07 January 2008

Hillary Clinton on Crime

I am sorely disappointed with the stance Hillary Clinton has taken on federal criminal law. Her support for federal mandatory minimum sentences is appalling. I also have not forgotten her troubling supp port for tougher obscenity laws.

Obama's record on criminal justice is considerably more balanced. Edwards also seems reasonable on this issue.

The Daily Kos crowd has been solidly pro-Edwards, modestly pro-Obama, and strongly anti-Hillary Clinton for a long time now. But while I prowl Daily Kos and post there from time to time, I'm certainly a moderate by those standards, particularly when it comes to opposition to Clinton on the grounds that she is too "pro-corporate." For example, while I agree that the 2005 bankruptcy legislation was flawed, I also recognize that the legislation appropriately tightened abuses of the bankruptcy system before its enactment by high income/low asset debtors with mostly consumer debts, and through abusive use of exemptions from creditors under the old law by fat cats, particularly those who had engaged in securities fraud or were attempting last minute asset protection schemes. I likewise don't agree that free trade treaties like NAFTA have destroyed the American economy -- they have been a mixed blessing and perhaps not as helpful as hoped, but I don't see these treaties as a major factor driving our current economic woes. I also agree with mainstream economists that all things being equal, free trade is a good thing.

As I result, I've been more willing to give Clinton the benefit of the doubt than many of my Democratic peers. But, her stance on criminal justice issues is black mark on Clinton's record that will influence, although it might not decide my vote.

I'm not a single issue voter. But, I am very undecided now in the Presidential race in which I'll be casting my caucus vote on February 5, and electability is not a very powerful issue in the Democratic race -- its importance in part depends on how the New Hampshire primary, Nevada primary and South Carolina primary come out. A stronger GOP likely nominee makes this a bigger issue, but different Democratic nominees would be stronger vis different GOP nominees, so it isn't an open and shut issue that favors just one candidate. An Edwards wash out in the early contests, however, would count against him in my book, and that seems like a real possibility given polling at this point (unless McCain does very well, as Edwards has polled very well against McCain).

Honestly, Edwards is the only Democratic candidate I feel that I understand well, and this is mostly because he is fairly simple to understand -- his views are consistent, his persona I recall from prior elections in which he has been a candidate. While I feel that I understand Hillary Clinton as I person, I don't understand her policies at all. Obama is still a cipher to me, although I'll be better informed by February 5.

Incidentally, the Wyoming GOP held its caucuses (with a penalty from the national GOP) and soundly backed Romney, who looks likely to sweep the Rocky Mountain states as the Colorado GOP has also lined up behind Romney. If Romney does end up being the GOP nominee, I don't think that any of the Democrats has an electability edge.

No comments: