Indecisive, insincere and insipid; Hillary Clinton’s hypocrisy and flip-flopping make her unsuited to be president.
Antagonism has reached new heights in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont suggesting that his opponent was unqualified to be president at a Philadelphia rally recently.
Since then, Sanders has been censured by media outlets such as FiveThirtyEight as well as individuals like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for discounting her credentials. On the other hand, Mrs Clinton’s denouncement of her competitor’s plan as unrealistic and insubstantial has been largely ignored. In a Friday interview with ABC News, Sanders altered his statement — stating she is both unqualified and qualified to be president, citing her previous “lack of good judgment” as a reason.
All of this, however, does beg an answer to the question: “Is Hillary Clinton qualified to be the next president of the United States?” There are many ways to reach a conclusion, but there are two main criteria to base our judgment on: ethics and credentials, the latter of which has been addressed extensively. Let us take into account certain decisions and statements made by Mrs Clinton during her career, as well as major talking points regarding the 2016 campaign.
Campaign finance is a highly discussed issue, frequently brought up by Sanders and “netizens” via social media. To date, Sanders has raised $139.8 million through small donors, for the most part. On the other hand, Mrs Clinton has raised $62.5 million out of $222.4 million through Super PACs and other PACs — an amount which does not include massive pro-Hillary fundraising efforts by the Clooneys and John Morgan. In this comprehensive investigative piece by Dave Levinthal of the Center for Public Integrity, he showcases why it is impossible for Clinton to rally against the very Super PACs she has taken big campaign contributions from — a position further propounded by Robert Reich, a former secretary of labour who served under President Bill Clinton.
The week before last, a Greenpeace activist confronted Mrs Clinton and asked her whether she would stop accepting donations from the fossil fuel industry. The Clinton campaign vehemently denies the accusation, but to date they have accepted bundled and direct donations from fossil fuel industry lobbyists.
From an ethical perspective, a candidate who receives money from big companies, industries and donors is highly unlikely to bite the hand that feeds her — a point further proven based on this 2004 interview, in which Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts recalls the time Clinton voted for a bankruptcy bill favouring consumer credit products. The initial version of this bill voted for by Mrs Clinton would have made it harder for people to wipe out their unsecured debts, thus benefitting the financial sector rather than people. In Senator Warren’s explanation, she further states her belief that Mrs Clinton voted in favour of the bill due to influence from Wall Street. Hence, it seems reasonable to argue that she does not have the people’s best interests at heart all the time.
When asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper whether she would “say anything to get elected,” Mrs Clinton responded by stating, “…I have been very consistent over the course of my entire life. I have always fought for the same values and principles.” This brings us to the following issues: consistency and trustworthiness.
Having stood before Congress for eleven hours answering questions regarding the infamous Benghazi emails, she was touted as the winner of the hearing by media outlets such as TIME due to a showcase of transparency and poised intelligence — a “sensible outsider” of sorts. With that being said, there are a number of instances where she has been caught being dishonest. One could cite the time she “misspoke” about coming under sniper fire during a 1996 trip to Bosnia, as the late journalist Christopher Hitchens explains in this brilliant piece from 2008. Or perhaps, her fictitious claim about being named after Sir Edmund Hillary? These, of course, are not isolated instances.
Putting aside her allegiance to Barry Goldwater and the Republican Party during her formative years, Mrs Clinton’s judgment has seen numerous alterations over her career. After initially supporting the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 and opposing same-sex marriage for most of her life, she came out in full support of legalising same-sex marriage in 2013. She also voted “yes” to the Iraq War, one of the biggest foreign policy errors in the history of the United States. In addition, the questionable Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was — in her eyes — the “gold standard”, until she denounced it later on.
One of her most dubious judgments, however, would be her position on gun control. During her 2008 presidential bid, Barack Obama called her out for “…talking like Annie Oakley.” An adamant supporter of the Second Amendment and gun rights at the time, she was critical of Obama’s hardline position on gun control. In this election cycle, however, she has decided to be critical of current gun regulation. Quite frankly, her criticism of Bernie Sanders for allegedly flip-flopping on gun control reeks of hypocrisy — considering her ties with the NRA. On the other hand, her fellow Democratic competitor made his opinion on her newfound repentance clear on a recent episode of “The View” by stating, “…she regrets a lot of things.” Now, consider this: in a crisis, does a president receive two chances to make the right decision? Probably not. A president — for the most part — does not get a second chance to “evolve” in their view.
Let us revisit the question:
Is Hillary Clinton qualified to be the next President of the United States, from an ethical perspective?
It is rather difficult to comprehend the logic behind a supposedly anti-Wall Street individual receiving $225,000 for speaking at a Goldman Sachs event, and this excludes several Wall Street-based donations received by the Clinton campaign. Seeing as she is someone who goes back and forth from pleading guilty to being moderate, to being a staunch progressive — one simply has to question her ability to maintain a stern position on issues. A president needs to be someone the general public would be able to trust and understand in times of crisis — two qualities Hillary Clinton has not, and perhaps never will, possess.