Ten Ethics Questions For Unshakable Hillary Voters

casual woman - no evil

Jamelle Bouie, Slate regular, can’t imagine Democrats voting for a Republican over Hillary just because she jeopardized national security, flouted her own department’s policies, destroyed evidence, and has lied about both her conduct and its significance continually. “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski said yesterday that she is offended at Clinton’s lies about her e-mail, and is insulted that Hillary thinks that the American public is “that stupid.” She then said “If Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, I would vote for her,” thus proving that she, at least, is exactly as stupid as Hillary thinks she is. Then, of course, we have Paul Begala, who memorably said, “Voters do not give a shit. They do not even give a fart… Find me one persuadable voter who agrees with HRC on the issues but will vote against her because she has a non-archival-compliant email system and I’ll kiss your ass in Macy’s window and say it smells like roses.” (I keep quoting this because it perfectly embodies the level of ethical character (that is, 0)  of political operatives and the contempt in which they hold their prey, American citizens.). Then, on the recent post about ethics corruption and Clinton, regular commenter Beth wrote, speaking for informed, intelligent Democrats,

“..we’ll still vote for her in the main election over a Republican who will push for policy positions that we are against.”

I am not picking on Beth, whom I respect and consider a friend, but this is fascinating and alarming to me. She is a mother, and thus committed to teacher her children ethical values;  she is a lawyer, and she understands, for example, that destroying material you know is likely to be subpoenaed is unethical and often criminal. She does not approve of lying. Yet she expects none of this to deter her and other  intelligent Democrats from voting for Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic Party obviously is counting on this kind of reasoning, or they would not be offering such a corrupt, damaged, untrustworthy candidate. Indeed, I sense that the Beth Block doesn’t want to hear or read about Hillary’s slimy activities, because it makes them feel ashamed about what they think they will do two Novembers from now.

It should make them feel ashamed.

I wonder, though: how far will they go with this unethical and irresponsible logic? Thus I have these ten questions for them…

1. Hillary did what she did, regardless of how it is ultimately defined. If she is charged with a crime, will that change your attitude? What if she is convicted? If she knew what she was doing might be determined to be a crime, but assumed she wouldn’t be caught, what difference does it make whether or not she is charged or convicted?

2. Hillary could have said, when this first arose, “I am sorry. I was foolish and irresponsible, and I never should have used a private system for official business. It was a serious breach, and I will cooperate completely by turning over all of my e-mails to the State Department.” That she didn’t can only mean 1) that she has something really bad to hide, 2) she isn’t sorry, 3) is stupid, 4) just reflexively lies whenever she is in trouble, and arguably all of them. Do you think someone like that should be President under any circumstances?

3. Do you think that it is a serious problem when a Presidential candidate describes the duty to handle official documents carefully and securely as “nonsense”?

4. Do you think the habit of lying to the news media and the American people for purely personal gain, rather than in the national interest, should disqualify someone for elected office?

5. If you, as a feminist, support Hillary Clinton because she is a woman, what woman, if any, wouldn’t you support? Melissa Harris-Perry? Rosie O’Donnell? Rep. Shiela Jackson Lee? Kelly Osbourne? Paris Hilton? Any woman? Why isn’t that sexist by definition? And why are any of those women less trustworthy than Hillary Clinton?

6. The Obama Administration has been a textbook exhibition of how bad big government, progressive policies can be. The EPA, which just polluted an entire river, is the latest catastrophic example out of the Obama Administration. The Education Department successfully eliminated due process on college campuses. The Veterans Administration is killing veterans. The Justice Department has refused to deliver equal and non-partisan justice. The Treasury Department has allowed the IRS to corrupt the power of taxation with partisanship. The TSA is incompetent and useless. Health care costs keep rising, and the Affordable Care Act made the insurance of millions of American unaffordable. The GSA couldn’t protect its computers. Job growth is stagnant; more American are receiving public assistance and fewer are paying federal taxes than ever before. The Secret Service is a disaster. The NSA is out of control, and it can’t protect its data either. Race relations are the worst they have been since the days of Bull Connor; after years of decline, urban violence is rising. The entire law enforcement system appears to be breaking down. Illegal immigration is being encouraged. The power of big government has been used to push unprecedented incursions on privacy and due process. The United States’ ability to restrain chaos abroad has been reduced to a dangerous level. When Americans are hideously abused abroad, the government makes no response that will send a message that it is intolerable. The deficits in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, long ago agreed to be unsustainable, have not been addressed. Neither has the national debt, which has exploded under this administration as no other. There is much more, but this suffices to lay the foundation for this question:

What is it about this performance is so appealing that it makes you willing to vote for a cynical, venal, lying incompetent who contributed to it and who promises more of the same?

7. One of the main reasons Clinton used a private server, critics believe, is to cover-up her efforts to get Clinton Foundation donations from foreign powers seeking to influence her decisions and policies once she moved into the White House. Do you not believe having a high government official like a Secretary of State or a President being indirectly paid money by foreign governments is wrong and dangerous? If not, why not?

