Life is truly a learning experience -- and two recent learning experiences are the Democratic Town Meeting and the Debate in New Hampshire this week. After my previous experience upon endorsing Hillary Clinton for President in 2016 via OpEdNews.com, and the resulting outpouring of "bile and vile," I decided to really concentrate on those two recent confrontations between the remaining Democratic candidates: Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton. Was I perhaps misguided in my choice of The Hill over The Bern for our next President? My response: with all due respect to those who "outpoured" in opposition to my endorsement, and making allowance for the constructive comments from Rob Kall and Jackie Feazell, I am still with The Hill!
Here's why: While both Democratic presidential candidates made strong, effective, persuasive, and caring cases for their candidacies -- from the heart and from the head, as one candidate put it -- only Hillary Clinton has the full knowledge of both domestic and foreign policy, the balanced capability in both arenas, and the experience required of a twenty-first century President to handle the full range of challenges which exist at present, and which will undoubtedly arise. Regretfully, Bernie Sanders is weak in the foreign policy arena -- as but a few examples, he fails to really understand the challenges of North Korea, which he described several times as "peculiar" and an oligarchy ruled by "dictators" (plural); and the Middle East, where he proposed a union of Iran and Saudi Arabia to take on ISIS et. al.
The only problem with the latter proposal is that Saudi Arabia and Iran have hated each other for generations, coming from different branches of Islam; and the recent Saudi execution of a leading cleric backed by Iran did not help matters. In Tehran the Saudi embassy was torched, and the two nations may even be on the brink of war -- none of which was mentioned by Bernie Sanders when he proposed their union against ISIS. There is no slightest doubt that Bernie Sanders can learn all of these facts -- but he should have known them well in advance of the N.H. Debate, and of previous debates too!
Bernie's problem is that he has been, for all of the decades during which I have known him, so focused on the admitted sins of Wall Street, the Big Banks, the Billionaires, the Giant Corporations, and all the other oppressors of America and middle-class Americans, that he has little room for equally-vital concerns in the foreign arena. I consider him to be right on target in all those domestic arenas of concern, including such additional and essential issues as global climate change. I also consider Hillary Clinton to be equally knowledgeable, and equally concerned, about all of these vital domestic issues -- but, in addition, The Hill has the necessary experience, creativity, and competence to deal with vital foreign challenges too. Those traits are lacking in Bernie Sanders; he can go through the motions in the foreign arena, but that is insufficient. He would not be ready on Day One of the next presidency to handle, should it occur, a new Russian incursion into Ukraine or the Baltic nations; or a new serious threat in the Middle East; or a North Korean H-bomb. Those lacks could turn into fatal flaws, which cannot be risked.
As for all of the "trash talk" about Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in the past, ranging from their alleged 1980s-1990s "misdeeds" to her large speaking fees after leaving government service, I consider most of that stuff to be obsolete and/or irrelevant and inoperative. Those who criticize the $675,000 offered her by a Wall Street firm for several speeches have undoubtedly never been offered any such fee -- and, if they were, would undoubtedly jump at the chance to take it. Those who criticize her private emails for State Department business must now recognize that two comparable G.W.Bush officials, Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, also sent and received government emails on their own private equipment. Double standards, anyone?
Finally, in anticipation of another outpouring of vicious vitriol over this present article: feel free to vent your rage. Just remember that the first word of Op Ed is Opinion. These are my Opinions -- and you are welcome to express yours, forcefully and even impolitely if that is what you prefer. And, as Rob Kall put it so well, those who cannot stand the heat should indeed stay out of the kitchen. You might just recall that shedding light is preferable to setting that kitchen on fire. Here's to Free Speech!
Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)