Michael Maiello's picture

    Guys, Hillary Clinton Is Going To Be A Great President

    I like Bernie, too.  I'm going to vote for him in the New York primary, unless he's out and has endorsed Hillary Clinton by then.  Call it my political Pascal's Wager.  If I vote for him and he wins, I'll be plenty happy.  But I'm also wagering in New York, where Hillary's popularity is intact. She's not likely to lose the New York primary.  So, there you go.  I like Bernie.

    But if it's Hillary, I hope you all realize that she'll make a great president.  First, and most practically, she has access to a great network of advisers and people with experience running the Federal bureaucracy.  She'll be able to run an effective administration, basically a continuation of Obama's rehabilitation of the government after the error-prone Bush years. She's also going to be damned good at picking Supreme Court Justices.

    On social issues, I believe she'll prove cosmopolitan.  It took her awhile to get on the right side of same sex marriage history.  But, it took Obama the same amount of time.  I expect her to similarly evolve on issues like over-policing, over-imprisonment and state experiments with marijuana legalization.  I don't expect forceful rhetoric on these topics.  But I do expect reasonable governance.  She'll lead form behind, as she did in Libya.

    On foreign policy, I think we know what we're in for.  Hillary's foreign policy ideas are heavily influenced by the failure of her husband's administration to halt the Rwandan genocide.  Hillary, and younger foreign policy thinkers who came out of that era, are liberal interventionists.  They are too interventionist for my tastes but they are not neocons.  They're motivated by the notion that the great powers have an obligation to protect innocent life.  I hope this impulse is tempered by the continued post-Iraq war weariness of the population.  However, these are interventions I can disagree with but see the other side of (Libya is a great example) and they don't remind me at all of the Bush era Neocon adventures.

    On the economy, I think Clinton might be our best choice.  You can't expect anyone to recreate the 90s boom, but we can at least say that tax policies at the time were sufficiently progressive that the rising tide actually did work to lift all boats.  Hillary wants a higher top marginal tax rate and higher capital gains rates.  She also has the excellent idea of extending the treatment of long-term capital gains from one year to two.  This will slow down trading for tax sensitive investors, including very large players like mutual funds, potentially changing incentives for management teams at public companies.  It will also serve as a progressive tax hike as people in the tax brackets who trade their portfolios in periods under two years will be taxed at their income tax rate, rather than the lower, long-term cap gains rate.  While I love that Sanders supports a transaction tax, what Hillary wants to do with capital gains taxes actually accomplishes many transaction tax goals.

    She supports Obamacare and may well take it further, as she is an expert in health care policy and had long ago come to more radical conclusions.  She's going to try to address the gender pay gap.  I believe she cares about the working poor and she could do a lot just by expanding the earned income tax credit already on the books.

    Then there are the intangible qualities -- she's brilliant, she's crafty, and beyond just being battle-tested, she and Bill have mastered a kind of political jiu jitsu that can only be explained by David Brock, the man behind the Arkansas Project that tried throughout the 90s to bring the Clintons down, now serves as one of her most important bundlers.

    I don't begrudge anyone's Bernie enthusiasm.  But let's not pretend that Hillary Clinton isn't a damned good person to have running.



    Thanks Michael - if you are right and Hillary Clinton prevails, I sincerely hope your optimistic view of her is accurate and my far less sanguine perspective is not.

    The Clinton and Obama wars haven't saved lives. The neo-cons also think the great powers have a moral obligation to wage war, either to "protect innocent life" or to "spread democracy". And, of course, Hilary voted for the greatest neo-con adventure. She may have repented of it, but I doubt she'll shy away from military interventions of her own.

      Bill Clinton's assault on the social welfare state was at least as ruthless as Reagan's. I'll concede that Hilary may come up with some sound economic policies--I can't claim to know anything about economics--but her cozy relationship with big business is cause for some concern.

    One war that undoubtedly did save lives, and that I didn't support it at the time, was the intervention in Kosovo in the 90s.  That was the first liberal intervention after Rwanda and it did work.

    But, I realize you meant Obama/HRC.  While Hillary was Secretary of State we had the ongoing drone war, which may have actually saved lives if you believe that the choice was between drones and other military action (high altitude bombing, cruise missiles or ground forces) rather than drones vs. doing nothing.

    Libya did succeed in dislodging Qadafi at minimal risk to the U.S.  The failures came later, but as a result of inconsistent action.  Syria is similar, though our action has been more consistently inconsistent.  I have plenty of complaints but I don't see anything like the outright imperialism of neocon foreign policy.

    I believed at the time and believe now the Libyan intervention was the right thing to do.  I consider remote control killing with drones indefensible.  I would choose nothing over our current drone policy.

    Strange position from you - first, what was Qaddafi's threat to anyone outside of Libya? And were the level of Qaddafi's attacks on civilians greater than our drone-based civilian killings over the last say 2 years? And why were our aerial bombardment of Libya, including significant civilian kill, better than drone attacks? And we turned a quasi-ally state of relative peace and stability into a completely chaotic state with roving militias, ripe for al qaeda+isis pickup, and on the verge of a fundamentalist Islamic state. Simply don't get it.

    President Obama's announced purpose for the attack on Qaddafi in 2011 was to "prevent a massacre".  This it did.  In fact, Qaddafi's forces were prepared to slaughter and probably would have slaughtered up to a million people in east Libya.  The aftermath has been tragic in Libya but the military action was justified by 1) the lives saved, 2) the fact that had he we not done so, the murderous tyrant would have remained in power. 

    The unraveling of Libya and other Middle East nations is awful.  We need to work much more aggressively with the UN and Arab moderates, if any can be found, to support representative bottom-up movements. 

    The drone program 1) has no obvious moral goal, like preventing an imminent mass murder of identifiable human beings, 2) undermines our ability to win hearts and minds, 3) erodes our moral authority, and 4) the result, even when identified targets are hit, is often more instability and chaos.

    A million? Really? The number of rebels killed before the NATO bombing may have been less than 2000, and the rebels killed many too.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_2011_Libyan_Civil_War

    I don't think Libya is any better off with the murderous tyrant gone, and the right of NATO to interfere seems to me to be questionable. Respect for national sovereignty is an important principle, and it shouldn't be set aside whenever there is violence.

    Thanks for the link. The precedent also set the ground for us to do whatever we want in Syria as well ("think about the children!!!"), which has gone equally badly. 

    Would any agree that the whole Arab Spring thing turned out to be by and large a huge failure? 

    Sorry to interject here, but was that song really about us?

    There was no Dagblog in the 70s.....so....maybe not.

    The point of the intervention was to prevent slaughter not to stop a slaughter that had already begun. The relatively small number of civilian deaths resulted from the Obama administration's military action.  I noted the possibility that Gaddafi troops might kill up to a million east Libyans. 

    Here's a contemporary article from the Guardian quoting one of the revolutionaries - admittedly an interested party - for the proposition that a half million residents in Tripoli alone could be killed if Gaddafi retook it.  Reuters said at the time that Gaddafi's air attacks meant 1 million Libyans needed aid.

    Regarding the question of whether Libya is better off now. It's obviously unanswerable. But if the chaos there is secondary to the removal of Gaddafi from power, then it might well have occurred even if we didn't stop Gaddafi in 2011.

    Sure, predict a huge slaughter, then invade to prevent it. Bet the Chinese and Russians would like that - oh wait, the invasion and absorption of Crimea was to prevent those "Neo-nazis" in Kiev from committing mass atrocities. Hoisted by our own petard. Face it, the overthrow of Libya was simply Italy and France smelling oil money. Too bad they proved as incompetent as we proved elsewhere. Perhaps it would behooves to just stay home if we don't know how to plan/shoot straight.

    If you have such a big problem with overseas military adventures, why do you support Clinton, who has been much more supportive of them, over Sanders?

    I said it already - I think she'd be more toned down if she were in control. As a junior minority senator, she did what was right in Oct 2002. Re: Libya, however she supported it, she screwed up. Sanders? irrelevant - gets re-elected whatever he does - as meaningful as state senator Obama standing on a street corner. What did he do once in office? oops, pushed another surge.