8. It is generally agreed that among the most crippling and damaging developments in society has been toxic political polarization, partyism, and an inability of the parties and their supporters to work together in the national interest. Hillary Clinton is one of the most divisive and polarizing figures in American political history. Why would you believe it makes sense to elect such an individual at this time in our history even if she were not demonstrably dishonest and untrustworthy?

9. Please list the tangible achievements, positive accomplishments and evidence of leadership ability  in Hillary Clinton’s life that you believe suggest that she should be President or is likely to be a competent and effective one.

and finally…

10. What the hell is the matter with you?

[Since Beth’s complaints  prompted me to compose and post it, it is appropriate for me to link again to the blog’s explanation of why there is so much Hillary Clinton content here, and will continue to be until she is no longer a threat to the nation’s ethics and values.]

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Graphic: The Frisky

112 thoughts on “Ten Ethics Questions For Unshakable Hillary Voters

  1. Jack,

    As usual, you raise an important question in a provocative way – with a strong point of view.

    The question, as I see it, is “What is the relative importance of ethics and policy in choosing a political candidate?”

    Note that politicians rank last in every poll of trusted professions over the last decade across all countries (based on polls by Yankelovich, Pew, Gallup).

    I think the main reason is that you can’t hold consistent beliefs and get elected. By definition, you have to mold your beliefs to whatever the current voting majority wants in order to stay a politician. This means every pol is of necessity a flip-flopper, and probably a liar as well when they try to deny this fundamental inconsistency.

    All of which sets a low bar for ethics (add in the attraction of politics to ego-freaks and scoundrels to complete the reason for low rankings).

    Seeing politics that way sets up a conflict, and it’s the one you note: how much weight should we assign to ethics, and how much to policy?

    Imagine two candidates: One is ethically as pure as you’re going to find in politics (I know, not much), but is against 95% of your preferred policies. The other one is an ethical scoundrel of the worst sort, but supports policies that are 95% in sync with your own.

    Who do you vote for? How much cognitive dissonance can you tolerate?

    I can’t put political words in your mouth, Jack, but let me make an attempt: suppose a Democrat is running against the Iran agreement, is in favor of repealing Section 5 of the VRA, strongly supports Roberts and Citizens United, is largely anti-abortion, and is strongly aligned with you on any number of issues? (Apologies if my strawman case mis-labeled you).

    Now suppose that person is as ethical as Hillary Clinton?

    Let’s suppose further that person’s election opponent really IS highly ethical, as ethical as anyone out there – BUT holds policy positions totally at odds with yours: supports major gun control, single-payer healthcare, repeal of Citizens United, etc..

    Who do you vote for?

    It’s easy to pile on and ask someone “what’s wrong with you” on a case where you think the person is venal AND you disagree with their positions. The tough cases are when you find one candidate personally more virtuous, and the other candidate more palatable policy-wise. (That’s certainly my case with Hillary – I too am very troubled by the constant fog of controversy around her, and I’m not the only liberal who is); then I compare that with the positions I know she’ll support, and I’m conflicted.

    The tendency to demonize the other party in personal, ethical terms is often, i suspect, a semi-conscious effort to argue against their policies. And that doesn’t seem helpful.

    What’s the right balance between ethics and policies for a voter?

    • Considering that the President isn’t a big legislator (or at least isn’t supposed to be), then yes, leadership ability, ethics, and being a hyper-partisan FOR the country on an international stage should all trump policy positions.

      • “being a hyper-partisan FOR the country on an international stage…”

        If everyone agreed on what constituted hyper-partisanship, there’d be no debate. As it is, many people of good will have strongly different views of what’s partisan-good.

        That is in fact a case of Policy debates, I would argue, which you’re trying to suggest would be resolved by personal ethics. In practice, that just means you end up calling names on people who disagree with you.

        If you can’t think of someone who disagrees with you on foreign policy yet whom you consider ethical, then I think you’re just demonizung on partisan grounds.

        • “If everyone agreed on what constituted hyper-partisanship, there’d be no debate.”

          Conveniently ignoring the other criteria… nice. So I suppose ethics and leadership ability don’t matter to you, just policy. Who am I kidding? You’ve already admitted that.

          “As it is, many people of good will have strongly different views of what’s partisan-good.”

          This is subtle shifting. I’m not talking specific foreign policy items, I’m discussing a whole attitude of Leading America as it relates on the world stage.

          “That is in fact a case of Policy debates, I would argue, which you’re trying to suggest would be resolved by personal ethics.”

          At best this is a strawman, at worst and somewhat incoherent sentence. Huh? What does that sentence even mean?

          I think policy debates are resolved by personal ethics? Huh?

          Must be a strawman…

          “In practice, that just means you end up calling names on people who disagree with you.”

          Out of Left field with that one.

          I’ve already indicated to you that I’m “name calling”, I’m:

          1) identifying someone for what they are after accurate observation. For example, if someone insists, after long discussion, that 2+2=5, there really is nothing left to do but give them the “moron” label.

