Six Rules for Talking Politics
Tony Stubblebine
765

Why I Went from Bleh to Gung-ho on Hillary Clinton

Following up on my How to Be Political post… here’s how and why I ended up completely gung-ho for Hillary.

I started in the bleh camp, mainly because I thought of Hillary as very centrist, especially when it comes to Wall Street. Now, I’m in the very excited camp. I’m more excited for her than I was for Obama (which is saying a lot).

Let me start with Wall Street.

I almost got put out of business in 2008 by the Wall Street crash even though my business had zero debt and zero ties to the finance industry. So stopping the finance industry from betting the entire US economy is a big issue for me.

But other than that one issue, I had very little direct exposure to Hillary. That’s kind of weird, right, given how famous she is? Because I was never her constituent so everything I heard was second or third hand.

At some level, the never-ending series of accusations must have worn on me. So my starting position was negative.

That changed.

The timeline of getting excited went as follows:

  • Reading a positive article about her work as Secretary of State with regard to women’s rights. It’s obvious to me that gender equity has a direct and long lasting impact on global peace and prosperity (not to mention the quality of women’s lives).
  • The progressive planks of the democratic platform like raising the minimum wage. This policy seems likely to happen. This is an important step on the tech-futurist path. Do we want a future with a few rich robot owners and billions of starving poor? No, the robots should work for all of us. Capitalism isn’t a religion it’s a bootstrapping strategy for the golden age of robotics. (I’ve gone on a tangent, sorry).
  • More Dem Platform: Constitutional Amendment to repeal Citizen’s United. Never going to happen, but I like seeing it there. I’m in the Lessig camp that the problem is a corrupting system (money), rather than inherently corrupt politicians.
  • Even more Dem Platform: Glass-Steagall which separates commercial banks (which lubricate all business) from investment banks (which are the ones taking dumb risks). This proposal would eliminate “too big to fail” because (theoretically) you could let an investment bank die without taking down the whole economy. Given that this is also a plank in the Republican platform, do you think it will turn into law? I don’t. But it’s one of my top issues.
  • The Dem platform is apparently not perfect. But it’s important on the topics I’m informed on and care about. That helped me move toward Clinton, although I was still wary about her ability to inspire. And this wariness was 100% the result of third parties telling me she was uninspiring.
  • This shouldn’t matter at all. But I was emotionally moved by everyone who humanized her. Her life story is great and is actually about public service. Social proof works. It’s about at this point that I started wondering why I wasn’t already a big fan.
  • Realization #1. I’m in the business of training competence and expertise. She’s uber-competent. In other words, regardless of politics, I should naturally be aligning myself with people like her who are good or great at their jobs. I often write about the leadership war between hubris and competence. This presidential race is the textbook example.
  • Realization #2. I don’t know her at all. I kept hearing she’s a bad campaigner, but I’ve rarely heard her talk. So, I was super excited to hear her convention speech. And when I did, I loved it.
  • Realization #3. The accusations are insanely dumb. I used to be more in the camp of “these are partisan attacks that I won’t even acknowledge.” But then I started thinking about the details. Most of the time I can’t even figure out what the accusation is. Sure, killing Vince Foster would obviously be a crime. But what was the Benghazi crime? Was she the head of the terrorist cell that killed those four people?

So, where does she rank in the hierarchy of Democratic candidates during my lifetime?

REALLY, REALLY HIGH.

She’s way, way, way better than Dukakis or Mondale or Kerry or her husband. What did any of those people every stand for that mattered?

She knows how to get things done, which is better than Carter. Although, you have to respect Carter’s life’s work.

I would have wanted to see an Al Gore presidency. Climate change matters and it would have been good to lead on that. But we didn’t. So who knows.

And Obama. It was obvious by the way Obama ran his campaign that he was going to be a very competent president. And he has been. He accomplished a ton even with a full-on blockade by the Republican congress.

So, I’d put her in the mix there with Gore and Obama with a chance to be #1 if she keeps going. Her policies are every bit as progressive as Obama’s and her impact as a history maker in the same ballpark.

In short, it would be a HUGE deal to elect her as our next president.