I've decided to swear off of criticizing Hillary Clinton. That's because of not only the glee I've heard from the right every time a Democrat (especially Barack Obama) says something negative about her, but also because I want to remind readers of this blog that while Hillary Clinton is my last choice (for reasons I've enumerated several times recently) I also wrote several months ago why I will support her if she is the nominee. I won't go into the points I made in that post here (though I thought I made them very well,) but would like to instead compare side by side Hillary Clinton's major positions on issues linked here on her website with the same issues as viewed by current GOP frontrunner John McCain from his website, linked here.
On Iraq (since this issue has formed the root of why so many Democrats who consider ourselves progressive like myself are disappointed with Hillary):
Hillary Clinton: America is ready for a leader who will end the war in Iraq. Hillary's roadmap out of Iraq, the Iraq Troop Protection and Reduction Act of 2007, is a plan to end the war before the next president takes the oath of office. But if the Bush administration won't end the war, as president and commander in chief, Hillary will.
John McCain: John McCain believes that we must not fail in Iraq. Succeeding in the cause of helping the Iraqi people build a stable, secure, representative state is essential to achieving an enduring peace in a region of the world central to American prosperity and national security.
McCain is using exactly the same words as George Bush has been using for five years in this quote, and recently said it would be fine with him if America stayed in Iraq for a hundred years.
Hillary Clinton: America is ready for universal health care. Hillary has the vision and the experience to make it a reality. This is a battle Hillary has fought before -- and she has the scars to prove it. She knows better than anyone how to fight and build the political support to get the job done.
John McCain: His initial blurb said nothing substantive so I had to click on the 'read more,' where he gives the standard GOP lines about promoting competition and choice (which as we know is a red herring because hospitals provide practically no information about their price structures, certainly not in time to allow anyone to make an informed decision no matter how much research they do), tort reform, and some other blather. He does suggest developing a protocol for re-importation of drugs, but that is about the only thing he said that I somewhat could support. On the other hand he plans to revise the tax structure in a way that would in effect phase out employer-provided health insurance (which would leave people on their own and leave the people with the most health issues stuck without anyone who would sell them insurance at an affordable rate-- ironic coming from a cancer survivor.)
Hillary has a plan to help people who need help right now. John McCain proposes corporate tax cuts.
Hillary: For freedom of reproductive choice, energy independence and improving public schools.
McCain: For slashing spending (he's been against 'pork' for years, even when it does a lot of good) and praises NCLB and school 'choice' (which is a term that is traditionally used by backers of vouchers for private school tuition). The only time he ever hinted that he might support the right to an abortion was when a reporter asked him during the 2000 campaign what he would do if his own daughter had an unwanted pregancy. But he has consistently been against the right to reproductive freedom for women he's not related to.
I began supporting Richardson, and since he dropped out I've been moving steadily towards supporting Obama. But these reasons make it clear that Hillary Clinton, despite being my last choice among Democrats, is far, far better than what we will have if John McCain is ever elected President.
And what if the GOP nominee is not John McCain? Well, it's hard to see how Rudy or Mike or Mitt would be any better.
Oh, and just in case you need one more reason why we have to come together behind the nominee, even if it is Hillary: Do you really want to gamble that Justice Stevens' fragile heart (though a noble heart it has been) will hold out for another four years?