          2) reciprocating a tone already established by the person in question, such as explained here

          “If you can’t think of someone who disagrees with you on foreign policy yet whom you consider ethical, then I think you’re just demonizung on partisan grounds.”

          Strawman, I haven’t mentioned foreign *policy* yet. I’ve mentioned a certain attitude.

          This entire response was a swing and a miss, try again.

    • Even if a ethically bankrupt candidate supported “95%” of your “preferred policies”, that candidate still requires a functioning government to implement them…

      • I’m not sure of your point here. Most would agree Nixon was less ethical than Carter, but also that Nixon was more effective. Ethical leaders don’t guarantee effective governments, nor are unethical leaders automatically ineffective. Reality is simply not that simple, I would argue.
        Am I missing your point?

        • Effectiveness, only works if it is accompanied by a commitment to ethics.

          Nixon was effective at getting what Nixon wanted. He also tarnished the Presidency for a generation…

          Hillary Clinton would be an exceptionally effective at getting what Hillary Clinton would want. We have no idea what she wants, though, because she lies. She says exactly what people want to here are her priorities, but then she does what she really wants.

          From observation, however, we can infer that transparent and competent government is not among those..

    • Is there anything more here than an elaborate deployment of “they all do it?” So you’re saying the Democratic party, and it’s voters are stuck with and unethical but acceptable policy wonk, therefore it’s okay to nominate her and vote for her? You’re also throwing up a pretty elaborate straw man.

      Isn’t there a term from the old South: “A Yellow Dog Democrat?” Someone who’d rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican? Probably dates from Reconstruction. You know, when Southern White Democrats were denying they’d lost the Civil War and hadn’t had time to cobble Jim Crow together yet. There’s just a new yuppie version of Yellow Dog Democrats on both coasts, and lots of urban areas in between.

      • How do you figure that? NOBODY trusts politicians, according to all polls in all countries for decades–I haven’t seen data that cuts that by “voting-for-policy” behavior, have you?

        • Politicians and elected officials are less trusted now, as well as political institutions in the US, than any time previously. In the 60’s, over 70% of the public trusted the government! You don’t think the decline has been significantly due to the betrayals of trust from LBJ, Nixon, Clinton, Gingrich, Obama, those who promised one set of values and delivered another?

          Jimmy Carter, to his credit, said he would never lie and almost never did. Unfortunately, his policies didn’t work, either.

          • Trust has dropped in EVERY profession over the last 40 years–it’s not just government. It’s down in business, banking, police, religious leaders, doctors–pretty much everyone but nurses.

            • I don’t think that’s a rebuttal. I believe, though I cannot prove, that the government is the leader in this and thus partly the cause, because distrust of the government is distrust of the culture and society.

              • Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, the day before the election.

                The GST (Goods and Services Tax) hasn’t been increased by 50% yet, but that’s the only one he’s missed.

      • And another thing, there are lots of questions you’ve asked that involve things other than ethics: eg. divisiveness and incompetence, just to name a few. They all don’t do that, Charles. And again, if someone is untrustworthy, how do you have any confidence what their policy preferences really are?

    • This is pretty much exactly what I was going to say. I think Jack doesn’t place much value on policy, nor does he understand why other people value policy more than he does.

      Policy is what affects us. That Bill Clinton had affairs doesn’t much affect anyone outside his family, but his administration’s approach to things like crime, education, immigration, economics, national security, and abortion affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people. That’s why policy is so important to many of us.

      Obviously, there’s overlap. Unethical politicians lie to voters about the policies they will pursue once in office, and they sell their policy agenda to the highest bidder. But it’s also fair to say that policies are subject to ethical evaluation as well. It doesn’t matter how personally forthright, honest, and trustworthy a politician is if he wants to pursue a policy that I consider morally reprehensible.

      Then there’s the problem that politics is often an ethics swamp. Sure, Clinton has all kinds of ethical problems, but there’s a pretty good chance the opposition isn’t much better. I know “She’s not the worst” is no excuse, but when “none of the above” is not an option, you still have to pick somebody.

        • Jack, come up with a counter-example that doesn’t dovetail with your political preferences and you’ll make a stronger case.

          • What political preferences? My “political preference” in foreign policy is that it WORKS. Obama’s ideology has simply been proven impractical. If he turned out to be right, I’d be applauding. He has been wrong in every way. Is dithering a matter of political preference (Libya, Syria, ISIS, Afghanistan…)? Is fecklessness, as in the “red line” fiasco? Does your political preference include making threats you can’t or won’t follow through on?

            It isn’t that I can’t think of any equally inept President from the right of Obama, I can’t think of an equally inept leader of any kind.

            • The big wet fish-in-the-face counter-example would seem to be Dubya’s venture into Iraq.
              You could argue that Shrub was unethical, and you could argue that he was ethical, but I don’t see too many arguing that his Iraq policy was effective .

