Countering slander with facts #1

Brooke Phillips

I recently had a conversation with a stranger on a friend’s FB page about Hillary’s credentials and his concerns. After some back and forth, I asked him to provide one legitimate criticism of Secretary Clinton that isn’t a GOP lie. Here was our exchange:

(Brooke) Jeff, can you provide one legitimate criticism of Secretary Clinton that isn’t a GOP lie?

(Jeff) Brooke no problem she supported the war and has been a hawk her whole career, She has supported every free trade deal and also keystone pipeline. If she signs keystone and tpp into law when she gets in I doubt trump could do worse.
Her actions in Haiti and Honduras were inexcusable as sec of state.
Her love of fracking scares the hell out if me. Who cares if you have abortion right if you have no water to drink?
Also the fact that she called Henry Kissinger a good friend and mentor when he might be the biggest war criminal walking free in the world today should at least give people cause for pause.
do you want more Brooke?

(Brooke) Jeff, thank you! Let’s go through these and then see if we’d like to cover more.

“she supported the war.” – No, that’s not accurate. She voted to give Bush the leverage she believed would help to finish the negotiations between the United Nations and Saddam Hussein. Bush promised that he would use that power only as a last resort. She also gave an impassioned speech prior to her vote that demanded he use this power wisely and as a last resort. He betrayed her and the 76 other Senators who voted similarly by jumping into a war on false pretenses. The distinction is very important. Question: do you have children? If so, then you know that when you ask them to do something – and state a consequence if they don’t – you must follow through or you lose your authority. We gave him the power to enforce his authority as an absolute last resort after all other avenues had been exhausted. Bush betrayed all of us, and that vote is only a “mistake” in hindsight. If he had used that power properly and we had successfully completed negotiations, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. For example: Sanders openly supported military intervention in Kosovo in 1999, but his (very hawkish) judgment here is never called into question. Why? Because that particular intervention is generally seen as a success.

“(she) has been a hawk her whole career.” – This is also not true and often goes hand in hand with the Iraq vote as “proof.” See above re: betrayal by Bush. But it’s far, far more than just one vote. Libya also often gets thrown in there, but Libya was an entirely different situation for many, many reasons and is worthy of its own thread. Libya was also Obama’s policy move – not Clinton’s, another important distinction. What’s the opposite of hawkishness (besides obviously dovish)? Diplomacy. She was a major proponent of sensible diplomacy which brought about a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. She helped secure the START treaty’s ratification. As SOS she was active behind the scenes in helping to initiate several policies that didn’t become law or practice until years later, such as working towards the release of political prisoners and democratic reforms in Myanmar; bringing Iran to the negotiating table for what later became the Iran Deal, which involved heavy sanctions and convincing China and Russia to join in on those sanctions; and thawing our relationship with and opening up Cuba. Those are not hawkish moves.

“She has supported every free trade deal.” – Again, a solid no here. Most people are referring to the TPP when they accuse her of supporting trade deals ad nauseam, but it’s simply not true. Her history with supporting trade is complex as trade deals have been complex. She is case-on-case by trade. As a senator from New York, Clinton had the opportunity to vote on 10 trade deals. She said yes to six and no to the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) and the deal with Andean countries. She was against the Panama, Columbia and South Korea trade deals in 2007, but as SOS she worked for Obama in his administration to establish them. Re: the TPP, as SOS – again, representing Obama’s administration, not her own – she indicated support on behalf of the administration. As a private citizen and then as a candidate, she withheld judgment until it was negotiated – after which, she came out against it. We can keep going, but clearly she hasn’t supported every free trade deal.

“(she supported) keystone pipeline.” Sorry, but again – not true. Clinton never took a personal position on Keystone until 2015. In 2010, once again as SOS and representing Obama’s administration, she said “the administration was ‘inclined’ to back it,” but she qualified that statement by noting that the analysis was not complete, and the administration had not taken a final position. Other than that one comment, Clinton did not indicate her personal position on Keystone until she announced that she opposed it in September 2015.

“I doubt trump could do worse.” – Unlike you, I have no doubt he could.

