Jerame Davis

Clinton or Obama: Clinton of course - Here's why

Filed By Jerame Davis | February 04, 2008 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: 2008 Presidential Elections, Barack Obama, Democrats, Hillary Rodham Clinton, nominee

Since we've had an Obama lovefest on the site of late, I thought it was time we gave Hillary a bit of love. Hillary Clinton is the right candidate for this point in our history and gets my wholehearted endorsement and I'd love to tell you why.

Let me get this out of the way from the start... She has experience. She has great ideas. She has the skills to deliver on what she promises. But she's not perfect - far from it.

Her stance on marriage and specifically DOMA is despicable, but I think the differences between Clinton and Obama are mainly semantic on our issues. I've wondered about Obama, what with his kissing ass with the anti-gay African-American preachers and all, but...

The real question here is which candidate can lead this country on all of the issues. We will have to move either of them in terms of LGBT issues but I believe they are both moveable. So focusing on the nuanced differences is simply a waste of time. Unless you're a Lost Cabin Republican, you're voting for one of these two in November and I hope it's Hillary.

On the issues, she's a far better choice. Hillary Clinton has a better health care plan. She has a better education plan. She has a better economic vision. And no, she's not going to keep us in Iraq indefinitely. Hillary Clinton is just as much or more of an agent of change and it is the kind of change we need. At this time in our history, we definitely need some change but we need experienced change. No one being serious can say that having a woman as president, regardless if she's part of the establishment or has the last name Clinton, won't radically alter this country for the better.

Hillary has years in the spotlight and has had encounters with literally millions of people. She has been in the spotlight directly or indirectly for over 25 years. There has been a lot of shit slung at her and little if any has actually stuck. When the right wing machine comes after you, if you've ever so much as stepped on a spider in malice they will expose it and call you a murderer. She worked on issues during her husband's administration and she has been a very strong and competent Senator that was overwhelmingly reelected in New York. I call that tested and experienced.

Clinton has also shown great command of the facts in her debate performances. Having worked on these issues all her life, she has a breadth and depth of knowledge that many of the other candidate had trouble matching. And while many criticized her for "snifflegate" in New Hampshire, I found the moment quite sincere and refreshing.

Watching the media's misogyny and revisionist history has been appalling to me. From the glee of writing her off after Iowa to the "stunning turnaround" meme when everyone knew she was going to win in New Hampshire, to the Bil Clinton factor to the aforementioned snifflegate, the media has done its damnedest to write the history rather than report it.

Obama, on the other hand, has a lot of fans and does well with his message of hope. After 7 years of ShrubCo, we're all in desperate need of a light at the end of the tunnel. I just don't think Barack Obama has the stuff his dreams are made of - at least not yet.

Obama has barely what you can call a record. What record he does have is not one of distinction. He admittedly plays politics with important legislation, such as his repeated "present" votes in the Illinois legislature. He's admittedly closely tied with Illinois' own Jack Abramoff in this Tony Rezko guy, who went to jail a few days ago in an FBI sting. Obama has a very short history in politics and in the public eye and has shown some seriously bad judgement in these cases alone. (Let alone the anti-gay preachers I mentioned before.) I don't think he's really the stuff so much as he's just a lot of talk.

So, for those Obama supporters out there, I have this question: What on Earth makes you think this guy can deliver? Name one important thing he's even tackled, let alone worked his ass off to make happen, since joining the US Senate. He is not distinguished for anything other than his ability to demagogue on par with the best of the best. Sure he did good work on initiatives for the poor in Illinois, but I don't know of anything he spearheaded worth mentioning.

In the debates, he's been a blathering mess more often than he's been inspirational. When pressed, he starts to look pissy and purses his lips like he's ready to burn Wolf Blitzer's beard with his laser eye beams or like he's going to wrestle John Edward's hair. He only looks presidential when he makes speeches and lots of people are watching. I really enjoy those times and find him appealing when he's in his element. Otherwise, he looks rather precocious and often very petulant when things aren't going his way. He comes off as very arrogant to me most of the time.