              • Consequentialism. The question is whether it could have been effective, and whether it was right. In terms of ethical and competent leadership, “Don’t violate the terms of the cease fire and defy the UN or we take you out” followed by, “OK, we warned you” is conduct and principle that can be debated. “Don’t cross that red line!” followed by, “I didn’t say red line exactly” followed by, “Well, I wasn’t really saying I’d do anything” followed by “See, it worked out, sort of” cannot be debated. It’s incompetent, weak and unethical.

      • People seem to forget a lot about the Clinton years. Number One: He failed to deal effectively with Osama bin Laden leading directly to 9/11. Two: He championed the repeal of Glass-Steagel (sp?), leading directly to the crash of 2008. And let’s not forget the 2000 stock bubble and recession. The Clinton era was not all sweetness and light.

        • He also supported criminal justice policies of police militarization and mass incarceration that are so much in the news today. But those are not issues of personal ethics, and neither is Glass–Steagall (unless you’re contending he did it for unsavory reasons) or the 2000 recession.

          • His son in law got a cushy job at Goldman Sachs and all the big investment banks (now federally insured BANKS) have given him and his foundation and his wife gobs of money, as have the federally insured BANKS that got to play investment bank, while they were federally insured.

        • The repeal of Glass-Steagal was not the one true cause of the crash, although many people (mostly progressives) seem to think so. The banks affected by it’s repeal were the ones which weathered the crash the best. There is an imperial crap ton (no metric units for me! 😉 ) of flawed arguments about what did or did not cause the crash, as well as flaws counter arguments, but the fact that the pure investment banks (Lehman brothers for instance) were the ones to fail first, and not the combined banks, strongly argues against this particular claimed cause. There are more nuanced arguments that it contributed, but you said “directly”.

            • Most Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac I believe, but regardless that has nothing to do with Glass Steagall, unless I completely misunderstood your question.

              Some of the bigger banks were able to try to rescue some investment banks, which it has been argued softened the crash a bit.

      • Thank you.

        And we all have to keep in mind that while Presidents may or may not have success with legislative initiatives (depends on Congress), he or she holds immense power when it comes to Supreme Court appointments.

        I do not want Huckabee or Rand to nominate anyone to the bench.

        • Just a quibble, but an important one, and one that has been intentionally obscured to cover for this President’s weakness. Success with legislative initiatives depends first and foremost on the President’s political, negotiation, and persuasive skills as will as his ingenuity, willingness to compromise,determisation, hubris and energy. As early as Jefferson, who was a master of schmoozing Congress, this has been a crucial part of the job, and the most successful Presidents were skilled at it. (This was, after all, the subplot of “Lincoln”). Obama just refused to do it, that’s all. Even knee-jerk supporters like Chris Matthews has commented on this in more candid moments. The myth that Obama has been the victim of a uniquely obstinate Congress flies in the face of everything we (and less stubborn and imperial Presidents) have learned about executive leadership across cultures and history. Saying that a the success of a President’s legislative initiatives “depends on Congress” is like saying that the success of a husband’s concept of a happy marriage depends on his wife.

          It also depends on the quality of the legislative initiatives.

          I guess it isn’t just a quibble….

          • And this frustrating denial of Constitutional process is the inevitable result of looking at the President like he’s just another legislator…one with king-like prerogatives…

            • I’m not saying anything of the kind. But, why ask candidates about their views at all? Why not just have an independent third party perform an integrity/leadership test and call it a day? Positions matter.

          • Politics have changed — dramatically so, even in my lifetime. I don’t know of a single politician who has the ability to unite Congress.

            • You clearly either weren’t alive or don’t know your history well enough to know Lyndon Johnson. Vietnam aside, he conned, cajoled, befriended, threatened Congress to pass laws like the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Acts of 1965. A former Congressman, he knew how to push things through Congress — and especially for the Civil Rights movement — changed the US in a positive way through effective work with Congress.

              • 1965 was, let me see now, oh yes – 50 years ago. The median age in the US is now 36.5. So for 2/3 of the population it’s accurate to say that “in my lifetime…” at least if that’s your most-current counter-example.

                I personally would date the current state of combative, non-collaborative poisonous atmosphere back to 1994, with Newt Gingrich’s change in focus to party-line politics. LBJ was indeed a helluva politician, but in his day, he dealt with local politics and with individual politicians. Ever since Gingrich, you live or die by whether supported the party line, and it’s become as true for the Dems as for the GOP.

                  • No, I very specifically blamed an individual – Newt Gingrich. I also specifically noted that the hyper-partisan disease he introduced into the system afflicts both parties, in roughly equal parts these days.

                    If you agree that things are vastly more partisan than they were 20–30 years ago and can point to a different Ground Zero event or person, I’d be interested in hearing it – I’m far from the only one that traces it to the party-based discipline that Newt introduced. That discipline led directly to the “Majority of the majority” rule under Dennis Hastert, and, I would argue, to the lack of comity we see today between parties.

                    Again, if you’ve got a different historical analysis I’d be interested in hearing it.

