Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Omnivore's Case For Hillary

"If you want to convince me then don't tell me why I shouldn't vote for Trump," The Omnivore's cousin said on Facebook, "Tell me and try to convince me why I should vote for the Democratic candidate."

The Omnivore isn't in the habit of recommending candidates--and would, in fact, be hard-pressed to tell anyone they ought to vote for anyone out there this cycle--but this is both a fair and interesting question.

It is fair because like it or not, a vote against Trump is, at this point, almost certainly at least a partial 'vote for Hillary' (especially as the vote in question will be happening in Florida, a key and close swing-state).

It is interesting because the most obvious Case For Hillary is that she is not Trump. It is far easier to litigate against Trump than to try to build an affirmative case for Hillary to a doubter.

But The Omnivore isn't afraid of hard problems--so let's do it.

To The Omnivore's Facebook Cousin: The Omnivore knows this is a lot of text and you'll have problems getting through it all. Tough luck--you promised to read it. You asked for it, you've got it. The Omnivore has helpfully numbered various sections and arguments and expects a reply to each of them

The Omnivore has challenged you to "put up" (argue your case) previously. When you asked for it, you got it. Now you've got to do the same.

1.0 Some Real Talk: There's Nothing Wrong With Hillary, Yo.

The first and painful thing that The Omnivore's cousin will have to get through is that there's nothing disqualifying about Hillary. Sure: she has all kinds of things one might not like--but every candidate does. There wasn't a flawless candidate in the Republican's 16-person Strongest Bench [sic] Evar. No one on the Democratic side, save, perhaps, for Lincoln Chafee (because no one knows anything about him) seemed to be unblemished either. 

But is Hillary disqualified? Sorry: no. If you think so, it's because you have been told to think so by people who also tell you things that even you can suss out as definite bullshit. While going into detail would take time, let's look at the most common digs against Hillary Clinton and, in a line or two, why they are bullshit.
  • 1.1 Benghazi: The most thorough and politically motivated inquisition in modern times found missed opportunities but nothing amounting to anything approaching malfeasance. If you got nothing? Sorry--you've got nothing.
  • 1.2 Libya: Everything that we've done in the Middle East has been some kind of disaster. Bush I was gigged for not "finishing the job" with Saddam. Bush II "finished the job" with Saddam and left a power-vacuum. Libya killed Gadaffi and didn't expose us to ground-warfare and occupation. The Omnivore counts that as a best-case scenario.
  • 1.3 Email-Gate: A massive nothing-burger. Out of 60k emails, approximately 113 were classified. Those were improperly marked. The data that we have access to was strategically meaningless. The inquisition alone proved she was right to be protective of her communication.
  • 1.4 She LIED: Everyone lies. There are clips of Romney flip-flopping like a dead fish. Trump lies about everything he says (most recently? That Pence was his first pick!). If your qualification is someone who does not lie you are a hypocrite. It's okay: we all are. Just don't think you're fooling anybody (except maybe yourself).
  • 1.5 She is rated the most truthful candidate (including Sanders) by Fact Check organizations. An investigative reporter finds her basically honest.

She is experienced at all levels of government. She is an accomplished politician. Her spouse is an acclaimed ex-president who would, presumably, bring something to the table.

Despite what you have been told by Fox News and Conservative Click-Bait, there is nothing disqualifying about Hillary Clinton.

But that, alone, isn't much of an affirmative case, is it?

2.0 She's A Hawk

Sanders supporters find Hillary's hawkishness a reason not to vote for her. The Omnivore considers it a plus. So, too, did Republicans until Clinton triangulated and then Obama started winning on Foreign Policy (and Bush II gave American intervention a bad name with the Iraq debacle). Still, if we hearken back to Reagan, there is a case to be made for using American muscle abroad and Hillary, a hawkish candidate, will do it--and will do it far more intelligently than any other potential candidate in the race.

The Omnivore assesses that Obama, committed to getting America out of two theaters (Afghanistan and Iraq) and dealing with the problem of the native forces having a difficult time standing on their own feet--yet having a commitment to it--was understandably reluctant to wage an American ground war with ISIS.

The Omnivore suspects that although the American populace is war-weary, whoever comes into power next term will have a reasonable mandate to do that--to destroy ISIS--which will require ground troops. Hillary is qualified to do that. All her detractors--left and right--consider her overly war-like. Trump talks tough--but he thinks military school was the same thing as serving. Republican National Security experts are backing Hillary. That should tell you something about who is better qualified to wield American power.

