Casey Evans — With the exception of a few of your more bizarre and offensive claims (“Hillary Clinton’s accent is inconsistent and varies depending on what region she happens to be addressing an audience in”, “Hillary Clinton’s record is basically a list of wars she really wishes she could have started”, and “I have longed to see a female president. I am ashamed that Hillary will be the first”) I believe my response here addresses the bulk of your post as well.
Okay, so let’s go point by point:
- The 1994 Crime Bill
While one could argue that she supported the bill, the fact is that Hillary wasn’t an elected offical in 1994 and therefore had little to do with its passage. (In fact, much of the criticism she has received re: this issue has nothing to do with 1994, but actually stems from the language she used in a speech in 1996.)
However, in 1994 Bernie Sanders was serving his second term in the House:
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Bernie Sanders defended his vote supporting the 1994 crime bill during an interview on Meet the Press, saying that he supported the crime bill because of the assault weapons ban. That, however, doesn’t quite add up.
When the bill reached the Senate, it added provisions to ban assault weapons and protect women from crimes such as sexual assault and domestic violence. This version passed in the Senate and returned to the House.
At that point, two things happened.
First, Sanders criticized the crime bill for its lack of attention to root causes. “We can either educate or electrocute. We can create meaningful jobs, rebuilding our society, or we can build more jails. Mr. Speaker, let us create a society of hope and compassion, not one of hate and vengeance,” he said on the House floor on April 13.
Second, Brooks amended the bill again, this time stripping the legislation of the assault weapons ban but keeping the violence against women provisions.
Sanders voted for the bill without the gun ban.
In place of the ban, Brooks offered to create a commission to “examine the extent to which assault weapons and high power firearms have contributed to violence and murder in the United States.”
We could rehash the 90’s. We could talk about 1995, when Sanders voted against a bill that would have demilitarized the police — The Local Government Law Enforcement Block Grants Act of 1995, sponsored by Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Florida), called for establishing drug courts and prohibited local governments from purchasing tanks or armored personnel carriers. — We could talk about 1998, when Sanders voted to increase the length of sentences criminals must serve — The Minimum Sentences for Gun Crimes act would set a mandatory minimum of 10 years for crimes committed while in possession of a gun, 15 years for crimes committed while brandishing a gun, and 20 years for crimes committed while firing a gun. — But I want to address the rest of your post.
I’m no expert in economics. I was an English Lit major… I’ve never even taken a course in econ. But, I have done my homework.
From the Council on Foreign Relations:
Most economists say it is a stretch to blame these shifts on NAFTA. Manufacturing in the United States was under stress decades before the treaty, and job losses in that sector are viewed as part of a structural shift in the U.S. economy toward light manufacturing and high-end services. Alden says that broader economic trends affecting U.S. employment, such as China’s economic rise, wouldn’t be substantially altered by U.S. policy shifts toward NAFTA.
For me much of this comes down to who has a better grasp on the issues, not just a better grasp on the buzzwords, and Sanders has simplified the issue of trade to the point of distortion.
On this one, you and I are in agreement. However, we would be remiss to look at this out of context.
In response, Clinton acknowledged, as she has on previous occasions, that she’d made a mistake. But she also offered an explanation for her vote, something she has rarely done in the past. President Bush, she told the audience, had made a “very explicit appeal” that “getting this vote would be a strong piece of leverage in order to finish the inspections.” In other words, a resolution to use force would prod Saddam Hussein into readmitting U.N. inspectors, so they could continue their mission of verifying whether or not he had destroyed his chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons sites.
In other words, she voted the way she did in the interests of diplomacy. Unfortunately, Bush went back on his word and invaded before giving the inspectors enough time.
She added, “This is a difficult vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make. Any vote that may lead to war should be hard, but I cast it with conviction. … My vote is not, however, a vote for any new doctrine of preemption or for unilateralism or for the arrogance of American power or purpose.” A vote for the resolution, she argued, “is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our president. And we say to him: Use these powers wisely and as a last resort.”
You can argue that she voted with an eye on higher office, pandoring to the hawkish public sentiment at the time, but that analysis (again) is one largely facillitated by prejudgements you’ve made regarding who you think she is and personal suspicions regarding her motives.
4. Regime change in Lybia
Again, you and I don’t disagree. But this is a complicated issue, and again, context is key.
There is no question that US involvement has had consequences. Libya is now a failed state and a terrorist haven. The vaccuum left by Gaddafi has been filled by ISIS.
Our errors seem glaring in retrospect…But when Colonel Gaddafi threatened to crush the Arab Spring protests in Libya and Clinton helped to persuade President Obama to join other countries in bombing his forces to prevent a feared massacre, I do not believe she did so out of some perverse desire to flex American military muscle.
Certainly, she did not do so without doing her homework: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/us/politics/hillary-clinton-libya.html?_r=0
I believe it is also important to note that it was during her husband’s first term we failed to halt the genocide in Rwanda. The fact is that the cost of inaction is sometimes greater than the cost of action… I think she drew the lesson that intervention, though costly, could prevent even larger massacres, and that imperfect outcomes, despite their imperfections, were preferable to bloodletting.
