Saturday, June 04, 2016

Hillary Clinton for President: An Endorsement With a Difference. Guest Blog By Kurt Stone

Kurt Stone Teaches Courses at FIU.
I am an ordained rabbi who spends most of his time as a writer and college lecturer, teaching courses in political science, American history and cinema. I have published two massive histories of the United States Congress which can be found in just about every library in America. I write a column: The K.F. Stone Weekly
I for one cannot recall a presidential election in which so many people, when asked who they are planning to vote for will, instead of proclaiming what's "right" about their chosen candidate, will instead, launch into a schoolyard litany of the shortcomings, human failings and indictable offenses afflicting the candidate they will be voting against. Keeping all this in mind, I am going to break with that tradition, and endorse a candidate not because of what I find irrevocably objectionable in their opponent, but rather what I find to be both compelling and hopeful in them. In making this endorsement, it is not a "lesser of two evils" or "the evil of two lesser" kind of situation. Rather, it is making an endorsement of - and offering unstinting support to - the best person for the job. In other words, an endorsement with a difference.

My endorsement goes to former First Lady, United States Senator and 
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

And before anyone points a finger, questions my sanity or tells me I've become brainwashed by "drinking the Kool-Aid," let me tell you something: I recognize that Secretary Clinton - like all human beings - is imperfect; she has her flaws. Then too, so did George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, the cousins Roosevelt, JFK, Ronald Reagan . . . all forty-four of 'em. I consider myself to be a fairly close, well-read and knowledgeable student of American political history. To date, there hasn't been a single one of the fabulous forty-four with whom I've agreed on every issue, program, proposal or decision - and that includes she who will, if there is anything I can do about it, become number forty-five - Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. History is not, simply speaking, hagiography; neither is it the stripping away of every vestige of accomplishment and dignity in the pursuit of discovering or identifying clay feet. We all have clay feet. It's simply part of the human condition. We are not voting for a paragon, but rather a president.

I find Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the best person for the job of President of the United States for ten reasons . . . not necessarily in order of importance:
Experience: While it is true that résumés alone do not guarantee success in the Oval Office, they can - and frequently do - offer a highly useful glimpse into an individual's abilities and experiences while informing us of the roads they have traversed throughout their public and professional lives. Secretary Clinton has one of the most compelling work histories of anyone to have ever run for POTUS. She knows virtually all the players on Capitol Hill, in industry and finance, and in every capitol on earth. She has the experience, temperament, poise and savoir faire to be able to hit the ground running on day one. She is also supremely aware of what she does not know, and can easily tap into a vast "kitchen cabinet" of people who do know . . .

Maturity: Secretary Clinton carries herself with dignity and aplomb. She is neither a bully nor a boor. She will be a powerful and dignified presence on the world stage. (As an aside, she also has one of the most real, spontaneous laughs I have ever heard or witnessed.)

Supreme Court: In a Clinton Presidency, the Supreme Court will be looking ahead to the 21st century, and not back to the 18th. She will name people to the federal bench who understand that the Constitution is a living, breathing document, rather than a static relic handed down from some late 18th century judicial Mt. Sinai. A Clinton-appointed court will not overturn Roe v Wade; however, it just may overturn Citizens United v FEC.
Guns: While Secretary Clinton does respect the Second Amendment, she also understands that there are simply too many weapons out there; that in its primary function as industrial shill, the National Rifle Association (NRA), has sold the American public a bill of lethal goods. Simply stated, she understands that it is time for comprehensive gun control, NRA be damned. She will not cave in to all the conspiracy theorists who scream about the Feds coming to take their guns away.

Israel: Hillary Clinton has been a friend of Israel in both word and deed ever since her days as First Lady of Arkansas. More than 40 years ago she instituted an Israeli-created educational program (“HIPPY”) into her state. Today, it is being used in in nearly 2 dozen states. As both a senator and Secretary of State, she worked closely with Prime Minister Netanyahu to make Israel's defense posture even stronger, was at the forefront of those keeping up sanctions against Iran, and lent early support to Palestinian Media Watch, a research organization which, among other things, exposes anti-Israel and anti-Semitic biases in Palestinian schools.

Pro-choice: Secretary Clinton has, for more than 40 years, been a strong supporter of a woman's right to choose. More importantly, she has been an even stronger supporter of programs safeguarding the health, education and safety of women, families and children of all ages. Unlike many, she does not believe that "life begins at conception but ends at birth."

The Economy: Secretary Clinton does not believe that the solution to every economic challenge is cutting taxes and regulations. She is not - indeed, never has been - a "supply-sider" . . . one who believes in the efficacy of "trickle-down" economics. She grew up in the middle-class and worked hard to get to where she is today. She took away from her upbringing certain values and understandings not available to those "born on third base." She has a fully detailed program to revitalize the middle class, expand American trade and create new jobs at home . . . all without insulting our partners or erecting barriers which would ratchet up global economic tensions.

War and Peace: While I find Secretary Clinton to be more hawkish and neo-conservative than my ideal in the area of foreign policy, she is definitely not interested in going to war with the rest of the world. She values our allies, our treaties and our international commitments. She has no desire to put nuclear weapons into the hands of those who are our friends . . . or enemies.

