Alex Knepper: Hillary Clinton for President

This opinion piece represents the views of Alex Knepper alone. It does not represent the editorial perspective of The New American Perspective.

Hillary Clinton is an American icon.  She has rebounded from uncertainty time and again to confound her critics and build one of the most impressive resumes in American politics. But ‘familiarity breeds contempt,’ and many in our country have grown tired or uninspired with Secretary Clinton. Her presence in national public life began just a year after I was born. Hillary has always ‘been there’ for as long as I can remember. When I was introduced to politics in 8th grade and brainwashed myself into believing right-wing dogma, I learned quickly that Hillary Clinton was Enemy No. 1. In 2008, I supported Rudy Giuliani in part because I believed he was the candidate most likely to defeat Clinton in a general election. I voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and do not regret it. Now, in 2016, I am an enthusiastic and unapologetic supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, and have believed strongly in her inevitable nomination this year. Many of my ex-allies in conservative politics have been mystified — not to mention many family members. How could I have come to support Hillary Clinton?

The very best reason to support Hillary Clinton is for her foreign policy perspective and expertise. Let us not play games: Clinton is a dyed-in-the-wool Cold War liberal. She is more like Joe Lieberman than Chuck Hagel. She believes strongly and sincerely in American global leadership, and views the United States as having a special role to play in world history. Her approach to Iran? “Distrust but verify” — “Iran is not a partner in the deal, it is the subject of the deal.” Her moral clarity concerning the Israeli-Arab conflict is sharp, and she is not blind to Hamas’ propaganda. She advocated early and often to President Obama for increased U.S. engagement in Syria, which may have enabled us to gain a real foothold in the conflict before Russia changed the game. There certainly would have been none of the humiliation surrounding President Obama’s astonishing decision to back down from his ‘red line’ threats to Assad, had Secretary Clinton been president instead. She has declared, in a shot at President Obama: “‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.” In 1995, as First Lady, she courageously defied diplomatic custom to rebuke the Chinese government on Chinese soil for its treatment of women. And she’s not shy about her hatred for tyrants: she is steely-eyed and as awake to the realities of power as a commander-in-chief must be: witness her cheering over the death of a hated enemy, Moammar Gaddafi. Robert Gates even reports that she privately supported the 2007 ‘surge’ in Iraq — in addition to, as we know, supporting the 2009 surge in Afghanistan. Against Vice President Biden, she advocated for going forward with the raid on Osama bin Laden. One wonders whether she would have unilaterally withdrawn from Iraq in 2011. She is also deeply learned and widely traveled: if there is a sudden crisis somewhere in the world, she will not have to be given a crash-course about the stakes and the players. She will likely already know about them — or even know them first-hand.

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Bernie Sanders has served as the ideal foil to Hillary: he is so utterly indifferent to foreign policy that he appears to not have any regular advisers on the matter. She has not had to move one iota to the left, and in office, she will be able to serve both as a corrective to President Obama’s incoherent foreign policy while also serving to help reshape the Democratic Party on these issues.

On domestic issues, Hillary is a conventional liberal, would appoint Ruth Bader Ginsberg-style justices to the Supreme Court, speak out loudly on women’s and children’s issues, push for additional gun control, immigration reform, more reform of regulations in the banking and financial sectors, a minimum wage hike, and — most promisingly, since the House GOP might actually agree to something on this count — criminal justice reform. There is a strong chance she could truly govern to the left of Obama. What is crucial is that she is moderate by temperament, open to negotiation, and seldom patently unreasonable in her proposals. She is someone the House GOP under Speaker Paul Ryan should be able to work with on certain issues. And she has a mastery of policy detail few of her rivals in either party can match.

Republicans already have strong majorities in both the House and Senate, in addition to controlling a majority of governorships and state legislatures — and a relatively friendly Supreme Court. The balance of power in this country is in danger of shifting too far to the right, and the GOP is in dire need of being corralled back to more moderate discourse and ambitions. If a Democrat is not in control of the presidency, our country will be subject to one-party rule by a fractured and undisciplined party, possibly led by a man with a volatile temperament. The GOP is a radicalized party in disarray. Frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz manifestly lack the temperament to be commander-in-chief and head of state, and Marco Rubio is too unseasoned. For the sake of balance and order, the Republicans ought to be denied the presidency.

Of course, Hillary Clinton is far from an ideal candidate: she finds it difficult to inspire people anymore, and 25 years in public life have made her guarded and cautious. There are a handful of examples of Hillary walking into ethical and legal ‘grey areas.’ But there is absolutely no evidence she has committed any crime, and no evidence she has ever done anything to harm the country.

When we examine the potential alternatives, there is no comparison. The Republicans seem intent on nominating a candidate that will lead them to a Barry Goldwater-style wipe-out, and Clinton’s opponent specializes in offering false promises to people who deserve practical solutions. For her foreign policy acumen, unrivaled range and depth of experience, reasonable and cerebral temperament, and her ability to prevent our country from falling into one-party rule, the best choice for the presidency, despite her imperfections, is Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. If she lives up to her potential, she could become America’s Iron Lady.

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4 thoughts on “Alex Knepper: Hillary Clinton for President

  1. Alex Knepper is well known for his profound disinterest in the truth – playing political theatre and signalling his “moderate, respectable, and open-mindedness” are his goals first and foremost.

