EDINBURG, RGV – Former University of Texas-Pan American political science professors Gary Mounce and Sam Freeman are good friends and agree on many things.
However, one thing they disagree on is whether Hillary Clinton should be elected president of the United States. Mounce says yes. Freeman says no. Posted below we have guest columns from both on the subject. We start with Freeman’s thoughts. They are followed by Mounce’s.
Freeman: Not Fit To Be President
By Samuel Freeman
(Email: [email protected])
YES, we should have had a female president–Barbara Jordan–who would have been both the first female and the first African-American President.
She would have been one of our greatest presidents. Unfortunately, poor health cut her political career and life short; a tragic loss for her family and friends, and the nation.
The time for a female president came long ago. However, to say we should elect Hillary Clinton President simply because she is a woman and a female president is long overdue is worse than false logic. If simply having a woman as President is the issue, we might as well elect Andrea Yates–the Houston mother who drowned her five children. At least there is less blood on Andrea’s hands than on Ms. Clinton’s.
Every reason why Ms. Clinton is unfit to be President cannot be discussed, even listed, here. Let’s start with the fact she’s a Republican masquerading as a Democrat, and has been a Republican all her life. That’s the mark of a hypocrite.
As a teenager, she worked as a volunteer in Nixon’s 1960 presidential election campaign, and was a “Goldwater Girl” in Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. In 1968 she attended the Republican National Convention in support of Nelson Rockefeller. Upset with the way she thought Nixon treated Rockefeller, she claims she left the Republican Party for good.
While she may have left the Republican Party, she still carries within her the basic right of center principles of basic Republicanism. We see this in her lackluster political career, nearly devoid of substantive accomplishment.
As First Lady, she was in charge of developing President Clinton’s national health care plan, which turned out to be primarily a vast money making proposal for health insurance companies, with scant provision for actual health care through its unworkable “managed competition.” After that fiasco, husband Bill relegated her to more traditional First Lady activities.
Ms. Clinton, more than anything else, has been a coattail rider. She was elected U.S. Senator from New York almost solely on the fact she was former President Bill Clinton’s wife. Whenever she gets in any kind of trouble, she immediately ties herself to husband/President Bill.
There is little to nothing positive she can point to in her brief stint in the Senate before resigning to do what the Clinton’s do best – toady themselves to the rich for huge bundles of money. Once in office, they at least have the decency to repay the debt by supporting policies and programs benefitting the rich.
The poor, and minorities, and women? Well, Ms. Clinton meets their needs with a lot of rhetoric. Her record itself is relatively thin, especially after the Clinton’s left Arkansas.
Her distinguishing accomplishments as a U.S. Senator, include her enthusiastic support for preemptive war against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. In a speech endorsing the war, she grounded her justifications for war by harkening back to Bill’s presidency.
As a Senator, it easily can be argued, at least with respect to the war against Iraq, she was lazy. As a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, she had access to classified intelligence on Iraq. There is a secure room where this information is kept, and only Senators on key committees – Foreign Affairs and the Select Intelligence Committee – have access to the room.
Always trying to chart where the political winds are blowing, and following those winds rather than leading Senator Clinton rose on the Senate floor in 2007, after the Iraq invasion had become a debacle, to move to rescind the Iraq War resolution she earlier had endorsed.
A reporter subsequently asked her, at the time in 2002 and 2003 when she was on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, did she ever go into the secure room to examine the intelligence on Iraq–documentation was there calling into question or disproving all of Bush’s claims about Saddam Hussein other than him being a brutal dictator. She responded she did not personally review the intelligence, but had a member of her staff go to the secure room to review the intelligence.
Only Senators themselves, and NOT members of their staff, are allowed into the intelligence secure room. This certainly is neither the first nor the last lie Ms. Clinton has told. In fact, lying is one of her best attributes – lying, dissembling, prevarication, evasion are her fortes. Do I have to identify all her distortions, evasions and dissembling regarding her personal email while Secretary of State?
We see her fundamental dishonesty with respect to Benghazi. Yes, the Republicans conducted a witch hunt, and this whole issue has been driven into the ground. One wonders whether this is a consequence of Republican stupidity, or an effort to help their “undercover” Republican avoid her responsibility for the death of Ambassador Stevens.
The record is clear. Ambassador Stevens and the head of the U.S. diplomatic security detail for Libya were asking, repeatedly and fervently, for increases in U.S. diplomatic security detail in Libya; because the situation was deteriorating and becoming increasingly dangerous for U.S. diplomats. At the time these requests were flowing into the State Department, orders were being sent from the State Department to reduce the size of the diplomatic security detail in Libya.
When Ambassador Stevens was killed, on the security detail issue, Secretary of State Clinton played dumb. No, she knew nothing of requests for increased security for U.S. diplomats.
Consider: In the military, it is drilled into officers commanders are responsible for everything those in their command do or fail to do. This should apply to any Secretary in the U.S. government, especially Defense, State and Justice.
Assuming the improbable possibility no one in the State Department bothered to consult with the Secretary of State about reducing diplomatic security forces when the Ambassador and the chief of the diplomatic security detail in Libya were begging to stop the reductions and to increase the security detail, at best Secretary Clinton is guilty of dereliction and negligence.
If my belief is correct Secretary Clinton was informed about what was happening, and actually may have ignored the requests and authorized reductions in the diplomatic security detail, she is lying again.