Also important to remember that she wasn’t the only one who wanted Gaddafi gone:
5. Bank Bailout, or TARP
Imperfect, yes. But necessary. TARP averted greater economic catastrophe and ultimately cost far less than expected.
In terms of the banks,Wall Street, and which candidate best understands how to do the most good, Barney Frank (co-author of the Dodd-Frank Act) sums it up brilliantly.
There is a fundamental weakness in the position of those who insist that the only way to deal with financial institutions that are “too big to fail” is to break them up: their acknowledgment that the central question of how big is “too big” is too hard to answer. This is rarely made explicit, but it is universal. Across the ideological range from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis branch of the Federal Reserve, the “break ’em up” advocates scrupulously avoid suggesting any size beyond which banks must not be allowed to exist.
The reason for this glaring omission — which renders their argument of little practical use for makers of actual decisions — is clear, once the focus is on the meaning of “too big to fail,” as opposed to its invocation as a general expression of distrust of banks.
In the first place, both Senator Sanders and Mr. Kashkari continue to evade the biggest question. That is, how big is too big? The crisis which touched off when Lehman Brothers couldn’t make its payment, Lehman Brothers was about $650 billion in assets. We have banks four and five times that size
And the question is, does everybody have to be smaller than Lehman Brothers is today? But that would have consequences. Getting there would be a problem. By the way, it should be very clear, Glass-Steagall doesn’t do it. There is a disconnect between Senator Sanders insisting that the banks be broken down to the point where they won’t by their own size threaten, if they have too much debt, to undermine it.
And Glass-Steagall — Glass-Steagall would reduce — it wouldn’t do anything to Goldman Sachs and to Morgan Stanley, which are almost Glass-Steagall-ized themselves. But looked at Citicorp, or J.P. Morgan Chase, or Bank of America, Wells Fargo, even if they were subject to Glass-Steagall, they would still be well beyond the size that Lehman Brothers was.
There is just a disconnect between saying we’re going to do Glass-Steagall and getting the banks down to a size where, if there was a complete failure, you would get damaged by it.
And here again, in an interview with Seth Magaziner :
Bernie Sanders, says Frank, is being too critical of anything that falls short of his own lofty ideals. Frank thinks this is a mistake and strongly disagrees with this way of thinking.
“Almost every representative committed to progressive change is for Hillary Clinton,” says Frank, including the entire congressional LGBT caucus and every member of the Black caucus, save one. This isn’t because they are part of the “establishment” says Frank, but because they are committed to progressive change.
“If you tell people it’s either revolution or nothing worth fighting for,” says Frank, “you open up the not-voting behavior.”
As for taking money from Wall Street, Franks says that Sander’s idea that politicians taking money from businesses they want to change cannot be counted on “goes against every person I’ve ever served with.”
6. Barney Frank’s response to the suggestion that HRC’s speeches to Goldmansachs somehow erode her commitment to regulating Wall Street, and campaign finance reform essentially sums up my own.
Do you think she should release her Wall Street speeches?
Yeah, but I don’t think anybody is really against her because she won’t. By the way, I think Sanders has been outrageously McCarthyite on that.
Yes, I saw one commercial that said the big companies weren’t punished. Why? Well, maybe it’s because Hillary is getting speaking fees. So the secretary of state should have been indicting people? I mean, yes, McCarthyite in the sense that it’s guilt by association. He complains about what she did with regards to all this money stuff. Where’s the beef of that?
What Sanders basically says is, “They’re trying to bribe you.” Well what do they get for money? He shows nothing.
There have been a couple of cases of Republican senators trying to weaken the Dodd-Frank Act. Elizabeth Warren has been a much more successful defender of that bill than Sen. Sanders has been.
There was this complaint, “Oh she had contributions from Wall Street.” So did Barack Obama. So does almost every Democrat because you can’t unilaterally disarm.
As for Jill Stein, I did not mean to reduce your support for her to that one tweet.
Rather, we all have different “pain thresholds” when it comes to offensive rhetoric. I found the sexism and the ugliness of her comment, coupled with her holier-than-thou-progressive stance, a particularly noxious blend. For me, a person who feels justified in calling Clinton a bad mother is not representative of progressive values. You, on the other hand, dislike HRC and see value in Stein’s candidacy, so the ugliness of her comment was not a deal-breaker for you.
Anyway, I believe that covers the majority of your points. I may have missed one or two, but let’s save those for another day. I would like to point out that you listed a bunch of concerns without referencing any articles, sources, facts or concrete details. For my part, I’ve done a lot of leg work. For what? I don’t know. I’ve become increasingly convinced that none of this is about facts…
But let’s be very clear about what is at stake.
Yesterday, Trump released a list of potential people he would nominate for the Supreme Court, and the day before, he told Reuters he would abolish Dodd-Frank, and renege on the agreements made at the Paris Climate Treaty. That should be a wake up call for progressives everywhere.
Bernie can’t win. Stein hasn’t a chance.
The truth is that Hillary is the only one in the arena who stands between us and Trump. Nothing justifies your misgivings about her when faced with that possibility… Whatever personal feelings you have about her, you must endeavor to overcome them. It is the duty of all progressives to support her when the alternative is a trashing of everything you puport to value and everything this country stands for.