As these things go, people generally have either a good faith or bad faith view of government and public life. You either think public officials are basically decent people trying their darnedest to enact good public policy on behalf of the people, or you think they’re all a bunch of cynical crooks who manipulate a rigged system to selfish ends and cast votes based on the imperative of political self-survival. Foolish me, I tend to take the good-faith view of public officials, up to and including Hillary Clinton, which may not be the greatest trait for a journalist, but does help in the department of how to be a better human.
I’ll be both proud and wary to cast my vote for Clinton in a couple of weeks (is it over yet)? Proud because she has earned it and because I have high hopes that she will deliver, that she will extend and improve on the best of the Obama years, bring peace and justice where such things are absent, both here and abroad. Yes, she can. Let’s hope she does.
But I’m wary because of the Iraq war vote Clinton cast in the Senate, and the bad jingoism, the Cheney-like parroting of the Saddam-Qaeda link that went along with the 2002 vote. So I’m taking a deliberate but reluctant journey around that moral road-block and voting for Clinton anyway, despite a vote that reeked of bad faith. She has owned up to the colossal error of that vote and while I remain skeptical about Clinton I’m not cynical about her. My hopes are tempered by fears that range along a line of seriousness and gravity:
1. I fear that Hillary will start WWIII or some hapless proxy version thereof, that she will accelerate chaos with overly robust responses to faraway disasters, and she will be subsequently drowned in the Sea of Man as it rises to the electoral challenge in 2020. I hope she will have learned the lesson of that indefensible Iraq War vote and earn the Nobel Peace Prize that was prematurely given to Obama, through a foreign policy that emphasizes peace through restraint—with strength on the horizon as needed, and humanitarian boots on the ground.
2. I fear that in her zeal to “jump-start the economy” that she will capitulate to the lords of capital while failing to “save the middle class” and destroy the best of Obamacare in the process of cutting bad deals with Republicans in the service of a false bipartisanship of surface civility. I hope she gets along with reasonable Republicans and that there is some sort of genuine public rapprochement among moderates, and whoever else wants to come along, that delivers results and not just fleeting moments of happy-pants posturing on TV. Along the way I hope she enacts the best of the Bernie platform along with a Clinton Fixit on Obamacare that improves it, and its standing, with The People.
3. I fear that given the ample history and current obsession with emails, that she and her administration will become embroiled in scandals of such a distracting nature that “wag the dog” will look like “swing the DINO” by the time she turns outer Raqqa into a sheet of glass, to use the Cruzian construct. So I’ll vote for Hillary but with a zero tolerance policy for Clintonian shenanigans, and especially after eight years of no-whack Barack leading the way with cool dignity. I don’t expect Clinton to reach for Obama levels of coolness, but I do expect Tim Kaine to give her the Replacements’ Pleased to Meet Me for Christmas, and for her to enjoy it.
And on that cheerful note, I hope the Obamas invite the Clintons for Christmas and an early move-in to the White House, to ease the transition, and so that they can have The Talk with Bill one morning, in their bathrobes over coffee and cakes and Michelle with the stern-friendliest face of all. The ankle bracelet is presented, wrapped in a blue bow. “You were a mediocre commander-in-chief who talked a big game but squandered your presidency with the drama. Don’t blow it for her, Bubba.”
Yes, he can. Let’s hope he doesn’t.