Sunday, January 21

Why I don't want Sen. Hillary Clinton to be president

Here is a quote that describes the types of reservations I have about Sen. Clinton.

Yes, yes, I found it on Daily Kos...I swear I only started reading it because this primary race has me curious to see what the biggest leftytalk site is saying about the candidates, not because I usually agree with the people on there...

Anyway, this particular text did resonate with me:

"too many people think that underneath, she is a would-be aristocrat who would sell out America to the forces of free trade globalization in the same way that her husband did, only with a sterner look. Besides her money, her sex and Bill, Hillary's best asset is probably that she comes across as the most legitimate 'keep-the-oil-flowing' candidate, the one best able to play the Davos game. There is still a powerful lurking fear even among the Left, namely that the oil will indeed stop, so we really need to trust the old guard no matter what. This secret fear is probably what is propping up the Right from total collapse right now."


I have no idea who or what Davos is, and for me not all bad things in the state of worldwide economics have to do with oil per se, but I hope this quote communicates the gist of why, if Clinton is the democratic nominee, I would quite possibly vote third-party.

I've spent the last 3 years learning about nuances of the status quo / "old guard" of economic and social policy, and I've seen so many great ideas proposed by economists and other theorists just...flounder...when they reach people like Sen. Clinton who don't seem to give them the attention they have the power to give them.

I'm tired of that.

Now that I have a better idea of what new paradigms I do like the idea of (such as legislation that moves us closer to getting externalities factored into sellers' costs instead of social costs), I won't settle for someone who is as much of the old guard as Sen. Clinton is.

2 comments:

K. Liu said...

sell out America to the forces of free trade globalization in the same way that her husband did

If that is implying that some other Democratic candidate would not "sell out" to free trade globalization, then that's all the reason I need to vote for Clinton in the primaries. And if we do get a populist anti-trade Democrat winning the primaries, then I'd be tempted to vote third-party again as I did in 2004. I think that one of the highlights of the Clinton Administration was that he broke from the populist/protectionist left and embraced free trade. And although I usually don't take much stock at what is said at Daily Kos, I sincerely hope that no 2008 candidate is seriously considering (beyond the standard political grandstanding) repudiating the Clinton legacy.

Davos, BTW, is the location of regular (I think annual?) economic talks. It's generally a publicity stunt where politicians and celebrities attend and gush about touchy-feely issues like AIDS and whatnot (which is non-trivial, to be sure, but I never understood how big-media events like that really help the problem). Nothing meaningful ever comes out of Davos except for a bunch of soundbites and publicity photos, so I'm wondering if the author had meant "Doha" instead, which was location of the latest round of WTO talks over lowering trade barriers (and which, much to the chagrin of economists like me, collapsed).

Katie said...

"If that is implying that some other Democratic candidate would not 'sell out' to free trade globalization, then that's all the reason I need to vote for Clinton in the primaries."
Careful, Kai. When you talk about bad practice and refer to it as free trade like that, you're starting to sound like people who talk about bad practice and refer to it as capitalism. :-Þ

It's not that I have some overarching theory about protectionism vs. free trade and which is better. I'm not saying I want an "anti-trade" candidate.

It's that I think we've done a lot of f***ing up of a lot of places with the types of "free trade" we've thus far implemented and I want someone who will do a much better job of looking at each agreement, one at a time, and who will no longer agree to such accords till they're actually good agreements.

The main issue for me, I suppose, is making sure they factor in externalities as costs. Sure, there'd still be a lot of parts of the market that don't do that, but 1) we can't switch everything overnight like Swedish roadsigns and 2) we do need to start even if we can't do it all at once. Therefore, since external costs show up the most readily in faraway places from the USA/West, it seems like trade agreements between the USA/West and those faraway places seem like a great place to start internalizing external costs!

Does that make a little more sense of how I feel about the issue?

Again, it's not "free trade" versus "anti-trade protectionism" in my opinion, and I cringe when I see you assume that anyone who doesn't like status quo "free trade" agreements must be an "anti-trade protectionist" the way misguided minds assume anyone who doesn't like status quo "capitalism" must be an "anti-capitalist!" It's "greatly improved agreements, whether they happen to involve free trade mechanisms or protectionist mechanisms, according to the situation" that I want and won't settle for less than.

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