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H2O Man

(74,300 posts)
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 02:12 PM Dec 2014

"Hard Choices"

I called my friend while she was working at the library, and asked her if she could pick out something new for me to read. When I stopped by, she had selected two options: the first was a book about Antonin Scalia, the other was Hillary Clinton’s newest book. My friend knows that I do read books either by or about scoundrels such as Richard Nixon, and that my children think it’s a giggle to listen to me argue with various books, so she thought I might favor the Scalia book. But, actually, I prefer the Clinton book at this time.

I live in rural, upstate New York, not that far from where Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan lived. Everyone knew that if you had business with him, be sure to conduct it before noon. For Moynihan suffered from the Irish flu, and during afternoons and evenings, he was frequently dealing with the symptoms. He was a curious man -- he had served presidents in the 1960s and ‘70s, before becoming a US Senator. But for a flaw, he would have been considered presidential material.

Of course, he authored a controversial study on black families, and became identified with the neoconservative movement. He also proved quite capable of not only working for a republican president, but -- more importantly -- working with him, because their agenda was the same. Thus, it wasn’t bipartisanship; it was shared values. Although a young Pat Moynihan had identified his value system as being “democratic,” by middle age he recognized that at the top level, party identification was largely a game to be played.

I have had the chance to meet Ms. Clinton. I saw her in Oneonta, after she announced that she was running for Moynihan’s seat in the Senate. A few years later, I met her in Sidney, after a private meeting she had with a couple town officials and the head of a regional energy executive. The press, from national to local, covered the first event; no press at all had been invited to the second.

There was never any serious question about if I would support Ms. Clinton’s efforts to become a US Senator. I had long found her to be a far more likable human being than her husband. In 2000, I assumed that with Al Gore being elected president, that having Clinton represent my state in the Senate would be a huge plus, in terms of creating a national health care policy. And, other than one vote -- the one that granted Dick Cheney and his sidekick the authority to illegally and immorally invade Iraq -- I believed she had adequately represented our state in DC. Still, I’ve always wondered exactly what she and the energy executive discussed in Sidney, in that meeting that both declined to comment upon.

In the early 2008 Democratic Primary season, I tried to keep an open mind. By late 2007, it had become evident that the Democratic Party had a number of qualified candidates, while the republican party had virtually none. In many ways, I favored Senator Joe Biden, who I believe is an honorable man, despite the fact that he is a career politician. However, two other candidates offered the possibility of having either a women or a brown-skinned man elected to the highest office in the land.

To be certain, neither genitals nor pigment define an individual’s ethical standards. Maggie Thatcher and Clarence Thomas come to mind as examples of individuals who stand in direct opposition to what I consider necessary for holding positions of responsibility. And John McCain, in a desperate hour, would select Sarah Palin as his choice for VP, in a move that would make Bush the Elder’s choice of Danny Quayle appear statesman-like in contrast.

In the years since President Obama took office, the public would learn more about Hillary Clinton. This has been primarily because, rather than stay in the Senate, she agreed to serve as the Secretary of State. It is that experience that this book, “Hard Choices,” is about. If her years as First Lady and Senator provided a view of her positions on domestic issues, the years as Secretary of State provide insight on her beliefs on foreign policy.

Obviously, any book such as this will contain a lot of fluff -- things like the pride the author takes in the red, white, and blue, etc. And, when the author is considering running for office in the future (as opposed to definite retirement), it’s likely to influence how the book is written. Still, such books have value, and this one does make for a fun and valuable read.

Hillary Clinton is a unique character in American politics. She offers her supporters far more than simply being female. In terms of substance -- intelligence and experience -- she is obviously a thousand times more qualified to be considered for president than Sarah Palin. Yet, at this point in time, I am hoping that the Democratic Party puts forth a variety of candidates in the upcoming 2016 primary season.

What I think would be interesting here would be if people would answer three questions:

[1] Do you want Hillary Clinton to be the 2016 candidate for president?
[2] What do you believe is her greatest strength?
[3} What do you think is her greatest weakness?

No matter if you support or oppose Hillary Clinton for president, it is important to recognize that all politicians have both strengths and weaknesses. I’m hoping for a meaningful discussion; in other words, avoiding the “so you’d prefer Mitt Romney?” or “she’s a corporate tool!” shallows. (Note: expansions on these, such as the ability to pick Supreme Court nominees and/or specific corporate ties could add to the discussion.)

