Why I'm Not Voting for Hillary
My parents visited this weekend. Oddly, I come from Republican stock -- neither of my parents has voted for a Democrat since JFK and his brains went their separate ways in Dallas. My father is a bit further to the right than my mother. Dad and I have a standing agreement to avoid most political discourse, after nearly coming to blows on several occasions. Mom and I, though, still banter a bit, especially in times like these, when we're coming up on a presidential election.
Like many Republicans, Mom doesn't like any of her options in the primary. She's a sweet 69-year-old lady who doesn't smoke, rarely drinks, and jokingly offers to "pray for all of us heathens" when the rest of the family refuses to attend church with her. She is, quite simply, as American as apple pie. I love Mom.
And surprisingly, Mom's best options, in her opinion, this year look like Edwards or Obama, or maybe Richardson or Biden. She likes a lot of the Democratic candidates much better than she likes any of the Republicans. But the front-runner? We ended our political conversation with my mom saying, "I can't believe that bitch Hillary might be president."
Mom never curses.
On the left, the problems with Hillary are often two-fold:
1) She can't win the general election -- too many people don't like her, and too few people have yet to form an opinion.
2) She's a Republican in Democrat's clothing, and she's for all the anti-progressive agenda items her husband stood for -- free trade, corporate-friendly welfare "reform," and so on.
I disagree with both of those positions. Against just about any of the GOP candidates, Hillary's got a pretty good chance of winning. Poll after poll shows this. In general, she enjoys a narrow lead against all of the GOP front-runners. As for Hillary being just like Bill, that's somewhat blown out of proportion. Hell, a lot of progressives still insist Hillary is pro-Iraq War, despite the fact that her plans for Iraq are fairly similar to those of Edwards and Obama. Quite simply, the left dislikes her about as much as the right.
I think Hillary can win, and I think her positions on the issues are not totally incompatible with my own. My problem with Hillary comes in this -- what exactly does she do after she wins?
Since the GOP takeover of Congress in 1994, and especially since the Bush boys' 2000 coup d'etat, this country has become torn apart politically. The next president had better be somebody who can pull all sides -- including the right -- together, or we will continue down this destructive path, no matter how good or bad the intentions of the new president.
And here's where we come back to Mom. I've met plenty of registered Republicans who, like her, actually find Obama and Edwards to be acceptable candidates, but the minute you start talking about Hillary, they start foaming at the mouth. Eight years of Hillary means another eight years of political trench warfare, and that is a very bad thing. On the other hand, either Obama or Edwards has a chance to unite America for the first time in my adult life. Yes, there will always be hardcore conservatives who won't want anything to do with a Democratic administration, but those people are outnumbered by their more-rational, moderate colleagues.
In the end, my lack of support for Hillary stems not from a belief that she cannot win the election (she can), or even from a disagreement with her positions (many of which, currently, are quite similar to those of Edwards or Obama).
I don't support Hillary because I think a Hillary Clinton administration would be bad for America -- all of America, not just the people I'm sharing a trench with. I'm tired of avoiding conversations with Mom.