                    • Nah. It had to have been that pesky Republican Lincoln. You think Newt divided the nation into partisan camps? You shoulda seen what Abe did!

                      You really are a hoot.

                • Huh? Clinton handled Newt just fine. He compromised. That was a productive legislature, because Clinton accepted what he had to deal with and governed, rather than toss insults and use his opposition as an excuse for failure, the Obama way. Bush wasn’t paralyzed in dealing with Congress either.

    • Here’s my super-simple answer to an important part of your premise, and one that I think gets forgotten all too often.

      ” The other one is an ethical scoundrel of the worst sort, but supports policies that are 95% in sync with your own.”

      Actually, no. He just SAYS that he is 95% in sync with my own policies. By definition, I CANNOT BELIEVE WHAT HE SAYS TO BE TRUE.

      Being untrustworthy clears the deck of any and all policy-based considerations and support.

      On the other hand, a trustworthy candidate who disagrees with me can be legitimately persuaded to agree with me if my argument is compelling.

      The REAL question of “policies that are 95% in sync” is whether the candidate wants what is best for himself or what is best for the country. We can argue over what is best for the country.

      –Dwayne

      • I concur. I think part of the reason people want to believe they can trust untrustworthy candidates is because they are afraid of having to justify their points of view to reasonable people who disagree. It takes much less intellectual effort to just pick someone who already agrees and attempt to bulldoze across anyone else. That’s why we need to help people develop discussion skills that they can be confident in.

      • “On the other hand, a trustworthy candidate who disagrees with me can be legitimately persuaded to agree with me if my argument is compelling.”

        Agreed. Though we often forget the corollary: “a trustworthy candidate who disagrees with me can legitimately persuade me to agree with him if his argument is compelling.”

        • Though we often forget the corollary: “a trustworthy candidate who disagrees with me can legitimately persuade me to agree with him if his argument is compelling.”

          Correct. THAT, you see, is called Leadership, and it’s a good thing.

          –Dwayne

        • But

          1. There are usually compelling arguments on both sides of issues. As long as one adopts a position by understanding and analyzing both positions. it is not required that he or she change position just because of a compelling counter argument. Leaders who do this too easily lack conviction and integrity, and are also not trustworthy. Certitude has its value.

          2. Discussions of trustworthy leaders are fish out of water on a post about Hillary Clinton.

      • Being untrustworthy clears the deck of any and all policy-based considerations and support.

        Wonderfully put. And the factor that all those “but I like Hillary’s ideas!” rationalizaters ignore. Because its easier to be irresponsible that way.

        • No. I trust that she is going to do what she says because what the Clintons respect more than anything is their legacy — and she wants to be in office for 8 years, not 4. So if she doesn’t do what she says, she won’t be reelected.

          HC is not getting my vote in the primary, but I have no problem whatsoever in voting for her against the field I saw in the first Fox debate. While I think Bush and Christie would be competent, I disagree with several of their policy positions. I’ll reserve my right to change my mind if Kasich gets the nod – plus, I need to research him more.

          As for Dwayne’s comment, I can’t stop laughing. That statement would hold true in a minor local election or perhaps an election for student body president. But the President of the United States? By the time you get that job, your “views” have been carefully molded by campaign donors, lobbyists, and your political party.

          • Cynical. That doesn’t have to be the case, and isn’t always the case.

            And if either Clinton cared about their legacies, they would not do this crap. Obviously. You are rationalizing a reason to trust someone who cannot be trusted.

  2. One thing you might want to ask is, if the candidate has no integrity, how confident are you that they are not going to be bought out, or simply change positions? As a practical matter, sell-outs and liars generally do not inspire confidence. Or, should not at least.

    Is Hillary! Going to put ideology ahead of self interest?

    • This is the problem. By DEFINITION, politicians must change positions frequently in order to stay elected. Therefore, if you apply a strict definition of honesty and integrity, nobody would ever trust politicians. And in fact, they do always show up at the bottom of most trusted professions lists.
      This is not unique to politicians you might call unethical–they’re all by definition in the category of loose with the truth.

  3. I really think that this woman is not well educated on the importance of national security and how decisions made for personal convenience can have grave consequences for all of us. I can’t believe that she doesn’t care about her kids and family. Perhaps her selective attention focused mainly on “a woman’s right to choose” and other feminist issues trumps everything else. I guess she was very bored in her US and World History classes.

  4. Would it be too simplistic to wait to see who the Republicans nominate before committing to vote for or against Hillary (assuming she gets the nomination, which I hope she does not)? If it’s Trump, for example, then you can put me down as an HRC vote, not because I think she’s ethical, or that I trust her, or even that I agree with her significantly in policy terms, but because he’s just as bad ethically, has no relevant experience, is even worse on the issues, and adds a level of buffoonish jackassery to the mix. Indeed, I regard most of the current GOP crop to be profoundly corrupt and/or batshit crazy.