The Future of Planet Earth: Secretary Clinton fully accepts what more than 97% of all climate scientists have concluded: that the earth is warming at an alarming rate, and that fossil fuels share the lion's share of blame. She is in full agreement with the recently negotiated Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and has called for banning fossil fuel development on public lands. And yes, it did take her a while to come out against the Keystone XL Pipeline, but what the heck: she came around to the only responsible, defensible position.

And Finally: There's no getting around the fact that Secretary Clinton's favorability ratings are not, to put it diplomatically, as high as a supporter might wish. But then again, nobody's ratings are very good anymore; we live in a time where only 4% of the American public say they have a great deal of confidence in Congress, 15% in the executive branch and 24% in the Supreme Court. In other words, no individual, no institution, is believed to be trustworthy or let alone competent. The reasons for this turn of events are as varied as the hues and shades in a rainbow - and just as mysterious. The Clintons have been in the public eye for a long, long time. They have also provided a tremendous amount of fodder for the legitimate media, "infotainers," conspiracy theorists and members of Congress looking to make their bones. As a result, an awful lot of people believe they know "the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth" about them. And yet, despite all the many years of slings, arrows and outrages, both Secretary and President Clinton have survived...and even flourished.

Secretary Clinton has proven herself to be a person possessed of thick skin and steely determination. She has also, for nearly four decades, shown extraordinary grace under fire. These qualities are absolutely essential in a POTUS; one who must multi-task 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, now dealing with a foreign leader, now urging Congress to act, now preparing a State of the Union address or preparing a budget . . . all the while being closely followed by a black-suited military aide carrying "the atomic football" - that ominous 45-pound briefcase housing the codes needed to authorize a nuclear attack. It's one hell of a lot to expect from any one individual. And of course, whether any of her wishes, nominees, programs or legislative proposals can be enacted will depend, to a very great degree, on Congress; on whether they can place patriotism and duty above partisanship and demonization.

The office requires neither the perfection of a saint nor the spotlessness of a paragon; neither shoot-from-the-lip vulgarity nor the ability to shock or entertain. What it does require is a steely resolve to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," and the ability to work with people; all kinds of people from all kinds of places holding on to all kinds of beliefs. It requires one who will never resort to fear mongering for the sake of political victory or gain. It absolutely requires an individual who will, to the best of her ability, never embarrass the people of the United States, or bring the office of President into disrepute.

From where I sit, there is only one person with the knowledge, experience, temperament and world view capable of filling the office beginning in January 2017.

That person is Hillary Rodham Clinton.


Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton has my vote.

Anonymous said...

HRC--definitely the best (and only true) GOP'er in the race

Geniusofdespair said...

How many times are you going to post that comment? She is pro choice, supports equal pay for women, for gun control, addressing global warming, raising the minimum wage, is not homophobic, supports immigrants etc., all NOT The Republican platform.

David said...

She's not morally fit. She's not medically fit. Finally, she's not legally fit. She is under criminal investigation by the FBI.

Anonymous said...

Thanks,!! It is the most compelling and comprehensive statement of support for Sec. Clinton that I have seen. I liked her from the very first time I saw her on TV decades ago. Someone asked her should they vote for her husband given the allegations from some woman. Her answer was, "Well, don't vote for him then.". I immediately asked, "Which one is HER husband". From that point, I began to focus on him and became a real Clinton supporter. I have observed her growth and development over the years, working on many problems and facing all kinds of life challenges. Now I have a chance to actually vote for her and am looking forward to bubbling her in on the ballot. I feel comfortable giving her the keys to the car.

Impeachment Diane said...

Kurt Stone's endorsement and comments about Hillary Clinton are so well put together and so very true. I wish all the Bernie believers could read his essay and think long and hard about their planned "revolution."

Anonymous said...

To win Sec. Clinton must prepare for a non-traditional street fight with Trump for votes. Trump is walking into these poor communities that suffer from severe unemployment with big bags of money to hire people who are unemployed, neighborhood leaders who are unemployed and need money, youth gang leaders, hood operators, and the like. If she runs a typical campaign in these communities, with nice college-educated people who are unknown on the street, she won't win them. She should not be caught off guard, and be too late to change direction..

Anonymous said...

I have taken Dr. Stone's "All Politics All the Time" at FIU for the past 10 years. As a longtime political insider, he offers a look into what he calls "the chessboard" of political action . . . the interior moves and strategies behind that which is public. I highly recommend his political blog, "The K.F. Stone Weekly," which has been for which he has been writing weekly essays for more than a decade.

Geniusofdespair said...

Thank you for writing. I fixed my link to the KF Stone Weekly. at the top of my blog. It was not working

Sharon said...

You have got to be kidding me! She has no accomplishments afters years of public service. Her foundation is a money laundering scheme. Don't those problems register with you? She is on the threshold of an inevitable criminal indictment. Good grief! Bernie will be our nominee so begin to love him.

Anonymous said...

We know nothing about Bernie except he sat in the Senate for many years and did nothing. I pegged him as a ringer from the start, with republicans paying the tab and generating rent-a-crowds. All of a sudden after sitting on his stool of do nothing, he wants to be the leader of the free world? Give me a break!!!

Zwoman said...

If we can't have Bernie, then Hillary is the best choice. I will be voting for her for all of the reasons cited in this editorial.