    I fear I must dissent from the view that her vote in October, 2002 was right. If she didn't know that the resolution made war inevitable, she should have.

    Imagine the lives we'll save when we make the courageous choice not to kill. Anyone. For any reason.

    Imagine there's no countries And no religion too. Nothing to kill or die for A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people Sharing all the world....

    I hope some day you'll join us.

    And the world will live as one.

    One thing the Kosovo war definitely did not do was save lives. We made the ethnic cleansing much worse. We also killed civilians and opened the door to revenge killings of a thousand Serbs.

      Imperialism may be a fair description of the Libyan war, although Obama can claim that he was aiding a popular uprising--probably not a sufficient justification for aggressive war and meddling in a country's internal affairs, especially when the results have been so bad.

     Doing nothing in Afghanistan would have saved lives, at least in the period since 2007. Honesty requires me to admit that I supported the war at first--who knew it was going to drag on so long?

    When metaphorical push comes to realistically hard shove, an established politician is required. Being President isn't a job for the person you like, it's a job for someone who can handle the bucks that stop on their doorstep from every imaginable place all at once. And get better at it as they learn.

    I want a friggin' politician as my president, just as I want a doctor as my surgeon and an experienced technician to fix my computer. I don't want someone who promises to change the bureaucracy in Washington - because that's where the big chair sits. Politics is made for politicians, and knowing that going in makes for a candidate who might stand a chance of bending the machinery in a better direction. Deliberately.

    Sanders is no more suited for the presidency than Elizabeth Warren. And like her, he can do more to push progressive change and fight for specific issues right where he is - and work with Clinton to make at least some of them happen.

    Bernie Sanders is an excellent politician who hasn't lost a race for office since George H. W. Bush was president. Before that he served three terms as mayor of Burlington VT, defeating the Democratic and Republican candidates in each race. He did it all by highlighting the issues that matter to most of us.

    It's no wonder the MSM resists talking about issues. The American people don't give a flying fuck about them. It's all cult of personality and conjecture. You've perfectly crystallized Donald Trump's appeal: because that's where the big chair sits. Hopefully we'll talk about issues some day. Maybe then someone can explain to me again why voting for the authorization to bomb the shitfuck out of Iraq doesn't matter. Or why Keystone ain't no big deal. Or why TPP is okay. Or the Patriot Act. Or why more cops and longer sentences, especially 3 strikes is a great idea. Or why Glass-Steagall isn't important. Or why "safe, legal and rare" isn't craven and triangulation at its worst. Or why Welfare Reform is cool. Jesus.

    In Vermont.

    Most of us feel the same.

    You misunderstood "big chair".

    You're right. I don't understand what you mean by 'big chair." I'll try again. You've perfectly crystallized Donald Trump's appeal: "it's a job for someone who can handle the bucks that stop on their doorstep from every imaginable place all at once."

    In Vermont.

    Most of us feel the same.

    I don't know what those mean either.

    I was referring to the phrase, "the buck stops here" - and the "big chair" being the one behind the president's desk.

    Bernie Sanders is an excellent politician who hasn't lost a race for office since George H. W. Bush was president. Yes. In Vermont. And I think most of us feel the same about the need to focus on issues that matter.

    Yes, in Vermont. Maybe it's about the only way a Democratic Socialist makes it to the White House; he's insulated in a safe backwater where he is free to beat a progressive drum, steadily and consistently for thirty years until the moment catches up with him.

    she has access to a great network of advisers and people with experience running the Federal bureaucracy.

    History records about another person who had access to one of the greatest advisors who ever lived; his name was Judas Iscariot. 

    I do not share your enthusiasm or your optimism about Hillary.  I do know that many of the supporters that are switching affiliation in order to elect bernie are not going to vote for Hillary if Bernie were to lose the nomination.  