H2O Man

20 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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"Hard Choices" (Original Post) H2O Man Dec 2014 OP
k&r... spanone Dec 2014 #1
Thanks! H2O Man Dec 2014 #17
I do not support her candidacy, my dear H20 Man. CaliforniaPeggy Dec 2014 #2
Interesting. H2O Man Dec 2014 #16
You get a kick and a rec for me JustAnotherGen Dec 2014 #3
Good answer. H2O Man Dec 2014 #18
It would be fascinating to hear her speak truthfully about her journey BeyondGeography Dec 2014 #4
Right! H2O Man Dec 2014 #20
Pardon me for being persnickety, but I only see two questions at the end (not the three KingCharlemagne Dec 2014 #5
That's odd. H2O Man Dec 2014 #7
Even more odd: H2O Man Dec 2014 #9
Very weird. I have cleared my cache and refreshed my screen and still see only the KingCharlemagne Dec 2014 #12
Obviously, the NSA supports her! bananas Dec 2014 #13
I do not support her Marrah_G Dec 2014 #6
I support HRC. I think her strength is her experience and her weakness is probably her okaawhatever Dec 2014 #8
WELL SAID!!! Sheepshank Dec 2014 #14
I don't want Hillary to run. hfojvt Dec 2014 #10
Yes. rug Dec 2014 #11
My take ... Scuba Dec 2014 #15
I like Hillary and I always have. hrmjustin Dec 2014 #19


(150,657 posts)
2. I do not support her candidacy, my dear H20 Man.
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 02:22 PM
Dec 2014

Why don't I?

To be brief, her enthusiastic support of the Keystone Pipeline, and also of the TPP.

These are not in our (the 99%) best interests. It troubles me greatly to see her promote and support them.

H2O Man

(74,300 posts)
16. Interesting.
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 07:19 PM
Dec 2014

I find her connections to "energy" corporations troubling. Keystone, like hydrofracking, poses an unacceptable risk for environmental damage.

I cannot support any candidate who poses an environmental threat.


(32,550 posts)
3. You get a kick and a rec for me
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 02:24 PM
Dec 2014

I was an avid supporter and campaigner for SOS Clinton in her Senate run. Moved to NJ in early 2006. When 2008 rolled around and the primaries finally came to NJ - I had to make a hard choice that I do not regret - will never regret.

Her Strength and her weakness are the same for me. . . She is one of the best politicians ever.

And I can't believe I have to type this a year before a primary vote gets entered for 2016 - but I'm not a Warren or Sanders supporter either. Not a Clinton one. But if you had asked me in 2007 who I thought the last three that would be standing by the time the primary came to NJ I would have said Edwards, Biden, Clinton.

Two were still standing.
Biden became the VP.

Oh yeah and that guy my dad was raving and ranting and giving accolades to whose name I couldn't remember? He won that election fair and square.

I want to wait and see who that "Oh yeah candidate" is before I commit.

But - this is a fair question/question set you've entered.

H2O Man

(74,300 posts)
18. Good answer.
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 08:51 PM
Dec 2014

Interesting. Thank you.

Living in New York, it won't matter how I vote if she is the candidate in the 2016 general election. And probably not in terms of the primary, either. Yet it is still something that I've begun thinking about more frequently recently.

I decided that I'd support Obama in February of 2008. I remember some folks that I had gotten along with for years before that (on DU) reacted as if I had betrayed them. I found that curious. This place can be strange at times!


(39,491 posts)
4. It would be fascinating to hear her speak truthfully about her journey
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 02:28 PM
Dec 2014

Unfortunately, we don't get much of the sort. These candidates are people, and it really helps if they allow you to have a sense of them.

Your conclusions can be illusory, but what else do you have? Obama's first book, Dreams of My Father, is actually a damned good one. You get a sense of who he is and how he got there. His honest struggles with his identity and the choices he made created a certain amount of trust with me that he has never squandered. It also helped me understand where his tilting-at-windmills tendencies (i.e. expecting the R's will come around some day) came from. He has suffered in his personal life and patience with those who have hurt him have served him well. He is a very strong individual and his heart is in the right place.

Hillary's commitment to humane and good outcomes is underestimated by her detractors, imo, but one point where I have to agree with them is she has a frustratingly difficult time conveying any sort of authenticity. Sometimes you hear it in her voice on issues that are personal to her; women's rights or the death of a colleague, but the moments pass quickly. I understand the trust with the media and the public isn't there, but sometimes you just have to say, screw it, this is who I am.

I'll vote for her without a doubt, but I'm not sure exactly who she is, and that makes her difficult to defend.

H2O Man

(74,300 posts)
20. Right!
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 09:00 PM
Dec 2014

I understand that all political candidates have to be packaged these days. So, even in this book, I expect the parts where she talks about "patriotism" in ways that no right-wing jackass can twist her words, in order to create a "controversy." (I'll never forget Bush the Elder making the pledge to the flag a centerpiece of his 1988 campaign. Or how the media pretended there was an issue there. I could puke just thinking about that nonsense.)

It seems to me that any US President would have to deal with corporations -- both domestic and multi-nationals -- in order to be effective. In a very real sense (perhaps every real sense), as entities, they are as powerful as many nation-states. But I do think that people are rightfully suspicious of the nature of most top democrats' relationships with these corporations. And I do not believe that Clinton -- or others -- will speak openly and honestly about the power that corporations exercise in every aspect of our economic-political world. And that's a shame.



(7,908 posts)
5. Pardon me for being persnickety, but I only see two questions at the end (not the three
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 02:34 PM
Dec 2014

you reference).

Am I missing something?