    Voting for Hillary, should it happen, would be for me to choose the “lesser of two evils.” Yes, as the great moral philosopher Jerry Garcia noted, such a decision is still choosing evil, but my days of voting third- (or fourth- or fifth-) party are over. And I’m not going to sit this one out.

    I will vote against Hillary in the primary if there’s still a race by then (and quite possibly even if there isn’t). If the GOP goes with an utter wackadoodle or a walking ethical nightmare, though–and I’d say that’s a distinct possibility if not a likelihood–then yes, I’d vote for Clinton in the general election.

    In my first post in my current incarnation of blogging, I recalled my first national election. I voted for Daniel Patrick Moynihan over James Buckley for US Senator from New York. I was young, and thought elections were often going to be between two candidates I liked and respected, and the choice was going to be difficult in a good way. Alas, there have been precious few elections since in which I liked the candidate I voted for as much as I liked the one I didn’t vote for in the 1974 Senate race. And that is a tragedy.

    • I’m only responding to those who are already saying, like Jamelle, Mika and Beth, that they will vote for Hillary no matter what. I would vote for Hillary over Trump, as I already wrote, just as vote for her over Dracula, Darth Vader and Lex Luthor. Against that old lawn chair in my basement, however, I’d pick the lawn chair and never look back.

      • Hillary vs. The Donald for president… Now there’s a horrific vision. If that came to pass, I don’t think I could make myself vote.

        • Amusingly, the right can acknowledge the gawdawful choice that is, the Left, still thinks a Hillary vs Jeb is so gawdawful that Hillary is clearly superior.

          I think if Jesus returned offering the millenia of peace and abundance and showed how he would make it happen, but ran as a republican, democrats like Charles would still insist that Hillary is the best option.

          • I’ve been teaching my 5 and 6 year-olds the word “oligarchy.” I find the prospect of a Bush v. Clinton campaign (again) horrifying.

            And Jesus definitely is a socialist — he’d get my vote.

            • If you want to really teach your child about oligarchy, I’d recommend the book: The New Leviathan. Very interesting.

              It is still utterly incomprehensible how you can consider Clinton vs moderate Republican to be a horrifying matchup. Utterly inexplicable. Devoid of ethics given HRC’s track record.

              Jesus was definitely not a socialist, there was no call for government compelled wealth redistribution.

              • Texagg,

                If you consider it “utterly incomprehensible” that someone could consider a point of view other than your own – particularly since that other point of view has a good chance of being the majority point of view – then may I suggest that you too should be doing some reading.

                May I suggest “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion,” by Jonathan Haidt. The book, you’ll perhaps be surprised to find, is very sympathetic to your political and ethical point of view. But its broader point is that finding the other side to be “utterly incomprehensible” is a disease for which there is a cure.

                • Charles,

                  The Thrust

                  Elevating a horrifyingly corrupt individual to the highest office possessing immense power simply because you like the way they’ll veto or sign laws that may or may not have veto-overriding majorities in Congress IS an incomprehensible way of thinking…as long as I am giving people benefit of the doubt.

                  It is fully comprehensible that people, like you, would think that way when I start admitting other factors into their thought process…but I really want to think highly of other people. I really do. So I give benefit of the doubt and pretend like those factors aren’t part of their thought processes. Hence, it is incomprehensible to me.

                  Side Matters

                  “particularly since that other point of view has a good chance of being the majority point of view “

                  Irrelevant sentence unless you are building up to an argumentum ad populum fallacy.

                  “But its broader point is that finding the other side to be “utterly incomprehensible” is a disease for which there is a cure.”

                  Yeah, like I clarified, I don’t suffer from a ‘disease’ of not understanding the Left. I fully understand it. But like I said, I try to give benefit of the doubt.

                  (which by the way, your ‘disease’ terminology is ad hominem or well-poisoning territory, along with an attempt to bait an un-civil discourse. Try again)

                  • Tell you what. Rather than sink to exchanging insults, I have purchased The New Leviathan. How about you buy The Righteous Mind, and we trade book reviews?

                    • So, ignore the Thrust, stick to the Side Matters…

                      Also, why would we have a need to exchange insults, Charles?

                      It’s a matter of keeping a discussion out of that territory…isn’t it?

              • You’re right, texagg4. I’ve read the gospels 100’s of times, and not once do I see anything about Jesus’ proposing to spend other people’s money on day-care or any other care.

                  • Not a lot, but minting coins had been invented about 400 B.C., well after the 10th Commandment was given to Moses. Remember the quote about rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. He was looking at the top of a denarius when he said that.

              • No, Tex. , Jesus was a communist, in the purest sense of the word. “To each according to his needs, from each according to their ability.” Not thrust upon them by some totalitarian bunch of crypto-Nazis in Russia, but because, if everyone followed the teachings of Jesus they would WANT life and society to be fair, kind, loving, and giving. Not that I think the vast majority of human beings are built (or taught) that way, but if you read your New Testament, politically it is a pure, God-based communism. (And by the way, Jesus DID throw the money-changers out of the temple, remember…)

                • Oh, ok, pure communism. Because every time it’s been tried and ended in a bloodbath they still managed to not get the pure version implemented.