Would I vote for him if he got the nomination? In a heartbeat. Do I believe he is destined for great things and probably could and should be the first black president? Absolutely. But the way some folks are swooning over him, it'll take an Oprah-Jesus hybrid to be worthy of being his running mate. I just don't believe he's ready yet. He is untested under real fire. What the Clintons are accused of having done so far are kiddie games compared to what he'll face against the wingnuts in Washington. He's young enough to run again and again for at least the next 25 years.

Considering the state of decay of our infrastructure, the state of the world after BushCo's rape of our friends and foes alike, and the state of our economy in a time of massive debt, economic downturn, and a seemingly bottomless dollar, I want someone who can go in and fix the damned place from day one.

I am confident in Hillary's ability to do so. Not so much with Obama.

UPDATE: Thanks to one of the commenters for pointing out this great piece about Hillary in the NY Times. It seems I'm not the only one tired of the BS from the Hillary Haters out there...

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Honestly, the nastiness and almost complete attention to attacking Senator Obama rather than offering any particular argument in her favor is why I'll be voting for Mr. Obama tomorrow.

Hillary runs away from the tough issues. She has filled her campaign with the enemies of real American equal rights. She takes money with both hands from the big-money corporate interests. She seeks to give to the rich by screwing over the poor.

Hillary Clinton is a perfect example of exactly what is wrong with our country's politics.

In a word: NO friggin' way.

I dunno if that's a fair assessment, Kathy. Jerame spent 8 paragraphs talking up Hillary (along with arguments as to why she should be supported) and 4 paragraphs as to why he didn't choose Obama. That seems pretty darn balanced to me.

Not that I don't want you to vote Obama, mind you. :)

The interesting part? Jerame and I have been partners for almost ten years. He's for Hillary and has been from the start. Me? I've gone Richardson to Edwards and now to Obama. Color me anyone BUT Hillary. LOL

Close ties to Rezco? He accepted an intern he recommended and bought land from him at market value. So, like, what's the point here?

Those "present" votes are the way that the Illinois Senate runs. He's not the first and not the last to have used them.

I think, though, that's one of the biggest problems the Obama crowd has with Clinton - sure, she's the most experienced with slime politics, but it's partly because she rolls in it just as hard as any Republican would.

Not saying that's a bad thing.

Kathy: I'm not sure how there has been "complete attention to attacking Obama". Bill Clinton has been the attack dog more than Hillary. Every time she speaks she makes the case for what she wants to do for the country. I'm thinking you just tune Hillary out when she speaks. That's called bias and says you've been swallowing the Republican talking points since before she even announced.

Alex: Umm...Perhaps being in France you deserve a pass, but Obama has admitted they are friends. He called him a "good friend" for over 20 years at one point.

Secondly, if you actually look at that land deal, it's quite dirty and shady. First Obama bought his house at BELOW market value. $300K below market value, in fact. On the EXACT same day, Rezko's wife bought the property directly adjacent and abutting Obama's under-priced property for full market value. Then, shortly afterward, Obama bought a piece of Rezko's property. Sure Obama paid market value for what he bought from Rezko, but most people realize that Rezko bought the property adjacent in a sweetheart deal with Obama.

A $300K cut in asking price when the adjacent property which was owned by the same people didn't get a similar cut is fishy. To turn around and do another land deal shortly thereafter smells like rotten fish. If nothing else, it shows he knows how to play the insider he rails against, at worst, he's using his position and connections to obtain special treatment the average person cannot.

And you can buy that argument about the Illinois Senate all you want. He claims he is a change agent, yet he did "business as usual" in the Illinois Senate. If he's so against politics as usual, why did he just do politics as usual in the Illinois Senate?

Because he's nothing but talk. That's why.

And you can buy that argument about the Illinois Senate all you want. He claims he is a change agent, yet he did "business as usual" in the Illinois Senate. If he's so against politics as usual, why did he just do politics as usual in the Illinois Senate?

I never said he was "against politics as usual", I just said those present votes aren't a sign that he was slouching there. It's just a sign that he was an Illinois Senator.

I thought we were talking business ties on Rezko, and the article you linked really was just talking about Obama hiring an intern....

I really wish that we could stick to arguments during the primaries that aren't so easily turned into right-wing smears in the general election, but I guess I can take part in this game too:

Hillary Clinton killed Vince Foster! Ahhhhhhh!!!!!

