Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Voting for Bernie and Supporting Hillary Are Not Mutually Exclusive

My one chance to vote for Bernie may be in the California primary. I won't pass it up. But supporting Hillary if she prevails will be easy. Here's why.

One of these two will be president next year. If it's Bernie, fine. If it's Hillary, fine.

I just noted and appreciated Jann Wenner's Rolling Stone endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Bernie fans didn't go wild with enthusiasm. I understand why. Yet, as someone who voted for George McGovern with his very first presidential vote in 1972, I looked idealism in the face and saw Richard Nixon. It was a caution.

I announced on this blog -- to what may be all of 200-300 readers, I admit -- that I supported Bernie Sanders for president, and I still do. But watching Sanders supporters demonize Hillary over the past few months has gotten under my skin.

Now Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone counters his boss' endorsement of Hillary Clinton with a piece that rightly celebrates youthful voters' idealism that leads them to Sanders while wrongly pillorying Hillary will limp, threadbare attacks that don't hold up to scrutiny. Why do Hillary opponents resort to that? It's so transparent. Taibbi should be above it.

So here's a bargain that I'm mostly making for myself: When I walk into the voting booth this June, I'll punch the card for Bernie Sanders, but I won't find it tragic if Hillary Clinton prevails in the race to win the Democratic nomination. There's a simple reason why.

They'll both do well for the American people, and they'll both likely dispatch whichever horrid human being the GOP will attempt to foist on our discombobulated electorate. The masses may be weary, but I expect they'll find their way home.

That is unless idealistic young people ditch Hillary because they're pissed or convinced by the nasty, unkind, and, frankly, dishonest rhetoric of people like Matt Taibbi, whose journalism I have otherwise respected.

Let me call attention to four things:
  • Hillary Clinton, as Jill Abramson recently averred, is fundamentally honest. In fact, as Abramson points out, PolitiFact finds her more honest -- by a hair -- than Bernie Sanders.
  • Fred Kaplan seeks and finds the truth that Clinton did not support Bush's Iraq War. Bush gamed us all. I remember it transpiring just as Kaplan documents in his fair-minded piece on it.
  • On the email issue -- primarily a Republican invention, in my view -- Hillary has answered rather honestly and directly. One, she admits it was an error in judgment, mostly made out of convenience, and, yes, out of caution to protect her privacy after decades of scandals being pulled out of thin air just as this one was; two, neither email systems, hers and state.gov, were more secure than the other; three, the emails in question indeed were classified after the fact (something we'll necessarily never know because now they're classified!) and not so when sent or received; four, and probably most importantly, Clinton's email system was never breached and no information, whether "classified" or not, was ever proven to be at risk. The same can no longer be said of the State Department system.
  • She's a woman, and that in itself will be good for America. Here, here, and here are three pieces that explain this well.
I could drop more bullet points, but the above is enough to make a case for why Hillary doesn't deserve the scorn heaped on her by Republicans and Sanders supporters alike. She's fundamentally honest, has admitted mistakes, and has learned from them. Apart from that, she's as prepared to be president as anyone who has ever run, at least in recent years. If she isn't progressive enough for you, fine. Fight for Bernie, he is progressive.

I will vote for Sanders in June, and I will gladly support Clinton and vote for her should she get the nomination. I expect Sanders -- and, I hope, his supporters -- will do the same. And if you need encouragement, read this on the Republicans' idea of what's good for America.

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