                  Guess we better try again. Know any countries we can try pure communism in?

                • What are you reading? The Gospel of Lenin? What you say about Jesus and communism is pure nonsense, but it really depends on your definition of communism. I’m not sure what is meant by “the purest sense of the word.” Jesus never said to take from one and give to another. He befriended the rich as well as the poor. He said, “You will always have the poor with you.” Communism is not advocated in the gospels. Nor is it in Paul’s letters or anyone else’s. The kingdom of God is certainly not some kind of Marxian wonderland that appears at the end of history. Can you give book, chapter and verse? I’d like to see where you’re getting your ideas.

                  I love the way you call communists “crypto-Nazis.” So communism as practiced in the late, great USSR was really ultra-right wing. And since Jesus advocates it, it’s wonderful. We’ll have to give it another try.

  5. I’ve noticed that when she is challenged on her unethical behavior, not to mention her outright lies Hillary will inevitably switch the topic to how she will fight, fight, fight for her voters. It seems to me that this is a message to progressives that she will use her formidable lying, unethical, indecent skills honed in public over many decades to make sure the ” correct” ideology will prevail.

    What progressive would turn down a deal like that? She’s a proven winner in the unethical cynical do-whatever-it-takes-to-win arena. And she has the Clinton machine behind her to make sure it happens. Progressive liberal nirvana.

    • She only fights, for her right, to party. Down at her bank. Anybody who thinks she’s fighting for the little guy is delusional.

    • I concur; this is why people think she’s okay.

      I would also add an eleventh question, not focusing on why people think Clinton is okay, but why they think Republicans would be worse. The answer to that lies in the very small differences between Republicans and Democrats.

      Both parties tell voters what they want to hear: that they don’t have to change, that all problems are someone else’s fault, and that once we create laws that prevent those people from causing problems, everything will be okay, and we can all live in the perfect system once and for all. The main divide is that Republicans think that the perfect system has already existed (where we don’t dole out money to poor people or respect alternative lifestyles or states of being), and we need to return to it, while Democrats think that the perfect system has yet to be instituted (where all poor people are paid to support huge families and all lifestyles are considered equal), and we just need to fight for it. A Democrat will vote for Clinton because they are terrified that the Republicans will attempt to push their own system onto the country.

      Of course, both parties are wrong. There are real ways to evaluate lifestyles and states of being, other than the intellectually bankrupt extremes of zero tolerance versus zero judgment. If poor people don’t know how to do useful things, that’s still a problem no matter how much money we give them or don’t give them. A system which doesn’t change, in which people don’t change, cannot solve problems. All it does is make people complacent and powerless to solve the problems that continue to arise. People seem to want to grab as much value from the world as possible, and the only way they know to earn it honestly is to act as programmable robots, only generating as much value as they have to by doing exactly what they’re told. They don’t realize that if they bring more value into the world than they get, they don’t lose out; they develop the skills they need to solve whatever problems they encounter, and they empower others to do the same. Helping people yields exponential returns.

      I’m calling it now. This country, and the planet as a whole, are not going to improve until political groups pop up that explain to people what I just said in ways that they can accept and work to actually address people’s concerns and solve problems in accordance with the above principles, and while paying attention to all stakeholders and the possible side-effects of any solutions.

      • I would suggest that a political group will not and cannot do what you suggest. Families could do it. Supported by churches. Families are the place where your suggested principles are taught.

        • As of now my immediate target audiences are education innovation groups, self-improvement bloggers, and possibly political groups, but ultimately I’m trying to spread this idea across the entire world, because as far as I can tell the abdication of responsibility for becoming better able to solve problems is the main cause of most societal problems.

          Why don’t you think a political group could or would explain to people the fact that there are some problems that people must solve themselves, because the government can’t solve them? I think if we presented better solutions and had communities to support people as they implemented them, they’d feel better about it. I’m not convinced that people couldn’t learn responsibility from places other than their families, but I agree that would be ideal. Right now, though, I have to teach adults before they can teach their kids.

          • Very simplistically, I think people generally think governments exist to solve their problems. Government “help” groups exist because people want someone else to solve their problems, and, in fact, if people solved their own problems the programs created to solve them would put themselves out of business.
            Government that educates people to become independent thinkers and problem solvers cannot provide politicians with power or money. Families don’t have self interest at their core the way government does. Families care about growing independent competent children who will in turn do the same, in fact that is their primary job. Governments that try to replace the function of families inevitably ruin families.

            • I think you’re right. Reflecting on it, I guess what that means is that a political organization that was willing to be honest with people that government couldn’t solve all their problems would have to be more concerned with doing the right thing than seizing power.

              This motivation requirement in turn would probably require that the people in the organization would need to have (*gasp of surprise*) career prospects other than political ones. Funny, I seem to recall politicians a few centuries back having lives and skills outside of politics. When did that change? I’m going to have to bring that back.

                • It’ll be an eventual side effect of my more immediate plans. I’m not going directly for changing politicians because I’m not in the business of curing symptoms when I can go straight for the cause.

  6. The difficult thing for me to understand is how anyone can choose to support the progressive liberal agenda’s anti-American trajectory and have any claim to being ethical or even rational. For me, a politician’s policy choices (and methods of advancing same) must be influenced by their authentic ethical foundations (or lack of same). Someone said “strong values are good only if they are good values,” but saying that a demonstrably perverse policy can be advanced by a truly ethical person, or that a unmistakably unethical person can really be an effective policymaker, strains my understanding of what it is to be ethical. As Michael Josephson asks, “How many times do you get to lie before you are a liar?” How can anyone favorably consider a known liar’s policy positions without also announcing a disclaimer? (“Politician Doe is a pathological liar and a monumental fraud, however I am supporting his policy on XYZ.”) I am seriously challenged in understanding a way of thinking that agrees with unethical behavior getting swept under the rug no matter how big a lump it makes.

    • “how anyone can choose to support the progressive liberal agenda’s anti-American trajectory and have any claim to being ethical or even rational.”

      This is precisely the problem. There are also people on the left who equally cannot conceive that right-leaning folks have a conscience or an ethical bone on their body.

      And that’s demonization. If you can’t CONCEIVE of people holding different policy views without seeing them as “ethical or even rational” then constructive dialogue is impossible.

      That’s the much-bigger problem.

      • Aye. We need to help people clear away the selfish thoughts in their heads to make room for the idea that others can raise legitimate concerns even if those concerns conflict with their own. That’s one of the first orders of business.

      • Let’s say a candidate that supported ISIS is running against a Republican? Would you wonder how anyone could support this candidate’s “anti-American agenda?” Moreover, you don’t want to be part of the problem by making “constructive dialogue” impossible.

        I don’t see how anyone can vote for an incompetent and unethical candidate based on said candidate’s policy positions when it may be likely that said candidate, through ineptness and unethical behavior, may seriously damage America’s security and economic future. There are more important things than ideology.

  7. “1. Hillary did what she did, regardless of how it is ultimately defined. If she is charged with a crime, will that change your attitude? What if she is convicted?”

    1.a. What if someone else who had email on the server invokes the Fifth Amendment?

  8. Sorry! Didn’t realize that I was setting off a firestorm. I spent all day painting my daughter’s room (I am covered head to toe in lavender paint). I’m too exhausted to respond right now but will tomorrow.

  9. All the comments and complaints about the way in which the Congress and our Governorships are populated by liars,cheats, ignoramuses, partisans and even felons who only care about themselves and their office and their personal power, makes me wonder why, then, so many want to complete the circle — and have our President and Commander-in-Chief be a liar, cheat, partisan, ignoramus, and felon, who only cares about herself, her office and her personal power. So why not? Let’s just kill off the Founders’ objective — reaching for the heavens and not delineating the just floor of national behavior — and, eventually, the US as we have known it.

  10. PS Trump will NOT get the nomination. Period. Even if he gets the votes in the primaries, I think you’ll see the first brokered convention in the last 100 years. He is an embarrassment, crass, an uncultured ass who no one really wants to be the primary representative of the United States, and though he touts his financial success, forgets to mention that his original “stake” came from his father. (Unlike Mitt Romney, who gave his entire inheritance to charity and made every penny on his own.)

    I just hope Biden (that moron) will be the Democratic nominee, and I think that as things unfold with Hillary and the FBI investigation, this might actually be a possibility.

    Who likes Hillary? Really? Are there really no other Democrats who could run without the baggage she carries, and which gets heavier every day.? Even today Ben Carson rallies have topped 20,000 attendees,while Hillary hasn’t gotten more than 5,000 at any single event. She’s depending on commercials, speeches with no chance for question/answer periods,etc. Let’s see her in the Democatic debates — if she makes it that far.

  11. From the WSJ this morning:

    “The Espionage Act defines as a felony, punishable by up to 10 years, the grossly negligent loss or destruction of “information relating to the national defense.” Note that at least one of the emails from the small random sample taken by the inspector general for the intelligence community contained signals intelligence and was classified top secret.”

    When I served in the US Air Force Security Service in Japan, we were listening in on Chinese aircraft communications. The fruit of our electronic eavesdropping was called comint or elint. Many of our documents were stamped top secret codeword, and we knew that having the required clearance was still not enough for any of us to hand over the information to someone. They also had to have “the need to know.” Everyone on our floor took those rules very seriously.

    Had I broken the rules and given top secret stuff to an unauthorized person, I’d probably still be in Leavenworth today. Can someone please tell me how this smug, flippant and arrogant woman can still be running for president? As president she will oversee the NSA, and I’m sure her example will be an inspiration to many.

    How can you vote for someone who endangers US security and shows she doesn’t give a bleep about it? “But we still have abortion rights.” Oh! Well, that makes it okay then.

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