Been thinking about this for a long time, waiting to see if something would change my mind. Could still happen, but for now, I’m settled.
If the presidential primary were today, I’d vote for Hillary Clinton. With apologies to Bernie, to all of Bernie’s supporters in Vermont, and to those who believe theVPO is a “hyper-partisan, far left blog.”
Why Hillary? Glad you asked.
First and foremost, Clinton is much more electable than Bernie Sanders. The policy differences between them are less important to me than keeping the Republicans out of the White House. Especially with at least two Supreme Court seats likely to come open in the next five years. It’s just hard for me to see Bernie appealing to a national electorate, especially if the Republicans come to their senses, reject the absolute crazies, and nominate someone plausible like Jeb! or Rubio.
Clinton is the best person to take on the partisan snakepit of Washington. She’s been through the wars, over and over again. She can handle it. I believe she would accomplish more than a President Sanders, even though she’d have a less ambitious agenda.
Last Sunday on “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd asked Bernie how he’d advance a Democratic Socialist agenda through a Congress that might still have Republican majorities. Bernie acknowledged that he couldn’t do it on his own — that he’d need a “political revolution” with masses of voters demanding change. Call me cynical, but I don’t see that happening. Most people can’t be bothered to do anything more than vote once every four years. Maybe a Sanders presidency would energize the masses, but I doubt it.
Gender definitely plays a role. When other factors are equal, I’ll vote for the female candidate because women are so grossly under-represented in American politics. There is value in having a woman President, in terms of personal connection to gender issues and in sheer symbolic terms. The more glass ceilings we can break, the better.
The whole Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton dynastic issue does concern me. But out of those four, plus Jeb!, I believe Hillary is the most qualified to be president. Yes, including Bill. Indeed, Hillary Clinton is one of the best qualified candidates we’ve had in a long time. She’s got political experience in the White House, the Senate, and on the world stage. And she’s certainly strong enough to handle the job.
Plus, I have to admit, part of me is rooting for her simply because she has taken more shit than anyone else in politics. From the cookie recipe stuff to Whitewater to Vince Foster to the blue dress to BENGHAZI!!!!! and the email business, her opponents have been trying to knock her down for a quarter century, and she’s still in there fighting. I admire her for that, and in some way, I think she deserves the ultimate victory.
By itself, of course, that wouldn’t be determinative. But it helps.
Now, if Bernie snags the Democratic nomination, I will happily vote for him. But given the Democratic field as it stands today, my choice is Hillary Clinton.
And now, a word about Joe Biden.
There’s this Biden Boomlet in political circles. I can understand why; Biden has been a fine Vice President. But he’d be well advised to finish his term and sail off into a dignified retirement.
Joe Biden has run for President twice before, and he was a spectacular failure. I don’t want to take that risk again.
Biden is the beneficiary of Backup Quarterback Syndrome. When a football team struggles, fans and media start demanding a change at quarterback. Whether it’s a young upstart or a veteran, the guy who hasn’t had the chance to fail always looks good. Clean uniform and all that. Joe Biden has never done well on the big stage, and I don’t trust him to do any better this time. A Biden candidacy would be a drag, a distraction, and a waste of resources. And if he managed to supplant Clinton for the Democratic nomination, it’d be a damn dirty shame.
So, stay out of it, Joe. It’s Hillary’s turn.