Hillary.

    Of course, if she wins then none of this will matter…until she’s running for re-election in 2020 against a Republican who will most likely not be Donald Trump. If she loses, though…I wonder. Will you finally hold her responsible for that or will you continue to blame all the heathens who don’t properly worship the goddess?

    Mike

  65. Anonne says:

    I think that most of the hate against Hillary Clinton is tribal, instinctive in nature rather than based on anything she has done. There is a sexist, misogynistic element but there is also the fact that she is a Democrat.

    Republicans nowadays make Democrat hatred into an article of faith and behave more like a cult than a political party. Anything Democrats do must be opposed because they’re Democrats, not because of any specific reasoning based on the facts on the ground. Her sex just makes it worse, the same way Obama’s race makes it worse.

  66. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    Dude. Some of us can write drunk, and some of us cannot.

  67. MBunge says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Dude, that’s like waving a white flag. Throw out some weak snark you know the audience will lap up rather than engage? You’re better than that.

    Well, at least you used to be.

    Mike

  68. MBunge says:

    And by the by, a recent Washington Post poll found Hillary’s favorability rating at basically its lowest point ever. When you break it down demographically, 45% of women view Hillary favorably and 52% view her unfavorably. Her favorable rating is also underwater with every single age group, with 18-39 year olds having a 42% favorable/55% unfavorable view of her.

    If you want to explain to those millions and millions of people how they’re stupid sexists who don’t have a single legitimate reason to dislike Hillary, you’d better get crackin’. It only two months to the election.

    Mike

  69. stonetools says:

    @MBunge: @MBunge:

    Your post just goes to show that Clinton hatred has no rational basis.

    1. Her husband is a scumbag and she’s been his chief enabler.

    So in 2016 we are hating women because their husbands are scumbags? And Bill Clinton was a two term Democratic President who left office with approval ratings of 62 per cent. Did she enable that too?

    2. She’s insulted and belittled things and values they hold dear.

    Like what? You’re not still talking about the one misconstrued cookie comment from 1992, are you? Sad.

    3. They’re tired of this uninspiring and relatively unimpressive woman

    Huh. By 1975, Hillary Clinton had done the following:

    1, Given a nationally recognized comment speech at Wellesley
    2. Graduated from Yale Law School, ( when not many women had done so).
    3. Worked as a staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund documenting segregation policies in the South.
    4. Was a member of the impeachment inquiry staff in Washington, D.C., advising the House Committee on the Judiciary during the Watergate scandal.

    How was your first 27 years, Mr. Hard to Impress?

    being shoved down their throats like she’s a combination of Mother Teresa and Joan of Arc, which is probably why so many young people preferred Bernie Sanders.

    If you call handily defeating Sanders in a an open and democratic primary process “Being shoved down their throats” then you’re right,I guess.Those young people strongly prefer Clinton to Trump.

    4. People feel like she’s gotten away with stuff.

    People feel that way because there has been 25 years of right wing propaganda telling them to feel that way. There is no proof that she has gotten away with stuff.You do understand that rational conclusions are founded on evidence, right?
    ( Actually, I think you don’t understand)
    BTW, referring to Clinton defenders as “harpies”? Big tell. I’m not even going to bother with 5,6, & 7.

  70. MBunge says:

    @stonetools:

    Hmm. Hillary Clinton was First Lady for 8 years, a US Senator for 8 years and Secretary of State for 4 years. Her supporters laud her experience and qualifications as the primary reasons she should be President. Yet, stonetools has to go back 40 FREAKING YEARS to find anything impressive on her resume. And stonetools can’t even claim those are impressive credits when compared to her peers, only that they are impressive compared to some loud mouth on a blog message board. “Vote for Hillary! At least she’s better than MBunge!”

    A majority of the public dislikes Hillary Clinton. A majority of men dislikes her. A majority of women dislikes her. A majority of every voting age dislikes her. Not as much as they dislike Trump, to be sure, but it’s pretty clear the only reason Trump has any chance at all of being President is because Democrats managed to nominate the 2nd most unpopular person to ever run for the office. That’s what you wanted. That’s what you got. Could you at least stop whining about it?

    Mike

  71. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @MBunge:

    Her personality is rigidly offputting.

    99% of your diatribe is bunk, however your assertion on her personality warrants comment.

    I’ve been told by several of my acquaintances that my personality is “offputting”, when I ask “how so ?” the replies always seem to center on my wonkishness. My tendency is to dig into the facts, to understand the background. It makes no difference if I’m discussing politics, golf or church. It makes no difference if my conclusion agrees or disagrees with them.

    As my wife would say ” Just try to be entertaining, people don’t care about the whys and the wherefores, people don”t like or relate to wonks ”

    When choosing a POTUS, I personally would prefer the wonk versus the entertainer.

