We here at Lions of Liberty are profiling each presidential candidate and examining the good and bad traits of their political careers. Each article will wrap-up by answering if their candidacy will have a net positive or negative impact on the liberty movement. Check out previous profiles here.
Hillary Clinton almost needs no background introduction, as the American populace has been inundated with her for what seems to be at least 30 years, at least to my recollection as a man of 35. However, as her actual & factual details reveal, she’s really only been in the public eye since 1993.
Hillary Rodham was born in Chicago, IL, October 26th, 1943. In 1973 she received a Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School, and in 1975 she married future President Bill Clinton. When Bill took office in 1993 she became First Lady and used the position to attempt to spearhead a national health program, which was rejected in the Senate. During her time as first lady (1993-2001) Hillary Clinton was involved in several scandals along with her husband, not limited to Whitewater and of course the Monica Lewinsky ordeal. That didn’t dissuade voters from making her New York state’s first female senator. She was re-elected in 2006 and declared her candidacy for president in 2008.
Having failed to lock in the Democratic nomination, losing ultimately to Barack Obama, Clinton gained a consolation prize in being appointed Secretary of State. She maintained that position until February 2013. Clinton announced her renewed candidacy for president in April 2015 and is the presumed Democratic favorite for the nomination.
The “good” for Hillary is few and far between from a libertarian perspective, but let’s dredge the bottom of the lake and see what we can dig up…
Favors gay marriage (now, anyway)
Clinton has recently made it a part of her campaign to come out in support of gay marriage, but this wasn’t always the case. Much like Barack Obama, Clinton opposed same sex marriage in 2004 (when she called heterosexual marriage “a fundamental bedrock principle of civilization) and in 2008 when she first ran, but being the consummate politician, she has since changed her views to accommodate the direction of the cultural winds.
Tentatively supports medical marijuana & states’ rights
Clinton has been quiet on the medical marijuana front (and pretty much every front lately – most likely hiding from the most recent and very damning Clinton Foundation scandal), avoiding any new comments on the topic. However, in a CNN interview from 2014, her comments were positive.
“At the risk of committing radical candor, I have to say I think we need to be very clear about the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes,” Clinton told the crowd. “I don’t think we’ve done enough research yet, although I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and who have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances.”
As for recreational marijuana, Clinton displayed a similarly cautious but open approach. “On recreational, you know, states are the laboratories of democracy,” Clinton said. “We have at least two states that are experimenting with that right now. I want to wait and see what the evidence is.”
Similar to same sex marriage, this is a departure from her earlier opposition, which went so far as to resist even decriminalization of the drug’s use.
The War on Drugs continues to be one of the primacy concerns for any libertarian, so this is a key point to keep watch on as Clinton fleshes out her campaign points in the coming months.
An advocate for equality for women
No surprise there, but Clinton is an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and equality, and has made this topic one of the center points of her campaign. In 2014 she proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would specify equal rights for women. Hillary is also a pure advocate for a woman’s right to choose when it comes to abortion and has voted for bills allowing underage women to cross state lines in order to get abortions and other similar initiatives relating to the topic.
Favored diplomacy for nuclear Iran
Clinton was involved in crafting the potential nuclear agreement with Iran, which took a softer and more diplomatic approach, easing and erasing sanctions.
Sweet daddy longlegs, there is so much bad to get through that it’s hard to know where to even begin. I’ll keep these points as short as possible and try to run as much of the gambit as I can.
Voted for the Patriot Act, loves spying & hates whistleblowers
Yes, Hillary was among those who voted for the abomination known as the Patriot Act in 2001, which cleared the way for the NSA’s current domestic spying capabilities, and overall Clinton is an advocate of spying. She even tasked her staff to spy on foreign dignitaries and diplomats. According to Wikileak documents, she…
“instructed State Department officials to collect the “biometric data,” including “fingerprints, facial images, DNA, and iris scans,” of African leaders. Another secret cable directed American diplomats posted around the world, including the United Nations, to obtain passwords, personal encryption keys, credit card numbers, frequent flyer account numbers, and other data connected to diplomats.