    I find it very interesting the intense amount of energy that is being spent in this primary defending and protecting Hillary from criticism, and constantly asking people 'if' they will vote for her if she wins the nomination.  It is unprecedented.  My intuition is that people know instinctively that the support Bernie Sanders has and will continue to gain will NOT be there for Hillary.   And I believe this fear has made the situation worse as the establishment tries to 'push' Hillary in a way that in repelling people.  That is not Bernie Sanders doing that, the establishment is doing it to Hillary and themselves.  The establishment Dems seem to be behaving more like the republican party in that way.. as if they fear a contest of ideas.

    I for one have no desire to see the Clintons back in the White House.  I think they already have enough power, money, and influence for one family and I don't think it is what is best for our country or our future.  

    I will stay focused on growing support for Bernie Sanders and work to get him elected rather than do this unusual 'hedging bets' thing.

    How will you respond to the criticism when it is said; a vote for Sanders is a wasted vote or a vote for Sanders assures a Republican win 

    Spoiler effect  3.1.1 Bush, Gore, and Nader (2000 U.S. presidential election)

    I respond that it clearly isn't valid. Bernie is running as a Democrat and he most certainly 'can' win the general.

    "I do know that many of the supporters that are switching affiliation in order to elect bernie" - we've been down this road before - why should I feel good about people switching parties to vote for Bernie? sounds like he's attracting the wrong crowed - is he a latent tea-party crossover? just kidding, but if he's going to play with the bears, he's going to have to give them red meat, not post toasties.

    "the intense amount of energy that is being spent in this primary defending and protecting Hillary from criticism, and constantly asking people 'if' they will vote for her if she wins the nomination.  It is unprecedented" - uh, no, it pretty well happened in 2008. If I wanted to spare the time/braincells on the historical record, I'd probably find it happens quite frequently. Tho for all the "protecting from criticism", there's certainly been quite a bit of criticism - email, her wealth, her not speaking out quick enough on X or Y, her untrustworthiness [edit: her AUMF vote in 2002, even though Biden & a lot others voted that way too, & Obama almost certainly would have]... that floating Biden balloon with his kid telling him "run, daddy, run" on his deathbed - what do you make of that?

    Re: hedging bets, Bernie's already sealed the deal for you on women's rights, next generation energy, gun control, creating black opportunity/dismantling the anti-black police web, etc., etc?

    PeraclesPlease - you ask "why should I feel good about people switching parties to vote for Bernie?"  The answer is because it means a true progressive is more likely to win and reduce internecine political conflict in our country.  Your response is: "if he's going to play with the bears, he's going to have to give them red meat, not post toasties." 

    In fact, Bernie will provide or will try to provide red meat to the working and middle-class conservatives who back him. He would not sign TPP or will try to withdraw from it which means we'll lose less working-class jobs than we would otherwise. He may withdraw from NAFTA and end MFN status for China which will bring back working and middle-class jobs to America.  He will push to universalize health care coverage which will mean that many struggling, working-class, and middle-class Americans will finally be fully covered. He will push for free university education so that conservative working and middle-class Americans will be able to afford to send their kids to college.  That's some of the red meat he will offer them and I hope they get it.

    Like Bernie, Hillary has crossover support.  She has support from the banking industry, and the extraction industry, and the private prison industry among other industries.  She will have to give them red meat and the red meat that they want is not something I want them to have.

    I find it very interesting the intense amount of energy that is being spent in this primary defending and protecting Hillary from criticism, and constantly asking people 'if' they will vote for her if she wins the nomination.

    I supported Hillary in 2008 as well and definitely remember this question being asked as Obama took the lead.  To be fair, some Hillary supporters gave Obama supporters good reason to ask the question.  But, in a contested primary, I think this is always the question that members of a party ask each other.  Will you back my horse if your horse loses?

    I understand your frustration about having the party hierarchy clearly pushing one candidate over another. It reeks of powerful people rigging the game.  But Hillary has real support.  She doesn't really need the game rigged.  Heck, I took the Biden talk to be something of the opposite -- who in the party power structure is working against her by trying to draft somebody without significant policy differences, who would appeal to the same voters, into the race?