  72. Jen says:

    @MBunge:

    . Yet, stonetools has to go back 40 FREAKING YEARS to find anything impressive on her resume.

    You missed the point. She was already impressive at age 27. Of course she’s done more.

    I DNGAF who dislikes her at this point. She is more qualified than her opponent by light years. That the American public has been conditioned to dislike her despite all that she has done for women, for children, and for families not just in the US but the world over is blame I place specifically at the feet of the media and conservative politicians who know damn well after having worked with her how dedicated she is. She is the definition of a public servant if there ever was one. Trump, on the other hand, has a very different definition and exposure to the word “servant.”

  73. @MBunge:

    Hillary Clinton was First Lady for 8 years, a US Senator for 8 years and Secretary of State for 4 years. Her supporters laud her experience and qualifications as the primary reasons she should be President. Yet, stonetools has to go back 40 FREAKING YEARS to find anything impressive on her resume.

    I think you are missing the point. I am pretty sure that he is trying to point out that she has a pretty impressive resume before she was associated with Bill. Beyond that, it should be obvious that 8 years as FLOTUS, 8 years in the Senate, and 4 years as SoS is an impressive resume in its own right.

    Indeed, the fact that you seem to be dismissive of all of this doesn’t help your argument.

  74. al-Ameda says:

    At least we know right up front that Hillary Clinton is and has been deeply hated by most Republicans for about 25 years. It’s pretty much discounted, and well-accounted for. No one, absolutely no one, is neutral on Hillary, no newcomers to this are to be found.

  75. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:
    Buhahaha…you are such a friggin’ dupe.
    Clinton was exonerated of all the charges Safire levels in that piece…which makes him the liar.
    And you a fool.

  76. stonetools says:

    @MBunge:

    You see , here’s the point. In 2000, the news media decided that GWB was “more likable” than Al Gore, and the election was in part decided on that. How did that work out for us? That experience should have established for all time that you don’t select for the job of Presidency of the United States based on “likability”.
    Paul Krugman, right as usual:

    Americans of a certain age who follow politics and policy closely still have vivid memories of the 2000 election — bad memories, and not just because the man who lost the popular vote somehow ended up in office. For the campaign leading up to that end game was nightmarish too.

    You see, one candidate, George W. Bush, was dishonest in a way that was unprecedented in U.S. politics. Most notably, he proposed big tax cuts for the rich while insisting, in raw denial of arithmetic, that they were targeted for the middle class. These campaign lies presaged what would happen during his administration — an administration that, let us not forget, took America to war on false pretenses.

    Yet throughout the campaign most media coverage gave the impression that Mr. Bush was a bluff, straightforward guy, while portraying Al Gore — whose policy proposals added up, and whose critiques of the Bush plan were completely accurate — as slippery and dishonest. Mr. Gore’s mendacity was supposedly demonstrated by trivial anecdotes, none significant, some of them simply false. No, he never claimed to have invented the internet. But the image stuck.

    A lot of her unlikability is being driven by 25 years of right wing propaganda and by a media that is focused on having a ‘horse race” at all costs. The way they do that is by focusing on (nonexistent) Clinton Foundation irregularities, email peccadilloes that are overlooked when done by Republicans , and talk about Clinton’s “unlikability”, all the while ignoring policy. Now it’s plain you’ve fallen hook, line, and sinker for all of this. We are 75 comments deep into a Hillary thread and we’ve not spent one word discussing Clinton’s policy positions. For you it seems irrelevant what Hillary will do as President. All that matters is her “likability.”

    Follow Krugman’s advice:

    And here’s a pro tip: the best ways to judge a candidate’s character are to look at what he or she has actually done, and what policies he or she is proposing. Mr. Trump’s record of bilking students, stiffing contractors and more is a good indicator of how he’d act as president; Mrs. Clinton’s speaking style and body language aren’t. George W. Bush’s policy lies gave me a much better handle on who he was than all the up-close-and-personal reporting of 2000, and the contrast between Mr. Trump’s policy incoherence and Mrs. Clinton’s carefulness speaks volumes today.

    In other words, focus on the facts. America and the world can’t afford another election tipped by innuendo.

