Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Clothes, Clinton & Campaigns

As I said in an early blog, I will vote for Hillary Clinton in November, but I am NOT going to stop criticizing her for her positions and actions that are counter to the progressive values of the Democratic Party - or, at least, what those values should be (I'm sure she wouldn't like the first eight items in my suggestions to the Democratic Party).

I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary - and for Howard Dean 12 years ago - because of what I strongly believe the Democratic Party, and the US government, should focus on, and haven't been. I haven't abandoned my strongly held values, and I won't be by voting for Hillary Clinton. I will, rather, be helping to prevent a frightening man, leading a frightening movement, from taking over the USA and driving our country into full fascism.

But many of my friends that are Clinton supporters have a very big problem with this point of view. They don't think it's fair that I'm criticizing Clinton, that I'm not espousing "party unity." One even strongly suggested I'm sexist because I have criticized candidate Clinton for wearing a jacket worth $12,495 during a speech that focused on the struggles of working people.

I've made it clear that I think it's ridiculous that people criticize candidate Clinton for her hair, her voice, and her style of clothes (the length, the color, the cut, etc.). But this person challenged me to find a male politician criticized for what he wore, in those terms. So, I did - a slew of stupid stories from August 2012 about Paul Ryan:

A Look at Paul Ryan's Fashion Sense - The New York Times

Why the speakership suits Paul Ryan just fine, for now - CSMonitor.com

Everyone Agrees: Paul Ryan's Style Is Awkward -- The Cut

Paul Ryan's Suit: The Baggier, the Better? - The Daily Beast

Ditch the baggy suit, fashion experts advise Ryan | Reuters

Why it matters that Republican hopeful Paul Ryan dresses so badly ...

And more recently, this stupid style forum discussion, "What's up with Marco Rubio's suits."

I hate Paul Ryan. I hate Marco Rubio. But it's not for their clothes. I don't want to discuss whether a suit is too big or too much water was drunk in a speech at awkward moments. I want to discuss policies and actions.

I also noted that Donald Trump has been criticized for his skin color and hair and facial expressions and that I think that's ridiculous and won't do it. If it's wrong to criticize Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama for those things (and it is), I'm not going to do it with any male politician either. And for the record, I didn't do it with Sarah Palin - I talked about her idiot comments, not her hairstyles or her voice. Who in the hell cares?! I judge politicians regarding the content of character. Oh, how I judge...

Then my Clinton-supporting friend said, "I am waiting for an example of a man's speech being discredited because of what he was wearing when he made it." So I noted that every time Candidate Trump has gone on and on about how China has stolen USA jobs, how he'd put strict trade sanctions against Chinese-made products, he's been selling, and wearing, Trump clothes, including ties, made in China. And, yeah, he's been criticized for it. BY ME, among others.

Then she changed the rules again and said, "I would like an example of a woman getting a pass on anything a man takes for granted." And I gave up. Because it was obvious the bar was just going to keep getting moved, the terms of the argument would keep getting changed, so that there wouldn't be any way to debate with facts anymore.

I see Clinton's Versace jacket the same way I see Mitt Romney's car elevator: as representative of someone who cannot understand the challenges that working class people are facing. But unlike Romney, Clinton put her incredibly wealth right out in the people's faces, even as she talked about how Americans having recovered from the Great Recession, how they lost jobs and homes and savings, how we need to reduce income inequality.

Don't start accusing me of imposing a values purity test. If there was a Democratic values purity test, Bernie Sanders wouldn't have passed it, per his defense of guns, among other things. I wouldn't pass it. I'm not looking for perfection.

What we're talking about regarding Hillary Clinton is a long pattern of eschewing progressive values and, instead, catering to corporate America, to the people that almost brought down the USA economy, and surrounding herself with people like Debbie Wasserman Schultz, big buddy of predatory lenders. We're talking about Clinton's tendency to ignore legitimate criticism of her elitism by engaging, even flouting, her elitism. Like when she came to Portland last year a few days after Bernie visited: anyone could see him, at his massive rally, for free, provided they got in before the fire marshall said the massive stadium was full; to see her, one had to pay $2,700-per-ticket in the exclusive Dunthorpe neighborhood. See also appointing a completely unqualified person / major Clinton Foundation donor to a highly-sensitive government intelligence advisory board. When you are being accused of something distasteful to voters, over and over and over, you should have the soundness of judgment not to egg it on with such a public misstep, like having an affair with young volunteer intern when, during your candidacy, you were repeatedly accused of not only extramarital affairs, but of being predatory.

This is about hypocrisy at worst and being profoundly out of touch with criticism of your actions at best. U2 does it when they say governments should do more about poverty even as they themselves avoid paying taxes. Thought leaders and celebrities do it in Davos, lecturing us about carbon emissions and global climate change while their conference leads to about 1,700 private flights in and out of Zurich and other airports for the meetings, held at an oh-so-luxurious hotel.

I still listen to U2 music, and enjoy it, by the way.

Ultimately, what this is about the Clinton campaign still not understanding what the Sanders movement was all about. Her campaign - and Clinton - just don't get Bernie Sanders supporters and their values. It shows just how much they are still out of touch with millions of Americans, not just Sanders supporters. And it reinforces the idea held by many that it's only through something really radical and profoundly painful, like losing an election that should be a given, that the oh-so-entrenched Democratic leadership will move aside.

I'm still voting for Hillary in November. But I'm not going to stop criticizing her when I see something I strongly get rid of it.

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