President Obama Looks to Hand Baton to Hillary Clinton

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Tuesday night marked the beginning of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s official quest to become the first woman to hold the office of President of the United States. As she soaked in that realization in front of hundreds of adoring fans in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and millions more glued to their television sets all across the United States, she seemed overcome with joy and emotion when she took the stage to give her first speech as the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party—the first woman to ever hold that honor. Yesterday, President Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States added his imprimatur when he endorsed her candidacy by saying he does not “. . . think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”

Despite the many recriminations on the right and by some Democrats and independents swayed by the multitudinous barrage of accusations hurled at Secretary Clinton, beginning at the onset of her national public presence as First Lady, she is still standing. From bogus allegations that led to the Whitewater investigations to today’s fiasco over her private email server and countless conspiracies, innuendos and allegations in between, she was never found guilty of doing anything illegal. Has she made mistakes? Certainly, and she admits using a private email server was one. She admits her vote that led to authorization for war in Iraq was—in hindsight—a bad decision.  It is not, however, evidence of any predilection for going to war.

Hillary4Back in 2008, then Senator Barack Obama used her vote to question her judgement.  Now Senator Bernie Sanders has repeatedly used her vote to unfairly paint Secretary Clinton as a warmonger. Let’s look at her vote on H.J.Res. 114 (107th)Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. She was one of 29 Democrats in the Senate who voted to give President G.W. Bush authorization to use military force in Iraq if it was deemed Iraq posed a threat to U.S. national security. The resolution stated that the Bush Administration would comply with the United Nations to seek a nonmilitary resolution to the perceived threat—that Iraq was stockpiling chemical weapons. Neither the resolution nor the 29 Democrats who voted for it were advocating for war.

Among the 29 Democratic Senators who voted for the authorization were John Edwards, Joseph Biden, John Kerry, Tom Daschle, and Harry Reid. For goodness sake John Kerry, who lost his presidential bid because he was “swift-boated” as an anti-war zealot, voted to use force if necessary. Senator Clinton was representing New York State which was hit hardest on September 11, 2001 when the twin towers of the World Trade Center were brought down in flames. New Yorkers did not want to take military force against Iraq off the table if there was any chance that Saddam Hussein was connected to the terrorist attack.  So it was no surprise—and even expected—that New York’s Senators Charles Schumer and Clinton would vote to authorize possible military action against Iraq as did the two Democratic Senators from New Jersey—John Corzine and Robert Torrecelli—representing the state that shared ownership of the World Trade Center.

Bernie Sanders has also pointed to Secretary Clinton’s involvement in the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi as evidence that she supports indiscriminate regime change. She supported NATO’s intervention that prevented the massacre of many of Gaddafi’s opposition. So did Donald Trump. But she was not the President and did not give the order to intervene. She alone is not responsible for the ensuing chaos but she made a tough calculation that potentially resulted in saving thousands of lives.

The bottom line is that primary voters have spoken. Republican primary voters have elected Donald Trump to be their party’s standard bearer. Democrats have chosen Hillary Clinton. Leaders of both parties are lining up behind their candidates. President Obama’s endorsement was followed quickly by endorsements from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Biden. Bernie Sanders and his supporters are finding it difficult to relinquish their quest for a political revolution that will not come during this presidential cycle. Hillary Clinton may not bring about the revolution Senator Sanders is seeking but she will continue President Barack Obama’s fight to rebalance the economic equation more in favor of lower- and middle-income Americans than those at the very top where Donald Trump lives.

The post President Obama Looks to Hand Baton to Hillary Clinton appeared first on Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy.

Written By Charles E. Lewis Jr., Ph.D

President Obama Looks to Hand Baton to Hillary Clinton was originally published @ Charles Lewis – Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy and has been syndicated with permission.

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