As one might presume, she was none to happy when whistleblower Ed Snowden’s revelations came to light, and spoke out on the matter of document leaks. Clinton is on record stating that she condemns any release of classified documents that include potential state secrets, no matter the cause.
Proponent of taxpayer-funded universal healthcare
Obamacare should be unconstitutional but for the mentally unfit decision of certain members of the Supreme Court. Without some renewed fight, it will continue to haunt us daily, raising our insurance rates and catering to the minority while unjustifiably penalizing the vast majority. Hillary Clinton would trump Obamacare if she could, and has attempted to do so in the past, when she introduced a Clinton-ized version of universal healthcare for the U.S. while serving as First Lady. That effort was thankfully struck down but should she gain office I have little doubt that would be a target of hers.
Anti 2nd Amendment, pro gun-control
Hillary is very outspoken on her opposition to the rights guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment. She is a proponent of mandatory background checks for any gun purchase, and has repeatedly called for a federal ban on “assault weapons.” Clinton also views 2nd Amendment rights as a “minority issue.” Not in regards to race, mind you. Clinton stated during a CNN townhall event that,“We cannot let a minority of people, and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people, hold a view point that terrorizes the majority of people.” Of course, statistically she’s wrong, as over half of America now favors gun rights over gun control, but in a broader sense, saying that a Constitutional right is a desire held by a “minority” that “terrorizes” everyone else is completely ridiculous.
Additionally, Hillary Clinton was one of 16 Senators who voted against the 2006 Vitter Amendment, which prohibits the funding of the confiscation of lawfully-held firearms during a disaster. When she takes office, hide your guns under the rug – any “disaster” excuse and she’s coming for them.
Huge believer in executive authority
One of Hillary’s greatest wishes and disappointments while her husband was in office had to do with Congress not kneeling down and recognizing the authority of the president more. Yes, that’s right, she absolutely loves executive orders and loudly supported Obama’s actions on immigration, mainly to woo support from the much-needed Latino community. Never mind that this is yet another flip-flop for her, as she previously opposed many pro-immigration stances, including allowing undocumented immigrants to attain drivers licenses.
Supports government funding of green initiatives, but also loves the oil industry?
Much like the Obama administration’s plan to throw away billions of dollars supporting green initiatives that aren’t remotely ready for widespread use, Clinton also is an advocate of government interference in the green energy marketplace. She’s stated in the past that she believes in government funding for green companies (which of course is an unfair intrusion and unbalancing of the free market), yet this comes attached with a large dose of irony, as the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative have accepted multi-million dollar donations from major oil and fracking companies as well as oil-rich foreign governments. Once again, we have a mixed message from Hillary – her public stances clash with her family’s private (and until recently, secret) endeavors.
Has no issues with torture
From a 2006 interview.
Within barely two weeks of making her anti-torture speech, Ms. Clinton made it clear that she herself has a stomach for torture after all.
Speaking to the New York Daily News editorial board on October 11, Clinton said she recognized that in some situations interrogations called for “severity.” According to the newspaper, the conversation included mention of waterboarding, hypothermia and other methods recognized internationally as torture.
“I have said that those are very rare, but if they occur there has to be some lawful authority for pursuing that,” she responded. “Again, I think the president has to take responsibility. There has to be some check and balance, some reporting. I don’t mind if it’s reporting in a top secret context.”
Asked again about the permissibility of torture, she declared: “In those instances where we have sufficient basis to believe that there is something imminent, yeah, but then we’ve got to have a check and balance.”
As we all know by now, Hillary Clinton was told by the Obama administration to use a state email address for her interactions as Secretary of State, but ignored that direct order and instead communicated solely through a private server, owned by the Clintons, to conduct state business. This made obtaining any emails she had sent impossible without Clinton’s direct involvement – and she did provide some emails, numbering in the tens of thousands, but only the ones she wanted to provide. Any others were lost, because Clinton destroyed the server and all other evidence. This is a despicable, selfish and damning act by a woman not known for her ethics. It’s quite ironic to boot, as Hillary actually worked as an investigator during Nixon’s Watergate scandal, where she must have gleaned valuable lessons on destroying evidence utilized in 2015.