    Why isn't anybody asking Hillary if she'll support the Democratic nominee if she doesn't get the nod?  Michael - there are very significant policy differences between them - on, e.g., trade, the military, banking, racial justice, environmental policy, healthcare, campaign finance reform, and education - as their speeches and very different histories demonstrate.  It is true that Hillary has moved to the left recently in her rhetoric.  But when you consider her corporate support, you have to question her sincerity.

    Hillary's voting pattern in the Senate was to the left as well.


    Some of HRC's record: voted to authorize Cheney/Bush/Rummy/Wolfie/Condi war on Iraq, voted for Patriot Act, supported MFN for China, supported NAFTA, opposes new Glass-Steagall act, criticized Obama for not putting boots on the ground in Syria, takes money from private prison operators, as Secretary of State helped write TPP, refuses to say whether she supports Keystone but soon after she left the State Department it green-lighted the project, supported free trade deal with Singapore, supported free trade deal with Chile, voted for "normal" trade relations with Vietnam, opposed marriage equality until around 2013, has never renounced previously enunciated support for the death penalty.

    Sanders voted to protect gun manufacturers from liability lawsuits.


    She already took it for the team for 6 years after campaigning for Obama - are we going to raise that bullshit about Hillary not being a team player yet again?

    She got her pound of flesh.  She got to be Secretary of State.  Plus, how could she not support Obama?  It's as fair to ask her if she'll support Sanders as it is to ask him if he'll support her.  Also, I have a problem with the "team" concept.  My team is the US not the Democratic party.  As a voter, I want to know if she'll put my team ahead of her financial supporters who might well prefer a Republican who will cut their taxes to a Democratic Socialist who will raise them.

    By all reports from several sources including Obama himself Hillary did not want to be Secretary of State. Obama repeatedly sought her out and convinced her to be his S of S. We cannot know his reasoning. Perhaps he really did think she would make the best S of S. Perhaps he did it to heal the party after a bitter primary battle. Who knows, but your claim that she got her pound of flesh is fallacious bullshit.

    I think you're right.  I also think politicians at this level hold far fewer grudges than we think. They know the game. They also know what it takes to get things done.  With Hillary, Obama got a great SoS, healed whatever parts of the party needed healing, and got access to the Clinton network of people who were, after 8 years of Busg in the White House, the last group of Democrats with high level federal experience to draw from, outside the hired bureaucracy.  She didn't extract anything from him and he benefited from his good sense.

    And he sidelined her for the rest of his tenure.

    Image result for comedy pictures of hillary clinton

    Image result for comedy pictures of hillary clinton what difference does it make

    Image result for comedy pictures of hillary clinton what difference does it make

    18 US Code 793

     "Any person who has knowledge that classified information has been or may have been lost, possibly compromised or disclosed to an unauthorized person(s) shall immediately report the circumstances to an official designated for this purpose." 

    A government legal source confirmed the regulations apply to all government employees holding a clearance, and the rules do not make the "send" or "receive" distinction. 


    Thank you for a highly insightful and informative article, Michael.
    I wish I'd written it, because it's right on the money.  I support Bernie Sanders for president due to his passion, his long history of consistency, and my gut reaction to him as both a politician and as a human being.  But during the primaries I hope that all progressives are progressive enough to recognize the importance of emphasizing their favorite Democratic candidate's assets rather than focusing on the liabilities of his or her opponent.
    While I mentioned a few of my concerns with Hillary in earlier articles, I did it just to pull the people's coats to the fact that the Democrats have a strong bench, so we shouldn't look upon anyone as "the anointed one," or who DESERVES their place in line.  Candidates only DESERVE our support if it's in OUR  best interest, not because it's considered "their turn."  After what the American people have gone through since the 2000 election, at this point, it's OUR TURN.  
    So I'm with you on this, Michael.  While I'm enthusiastically pulling for Bernie Sanders to become our next president (and it wouldn't hurt my feelings to have Elizabeth Warren beside him as Vice President), if Bernie loses to Hillary in the primaries, Hillary will have my full-throated and passionate support in the general election. 