I actually favor a really dark horse for 2016, Russ Feingold. I think he would kick ass and take names against any candidate the Republicans put forward. (I know, I know, he lost in WI in 2010. Even so, he's always impressed me as having a solid head on his shoulders and an ability to speak plainly and clearly. He also voted against Iraq and against the Patriot Act.)

H2O Man

(74,300 posts)
7. That's odd.
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 03:30 PM
Dec 2014

I typed it up with this third question:

[3] What do you think is her greatest weakness?

Then I "copied & pasted" it on here. I have no idea why that third question has disappeared.

Thank you for bring that to my attention.

H2O Man

(74,300 posts)
9. Even more odd:
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 03:58 PM
Dec 2014

I went to edit the OP, and it has it exactly the way I had typed it up, with all three questions (they are numbered in the OP, as well).




(7,908 posts)
12. Very weird. I have cleared my cache and refreshed my screen and still see only the
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 04:40 PM
Dec 2014

two (un-enumerated) questions I originally saw in your OP. I smell some sort of bug, but not sure it's worth reporting.

At any rate:

1) I do not support Hillary currently and do not foresee myself supporting her in the primaries.
2) Her greatest strength is her 'brand' name
3) Her greatest weakness is, paradoxically, her 'brand' name.

I want to see a candidate who takes on this gilded age's robber barons and not one who cozies up to them when (s)he thinks no one is looking. Feingold comes out of the fiercely independent tradition that gave us William Proxmire and, before him, LaFollette. So, barring a Sanders' Dem registration and entry into the Dem primaries, I support Feingold. Darkest of dark horses, admittedly. Feingold is definitely presidential material, imo. (FWIW, Feingold has evinced no interest in running for POTUS and is currently serving as a presidential envoy to Africa around various health and nutrition issues, as I understand it.)


(27,509 posts)
13. Obviously, the NSA supports her!
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 04:47 PM
Dec 2014

They don't want people saying anything negative about her!

Just kidding - it's probably Chinese hackers worried that Jeb Bush might become president.


(28,581 posts)
6. I do not support her
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 02:41 PM
Dec 2014

If nominated I will likely vote for her as a vote against the Republican candidate. I supported her in the primaries in 2008 after my other choices dropped out.

My reasons why are that I feel she is to far to the right of my own views. I don't feel she would do anything to stop the Banks and Corporations from further damaging our society. From the economy to the environment to the MIC, I just do not see her as someone who wants to change any of it.

My support will go to the person I think will do the most to try to change those things. Actions speak louder then words and nothing I have seen makes me think she would be any further left then what we have seen from President Obama.


(9,481 posts)
8. I support HRC. I think her strength is her experience and her weakness is probably her
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 03:45 PM
Dec 2014

relationship with banks and the multi-national corporations. That being said, I don't for a second think she will do anything more for the banks than a Republican would. One of the things I will look most for in a candidate in 2016 is their ability to win. The economy will turn around and things will go pretty well 2016-2020, if a Republican is in office they will get credit for it and the American public will probably take a very long time to come back around to Democrats. That is one of my greatest fears for the 2016 election. In fact, if it does end up being Jeb Bush vs. HRC I think it will become a debate about which economy the American voters want, the one under Clinton or the one under George W Bush. My other concern is about SCOTUS and I think Clinton would put someone respectable forward.



(12,504 posts)
14. WELL SAID!!!
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 05:01 PM
Dec 2014

If a Republican is elected in 2016, all the hard work Obama has done, all the crap he has had to go through to get the nation out of the financial dumpster, will be given credit to that Republican, and a Dem will never hold the Presidency for decades to come.


(37,573 posts)
10. I don't want Hillary to run.
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 04:12 PM
Dec 2014

I am not sure what you mean, by "greatest strength and greatest weakness".

Is that a political question or a policy question?

Like one of my co-workers asked "How can you say the Yankees suck, when they are winning the division?"

And my reply was "When I say 'they suck' I do not mean 'they are not very good' what I mean is 'I hate them'."

As a candidate, I think she is very strong, but I didn't think she would lose the 2008 primary either. She has name recognition, she has her own money, she has connections to donors, and she has gender in her favor.

As for position wise, one of my favorite videos explains what I see as her greatest policy weakness.


She favors the upper middle class over the poor.

But then, so did Obama, in spite of his rhetoric there.



(53,475 posts)
15. My take ...
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 06:53 PM
Dec 2014

No, I don't want Hillary Clinton to be the 2016 candidate for president.

Her greatest strength is clearly name recognition.

Her greatest weakness (I also cannot see this question) is her support of right-wing positions - pro war, pro-Wall Street, pro-TPP, pro-H1B Visas, pro-GMO's, pro-XL Pipeline, etc.



(71,265 posts)
19. I like Hillary and I always have.
Mon Dec 8, 2014, 08:54 PM
Dec 2014

While I don't agree with every policy issue with her I think she is highly qualified to be the president of this nation. I think she knows what the job is and she would be prepared to be president if elected.

I think she is our best chance to win a third Democratic term.

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