An Independent Liberal’s Choice

Yesterday Morbo, who guest blogs on Saturdays at The Carpetbagger Report, wrote a post calling for unity among liberals. Although he prefers Obama, Morbo says he would happily vote for Clinton should she win the nomination, considering McCain and not Clinton to be “the enemy.” Morbo gave some reasons why Clinton is preferable to McCain. I cannot agree in finding Clinton to be a better choice than McCain. Following is the response I placed in the comments to the post:

Rather than describing this as a unity call among liberals you should have limited it to Democrats. While partisan Democrats might agree, Clinton gives little reason to support her for many liberals, depending upon the issues which are most important to us. On social issues, civil liberties issues, and foreign policy Clinton is far too conservative. Her economic policies might be considered liberal, but they have so many faults that I don’t see them as advantageous over McCain’s. This is seen in the Washington Post’s grades of the candidates on their economic recovery plans. Obama received an A-. Clinton received a C-, barely beating McCain’s D+.In one of the debates Clinton avoided the liberal label. This was one of the more honest comments she made in this campaign.When I compare Clinton’s views to Obama’s on issues such as the drug war, cluster bombs, Iraq and Iran I don’t find her particularly liberal. Clinton’s views on executive privilege and the power of the president are to the right of Obama’s and perhaps even of McCain’s. Clinton is to the right of both Obama and McCain with regards to transparency in government. I certainly don’t see a liberal when I consider Clinton’s views on banning flag burning and censoring video games.

Most likely Clinton would appoint better judges than McCain, but many good moderate judges were appointed by Republicans. While partisan Democrats might claim this, most do not buy the argument that all Republicans are like the extremists in the Bush administration. Simply saying McCain will do nothing on global warming because he is a Republican will only fly among partisan Democrats. It might take a Republican to get bipartisan consensus.

I think the chances of prolonged war might be greater under Clinton than McCain. Both are currently speaking to their party’s bases. Clinton’s overall foreign policy history is quite conservative, and she is only opposing the war now that it is politically safer. With Clinton’s history of wanting to show she is tough, along with the way in which she has used fear of terrorism in stump speeches and has given 9/11 as justification for the Iraq war, I see no reason to believe she will be any better than McCain. In contrast, it is often people like McCain who are able to compromise and achieve peace. Richard Nixon, despite his many other faults, is the one who went to China. Reagan put aside his cold war rhetoric to negotiate with Gorbachev.

Then there’s the character issue. John McCain is certainly not the straight talker that the media portrays him as, but he has far more integrity than Hillary Clinton. At least McCain will help move the Republican Party away from the religious right and some of their more extreme views, plus we’d have another chance in four years. Hillary Clinton would move the Democratic Party in the wrong direction, and with her views on party unity would probably destroy it as a force for liberal change for years to come.

As an independent, should Obama win the nomination I will vote for him. If there is a race between McCain and Clinton I see primarily negatives in each candidate and would be tempted to stay home. If I do vote, my vote would be up in the air and either candidate would have a chance. However, should Clinton proceed with her attempts to steal the nomination by taking the votes from Michigan and Florida, I would consider defense of the democratic process more important than any of the areas where I disagree with McCain and I would vote for him.


  1. 1
    Alex says:

    Hear hear.

  2. 2
    Christopher says:

    I think Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee.

    If Hillary cheats her way to the prize, then I imagine I simply won’t vote in 2008. I’ve never voted for a Republican and I don’t see any reason to start now.

  3. 3
    William Teach says:

    I agree with Christopher. Unless Hillary does something really shady, which, given the history of the Clintons, is not that far fetched, he should get the nomination in a squeaker.

    In regards to McCain not being a straight talker, well, all politicians are kinda untrustworthy in the same manner.

    He does have his global warming is killing us all legislation out there in the form of McCain-Leiberman.

  4. 4
    jf says:

    Can’t prove it, but I’m skeptical about HRC’s not getting her name pulled off the Michigan primary ballot in time because of a clumsy oversight. I suspect she, Granholm, Levin, and the Dingles knew exactly what they were doing.

  5. 5
    Christopher says:

    I have several friends, lifelong, liberal Democrats, who say if Hillary is the nominee, they will either vote green or vote for John McCain.

    They will NEVER vote for Hillary.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:


    While I see you said you would never vote for a Republican, I would at least suspect that among your friends in New York some must have voted Republican from time to time. New York has had its fair share of liberal Republicans in the past and I would suspect that there have been races in the state where the Republicans might have had the better candidate on occasion.

    This year would be a little different as McCain is clearly a poor choice to be president from a liberal perspective. However I consider preserving democracy to be more important than any liberal vs. conservative disputes we have, and for Clinton to win by changing the rules after the fact in an election would be intolerable. Of course this assumes that McCain plays it relatively clean in the general election.