“Her actions in Haiti and Honduras were inexcusable as sec of state.” Well now, this is a complicated one. Haiti and Honduras were two different situations. In Haiti, there are some who blame her for essentially not doing enough. Let’s look at what she and Bill Clinton did do: As a United Nations special envoy, Mr. Clinton helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the country after its devastating 2010 earthquake. Sec. Clinton traveled there four times as secretary of state and shepherded billions of dollars in American aid. Our commitment of more than $4 billion since 2010 has helped provide shelter for more than 300,000 Haitians; health care for more than half the country in U.S.-supported facilities; train a new national police force; and raise the average incomes of tens of thousands of farmers. To many Haitians, the most significant moment of Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state was in 2011, when she flew to Haiti to pressure President René Préval to allow Mr. Martelly, a popular recording artist, into a two-person runoff for president. It was widely believed that the man who was second, Mr. Préval’s pick, had benefited from vote fraud. There is a long, close relationship between Haiti and the Clintons. Now let’s look at the complaints against HRC.The complaints include: fewer jobs materialized than promised. Millions earmarked for relief have not yet been spent. And the democratically-elected Mr. Martelly isn’t as great as the people of Haiti had hoped (and deserve.) Some blame the Clintons. Most don’t, and are appreciative of all the Clintons have done and continue to do for our sister country in need.

Honduras is another complicated one for different reasons. I think of all your concerns, this one carries the most weight – but again, this was not really her call. This was the call of the Obama administration a mere 6 months after taking office – and once again hindsight is 20/20. I’d also like to point out that your issue with Honduras was not military or diplomatic action, but inaction in a difficult situation. You can disagree with the decision made here, but not in the same breath call her hawkish. She gave her best explanation for the administration’s decision not to immediately call Zelaya’s ouster a coup in the New York Daily News interview, where she clarified that the ousters a) had a very strong argument that they had followed the constitution and the legal precedence, even though the administration really didn’t like it, and b) declaring a coup immediately shuts off all international aid, and at the time we were supplying a lot of desperately needed aid for very poor people. “So our assessment was, we will just make the situation worse by punishing the Honduran people if we declare a coup and we immediately have to stop all aid for the people, but we should slow walk and try to stop anything that the government could take advantage of without calling it a coup.” There was deep concern that Honduras could have descended into more bloodshed, even going so far as to say that the country could have descended into a civil war “terrifying in its loss of life.” Would Obama have made a different call in hindsight? Probably. But possibly not – it’s a bad situation that has continued to deteriorate. Again, to intervene is the more hawkish stance. So take your pick.

“Her love of fracking scares the hell out if me.” – I’m glad I can put your fears to rest immediately! She does not “love fracking.” She opposes fracking in most conditions — where states or localities are against it, where it is causing damage, or where there isn’t full transparency into what chemicals are being used. She argued for stricter regulation where it is happening, adding: “by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.” Let me be blunt: Fracking is good for the economy and BAD for the environment. Yet we don’t currently have enough alternative energy options in place to immediately replace our reliance on crude oil. Like most of her positions, she is using her staggering grasp of policy to ban fracking in most places, make it extraordinarily difficult to do in others, and essentially make those that fight to do it have to jump through so many conditional hoops that she will effectively close it down. In the meantime, it gives her leverage to push alternative energy growth hard. Very hard. You can take a hammer to a rock and destroy it, or you can take a chisel to a rock and create something beautiful.

“The fact that she called Henry Kissinger a good friend and mentor.” – Let’s pause and look at exactly what that relationship was: a resource for Sec. Clinton to take what she wished and leave the rest. She does not support his politics and has very clearly said so. However, even a broken clock is right twice a day. She praised Mr. Kissinger’s diplomatic achievements in China, where he helped Nixon normalize diplomatic relations with the Communist leadership in a visit to Beijing in 1972. Kissinger’s trip subsequently affected Clinton’s relationship with China as President Obama’s top diplomat. She sought Mr. Kissinger’s advice when she met with the Chinese state councilor, Dai Bingguo, and the foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, who become her primary counterparts in the Chinese government. You have to admit that no matter how contentious they are before elected, former Presidents and their families have crossed partisan lines to support each other after the fact. They understand the demands and responsibilities of the role and provide valuable direction and support – regardless of political party. Secretary of States are no different and just as valuable. You take what you need, and apply it if/when useful – if for no other reason than to learn from their mistakes.

Should we keep going?


I do think that sexism is the primary force that has generated and maintained most of the negative narratives about Hillary. Of course accusations of sexism always bump up against several serious impediments: 1) Almost nobody will admit to it. Conservatives decided long ago that all such accusations (sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.) are standard liberal …