Let’s Beat Hillary Clinton on the Merits

Ring of Fire Radio and Ed Schultz both are promoting Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal as serious reasons why the Democratic Party ought to embrace Bernie Sanders.

Let me be very clear: I support Bernie Sanders.  I will be voting for Bernie Sanders in the primary.  I will do everything I can here on this blog and out in the real world to help Bernie Sanders get the Democratic nomination.

That said, I prefer to beat Hillary Clinton on the merits.  Playing into this right-wing obsession with what is ultimately a trivial matter just legitimizes the right-wing BS machine that is pumping this out. I know politics ain’t beanbag, and there are many who support Sanders who think that any way to bring down Hillary Clinton is a good thing.  But they’re wrong.  You cannot legitimize and give credence to the right-wing BS machine because I guaran-damn-tee they will be on Bernie Sanders like white on rice.  You cannot say, well, I considered these right-wing-favoring media outlets (that Ed Schultz, Ring of Fire and the New York Times puzzlingly give credence to) perfectly legitimate when they brought down Hillary Clinton but now they’re illegitimate when they’re bringing down my candidate.  You have no credibility then.

Bernie Sanders himself has refused to attack Hillary Clinton.  I am not saying that we should completely follow his example.  I think that it’s perfectly legitimate in a contested primary to draw contrasts.  I just think we should completely win on the merits and the issues.

Here are the merits.

(1) Hillary Clinton is hopelessly corrupt as she is cozy with Wall Street and sits on the boards of corporate villains like Wal-Mart and Monsanto.  Bernie Sanders is a tireless reformer who resists corporate monopolies, corruption, deregulation and who refuses to take money from large corporate donors.

(2) Hillary Clinton stands for third-way politics.  That means (a) throw liberal orthodoxy under the bus; (b) make sure the corporate interests are protected and not threatened; (c) throw the working-class and middle-class a few third-way crumbs so that some marginal improvement can be claimed.  That’s the Clinton formula.  It served her husband well in terms of electoral politics, and she’s gambling that it will serve her well too.  Sanders, by contrast, is a classic New Deal liberal.

(3) Hillary Clinton supports a weak form of campaign finance reform.  Sanders by contrast has stated his support for publicly funded elections and the overturning of Citizens United as a litmus test for Supreme Court justices he would appoint.  Hillary Clinton has said she would appoint justices that would overturn Citizens United, but she has not stated that it would be a litmus test.  That is an important distinction.

(4) Hillary Clinton takes money from the prison guard lobby.  Sanders would rather send your kids to college than to jail, and has proposed free tuition nationally for any public university.

(5) Hillary Clinton is a war hawk.  Bernie Sanders prefers diplomacy, and was a staunch supporter of President Obama’s Iran deal.  Sanders says war ought to be the last resort, not the first resort.  It is not off base to continue to point out that Hillary Clinton voted for the pointless war in Iraq when she was a Senator and Bernie Sanders voted against it.  Bernie Sanders also voted against the Gulf War in 1991 when it was extremely unpopular to do so, even though he was absolutely correct to do so, since the Gulf War was about nothing more than protecting American oil interests.

(6) Hillary Clinton’s husband Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 into law, which has seen six corporations come to own 90% of the media.  This is currently redounding to Hillary Clinton’s benefit, as the mainstream corporate media has overwhelmingly supported her efforts to become the Democratic nominee, and she has said nothing about overhauling or reversing the Telecommunications Act.  By contrast, Sanders says he would reverse the Telecommunications Act.

(7) Sanders is strongly in favor of reintrocucing Glass-Steagall, which was an act launched in the aftermath of the Great Depression which prevented banks from teaming up with institutions that handle investments and securities, a sensible regulation.  Hillary Clinton opposes reintroducing Glass-Steagall.

(8) Sanders has voted against the USA PATRIOT Act and two renewals— no, no and no— while Senator Hillary Clinton voted for the USA PATRIOT Act and two renewals— yes, yes and yes.  The USA PATRIOT Act is a civil liberties nightmare that allows the government to become a surveillance state.  If you like giving the government the power to spy on American Citizens with no regard for their Fourth Amendment rights, the USA PATRIOT Act is the act for you.  Also, as was pointed out famously by Michael Moore’s Farenheit 911, nobody actually read the act before they voted for it; they were shamed into voting for it out of fear of being called “weak on defense” in the aftermath of 9/11.  Except that Bernie Sanders was unafraid, and had the political courage to vote against this epically bad bill.

(9) Sanders opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) while Hillary Clinton supports it.  Sanders has a history of opposing NAFTA-like free trade deals that force American workers— whatever American workers are left, at any rate— to compete against workers around the globe who make pennies per hour.  The theory was that the rising tide would lift all boats; in practice, it has been seen to be a race to the bottom.  Bill Clinton supported NAFTA, of course.  Like with many things “third way” the theory did not come to be in practice.  Welfare reform did not force people to go to work, it only left children hungry.  The Telecommunications Act did not make it easier for liberal voices to compete in the marketplace of ideas, it only allowed corporations to gobble up media outlets.  And NAFTA and all its progeny did not see a rush of new entrepreneurial cross-border innovation create a boon of new jobs for Americans; it only saw American workers’s wages stagnate as they were forced to compete against workers making pennies per hour.  There is no evidence that TPP would be any different from NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT, and all the other failed “free trade” strategies.

(10) Sanders has consistently opposed the environmentally disastrous Keystone Pipeline.  By contrast, Hillary Clinton waffles on the issue, which means in reality that she is for it, but she does not want to admit that and alienate the liberal base and environmentalists.

So there you have it.  Ten solid, good reasons to support Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton that have nothing to do with the BS that the right-wing scandalmongers gin up.

-Robert Gross

UPDATE: It was pointed out to me that Hillary Clinton never sat on the board of Monsanto.  However, it is true that the current head of her campaign is a former Monsanto lobbyist.

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