    Getting back to the idea of New York having a tradition of liberal Republicans, I’ve run into this situation and a reverse situation for voting Republican. In the past Michigan has had a moderate Republican Party state wide and there have been Republicans that liberals might have found worthy of voting for. In recent years the state Republican Party has moved to the far right.

    Currently the area I live in is extremely Republican and the Republican Primary is essentially the general election for many local offices. Candidates for township offices are pretty much all Republican even if they have absolutely no affinity for the views of the national party. If I really want to choose between candidates in the township government I would pretty much have to vote in the Republican primary.

  7. 7
    David Drissel says:

    Well, let’s hope that Obama wins the Democratic nomination so that no one has to choose between Hillary Clinton and John McCain. But I must strongly disagree with your contention that McCain is preferable to Clinton.

    Let’s take the Iraq War, for instance. Clinton (like Obama) has promised to withdraw troops expeditiously, while McCain talks about having soldiers in that country for a hundred years or more. While Obama and Clinton both agree that the Iraq War has hurt the U.S. in the war on terror, McCain continues to strongly defend his pro-war stance. While both Democratic candidates seem to understand the importance of diplomacy in solving international problems (including the situation in Iraq), McCain seems to believe that military force (or more troops) is always the answer.

    We have had eight very long years of neo-conservative Republican domination in the White House. Can we really afford another four years with a President who is more of war hawk than Bush?

    McCain certainly has his redeeming qualities, but he strikes me as way too unpredictable and temperamental to be Commander in Chief. His highly bellicose rhetoric on Iran leads one to conclude that he would be looking for an excuse to start a war there too.

    Being the flip-flopper that he is, he now supports the highly regressive Bush tax cuts and even seems to be reversing himself on immigration reform and the water boarding issue. He’s been kissing up to the Religious Right in recent years, which leads many to believe that he would appoint extremely conservative judges to the federal bench. The Supreme Court is in an extremely precarious political position at the moment and any more Republican appointees would almost certainly tip the balance in favor of an even greater authoritarian usurpation of our civil liberties. After all, McCain is under pressure to “prove” his socially conservative credentials and will likely do so by nominating arch-conservative theocrats to the Court.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:


    I’m not saying that McCain is preferable to Clinton but that there is not much of a difference. If Clinton steals the nomination, this would be more important than their other differences.

    I’m considering the overall views of the candidate and place less stock on a change in view taken during a campaign. Despite what Clinton now says before Democratic voters, I don’t believe she would get us out of Iraq any quicker than McCain. In contrast, I think that McCain would be in a stronger position than Clinton to ultimately declare victory and get out.

    It is a big question as to how McCain will respond to the social conservatives. He will certainly try to get their support in an election year, but I also think McCain will return to the traditional approach of the GOP establishment and only give them talk. Considering his history with them, I doubt he will be very accommodating to them once in office. On the other hand, Clinton has some times with some quite conservative religious groups, and is often looking for ways to get in good with the opposition. I wouldn’t count on her being much better on social issues. I’m reminded of the advice Bill Clinton gave John Kerry in 2004. Clinton advised Kerry to support the anti-gay marriage Constitutional amendments in the states where they were on the ballot in order to pick up more votes. Kerry refused to ignore principle in such a matter, but I bet Hillary would go along with Bill’s advice.

    McCain would be a poor choice as president, but so would Hillary Clinton.

  9. 9
    Christopher says:


    I’m a native Californian and a third generation liberal Democrat. We’re only in NY becuase Jim went back to school to get a BSN in Nursing. Upon completion (Dec. 2008) we’re moving back to California.

    As far as my “friends in New York” voting Republican, I would have to poll them but my best guess is, they have never voted GOP. Many are Democratic activists and Kennedy loyalists. The notion of crossing over to the dark side and voting GOP is as foreign to them as it would be to me.

    But I would have to ask them.

  10. 10
    Tom Mikesell says:

    Obama has the momentum because he is getting his message out.

    Clinton is in reactionary mode and has been since mid-Jan. Not a good image for Any candidate.

    That said, if Clinton is the Dem Nominee, we Have to support her. The difference isn’t between Clinton’s Policies and McCains policies, it’s a matter of wresting the Control of Our Government from the GOP Thugs that have had control for TOO MANY years.

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:


    If they are Democratic activists as opposed to liberal voters this would make a big difference. Party activists will vote along party lines regardless of the views of the candidate.

  12. 12
    battlebob says:

    I agree with Ron on this.
    If Obama wins then he gets my support.
    If Hillary gets the Florida and Michigan delegates and the nomination then she is not worthy of my support and I will support McCain. If she beats Obama without the delegates and without any more attempts to “steal” the election, then I will support her against McCain..

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