Bernie Sanders has repeatedly accused Hillary Clinton of being beholden to the very rich. Is this true? Whether or not she’s “beholden” to them is difficult to say; we can’t discern what’s inside her mind. However, Senator Sanders is undoubtedly correct when he claims that Secretary Clinton has accepted many millions of dollars from large financial firms including Goldman Sachs in the form of political contributions and speaking fees.
Hillary Clinton’s defends herself by saying that those untold millions of dollars have not influenced a single decision that she has made. That may be true, although it strains credulity. Can someone who has touched filthy money have clean hands?
Whether she deserves it or not, Secretary Clinton has a tarnished public image. So, why did I vote for her in Arizona’s primary (technically a presidential preference) election), and why do I intend to vote for her in the general election? Because among a field of imperfect candidates, I believe she would do the best job of president. Perfection does not exist in politics, and the best any of us can do is to choose the person we consider to be the best qualified from among a field of less-than-ideal candidates.
On the Republican side, I believe we can discard Donald Trump and Ted Cruz out of hand. Neither of them is remotely qualified to be president. If there is anyone who does not understand that, there is no sense in my arguing the point with that person. It should be clear as day to anyone with an IQ of 100 or better that either of those guys would be a disaster as president. People who accept Trump’s and Cruz’s illogical arguments are never going to be persuaded by reason.
John Kasich is another matter. He is the only candidate remaining in the Republican race who has the mental and emotional equilibrium to be considered presidential material. Unfortunately, his prospects of being nominated appear close to zero. It’s a shame. If he were nominated, we might see a genuine contested general election in place of the Democratic rout that appears to be in our future.
How about Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side? In his favor, I must say that he appears to be by far the most honest of any of the candidates for the nomination in either of the main presidential parties. When it comes to his favorite topic, the growing gap between the very rich and the rest of us, he is right on target. I cannot disagree with almost anything he says. If he is so honest, why then did I vote for Hillary instead of Bernie in the primary? Honesty is an important quality in a president, but alone it is not enough. The most honest president in modern times was Jimmy Carter, yet he is generally viewed as having done a poor job as president.
I think the conservative commentator David Brooks phrased it best. As near as I can quote him from memory, he said, “Bernie Sanders knows one thing; Hillary Clinton knows many things.” In other words, Bernie Sanders is dead on when he rails about income and wealth inequality, but a president has to be knowledgeable on more than one subject. What is Bernie Sanders’ view of the US relationship with Latin America? How would he fight ISIS? Is there any way to settle the dispute between Israel and Palestine? Even when it comes to his view that we need to reduce the wealth gap, how is he planning to convince Congress to pass legislation to do that? Don’t forget that most members of Congress are genuinely beholden to the rich and would be likely to resist any attempt to weaken their benefactors.
Hillary Clinton does not have impeccable answers to any of these complex questions either, but at least she thinks about them and searches for answers. Bernie Sanders doesn’t appear to have given them much thought.
In other words, Bernie Sanders is an honest man but a one-issue presidential candidate. His issue is of supreme importance, but a president needs to be able to handle more than one issue at a time.
As to questions about Hillary Clinton’s honesty, yes I wish she were more morally upstanding. However, in a democracy, no one can get exactly what she or he wants. Democracy requires compromise. True democrats are willing to settle for less than perfection in order to obtain part their objectives. Without compromise, democracy grinds to a halt as evidenced by the dysfunction in Congress where a number of congressional members, particularly Republicans in the House of Representatives, have turned the word “compromise” into a dirty word. Like small, petulant children, they threaten to destroy the entire democratic edifice if they can’t get their own way. Ted Cruz with his infantile view of the world delights in the idea of shutting down the government.
Democracy requires teamwork, and those who refuse to consider the welfare of the rest of the team are enemies of democracy. They deserve to be governed by people like Hugo Chávez, Vladamir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump, all of whom have little respect for American democratic ideals. If you support John Kaisch or Bernie Sanders, I understand your position. If you support Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, I question your sanity.
By the way, don’t forget to click on one of the book-cover images in the left sidebar to read a sample of either of my two latest books on Amazon. They have both received good reviews.