Erica Grieder: The Conservative Case for Hillary Clinton – Texas Monthly

…If Clinton becomes president, Republicans will be members of the opposition, meaning they can oppose her agenda openly and even, despite this Trump disaster, with occasional credibility. If Trump becomes president, they’ll be the loyal members of a party led by a dangerously impulsive president. They’ll be chronically torn over whether they should summon the temerity to express their discomfort with whatever Trump decides to do in response to something mean he saw someone say about him on the internet, or to accept the reality that he is their leader, and they are tools he feels free to use to serve his ego. I know which lifestyle I’d prefer.

So there you go, conservatives. Six reasons. And though I could go on, I suspect any of you who’ve read this far could use a break. But that does bring up one more reason conservatives should hope Clinton beats Trump: if she does, that’ll likely be the end of Trump’s career in politics. And so I’d have no more reason to write about him, or the many Republicans humiliating themselves on his behalf, ever again.

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Tim Kowal

I remain open to further arguments along these lines, but this one leaves me unmoved, except further disappointed and annoyed at the effort. “Psychologically stable” — unserious, ad hom. “Toddler-type state of mind” — same; and while I hope conservatives urge Trump to corral his language, his effective neutralizing of unfair and untruthful arguments is of incalculable value to our politics, the blueprints to the Death Star. Case in point: debate-ending, low-class-surrender name-calling like “bigot.” Every conservative who’s earned the name is already a bigot.

“Clinton is less risky” — no mention of SCOTUS except that Clinton “has at least heard of the Constitution” = unserious, ad hom, and that “Republicans should have thought about that before settling on Trump as the man to oppose her in November” = lie down and give up. How rousing.

“Clinton is more conservative on key issues” like “trade” — what about other issues, which Trump’s supporters find more urgent and important, like immigration? Again, unserious. The smart set’s stupidity on immigration trumps Trump’s stupidity on trade (& most everything else).

“Clinton is a Democrat” is the Hamilton Rule restated, which I find a potentially interesting line of argument, if only someone would follow the argument through: what does rebuilding look like once we’ve lost SCOTUS for a generation? Conservatives had the last eight years in the wilderness, and the support early on of the Tea Party successes, and their best idea was…a third Bush? The intellectuals don’t pay their promissory notes. They need to put up the security of a serious plan for a way forward.

While poorly argued, the arguments all contain valid points. But they are all secondary. The reasons for Trump’s support are the very ones ignored in pieces like this: status quo is not desirable (or, for that matter, conservative); GOP doesn’t deserve a presumption that it’ll make everything all right after a Hillary tenure — its recent track record instead earns it the burden of proving what fundamental changes will accomplish, and how it means to do so.


Noted & Quoted


And this programmer suggested a way to avoid user input all together:

Eventually, programmers on Reddit started making fully-functioning, interactive versions of the awful forms, like this and this and this. Someone even created one out of the classic game Snake. The meme hasn’t stopped for weeks now, and iterations of it seem to be growing more detailed and elaborate.

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Trump actually congratulated Erdogan on the outcome. Trump apparently thought it was a good thing that, despite all the flaws in the process, a bare majority of Turkey’s citizens voted to strengthen their populist leader. I don’t think any other post-Cold War president would have congratulated a democratic ally that held a flawed referendum leading to a less democratic outcome. This is not that far off from Trump congratulating Putin on a successful referendum result in Crimea if that event had been held in 2017 rather than 2014.

Public disquiet and behind-the-scenes pressure on key illiberal allies is an imperfect policy position. It is still a heck of a lot more consistent with America’s core interests than congratulating allies on moving in an illiberal direction. In congratulating Erdogan, Trump did the latter.

For all the talk about Trump’s moderation, for all the talk about an Axis of Adults, it’s time that American foreign policy-watchers craving normality acknowledge three brute facts:

  1. Donald Trump is the president of the United States;
  2. Trump has little comprehension of how foreign policy actually works;
  3. The few instincts that Trump applies to foreign policy are antithetical to American values.
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He sensed that the public wanted relief from the burdens of global leadership without losing the thrill of nationalist self-assertion. America could cut back its investment in world order with no whiff of retreat. It would still boss others around, even bend them to its will...

There was, to be sure, one other candidate in the 2016 field who also tried to have it both ways—more activism and more retrenchment at the same time. This was, oddly enough, Hillary Clinton... Yet merely to recall Clinton’s hybrid foreign-policy platform is to see how pallid it was next to Trump’s. While she quibbled about the TPP (which few seemed to believe she was really against), her opponent ferociously denounced all trade agreements—those still being negotiated, like the TPP, and those, like NAFTA and China’s WTO membership, that had long been on the books. “Disasters” one and all, he said. For anyone genuinely angry about globalization, it was hard to see Clinton as a stronger champion than Trump. She was at a similar disadvantage trying to compete with Trump on toughness. His anti-terrorism policy—keep Muslims out of the country and bomb isis back to the Stone Age—was wild talk, barely thought through. But for anyone who really cared about hurting America’s enemies, it gave Trump more credibility than Clinton’s vague, muddled talk of “safe zones” ever gave her.

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State of the Discussion

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+ Wade, your last paragraph is crucial to your argument. Certainly it expresses economically the source of the weight of a country's foreign policy, and [. . .]
Jeffrey Goldberg: The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P. – The Atlantic
CK MacLeod
Comments this threadCommenter Archive
+ Not sure where you got the idea that I ever wrote “[President Trump] doesn’t know what he’s doing!!!!!!" - bob's idea for a possible rallying [. . .]
Jeffrey Goldberg: The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P. – The Atlantic
Wade McKenzie
Comments this threadCommenter Archive
+ The conversation that you and Bob were having at the time that I wrote my comment had everything to do with the recent missile strike [. . .]
Jeffrey Goldberg: The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P. – The Atlantic