  77. Jen says:

    @stonetools:

    Mr. Trump’s record of bilking students, stiffing contractors and more is a good indicator of how he’d act as president

    It looks like he’d spend most of his time lavishly spending at his own properties too–no “fiscal prudence” here: Trump Living Large on Donors’ Dime

  78. Moosebreath says:

    Dan Drezner, who is nobody’s idea of a liberal or Hillary apologist, has a good post on this topic. After analyzing the difference in coverage between the Clinton stories, which he terms “nothingburgers” and the far more significant Trump stories which have been far less covered, he notes:

    “The reason the Clinton Foundation has earned more scrutiny is that the Clinton Foundation, like Hillary Clinton herself, ostensibly stands for something greater. The best version of Donald Trump is someone who nevertheless does everything to advance the greater glory of Donald Trump. Clinton, like most politicians, laudably professes to a higher ideal. Corruption and conflict of interest are more eye-grabbing when they come from someone committed to a life of public service. The possibility of ethical lapses involving a philanthropy exposes hypocrisy in a way that no Trump scandal possibly could.

    (snip)

    We are in a moment when small hypocrisies seem worse than blatant corruption. And in that moment, Clinton pays a greater price for her perceived indiscretions than Donald Trump does for his actual indiscretions. It’s not fair; it’s just the way it is.”

  79. stonetools says:

    @Moosebreath:

    For those who claim that the problem with Clinton is that she’s not open with the press, this is telling:

    The second small reason is that at this point it’s just easier to report on the Clinton than on Trump. Clinton has made it easy for the press to cover these things as the emails have been released. Trump, on the other hand, is a model of opacity, requiring reporters like Fahrenthold to have to do real shoe-leather reporting to find anything. On their personal finances, Clinton has been transparent, and Trump has been the opposite of that. Paradoxically, Clinton’s relative transparency has made it easier to discover even the slightest possible appearance of impropriety.

    Over to you, Karen Tumulty

  80. Loviatar says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    First, thank you for your considered response.

    Since asking for your response I’ve spent the rest of the holiday weekend reading the various comments and considering my comment. I’ve decided I didn’t have anything new or informative to add to the conversation.

    Everything I needed to say about Hillary Clinton as a person and her candidacy has already been said upthread. Everything I believe about Hillary Clinton’s haters have been expressed both by her defenders and more tellingly by her haters, so again I have nothing new or informative to add on that front.

    Once again thanks for the responsive post.

    Loviatar

    As an aside, you are by far the most informative and responsive OP on this blog. If possible, please post more often as I find your OPs considered and most importantly thought provoking.

    ~ L

  81. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    I was trying to be nice and avoid doing what @stonetools did so well, which is to show that you’ve proven the irrationality of your own position. Suggesting that maybe you were loaded was a way to give you an off-ramp. Because if you were sober it was just a really stupid rant.

  82. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    So. . . you’re voting for Johnson because for you it’s about foreign policy? Here is the complete and unedited statement on foreign policy from Gary Johnson’s site:

    Looking back over the past couple of decades, it is difficult to see how the wars we have waged, the interventions we have conducted, the lives sacrificed, and the trillions of tax dollars we have spent on the other side of the globe have made us safer. If anything, our meddling in the affairs of other nations has made us less safe.

    Many senior military and foreign policy analysts have concluded that the rise of ISIS can actually be traced back to instability created by our meddling in the affairs of others. This is because the last several administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have used our military resources to pursue undemocratic regime changes, embark on impossible nation-building exercises, and to establish the United States as the policeman of the world.

    This imperialistic foreign policy makes it easier for ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other violent extremists to recruit new members. We need to build a strong military. But we should not use our military strength to try to solve the world’s problems. Doing so creates new enemies and perpetual war.

    Besides, we have enough problems to solve right here at home.

    As President, Gary Johnson will move quickly and decisively to cut off the funding on which finance violent extremist armies depend. He will repair relationships with our allies. And he will only send our brave soldiers to war when clearly authorized by Congress after meaningful, transparent deliberation and debate.

    The idea that we can defeat terrorism by simply putting more boots on the ground or dropping more bombs ignores the reality that this expensive tactic simply hasn’t worked. In fact, it’s made the situation worse.

    No Nation Building. No Policing the World. More Security Here at Home.

    Just which bit of mush makes you prefer Johnson? “No policing the world?” So, bring home the fleets and let what happens to trade routes happen? No foreign espionage activity geared to discovering terrorists before they come here? Eschew all military force? Really? In a world where we profit mightily from the stability we have imposed for 70 years? Syria’s a mess, so “come home America?”

  83. bookdragon says:

    @michael reynolds: If this is the case, then Putin will be almost as happy about a Johnson win as a Trump win. Anything that gets the US to be isolationist and stay out of the way when he tries to reclaim Ukraine and other former Soviet holdings a satellites.