    I agree, Eric, our bench looks really good.  The debates will be issue oriented and informative. I have followed many of them and their speeches are sane with good reasoning.  I may not agree with some of it but compared to the ranting of the Koch Party, we should have a good election.  I am hoping that there will be some long coat tails for congress. 

    On foreign policy, I think we know what we're in for. 

    I agree with most of what you say but that sentence, while completely accurate, is an ironic way to start a defense, even as tepid as it is, of her foreign policy.

    Pitted against every single one the many Republican Presidential hopefuls, Hillary scores best on the lesser-evil scale. I use the term “lesser evil” because it is commonly understood to convey what I mean but “evil” is an ultimate term which I would not use to describe her as a person. That said, her cackle after she said, "We came, we saw, he died”, could have been an audition for wicked witch of the west.

    But, Hillary not a neocon? Call her a liberal interventionist if you wish but that is, to my mind, an apologistic attempt to make a distinction which in the way it has played out is one without a difference when her policies have been applied. An important highly influential political appointee, Jessica Nuland, is only example of many  which I think are evidence supporting my point of view.

     According to Wikipedia, Jessica Nuland’s first government job was during Bill Clinton’s Presidency. She then went on to serve as the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and then as U.S. ambassador to NATO until May of 2008. Nuland next government job came as an appointee of Obama’s administration as special envoy for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and then she became State Department spokesperson in summer 2011. Regardless who might have pushed for this appointment Hillary had final say or at least could have if anything about keeping a former foreign policy adviser to Darth Cheney in an important policy position raised any eyebrows in her State Department which I was hopeful would chart a very different course from the one before it.

      Much has been made of the fact that so many who created and/or pushed the war mongering policies of the Bush administration have been retained in positions of power despite having been shown to be murderously wrong over and over. Nuland’s career certainly fits this description, IMO, but she was nevertheless appointed to the position of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs while Hillary was Secretary of State. Nuland must have been Hillary’s choice and that choice is only one reason that Robert Kagan, her husband and an undoubted major dude neocon, says that Hillary is plenty neocon enough for him [he doesn’t care what you call her] because he is confident that her foreign policy decisions would suit the neocon agenda just fine. Nuland has continued to demonstrate that she is adept at pushing the neocon agenda with neocon methods and yet she retains her job. Is that not strong evidence and, along with much more, good reason to expect Hillary to have a neocon-like foreign policy even if our bombing and droning on about our idealistic motives, [sorry about your thousands of dead and ruined infrastructure and failing State, now let’s quit looking back and instead move on to the next country and slap them with some tough love], is wrapped up in pretty language and tied with a red, white, and blue bow? 

     Why risk giving Bernie support that takes the chance of hurting Hillary's prospects? Because he might not fall on the continuum as the lesser evil but just might actually be a case where the best choice is a good choice.


    There were a number of indications that Hillary didn't have final say on all of State appointees. Whether she backed Nuland, I don't know. If she backed Nuland, does that make her 1 with Robert Kagan?  James Carville seems to be married to Mary Matalin without becoming a neocon.

    No one has mentioned that Republicans in Congress prime directive will be to ensure the failure of any Democrat administration with help from corporate controlled both siderist MSM. Hillary has the most experience in dealing with the GOP nihilists and obstructionists.

    Preventing the election of, or blocking policy of, a self proclaimed socialist with no federal executive experience would be more easily accomplished by the Republican mafia like machine.

    Democrats were also guilty of obstructionism by blocking critical legislation

    When the nation had a chance to discourage millions of illegals from crossing the border by enacting E-Verify; the Democrats were not interested in any legislation to resolve an issue, many Americans saw as a future problem. 

    Now the Nation is faced with the problem the Democrats created, when they turned a blind eye to the 11 million +illegals,

    The Democrats never saw the illegals as a problem, Amnesty was always their goal. 

    Who didn't see what the Democrats obstructionist plans would lead too. Amnesty  

    If the Democrats decry deportation loud enough their objective of Amnesty is still accomplished 

    For the Democrats, it's either their way or they obstruct.

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