The Importance of Playing Defense: Hillary Clinton for President

[The New York Times formally endorsed Hillary Clinton for President shortly earlier. The below is an adaptation of a series of three comments I’ve submitted to that article (Comment-Permalinks at bottom). It lays down my reasoning for why Clinton’s victory is in many ways a moral imperative for defeating the dark forces that have surfaced. I urge those of you who loathe Clinton (or are sitting on the fence) to read with an open-mind, and carefully ponder the stark grave stakes in this historic election. If you wish to comment and/or offer rebuttals or thoughts, please be civil and respectful. Thanks.]

Finally, the media is beginning to dismantle this ridiculous & dangerous ruse of contrived neutrality & false equivalence that’s been allowed to go on for far too long. I thank NYT for pointing out in no uncertain terms that Clinton and Trump couldn’t be any different. Clinton is a Reasonable Human from Planet Earth while Trump is an Illegal Alien from Andromeda Galaxy. This was a much-needed & long-overdue endorsement. It elegantly makes a compelling positive case for why Clinton is a tremendously knowledgeable and qualified candidate for the job. It correctly lists her long-history of being a policy-geek who loves nuance & fine details, a suave political actor who knows how to navigate the muddy waters of politics & pull the relevant political-levers to get stuff done, and as someone who’s remarkably persistent/resilient in-terms of not being discouraged by astonishing levels of vitriol & continuing to resolutely march forward on her terms.

I don’t find Clinton as an “exceptionally bad” candidate as such. I certainly don’t see the reason why there’s so much visceral bone-deep hatred for her, or how she’s perceived as the devil incarnate. Sure she’s got some flaws & has had done some borderline questionable stuff from time to time, but all of that is par for the course as far as politics is concerned (a Political Saint Teresa is obviously unrealistic). In Politics, as in Life, there’s no such thing as “ideal”. There’s only the “practical”. People have to avoid falling into the pit of sanctimonious puritanism: as if most people haven’t had missteps; as if their morality has been unwavering throughout their lives … The one major flaw is that, for all her policy-chops, she comes across as stiff or calculated in her demeanour while addressing the press/public, while also not being to articulate in a compelling way how she’s done the homework and how her positions will help America/The World. This is her Achilles heal and she pays a dear price for it. A lot of this she regrettably brings upon herself. But a good chunk of it is a combination of her awkward personality, and the result of 25+ years of incredibly effective cheapshot-smear-propaganda campaign mounted by the GOP/Right-Wingers – and which even Liberals (especially Bernie Fans & Young/Millennials) seem to have sadly fallen for.

Also, people have to realize that not everyone has the Charm/Charisma/Swagger of Obama. Obama is an exceptionally rare once-in-a-generation guy, and lightening doesn’t strike the same place twice in a narrow timespan. And that some people are going to be a bit awkward or lack spontaneity in their public persona … Also keep in mind that Obama’s legacy is at-stake here. Trump’s election as POTUS will be a hard-slap for Obama and all the compassion/empathy/intellect/goodness he represents. Obama is right when he says he would be personally insulted if Trump comes to power. A Trump victory would normalize the vicious forces of Nativism & Racism, and it would mean that promoting ridiculous racist conspiracy theories about Obama and indulging in blatant levels of fear/paranoia-mongering is rewarded with appointment to the highest office. This is a horrific precedent to set by any standards.

Bernie has urged people to NOT instinctively react to Clinton or her personality and be put-off, but to see “the issues” and where both sides stand on it. From that POV, it’s a no-brainer. Clinton/Dems are way better than Trump/Reps by miles and then some. This would be true even if Kasich was running … Remember: (1) Bernie & Clinton’s voting records overlap like 90%: so they both want similar things, but Clinton is far more realistic and been exposed to far more scrutiny/witch-hunts than Sanders. And hence understandably appears more jaded & tainted. (2) Jill Stein is an oddball & the Greens are not upto the job of being Mayor of a small-city, much less be the Leader of the Free World (it’s laughable really). (3) For all of Gary Johnson’s pot-smoking coolness, he’s an oddball with Extreme Hardcore Libertarian views (LP platform is worth reading). Young/Millennials voting for Johnson out-of-spite are shooting themselves in the foot.

Just like Chess or Football or Life itself, sometimes it’s important to forget Offense and instead play Defense. If Footballers or Chess players don’t pay attention to Defense, they will inevitably lose big in the long-run. Playing Defense is NOT sexy or glamorous. Especially when defending a deeply flawed status-quo. And especially when many people (especially the Young) perceive a Clinton Presidency as being “Meh Whateva”. But sometimes, due to the inevitability of ups and downs of life, that’s all you can get at a given point. And you gotta roll with it (that’s life!). And sometimes, defending “meh” is a matter of Life & Death; worth fighting for with every inch and breath of your life. That’s the case in this election … Youth/Millennials often lack Historical Context. Liberals have had a string of enormous victories over the past 60 odd years. And ALL of that is at stake (and much more) in case of a Trump Presidency. Do Young People really wanna just say “whateva” and walk away from all that tremendous progress because they are “not excited enough” or because they have fallen for a caricaturish exaggerated view of the Clintons formed by 25 years of Right-Wing propaganda. Given the stark grave high-wire stakes, it seems quite self-indulgent to the point of historical/contextual ignorance.

[My Comments in the NYTimes Editorial: Comment-1, Comment-2, Comment-3 … Also, this post has been mirrored on Medium]


Any Thoughts? What say you? ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s