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Saturday, August 20, 2016

“Reasonable and decent choice for President”

By Barry Schiller in Rhode Island’s Future

A recent Rhode Islands Future post got us into a “lesser evil” discussion about Hillary Clinton.  While I disagree with her about a few issues, that doesn’t make her “evil.”

It’s bad enough the right-wing attack machine has smeared Clinton for so long, calling her “crooked” even though determined, relentless investigations going back to Whitewater, Vince Foster, Travelgate and more have never found anything crooked. For liberal/progressive sites to pile on is crazy.

I think there is no doubt Clinton will defend Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security, defend the medical insurance expansion of the ACA, stand up for reproductive freedom, the Iran nuclear deal, rights for immigrants, labor, the LGBT community, appoint reasonable Supreme Court justices, and maybe expand gun background checks, child care and family leave programs if Congress allows.
Trump and the GOP will do the opposite on all of the above.

Of course Clinton is not perfect.

I don’t trust her on trade, she may approve high levels of immigration that depress wages. She has been too quick to intervene in foreign countries such as Libya and Honduras.

But she and Obama did try to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, resisted pressure to do more military stuff in Syria and Iran, and are being criticized for that and for not doing even more killing in opposing ISIS.  

So I can’t see how putting these GOP critics in charge who got us into Iraq in the first place will do us any good.

On taxes, Trump is a mainstream GOP trickle-downer, proposing the end of estate taxes, big corporate and personal income tax reductions. We’ve been down that road, it would further transfer wealth to the 1%, further starve government programs. Clinton wouldn’t do that.

On the environment, Clinton would likely continue the mixed record of Obama while Trump and the GOP would be all in for coal and oil and fossil fuels, they even say they are.

Clinton would resist the GOP assault on public land and on wildlife. And Transport Providence of all people should appreciate the Democratic support for bikes, transit, and trains (by the way, VP choice Tim Kaine promoted downtown Richmond passenger rail revival when he was Mayor), the national GOP wants to eliminate all Federal support for that.

Clinton is not a pacifist, socialist, or radical, so those that are have legit reasons for not backing her, but it still doesn’t make her “evil.”  

Not being in those categories, I see it as an easy choice to back Clinton, and not just because of Trump.  

Still, in Rhode Island we are so used to civil and reasonable Republicans who often back needed good government programs and watchdog excessive spending, we can forget the extremism of Trump and the national GOP these days.

I also frankly value the idea of finally electing a woman as President.  Eight years ago plenty of progressives said that about a first black President, but it’s not cool to say that now about a real chance to elect the first woman.

As for the interminable e-mail stuff, nobody cared that previous GOP Secretaries of State used a private e-mail server at times and rightfully so. While Clinton was ill-advised to do this, it doesn’t make her “evil” it is just a political attack point which Sanders himself thought was a distraction.

To sum up, though far from perfect, she is a reasonable and decent choice to support for President.

Barry Schiller served on the Board of the Transit Authority 1995-99. He can be reached at