Saturday, February 6, 2016

I Voted for Obama in 2008 Primary, This Year I'll Be Voting for Hillary

The Democratic Party is fortunate indeed to have two impressive candidates this year.   It was similarly fortunate in 2008.   Hillary Clinton was one of those two impressive candidates in 2008. She's running again this year.   In 2008, I voted for Barack Obama in the New York State Democratic primary.   This year I'll be voting for Hillary.

The main reason is experience - or, to be more precise, Hillary's extensive experience in foreign policy in comparison to Bernie Sanders'.    In 2008, she and Barack Obama both had a few years of experience in the Senate. Hillary of course had knowledge of international issues via Bill Clinton when she was First Lady, but it was unclear exactly what that knowledge was, or how she would perform in an actual executive office.   This year, Hillary has four years as Secretary of State in her dossier - a position that is second only to President in conducting of foreign policy.

Hillary voted for our disastrous war in Iraq (which I, stupidly, supported at the time). Obama did not, and that was one reason I preferred him to Hillary.  Bernie also voted against the war, and that's a strong point in his favor.   But it's not quite enough for me.

And that's because, in foreign policy, Bernie has no real experience.   Further, his answer on foreign policy in Thursday's debate, to the question what country poses the greatest threat to the US, lacked depth.   His bailiwick is economics and domestic policy, which is great, but I think we need someone in the White House with the most possible foreign policy experience.  The stakes are just too high to go otherwise.

I agree with Bernie on some issues.  I'm against capital punishment, as is he, and I agree with him that all public higher education should be free. But I'm not happy with his D- from the NRA, and prefer Hillary's F.  This is clearly a life-and-death issue, and I want someone who will fight the NRA and the gun cult in this country tooth and nail.

I'm not overly concerned about Hillary's hefty speaking fees from Wall Street.   I haven't seen any evidence that it's influenced her views or actions.   Further, as a Professor at Fordham University, a top-notch Jesuit institution, I know from first-hand experience that it's possible to receive money from an institution without becoming an advocate of its views.  I agree with the Church that capital punishment is wrong, but disagree with its position on abortion - I think a pregnant woman should have control over her body - and say so all the time.

In 2008, I struggled with the question of what would do the most good for America - election of an African-American or a woman as President?  It was a very tough decision, but I concluded that more good could be done, more wrongs could be righted, by the election of Barack Obama as President.

But that in no way diminished the need to correct the centuries - millennia, world-wide - of suppression of women in our political system. And now, in 2016, I'll be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton, and at least a part of that reason is to help correct the injustice that has been done to women, and at long last see a woman in our White House.

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