Ready For Hillary!!! …And?

Ready For Hillary!!! …And?


Luke Phillips

Unless something stupid happens and the EmailGate investigators decide they love justice more than they love America, Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. And I’ll be voting for her.

Now mark my words, I’m no Democrat. I’m an unabashed Republican. I’m not particularly happy with or proud of my impending decision. But politics is the art of the possible, and given the options Rockefeller Republicans like me will be given in November, Hillary Clinton is the most likely to win and the least bad choice.

Cruz and Trump aren’t going to win the general election, and I won’t be voting for them anyway. Sanders isn’t going to get his new party’s nomination, and Kasich isn’t going to get his old party’s nomination. That leaves us with one realistic option (sorry, Sandersistas, Cruzies, and Trumpenproletariat.)

So let’s review Hillary’s strengths.

First, we get to say we lived to see the first of hopefully many female Presidents of the United States. Yay! Great!

It’s historic. But frankly, I’m more relieved that we get a responsible governing figure in an age of demagogues, than I am that we get a female president.

Second, and I think this is Hillary’s biggest strength- she’s a member of the bipartisan Establishment. That means we get largely a continuation of the neoliberal and internationalist policy consensus that’s defined Washington since the days of Reagan. (And yes- Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Bill, Bush Jr., Obama, and Hillary are all basically cut from the same political cloth, with historically minor substantive differences. That’s the Establishment for you.)

But being the epitome of the Establishment is also Hillary’s biggest weakness.

Don’t get me wrong- as a conservative, it’s important to me that we have regime continuity and stability. We don’t want the radical changes and breaks with the past Bernie, Cruz, and Trump promise. But then again, as Edmund Burke said, “a state without some means of [reform] is without the means of its preservation.

Do the words “Hillary” and “reform” fit together in any sentence?

In a piece I wrote for Action For America recently, I highlighted some of the big problems facing our country, where policy reform is most important.

There’s the fiscal cliff. Our spending and debt are out of control.

There’s the plutocracy. Our government is bought by interest groups, impeding any real reform.

There’s the bureaucracy. Our government is overly centralized and dysfunctional, incapable of responding to the fast-paced changes of a globalized world.

There’s the strategic productivity deficit. If we bump elbows with a rival power in the coming decades, it’s unclear that we’ll be able to mobilize and coordinate our economic and social resources to get through a crisis of 1861 or 1941 levels.

And finally, there’s the national identity crisis. Beyond hollow paeans to freedom, it’s unclear that anyone in public life can now give a principled and pragmatic answer to the question “what is America FOR?” Without an overriding purpose, our leadership is without direction.

And given that she is firmly of the political establishment, thoroughly steeped in its decades-old orthodoxies and policy agendas and sound bytes, I have no faith that Hillary Clinton will be able to make any meaningful reforms to resolve any of these crises.

On the other hand, though these crises will continue to slide along down, none of them get too much worse under Clintonian guidance. Under Sanders, Cruz, or Trump, one or more of these crises gets a whole lot worse. Clinton is by far the lesser evil.

I wish the imminent President Clinton well, but I’m not expecting much. Hopefully in 2020 or 2024, after four-to-eight years of an aggressively-middling Clinton presidency, we’ll have a true reformist statesman or stateswoman, progressively-minded but conservatively tempered, not unlike George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or Franklin Roosevelt, capable of recasting the American promise and re-forging our institutions to best preserve American liberty into the mid-21st Century. We shall see what the future brings.

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