Jerame, You are quite right in your analysis. There are Hillary haters and Obama lovers. The New York Times has an interesting article about the Hillary haters, All You Need is Hate. I recommend it and the comments too. They are spot on.

I am for Hillary and have been from the beginning. Indiana's vote may or may not matter, but Hillary has my vote. Should Obama become the Nominee, he will have my vote at that time. In the meantine, Hillary is, of course, more qualified.

Maybe you can convince Bil to vote for the woman who pisses the right wing off the most. Also, tell Alex to keep his Hillary hater comments to himseld. It isn't helpful and it isn't funny and it is simply a right talking point and lie.


That whole comment is just plain silly. You didn't say he was a change agent, he does. My point there was simple. You can't SAY you're a change agent when your entire record is politics as usual. That's what everyone says about Hillary. She's oldschool politics as usual. Guess what. So is Obama. He just found a message that resonates with people and is pandering to the poor souls out there who think there is a chance that he's the real deal.

I never said he was "against politics as usual", I just said those present votes aren't a sign that he was slouching there. It's just a sign that he was an Illinois Senator.

What a crock. It's a clear sign he was slouching. If he's always been the agent of change, then just doing what everyone else does in the Senate isn't exactly promoting change is it? It's definitely a sign he was an Illinois Senator. An undistinguished, politics as usual Illinois Senator at that.

I think my article was pretty balanced overall. I specifically state why I like and dislike both. I lay out a clear case with actual facts. I could link 15 other stories, I picked the particular one about Rezko because it was Obama's hometown newspaper that was dissing on him.

If you think what I said gives the right wing ammunition they didn't already have, you really haven't paid attention to how they operate. What I did was point out to the "reality challenged" folks out there that Obama is more smoke, mirrors, and rhetoric than an agent of change.

Finally, NOTHING I printed was as patently false and misleading as your Vince Foster comment. The ties to Rezko go back 20 years. Obama admitted it. It's not like it's a smear or made up. Every bit of the information I've given is 100% accurate and provable. The rumors about Foster are just malicious and mean spirited.

JK Johnson: Thanks. Bil is a Hillary hater. He buys into the right wing talking points and I've told him I think he just doesn't like strong women. Alpha-females and Bil are like oil and water. I think it threatens his masculinity or something. LOL


If your point is that Obama's just as old-skool as Clinton, then, like, yeah, totally. I'm just sayin' that his present votes in Illinois aren't about not taking a stand, they're not a sign that he didn't care about issues, they're just a part of the way the game is played in that.

There are other things he could have done to stand out there, like wear pink suits everyday and bake cookies for the other Senators, so why are you picking on this one part of his record in Illinois?

And it's not like Clinton's shying away from the change meme either. They're both selling themselves as agents of change (her a bit later than he) and they'll both be a change from what we currently have, but neither's going fuck up the system or anything like that.

I think my article was pretty balanced overall.

I think you need to look up what "balanced" means. You picked a side and stuck with it, not that that's a bad thing. But that's the opposite of what "balanced" is.

On Rezko, yeah, I guess you can say that they knew each other and that wouldn't be false, but what's the implication? That Obama's part of an organized crime ring? No? Then what's the point of bringing up Rezko?

And yes, if Obama makes it to the general and everyone's talking about Rezko, it's going to turn into a swift-boating effort to make it seem like Obama was a mobster. Just like Hillary with Vince Foster - it'll take on a life of its own.

And really, I don't know how anyone can claim not to have killed Vince Foster. We all killed Vince Foster. Oh, that sounds like a good post title....

JK: That wasn't an article, it was a column by Stanley Fish, a once-intelligent and caring and lovely person who one day endorsed a candidate and turned weird. I mean, he compared hating Hillary to anti-Semitism. He rolled up all criticisms of Hillary, from the right and from the left, into one concept, instead of making the simple leap of logic that there are people with different politics who criticize her. And he makes some weird statement that she shouldn't be tied to Bill's politics, and yet she's campaigning with him, having him campaign for her in certain states, claiming to have been experienced (and she ain't referring to her years in the Senate), yada yada yada...

And yes I love me some Fish but I just hope that these elections happen so that the crazy candidate supporters can all turn back to normal people.