  84. stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Heh, Doug is our resident libertarian and I doubt he could wring a coherent policy out of that word salad. ThIs confirms my belief that he third party support is going to wither away once voters take a hard look at the Libertarian and Green Party platforms. I mean sure, wishing that you could dry up funding for ISIS sounds good, but how do you pressure the Gulf States to do that? Is Saudi Arabia really going to let Iran and the Russians win in Syria? Are they going to let Iranian allies win in Yemen? What happens when we stop our air campaign in Syria and go home? I’d love to think that ISIS will just make peace, but I doubt it. And frankly , the Libertarian Party’s foreign policy platform looks like genius compared to its domestic party platform, which talks about abolishing all “unconstitutional” agencies, starting with the IRS.

    It’s easy to pontificate about what should be done when you aren’t in charge. It’s different when you’re on the hot seat. The plain facts that neither of the third parties are ready for prime time.It’s a pity , but there it is.

  85. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “No policing the world?” So, bring home the fleets and let what happens to trade routes happen? No foreign espionage activity geared to discovering terrorists before they come here? Eschew all military force? Really? In a world where we profit mightily from the stability we have imposed for 70 years? Syria’s a mess, so “come home America?”

    Did you even read what you quoted, much less do any deeper research? He didn’t actually say any of what you think he said. I’m not sure how you get “Eschew all military force” from “we should not use our military strength to try to solve the world’s problems.”

  86. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    Why do you think we have a military? To protect the Canadian border? We are a superpower and we profit mightily from that fact – as has the rest of the world. Now because we had one idiot president and had one bad war we should walk away from an unprecedented 7 decades of peace during which – thanks to our ‘policing’ – has allowed the creation of untold trillions of dollars worldwide?

    Well, got a bloody nose, time to quit the fight and go pout in a corner.

    Isolationism – and that’s what this is – is a proven loser. American isolationism = WW2. American involvement = 70 years of peace.

    You’re being silly and superficial, just like Johnson.

  87. Andy says:

    Michael,

    There’s a difference between the judicious use of military power in the pursuit of coherent, achievable national interests and isolationism. Your argument is exactly what neocons and R2P think-tank crowd say whenever military force is not exercised – any retreat from American Exceptionalism and unlimited American authority in world affairs is labelled “isolationism.” That’s a bunch of horse pucky.

    This is the philosophy your candidate believes in, that America must always be “muscular” and our sphere of influence is global while the spheres of others is limited to nonexistent. Tell me, all the times when military force was seriously considered as an option, can you name the instances where HRC counseled against it? Can you name the times when she thought regime change was inadvisable?

    You are supporting a candidate who is predisposed to military solutions, who chooses advisors that openly advocate for policies that risk war with Russia, who combines the worst of Bill Clinton’s “here’s some more shit for your face” policy (google it) with the added spice of Neocon and R2P policies, who will likely create an anti-American alliance between Russia, China and others, and who just happens to be openly supported by the intellectual architects of the Iraq war.

    I voted for President Obama in 2008 because McCain was so unbalanced and scary on foreign policy, even though I didn’t like President Obama’s idea for an Afghanistan escalation (which predictably failed). McCain’s principal foreign policy advisor was Robert Kagan…who is now endorsing and fundraising for HRC! So, in many respects, you are voting for the 2008 John McCain foreign policy. There are many others, including Paul Wolfowitz, who directly and indirectly indicate they will support Clinton.

    Maybe you have, but if not, you should read and do some research on the FP preferences of Victoria Nuland and Michele Flournoy. They are two advisors who are likely to hold high level positions in a Clinton administration. While you’re at it, google who Nuland’s spouse is (coincidence? I think not!).

    Those are just a few names. The bulk of the FP establishment that supported the war you hated in Iraq are now supporting Clinton. Member’s of GWB’s cabinet are now supporting Clinton – people who just a few years ago were hated by liberals and Democrats. Hey, but Powell is forgiven since he used personal email too and also openly supports HRC, right? This is the GWB administration that you once wrote about on your long-defunct blog claiming they would not give up power and would institute a coup to keep it.

    We are a loooong way from isolationism Michael, though I do admit that a Johson foreign policy probably appears isolationist compared to the camp where you’ve planted your flag.

  88. Jen says:

    I don’t think Johnson does himself any favors when he lacks familiarity with the situation in Syria–especially considering how very high-profile this topic has been for years now:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/gary-johnson-aleppo-227873

    “What is Aleppo?” Is hardly confidence-inspiring.

  89. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Andy:

    The bulk of the FP establishment that supported the war you hated in Iraq are now supporting Clinton.

    I believe MR was pro-Iraq war, and only came out against it with hindsight. Foreign policy wise, MR is more akin to a Neocon than many progressives on this thread are comfortable with–indeed there was a pretty intense two weeks in the comment threads here regarding what our response should be after the San Bernadino attacks, with MR advocating Scorched Earth.

    (Not bringing this up to rehash old fights. Just letting you know some context.)