Completely failed in Libya
Hillary Clinton’s obfuscation of the truth in regards to the timeline, circumstances, orders and actions (or lack thereof) that led to the overthrow of the American embassy in Libya and the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and four other Americans who had been pleading for help for weeks is well documented by now, so I won’t rehash it here. It’s another example of Clinton’s me-first priority when it comes to secrecy, and this story is ongoing – the presidential candidate is currently being subpoenaed by the committee investigating the Benghazi tragedy, however as of now Clinton has refused to come in for additional questioning and testimony.
Without this testimony, nothing more can be illuminated or resolved, as evidence from the time of the event was lost, having been kept on Clinton’s private server, and thus deleted.
Yes, she’s a war hawk
Rand Paul hasn’t been shy about calling Hillary out on her hawkish ways, and others have taken note as well, including the Washington Post, helpfully documenting it all for me to include here.
* Clinton, while in the Senate, voted for the use of force resolution against Iraq in 2002. Obama, meanwhile, spoke out in opposition to it. Paul, who, like Obama, wasn’t in the Senate at the time of the vote, has worked to repeal the use of force resolution.
* Clinton supported a larger troop surge in Afghanistan in 2009. Obama chose a smaller one.
* Clinton was a strong voice advocating military intervention in Libya. President Obama eventually sided with her.
We all know how well that arming of the Syrian rebels worked out, as those same rebels are now known as ISIS.
Potentially abused Secretary of State position to give favors to Clinton Foundation donors
If the previous bullets weren’t enough to make anyone worry about Clinton’s moral ethics and penchant for self-satisfaction over the demands of her position, the most recent scandal should put it over the top.
There is an upcoming book titled “Clinton Cash,” which documents millions if not billions of dollars in donations to the Clinton family “charity” organizations, the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative (which have some of the worst reporting and accountability, and the highest personal expenses of almost any charity) in exchange for what appears to be political favors. One example, as written up by the NY Times:
At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.
Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
There are other instances as well, and just as damning. From IBD:
Starting in 2010, the Clinton charity told the IRS for three years running that it got nothing from foreign or U.S. governments. That was strange, since in years past it had reported tens of millions in contributions.
Oops! Now they’ve found “errors” in their IRS reports, and want to refile. Seems they now remember that a number of foreign governments gave them tens of millions of dollars during that time.
Coming on the heels of other major scandals involving Bill and Hillary Clinton, a mosaic of corruption is falling into place that’s beyond troubling and might even require a special criminal investigation.
Just this week, Judicial Watch said it has received 126 pages of State Department documents that relate to possible conflicts of interest while Hillary was our nation’s top diplomat. In particular, it cites “questions about funds Clinton accepted from entities linked to Saudi Arabia, China and Iran, among others.”
After this, Hillary’s candidacy may be in serious jeopardy. How can this woman be trusted as the Commander in Chief of one of the world’s largest and most powerful nations, when for all intents and purposes, it appears as though personal gain and money are the driving factors for her political moves?
…and the Liberty?
There isn’t much hope for liberty in a Clinton presidency. Clinton may never make it to the final round with all of the scandals she’s facing but should she be elected the primary benefits for liberty could include a push for same sex marriage, the continued expansion of medical marijuana on a state by state level and further movement for women’s equality.
It’s highly off-putting that Clinton’s opinions on two of those three topics have been altered to fit with current cultural views, however I do acknowledge that sometimes it’s exterior pressure that can initiate change internally in people. In Clinton’s case, I just doubt that’s actually what’s happened – she is a pure politician, just like her husband and will do whatever it takes to give herself the best shot at the White House. We’re just lucky that some aspects of liberty have fallen through the cracks and settled into her political philosophy. At least for now.
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