    On every major social issue Clinton’s position has the evidence massively stacked against her – gun control has no association with reductions in crime; third-world immigration does not economically benefit natives, rather it destroys social trust and cohesion; “women’s rights” don’t actually improve the psychological well-being of women, but instead make it worse; minimum wages, on the whole, simply increase unemployment and leave total wages unchanged; and finally, if the criminal justice system needs anything it needs a few tweaks – not reform – there is nothing systematically racist about it and police brutality is much more of a meme than an actual trend.

    But Alex Knepper does not care. To him it’s about playing the part and having politicos fawn over his apparent ability to “rise above” partisan bickering. A total loser.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am a foreign policy-oriented voter, which you should have evidenced from my decision to spend twice as much time discussing foreign policy as domestic policy. I’d appreciate your thoughts on foreign policy, and whether I seek to be ‘above-it-all’ or in pursuit of praise from politicos for taking such unpopular positions as I do on issues like Syria, Libya, and Iraq. – AK

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  2. Interesting, but your essay on Ms. Clinton just struck some old and familiar chords. In many ways I see Richard Nixon in Hillary Clinton – both the good and the bad.

    The bad is the fact that she projects a concern for the American people with nearly as little (some would argue less) convincing caring than did Mr. Nixon. In an. H.R. Clinton presidency we can expect no FDR-style (or Reaganesque) fireside chats to warm the cockles of a needy nation. That’s not Hillary Clinton. Rather, she’s a policy wonk, a brilliant woman who somehow never learned when to smile or measure her laugh or figure out how to employ those and other common human traits to convince us , as W.J. Clinton did so well, that she actually feels our pain.

    Her foreign policy is very Nixonesque. Like Nixon she is well-versed in the area – arguably more so since she has also served in the same job as Mr.Nixon’s primary advisor on Foreign Relations, Henry Kissinger. And like Kissinger (and contrary to Ms. Fiorina’s ignorant comments to the contrary), Ms. Clinton understood the value of putting personal air miles into her job as Secretary of State. She is also smart enough to realize that the nuclear accord with Iran is a very good deal for the United States, Israel and the World – inarguably the most far-reaching nuclear deal ever cut and I say that as an unwavering supporter of Israel. She’s also smart enough to remain wary of Iran – to understand that Iran’s conventional armaments and bent for support of terrorism through surrogates remains an unchecked threat. I don’t believe Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry, Ms Clinton’s replacement at State, have ever totally grasped the scope and depth of the still unaddressed problems with Iran’s current leadership. And yes, in the one instance where Mr. Obama exhibited mucho cajones and had the guts to put his presidency on the line (the SEAL team raid on bin Laden), he received Ms Clinton’s full support. That took (and showed) guts on her part, too. And while the left still roils over then Senator Clinton’s vote in favor of handing Mr Bush the unfettered ability to invade Iraq, do they really believe she would have made the same choice as Mr. Bush had she been president at the time? I sincerely doubt it.

    But the comparison to Nixon does not end in the International arena. Not unlike Hillary Clinton’s short-lived vision for healthcare reform in 1993, Nixon’s 1973 State of the Union Address actually put Universal Healthcare on the table. Just ten days later, five Watergate burglars were convicted and the participants began to talk. Too engrossed in saving his own neck, the embattled Nixon never mentioned healthcare reform again. While her left wing critics insist she’s a turncoat at best or at least to the right of Mr. Obama on all domestic issues, I would argue that she continued to hold a slightly more liberal position on healthcare reform than Mr. Obama as late as the 2009 congressional debate on the subject. While their positions were close to identical, Ms Clinton had the political savvy to stick to her guns and not negotiate against herself before the actual political tug-of-war began. I would posit that no matter one’s view on healthcare reform, her personal style and hard exterior showed far better understanding of the negotiation game. That translates into someone opponents respect – someone who can neither be steam-rolled nor be read by the opposition as too ignorant to engage in give and take.

    And yes, Ms Clinton’s resumé so far outweighs her Democratic and Republican challengers that any argument on that count is ludicrous. Ever since her early work in the child advocacy field she has shown tremendous depth and insight. Her book on the subject was not only brilliant but apparently remains an valued textbook in the field – and she never turned her back on the subject. In fact, her interest and involvement in the field has remained strong even as her resume´and responsibilities have greatly expanded. An Iron Lady, but unlike Ms Thatcher, one possessed of some human emotion beneath the hard shell.

    Full disclosure: My personal (domestic) politics have typically fallen far to the left of Ms Clinton’s own positions. On his central domestic message, I very much agree with Senator Sanders’s argument to the American people, hence it should come as something of a surprise that I would likely sooner vote for a classic conservative like John Kasich than the passionate and often correct Senator Sanders but for the imbalance in federal power that would hand to one party… and the fact that I consider Mr. Sanders woefully under-prepared for the World stage and Mr. Kasich (also unprepared) will continue to serve in Columbus and not out of the District of Columbia. Yes, elections have consequences and sometimes those consequences are far greater than the perceived damage done to our individual political beliefs. Hence, I will state something here and now that neither Republicans nor Democrats want to read. Hillary Clinton may not be my political or sociological or even moral choice for president but she’s the only rational choice.

    Liked by 1 person

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