3.0 She's a Pragmatist

3.1 Let's say you hate Obamacare. Great! Let's get rid of it. The problems are (a) there is no alternative (oh, yes, there's a white paper--but it isn't remotely fleshed out) and (b) there is no transition plan. Trying to tear it up on Day 1 (like Cruz was going to) would lead to chaos. Hillary wants to fix it. That's a conversation anyone who is a realist should want to be having. The time to kill it was back when it was passed or in the first SCOTUS case. Also, are we going to bring back pre-existing conditions? Because people hated those--and rightly so.

3.2 You don't like the Iran deal? Bully for you--The Omnivore respects your expertise as a nuclear weapons inspector (what's that? You're not? But . . . but . . .). Still, tearing up a treaty on Day 1 (Cruz, Trump) is not how experts handle foreign policy. That's what they're telling you because it's what you want to hear--but it's not going to happen.

The second problem with tearing up the treaty is that The Omnivore has read stuff by multiple military strategists he trusts (and has served--which means at least a little): there is no good answer to stopping Iran from seeking nuclear weapons without attacking them. Attacking them will create a transcendental mess in the Middle East. This is why Obama's (?) stuxnet anti-nuclear virus was, perhaps, the most effective move against Iranian nuclear power that was legitimately possible.

Did you know that? That the Obama administration did the thing most damaging to stopping Iran's nuclear ambitions outside of a shooting war? Oh? You didn't? Why isn't The Omnivore shocked.

In other words, again, incrementalism is the only real strategy here and it's Hillary's.

3.3 Remember the TPP? It's bad, right? The Omnivore means, you've read it. You're some kinda expert--right? Oh, wait: you get your news from click-bait web-sites that you know feed you lies half the time--but you trust them anyway because they wear your jersey colors. Airtight.

The TPP is an attempt to prevent other major powers (China) from dictating terms in the new world. The Omnivore has no idea whether it's a good idea or not--and is no kind of expert--but believes that the kind of simpleton explanations that Trump and Sanders are providing are exactly that. The real world is messy. 

3.4 The Big Banks? The Omnivore thinks we want them. Breaking up America's banks won't stop other world banks from existing (or doing business in America). The markets can certainly use oversight--but, again, that's incremental. It isn't a feel-good moment of power like the Brexit was.

4.0 She's Business As Usual

You think Obama has been a disaster. Well, sure you do. After all growth has been slow compared to what Romney would have done (we know this because we can look into Universe B where he won). He got Bin Laden--but wouldn't anyone--have done that (well, maybe not Ron Paul). The stock market is up--but how does that help anyone?? 

The Omnivore feels that (a) given the size of the 2008 collapse (the 450bn dollar Lehman bankruptcy doesn't do it justice--that was considered an end of the world scenario by a lot of people before it happened and the world didn't quite end) and (b) the fact that there simply are no obvious solutions to a lot of our problems and The Omnivore has heard contradictory ideas from everyone Obama may have done a lousy job--but anyone else could have done worse.

This isn't cheering for the "status quo" or even 4 (8?) more "years of Obama"--no, it's saying that despite the 'attitude' in the country, The Omnivore thinks a radical change is a feel-good idea that isn't well born out by the facts.

5.0 Risk Aversion

A lot of what people like about Trump is his attitude--his unwillingness to bend before Political Correctness. That's good. But it's hard to make the case that he's not erratic. Maybe he can control that, maybe he can't. But if he can't, the White House is no place for him. The parade of National Security figures who think he's unqualified while hating Hillary Clinton for being corrupt is staggering. If you have doubts, the downside of Trump could be huge. The downside of Hillary is just really, really bad.

6.0 White Supremacist Support

Trump may not be racist--but he is #1 with racists. The Omnivore believes in strong borders, strong national security, and law-and-order--but the cheering from the alt-right, the endorsement by The Daily Stormer, the fact that the KKK is excited about his candidacy? These are things that give The Omnivore pause.

Culture wars are real--and there are elements of the Left that are very destructive--but there are elements of "the right" as well. The Omnivore does not think any candidate in modern times has been endorsed by these guys--no candidate other than Trump has played to their needs.

You can ignore all the 'dog-whistle' accusations--the fact is these guys love something about Trump and they don't about Hillary. It may be a fine needle to thread as to who you prefer to empower--but The Omnivore considers meeting with Deray Mckensson to be in a different category than being endorsed by The Daily Stormer. YMMV--but there it is. One of the two will win and you need to decide whose fans are worse.


  1. > If Trump loses this election, perhaps--just maybe perhaps--people will realize that Trump was a dumpster-fire of a candidate given life by a mad-science concoction of lies, appeals to emotion, and attempts to sell gold certificates and post-apocalypse foodstuffs. Maybe enough suckers would wise up.

    Unfortunately, I doubt it.

  2. I submitted "Solid Gold Dumpster Fire" to -- with the original attribution. I cannot believe no one else did so.