One commenter to a recent post (on Cambodia) “accused” me of being a Democrat. While I think one of the problems of poltical discourse is the reduction of any postiion to the product of one or the other “Team”–whether it’s Left/Right, liberal /conservative, Democrat/GOP–that one roots for blindly, and the consequent condemnation of ideas not on the basis of their content but on Team Loyalty (so childish), nonetheless I plead guilty: all my life I’ve considered myself a Democrat.
I grew up in a home of FDR/JFK Democrats, I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life, my domestic politics are liberal, pro-welfare state, anti-corporate, even Naderite. In foreign affairs, internationalist, anti-fascist. As such I wish I could feel great about the line up of Democratic candidates for ’08.
On the surface there’s a plethora of smart, talented people: Obama, Edwards, Clinton, Richardson, Biden (okay, not Biden). A veritable rainbow coalition of people I agree with on most progressive issues.
I especially like Edwards for the one reason many cite against him: his origins as a medical malpractice attorney. The discourse on this issue has been shamefully skewed in the media toward the side of doctors who bungle away peoples’ lives and health and then arrogantly demand immunity from the consequences of their mistakes and whine about their malpractice premiums. So it’s great to have a candidate who sees through the self-serving phoniness of “tort reform” rhetoric for the phony dodge it is. Conservatives who believe in “individual responsiblity” shouldn’t prop up the protection racket inept doctors and irresponsible insurance companies have going for them.
But alas, none of the Democratic candidates has demonstrated the vision or the courage to offer a foreign policy that recognizes and responds intelligently and coherently to the spread of theocratic terror. That’s why.of all the candidates so far, I’ve favored Hillary Clinton. Because she’s a woman and because she’s mean. Even if she doesn’t have a 16 point foreign policy plan, I feel her heart is going to be in the right place when she looks at the aggressive worldwide spread of a vicious and murderous medieval theocratic movement (jihad) that promotes the “honor killing” of rape victims, denies all the hard-won rights of women (not to mention gays, and liberals, and dissidents of all religious and political stripes). A culture that essentially wants to lock women up in the home, deprive them of the right to vote, to an education, to a full life as human beings.
I agree with something Roger L. Simon said to me recently in L.A.: that the real division in politics internationally is not liberal/conservative, but between societies that are pro and anti-woman. It’s as good a way of judging a society as any other. Sure, the other Democratic candidates,are, nominally, pro-woman. But it’s about time we did more than give women the right to be president. It’s about time we had a woman president. Yes, Hillary has flaws and some mistakes and misdeeds in her past (the cattle futures deal; enabling Bill’s lying). But all the reasons the Hillary-haters can’t abide her (the ruthlessness, the aggressive ambition etc) will make her the president we need: she will strike fear into the hearts of our enemies.