While the destruction of Iraq can and must be laid primarily at the feet of George W. Bush, we cannot overlook the rolls of both President Obama and Secretary Clinton in the disintegration if Iraq, the rise if ISIS as a direct consequence of their belligerent foreign policy, and the tremendous increase in the destabilization of the Middle East by their little foray into Libya.
Finally, it is fair to say Ms. Clinton is a war monger. Do you like the fact the U.S., today, is conducting combat operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Libya? Where is Ms. Clinton in the phony debate over Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons program? The current conflict in Ukraine is largely a consequence of the U.S. bringing Eastern European nations into NATO and building NATO bases on Russia’s border. The final straw for Russia was Ukraine, and the threat bringing Ukraine into NATO poses Russia given the Crimea is the only Russian port that does not freeze over in winter. Where was Secretary Clinton as the U.S. continued a policy guaranteed to incite serious conflict with Russia? While serving either as Senator or Secretary of State, where do we find in the record any serious, concerted effort by Ms. Clinton to reduce tensions in the world, to reduce violence, to end wars? Except for some politically motivated posturing, we find virtually nothing.
Yes, we should have a female president. But the first criterion any presidential candidate should meet is being fit to hold the office. Ms. Clinton manifestly and demonstrably is not–well, maybe as a Republican given virtually all of their presidential nominees for the past 55 years.
Mounce: “It Is Time” – Hillary for President
By Gary Joe Mounce
(Email: [email protected])
WOMEN comprise 50.4 percent of the U.S. population. They are the majority. You have noticed, haven’t you?
Most of our Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Aunts and Grandmothers are women! Yet, it is also no secret they do not receive anything close to fair representation in major areas of the society–not in larger private businesses nor in the government. They comprise less than 20 percent of the U.S. Congress. There are only six women State Governors.
The first woman to run for president in 1872 was Victoria Woodhull, representing Equal Rights and Humanitarian Parties. (She was jailed for her temerity.) In all, 35 women have made that sacrifice. Today, three women are running for nomination for President of the U.S.: they are Jill Stein, Green Party, Carly Fiorina, Republican Party and Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party. From those alternatives, my choice is Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Senator from New York state and former Secretary of State, serving under President Barack Obama.
It is time. It is her time. It is time for a woman as president of the U.S. We are far behind other developed, even developing countries. Twenty-six nations gave the vote to women (who fought for it) before the U.S. Many other nations had female Chief Executives: England, Germany, Israel, Canada, Norway, Brazil, Argentina, India, Pakistan, and Namibia. Some are still serving. If it is not time, then when? Nay-sayers may say “ah, a woman, yes, ‘someday’; but not this woman.”
Easy to say (and many say it). So, we must consider: if not this woman, this time, then for whom would it be time? Who else comes close to earning the position, through intelligence, experience and loyalty to party and country? For me, gender trumps partisanship. Gender (of an incredibly qualified female candidate) trumps ideology or personal pique at personality or disagreement over specific policy decisions.
Of course, my choice is not the critical factor. Secretary Clinton must convince the majority of voters (first, in the Democratic Primary, then in the 2016 general election) she is the right candidate, regardless of gender. If and when that becomes the case, women in the U.S. will have reached a major milestone. The country will be proud. That election will become a symbolic statement confirming what is already an established cultural sea change in attitudes.
Not that discrimination against the majority will be gone; women still make only 78 cents on the dollar for every dollar a man makes, by some estimates. But, when we elect a female President thousands of women and girls—your daughters–will be able to believe in the promises they have been offered for a long time: “you can do anything a man can do.”
Another barrier will have been smashed. No Catholic can be President? The election of President John F. Kennedy smashed that barrier. No African American can be President? The election—twice—of President Barack Obama smashed that barrier. Yes, it is time another barrier to democracy and progress be shattered.
It will be difficult. It will not be automatic. Camille Paglia, influential social critic, warns of the traditional problems of perception (a strong woman, “damned if she is, damned if she isn’t”). Other problems include the Constitution itself (“loaded” in some ways in favor of male “gravitas” as Commander-in-Chief) and historical precedent (all male Presidents, forever; not even any Vice-Presidents). To these warnings, conservative Republican, Myra Adams, responds: “it doesn’t matter; it is over.” She doesn’t like it, but “Hillary will be President.”
The reasons for concluding we will soon be talking about “Madame President” include: widespread public acceptance of the timely need for a female President; the role of the media; the role of money, lots of it. Helping this process along will be 93 percent support by African Americans and 73 percent by Latinos (especially improved if predictions of a Vice-President Julian Castro come true).
Adams adds the secret weapon geared to Whites and Youth. It is the “bumper sticker waiting to happen:” “VOTE for FIRST DUDE!” She predicted the Obama elections. She warns fellow conservatives “unless Elvis is reincarnated as a Republican” this is not their time to regain the White House. I trust Adams is correct. I cannot imagine Donald Trump’s finger on nuclear codes or his choices for Supreme Court nominees. Those who disparage Hillary will have to live with those awful consequences. “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”
To those who disparage Hillary, I say “careful what you wish for, you might get it.” If the Republican nominee be JEB! or another of the current crop of Republican candidates, those fingers and decisions might not be much different, only in style, without the swagger.
The Democratic Party is unified and focused—the “adult in the room.” If their presumptive nominee (sorry, “Berners”) is, indeed, Secretary Clinton, the other current candidates will support the Party for the same reasons that influenced me, out of self-interest and/or for the good of the country and the future of the earth.
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying these two guest columns shows Hillary Clinton speaking at a campaign rally at the McAllen Convention Center in January, 2008.