For nearly 30 years I have been friends with a great guy — smart, informed, engaged and well-traveled. Politically, he calls himself an “independent” but I know he votes Republican whenever possible.

The HRC negative memes have clearly impacted him. He has a lot of problems with Trump and is considering Gary Johnson. This AM he wrote, “Let me ask you a question. Do you actually like Hillary as a candidate or is she just acceptable to you?”

If you have the time, here is my rather long-winded answer:

First of all, are you asking if I like her as a “candidate” or as a potential President? To me, there’s a huge difference.

As a candidate – No. She’s awful compared to Bill or Barry. That has been frustrating. It’s only now, having dispatched Sanders and finally taking on Trump with force (with nice “tomahawk hatchet” help from Liz Warren) that she’s finally getting on message.

If the question is, do I like her as someone to be President and is she more than acceptable, Goddamn Yes I Do! That is the short answer. If you’re pressed for time, please read the rest later.

Guess who I'm voting for?

Even her choice of beverage is “more than acceptable” to me.

 

Can we get past the horse race and silly-season stuff for a moment? Let’s not forget that on November 9th, we will wake up to the prospect of a new President. She or he will have a lot of power running the US and being leader of the free world. We are still The Superpower.

In that respect I see no viable alternative to Hillary Clinton. And just like in 2008, I’m happy with that. HRC is clearly smarter, more qualified, capable and well-versed for the job than anyone in recent memory.

To me, HRC is a much better candidate than her husband was in 1992. You yourself said a few months back that she is the most qualified, if not the most likeable. And that doesn’t bother me a whole lot.

I see HRC as Nixon without the obvious psychiatric baggage. I actually mean that as a compliment. I simply think she’ll come to work on 1/21/17 fully briefed, knowledgeable and in full command from Day One. Whatever her personal motives may or may not be, I am happy that someone with her talent wants to serve our country.

To me, that’s what we need. I share your anger with elected leaders in general. I understand why you hate the “business as usual” approach that you see an established politician like Hillary offering.

But while “Throw the Bums Out” is a fine sentiment against the backdrop of 2016, I ask you this – what’s left after the Revolution? No government? Let the current Federal and State legislators run around unchecked? We have seen what greedy and petty little children they are. The idea of having a President who is even more of a petulant child than Mitch McConnell upsets me.

Of course HRC has negatives. She has certainly made her share of mistakes. She took some stands and also got connected to some unnecessary shit in the White House. That will happen if you don’t spend your life hiding in a corner. She screwed up health care during the Contract with America year, though she got the ball rolling for Obama to pick up years later. The email thing is dumb and arrogant, but if it were criminal I think the FBI and DOJ would have let the White House know so Obama could back away from her.

So yes, some of what stuck to her she deserved. It has often made me angry at both Bill and Hillary. But when has anyone proven anything criminal? I really have no tolerance for Hillary Derangement Syndrome (HDS) anymore. Disagree with her on policy and outlook? Fine. But just about every characterization the Right has made about her — now co-opted by the Berners — are lies.

There is a lot of vitriol spewed at HRC. Most seems to emanate from her having a vulva instead of a penis. I grew up with a much more involved mother than father. I watched my mother try to make it professionally in a man’s world. I’ve been married to a feminist for nearly 10 years, which I guess makes me one. I am raising a girl to believe she can be anything she wants. I simply don’t have the patience to care about sexist stupidity anymore.

I will let you in on a little secret. I admit that I love watching them trying to “get” the Clintons. It’s like laughing at Wile E. Coyote realizing there’s no ground under him at 3,000 feet. Or when Sheriff Roscoe on the “Dukes of Hazzard” crashes his car into a creek the Duke boys just jumped the Charger over. It was terrific to watch her stare down those GOP congressmen on Benghazi. She sent them away sheepishly. Seeing her brush her suitcoat, walk out, get ahead of that bullshit and sail on feels good. It’s an indication of discipline – much greater than Bill’s – and of how she’d approach the job. So there’s that.

The fact is that Hillary spent most of the first 25 years of her career focused on women and children’s rights here and abroad. She worked on Nixon’s impeachment committee. She dedicated herself to literacy and healthcare campaigns. She got NY the Federal support it needed after 9/11. She studies the issues and learns. She knows and cares how the military functions. She repaired many of our fractured relationships after the Dubya/Cheney/Rummy “bull in a china shop” global routine alienated our allies. She supported Robert Gates in pushing the go button to get Bin Laden. And she has not been lying on the campaign trail – PolitiFacts gives her close to an 80% truthfulness rating. Her worst lie as far as I can tell was saying Nancy Reagan helped raise AIDS awareness.

Hillary has demonstrated both results and professional behavior. She is whip-smart and does the work. I admire that. She has shown huge endurance being subject to the kind of scrutiny that Trump is only now beginning to feel. Seriously, most people would just say “Eff it” and go back to speeches, books and sitting on corporate boards. She doesn’t. That is determination. As they humor Trump, I really think both Putin and Kim Jong-Un are genuinely scared of HRC. I don’t consider her pro-war, but like Teddy Roosevelt — an environmentalist and fighter for worker’s rights — she isn’t afraid to use the military when she feels its necessary. The Joint Chiefs know she has their back. That’s important to me.

It’s hard to contrast her to Trump. I used to admire him as a guy who got stuff done. Today he’s not fit to shine her shoes, much less inhabit the White House. And when the heat turns up, Trump screams like a child and just tries to shut people up. He doesn’t have the guts, determination or confidence in his own intellect to hold up to scrutiny and criticism as she can. He always just runs and hides, yelling “nyah-nyah-nyah” and claiming victory.

I simply cannot understand how anyone can’t see past what a fraud, phony and superficial person Trump is. He doesn’t think, he just talks. Like the Mafia, he robs his own companies for cash and then torches them for the insurance. Someone else — investors, employees, contractors — always get stuck with the bill.

I suppose Trump is fine for putting his name on golf courses, hotels, condos, neckties, being on reality shows, or running “education” scams. I don’t care whether he goes to jail or pays a fine over that. As far as I’m concerned, Caveat Emptor — those people got screwed because of their own greed, stupidity and insecurity.

BUT… in Trump’s case, he clearly has no idea of what’s involved in this kind of leadership. He lies all the time and doesn’t back down. He just shouts over the accuser or has someone throw them out of the room. His rhetoric is self-serving and disgusting. He uses violent imagery to encourage same. He has shown no interest in learning about policy. He refuses to be challenged. And at 70, does anyone expect a leopard to change its spots? Especially one who surrounds himself with Yes People? I don’t think so.

The evidence is emerging from FEC filings that Trump is using the campaign as another scam. Whether he wants to be President or not, he has used it financially as a means to line the pockets of various Trump enterprises at taxpayer expense. Sounds a lot like a corrupt politician. Yet there are people who like/admire that because it shows he’s a “good business man” or some such nonsense.

I sense that you’re looking for reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton. And that’s fine. So are a lot of people. You won’t get any strong-arm tactics from me. If you decide to vote Gary Johnson, go for it! All I ask is that you look through the Trump mask, if you haven’t already, with the same cynicism and distrust you have for her.

That is my story and I’m sticking to it. Writing this has made me want to order a copy of “Living History” from the Brooklyn Public Library. So thank you!

Best,
Peter