Clinton And Many Democrats Fail To Understand Importance Of Opposing Interventionism And Defending Civil Liberties


The lack of concern for Hillary Clinton’s neocon record on foreign policy, and her far right record on First Amendment issues, by so many Democrats is really disappointing. It is as if they didn’t they learn anything from the horrors of the Bush years. Hillary Clinton appeared clueless when she campaigned for the millennial vote. As I discussed last week, and as David Weigel reported today, Clinton is losing a substantial amount of support to third party candidates.

When George Bush was president, Democrats showed concern for matters such as avoiding unnecessary wars, civil liberties, and government transparency. Now that they have nominated a candidate who is far to the right on these matters, they no longer show any concern. For example, Paul Krugman made a pitch today for millennial voters who are voting for Gary Johnson, but ignored these issues. It makes absolutely no sense to seek the support of those considering Gary Johnson without addressing the main issues which are causing Clinton to lose support to Johnson, along with Jill Stein.

Krugman also resorted to the bogus Ralph Nader argument. If the 2000 election turned out badly (as it did) because of George Bush becoming president, it makes no sense to use this to support a neoconservative such as Hillary Clinton who supports the so many of the same policies as George Bush.

Just as bad is the manner in which Kevin Drum dismissed concerns over military interventionism and civil liberties: ” Unless you’re basically a single-issue voter on civil liberties and military force, it’s hard to see why any lefty of any stripe would even think of supporting Johnson.”

Drum is right in his post in arguing that it would make more sense for Bernie Sanders supporters to support Jill Stein than Gary Johnson, but he certainly diminishes the importance of several issues with the phrase, “single-issue voter on civil liberties and military force.”

These are two of the most important matters considering both the expansion of the warfare/surveillance state since 9/11, and considering which areas fall most directly under the control of the president. Plus these encompass multiple issues.

Civil liberties mattered to Democrats eight years ago. During the 2008 campaign Hillary Clinton was the only Democrat who refused to sign a pledge to restore Constitutional liberties. All the Republican candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, also refused to sign.  As I’ve discussed previously, Clinton’s poor record regarding civil liberties and separation of church and state includes her support for the Workplace Religious Freedom Act , a bill introduced by Rick Santorum and opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union for promoting discrimination and reducing access to health care, leading a campaign to censor video games and introducing a bill making flag burning a felony. Her views mocking freedom of speech when supposedly fighting terrorism sound alarmingly similar to those expressed by Donald Trump. Issues such as the drug war and opposition to the policy of mass incarceration she supported is yet a different issue which leads many to support Johnson and Stein over Clinton.

Similarly there are multiple foreign policy issues. These include her support for intervention in Iraq, Libya and Syria. In other parts of the world, there are her views on Russia, and record in Honduras. There’s also her history of joining with the Republicans in opposing a ban on cluster bombs in civilian areas. There’s her threats to obliterate Iran. Her past statements on the use of nuclear force against terrorist groups sound similar to those expressed by Donald Trump.

While Drum has consistently ignored the facts regarding the email scandals, the State Department Inspector General report verified accusations that Clinton violated the rules put into effect to promote transparency, showed that she tried to cover up her actions, and that she failed to cooperate with the investigation. This is just one aspect of the scandals involving Clinton which give millennial voters, and others, reason to distrust Clinton and vote for a third party candidate.

The numerous issues involved here contradict Drum’s mischaracterization of Clinton’s opponents as a single-issue voter. By the same logic, many of the issues which he backs Clinton for could also be lumped together as a single issue. It is no surprise that Gary Johnson is taking votes away from Clinton when he is more liberal than her on military interventionism, civil liberties, the drug war, social issues, and government transparency. There are also several problems with Johnson’s views, making Jill Stein an even better choice for those on the left.


  1. 1
    Mike Hatcher says:

    Very well written Ron.  I really like your style of sharing your opinion while at the same time, backing it up with links to prove it is a well informed opinion.

  2. 2
    JimZ says:

    Let freedom ring, at least until we have president trump and an all-GOP congress.  Enjoy your apparent "normalcy" while you have it.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    Clinton's views on civil liberties are not all that different from Trump's. We have problems regardless of which is elected.

  4. 4
    JimZ says:

    "Problems?"  No, trump plus a GOP congress is not just problems.  It is the end of the country as we and our ancestors have known it.

  5. 5
    Mike Hatcher says:

    JimZ- I'm not disagreeing with you, but your response seems to me too ambiguous to agree or disagree.  The end of what exactly? Do you believe Trump and the GOP will at some point impose martial law across the entire country? Currently I don't see the GOP much on the same page with Trump, I'm not sure how much cooperation he will get with whatever he tries to do.  But who knows?  I'd like to hear what you foresee occurring.  

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    Obviously a president can do a lot of harm (see George W. Bush, first term), but there are also a lot of limitations on what a president can do (see George W. Bush second term and Barack Obama, both terms beyond that brief period of time when there were sixty Senators voting with the Democrats–and even then there were limits).

  7. 7
    JimZ says:

    Is this really a site that advocates for liberal values?  In what universe does a liberal (of whatever description) make excuses for, or question the danger of, a possible trump presidency?  Saying that a GOP congress wouldn't necessarily go along with everything trump would want, completely ignores the possibility of a trump going along with everything a GOP congress would put on his desk.  That alone should make us shudder.  One doesn't even have to talk about martial law (nice bogey man, but mostly a misdirection debate tactic) to imagine likely scenarios that would make life hell for our kids and grandkids.  Look at who Democratic presidents have nominated for SCOTUS, and who GOP presidents have, then realize that the next president will likely appoint the next 3 or more, sealing that body for many decades, and sealing the fate of what's left of the rule of law in this country; is this not a "problem"? – this is not trivial, but central to our future.  Reminder that I caucused for Sanders and sent him as much money as I could afford, so I don't come from the political center (such as it is these days).  But I have read enough history to know a catastrophe in the making when I see one.  Fascism, the antithesis of liberalism, can happen here, and trump is the very embodiment of it.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    I don’t question the dangers of a Trump presidency, but there is also a lot of hyperbole being spread by Clinton supporters, along with ignoring the dangers of a warmonger such as Clinton. Regardless of what a GOP Congress does, Democrats will oppose actions from Trump, but are far less likely to oppose Clinton. Virtually everything which Trump is accused of has already been done to some degree by the Clintons.

  9. 9
    Mike Hatcher says:

    Ron: I think Jim Z was more reacting what I was saying. He may not know that while I frequent this site, I've always seen it as a counter-balance to both my conservative beliefs and the endless hours of right-wing radio that I listen to while commuting. (I actually enjoy listening to right wing radio by the way)

    JimZ:  I've been visiting this site for years. I use to consider myself a hard right Republican and perhaps I was, now I feel like I've moved to a conservative/libertarian with a great distrust to the point of distain for the GOP. I've always loathed the Dems and still do. I believe personal character is one of the most important factors in choosing a leader, so as I've stated before, I would have rather voted and got Bernie as president, despite how liberal he is, than either of the lousy two that won the primaries.  These are very weird times, even opponents can see that the characters of their own candidates are clearly corrupt, but most will still cling to and tolerate their corruption rather than face the dread that the "bogey man" on the opposite side of the aisle will win.

     I don't want Trump as president, I think he will be a lousy president, but I'm not convinced Hillary is any better. Anyway, don't confuse comments coming from me, a young earth creationist conservative with Ron's firm beliefs in liberal values. 

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