Obama, of course.

Here's why:

(1) 2004 Illinois SB 101
(2) HRC: No good for trans people can ever come from these three initials; with Hillary, trans people will be done by them twice.

I think you need to look up what "balanced" means. You picked a side and stuck with it, not that that's a bad thing. But that's the opposite of what "balanced" is.

Well, I admit this one was a typo. What I meant to say there was this: On balance, I think my article was fair. It came out the other way because I was in a hurry.

And as for Fish, I updated this story to link to his. I think it makes a good point. He explained what he meant by comparing it to anti-Semitism in that it is an irrational hatred that has a life of its own outside of reality or reason. He said explicitly that he wasn't comparing Hillary-hating and anti-Semitism in terms of their effect but in terms of their self-replicating, bottomless pit nature.

The point in bringing up Rezko is the same as brining up his votes in the Illinois Senate. He's politics as usual and his whole "status quo" BS is just that. BS. It's yet more proof that he's just talk and it goes straight to my fears and my point that he probably won't be able to deliver on much of what he promises.

And the point of the entire post was to explain why I back Hillary and why I do not back Obama. Standing in a debate, pointing fingers and saying she's the "status quo" when he himself acts just like her in the political arena is plainly dishonest. He's pandering and playing politics (not that she isn't) and then castigating her for doing so.

His message rings hollow to me when he does the things he's calling others out for. I don't trust him when he says he's for change and then behaves like every other politician. He's shown some seriously poor judgement in terms of Rezko and his Illinois senate votes. I think he made a rash judgement to run so soon and he continues to show poor judgement by allying himself with anti-gay preachers and such.

At least we know what we're getting with Hillary. She may be damaged goods, but as Adam says in the horrible movie we watched last night called Adam and Steve, "(She) may be damaged goods, but (she's) still goods." I'm afraid of a bad case of buyer's remorse if Obama is the nominee.

can't you make your case without rehashing thoroughly debunked talking points? The present votes are just how the illinois legislature works, and the thing with rezko amounts to nothing.

I think I've been harsh here for a reason and it's not to trash Obama. I'd be happy to support him if he's the nominee. It's not like I think the world will end if he wins or anything.

I have been harsh because I think folks have gotten all googly and starry eyed over Obama's rhetoric. I think some folks need to realize he speaks a great game, but he doesn't always live what he's preaching.

I worry that it's all words and ideas and won't translate into action. If it does, it will be the greatest thing since sliced bread. It just doesn't seem likely when he's saying he'll do something he hasn't done before.

I like him. I think he'd be a good president. I just don't think he's the best candidate in the field. I like his grassroots style campaign. I like the hope he embodies. But I find it hard to believe he's going to change Washington so much as Washington is going to change him (or change him back, as the case may be.)

For all her flaws, Hillary is a known quantity. If you take out the rhetoric and hyperbole, she's still an experienced, accomplished, and yes, like it or not, respected woman. Obama is much the same, but less on the experience part for sure.

Don't assume I dislike the guy. I'm just making a point and that point is he is not what he claims he is and there is plenty of proof of that. Judge people on their merits, not the hyperbole and piss poor excuse for news reporting we call our media. The Republicans have been building this "everyone hates Hillary" story since the minute she announced her Senate bid. They knew she was going for president and the Senate was a stepping stone, so it's been a non-stop talking point since. That doesn't make it true. More people THINK everyone hates Hillary than people who actually do.

Alex: Can't you make a point without an attack of some kind? You said: JK: That wasn't an article, it was a column by Stanley Fish, a once-intelligent and caring and lovely person....

Professor Fish wote an opinion piece.Thus far, about 350 comments have responded to his column (perhaps you should read those comments). Most of the commenters are appreciative of Fish's "article." I know I was

If you typically win arguments by discrediting people and having the last word, you have a lot to learn. Professor Fish may have been "once" this or that in your opinion. In my opinion, he made some valuable observations and about 300 or so of the people who commented thought so too.

JK: I don't know what your beef is here, but arguing that "there are people who agree with me, 300 out of 300 million, so at least .00001% of America agrees with me, so that means I'm right" doesn't really cut it. If you liked something in particular that Fish said, please bring it up. But the dude endorsed Hillary, and, IMHO, that makes everything he says about Hillary or Obama suspect. I haven't met that many people who endorsed a candidate and stayed objective, and the dude basically said all criticisms of Hillary are the same no matter where they're coming from, no matter their legitimacy.

And honestly it's probably one of the best arguments to be made against Hillary as a nominee, not for her. If everyone irrationally hates her, as Fish argues, then why in the world should the Dems nominate her?

Jerame~ OK, yeah, cool. But I don't see how Rezko shows "poor judgment" unless you have a specific accusation here. I mean, just being friends with someone can't be poor judgment, I would love to have a president who's friends with people in prison (in the affirming Michelle Pfeiffer film way, not the corrupt politician way).

can't you make your case without rehashing thoroughly debunked talking points? The present votes are just how the illinois legislature works, and the thing with rezko amounts to nothing.

Those talking points are only tired of being ignored. They're quite relevant to the point I was making and you even agreed with me.

If present votes are "just how the Illinois legislature works" that means he's a status quo kinda guy. There is no compulsion to vote present, only for strategic purposes. That means he plays the same games as everyone else. No change.

The Rezko thing may not be illegal, but a 20 year friendship that's cozy enough for that crazy land deal and well over $100,000 in lifetime political donations - and the guy is now in FBI custody - at the very least shows poor judgement and clearly strengthens the argument that he's just more of the same. Buddying up with your rich (and crooked) friends for sweetheart land deals is what I expect of politicians, not what I expect when I want change.

"For all her flaws, Hillary is a known quantity."

So was Dubya in 2000 - for anyone who was willing to actually pay attention to what he was saying.

HRC's HRC is a known quantity to trans people - a mass quantity of jargon-laced nothingspeak which will lead to more trans-marginalization.

Michael Bedwell | February 4, 2008 6:28 PM

Thank you, Jerame, for your discussion of substance.

I’m less concerned by Obama’s “present”-only votes in the Illinois legislature than his being AWOL for NINE MONTHS while their LGBT rights bill was finally coming close to passage after over three decades of trying.

SB3186 was introduced on February 6, 2004, and he was not elected to the US Senate until November. His replacement Sen. Kwame Raoul became a cosponsor and voted for it in January, something Obama was no longer eligible to do. To illustrate how important his involvement could have been before that—the bill passed by ONE vote.

Still, he told “The Advocate” outright that he was one of its “chief cosponsors” and “passed” it.

Actions speak louder than words and Obama was Missing In Action.


Why Kat persists in ignoring his failure to be there for Illinois LGBs AND Ts when he was most needed I can’t understand, nor the disproportionate credit she gives him for what he did do before.

The bill she refers to was actually HB101. It was prefiled by another representative on December 8, 2000. Obama did not become a cosponsor until April 17, 2001. Note, too, that it was apparently the first LGBT rights bill he became involved with after four YEARS of being in the legislature. HB101, like two similar bills he belatedly joined died in committee.


Then, again, there's his failure, assuming he even tried, to convince his own close friend and spiritual consultant the Reverend/Senator James Meeks to rise above his rabid homophobia and vote for it. Why should we expect him to be anymore persuasive in DC? Both Meeks and McClurkin demonize gays just as much today as if they’d never met Barack “Bring People Together” Obama.

RE Rezko, Obama himself has already answered your question, Alex. He called his personal business dealings with Rezko "boneheaded."

As for Hillary and her support for trans-inclusion, I know NOTHING could ever satisfy some—even her coming out as transgender herself—but others might be interested in this part of her answer to a “San Francisco Chronicle” reader yesterday:

“I also think we have to be vigilant in protecting the rights of all Americans - and in extending equal opportunity and equal justice to all Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. No one should be barred from getting a job, from renting a home, from contributing to our society and making the most of their talents simply because of their sexual orientation. We also must strengthen law enforcement and prosecution against discriminatory acts of violence against gays, lesbians and transgender Americans. Hate crimes undermine the fundamental principal of our country - that all men and women are created equal - and I will fight to pass federal hate crimes legislation to ensure that for the LGBT community.

At least one well-known blogger, sadly, has already flamed her for not also explicitly inserting “transgender” in the sentence essentially about ENDA, but, like Bil’s comment yesterday about “all” meaning “all,” those not so disposed to look for excuses not to vote for her might agree that “no one” means “no one.”

Alex: I have no beef with you so don't try to paint me into a corner with your choice of words. I recommended an article that I found interesting. You went on that it was a column; not an article and that Professor Fish was a has been. Jane Hamsher at agrees that Professor Fish's piece was excellent. I was passing it along not looking for a contest with you.

Jane Hamsher's column/article/editorial (call it what you like) can be found here:

Her column is well worth reading. Hillary Hating may be a Republican/Right Wing value, practically an industry promoted by the main stream media, but it isn't helpful to those of us who desperately want a Democratic Congress and a Democrat as President.

By the way, Alex, I did not argue that 300 commenters' opinions represented any thing whatsoever. I suggested they were well worth reading for their point of view. Did you read them?

Finally, Jerame has given his endorsement and you should accept it for what it is: an opinion piece. Jerame is entitled to his opinion as we all are.

Alex, as you are an editor here on Bilerico, you should be more welcoming of comments and different opinions than yours. Believe it or not, you might actually learn something from the people you consider "once-intelligent and caring and lovely person."

Jerame, I think you made a lot of good points about Hillary. She's taken a lot of shit and that is why I respect her. SHe just keeps on ticking. But you do come off as kind of kitchy in your attacks on Obama. Just sayin . . .

Don't get me wrong I am not for Hillary. I find it funny that Obama claims to be an outsider and for change when he stands with and has the support of some very big insiders. For more of the same vote for Clinton or Obama or any of the republican scoundrels. "If elected I promise", very empty words by very empty people in a country running on near empty. Too Bad.

In the final analysis, i can't support ether of them because they are both pro war.
it simply wouldn't matter to me if ether of them backed all the human rights legislation anyone would want.

Anybody who says they are for human rights and wouldn't pull us out of Iraq and Afghanistan within three months after taking office is
in my opinion a hypocrite.


Thank you Sue! Some time the least said says it all.

Bruce Parker Bruce Parker | February 5, 2008 4:44 AM

jerame awesome post. In particular I like that you didn't fall into the tired habit that we are seeing on here lately of demonizing either candidate. Seriously you would think that Hillary kills kittens and eats babies. Alex you shouldn't feel compelled to let me know that you have the stats for how many babies. Its okay, I'm good.

Jarame - I completely agree with your stance in this article. I’ve been following both Candidates closely and gathering as much information as possible.

At this juncture, there is a widening divide between Democrats (Clinton and Obama supporters). For me, this is disconcerting. If we really want change in this country, the Democratic party needs to pull together to beat John McCain come November and I agree with you that Hillary Clinton is the one most capable.

The majority of States in which Obama has won the Primaries, traditionally vote Republican. In these States, Obama has been able to draw on the voter support of the large African-American populations there – and the Democratic white male vote. I don’t believe that the white male vote will hold up in these states in a National election – they will decamp to McCain. Clinton’s support is more solid and will stand up well. I believe that if Obama wins the Nomination – the keys of the WH might as well be handed over to McCain on a platter.

Further, with the increasing, almost cult-like or religious-like, frenzy surrounding Obama’s campaign, I’m somewhat wary of his becoming the next Democratic Presidential Nominee. I’ve spent countless hours on the internet reading articles, blogs and posts only to find that among Obama supporters there is a strange kind of unswayable, defensive, negativism toward anyone or any idea that may be contrary to their Candidate. I’m surprised because it’s certainly not done in the spirit of Obama-ism.

I’m thrilled that Obama has consented to 2 of the 5 one on one Debates that Clinton has proposed. While Obama’s strength is in his ability to give motivational speeches – Clinton’s strength is in her ability to Debate and is backed by an extremely detailed knowledge of issues and her plans to implement change. A statement I agree with that I’ve seen in many articles is that Obama is “Long on rhetoric and Short on detail” and I want detail before I cast my vote.

With regard to LGBT issues, either Candidate may well be equally suited to bring about effective change, given time. That said, as the first Black President, Obama will come to office with the added pressure of two hundred years of wrongs to be righted in the eyes of millions of his voters.

Thanks for your great article!