Q: You seem to support Bernie Sanders in part because he’s held consistent opinions for longer, why is that? Is a politician who can see new evidence and hear opinions of others and change their mind not a good thing?
A: Being able to change your mind when you get access to new information is obviously a fundamental part of being a human. For example, Elizabeth Warren has recounted how she met with Hillary Clinton about some awful bankruptcy legislation that was under consideration when Hillary Clinton was first lady:
Warren had written an editorial about a piece of bankruptcy legislation that she opposed. Then-First Lady Hillary Clinton read it and asked for a meeting to discuss the bill and Warren’s research, which showed that it would disproportionately affect women and children. After the meeting, Mrs. Clinton went back to the White House and the Clinton Administration reversed its position on the bill. President Clinton eventually vetoed it, and in her autobiography, Hillary Clinton took credit for preventing the bankruptcy bill from passage.
So Hillary Clinton went from not having a position on a potential law to working with President Clinton to prevent that law from being passed, after she learned that passage of that law would hurt average Americans.
And when she became a senator, the industry that wanted that law passed gave her a ton of money, and:
ELIZABETH WARREN: She voted in favor of it.
BILL MOYERS: Why?
ELIZABETH WARREN: As Senator Clinton, the pressures are very different. It’s a well-financed industry. You know a lot of people don’t realize that the industry that gave the most money to Washington over the past few years was not the oil industry, was not pharmaceuticals. It was consumer credit products. Those are the people. The credit card companies have been giving money, and they have influence.
BILL MOYERS: And Mrs. Clinton was one of them as senator.
ELIZABETH WARREN: She has taken money from the groups, and more to the point, she worries about them as a constituency.
So I kind of cheated here to make my point: there’s hearing new evidence and new opinions that leads to someone changing their mind, and then there’s being a corrupt politician who does the bidding of his or her corporate donors.
And I saw an article yesterday that summed up my fundamental problem with Hillary Clinton. Paraphrasing, the thesis was that she lacks political courage, and won’t take a stand on something unless is politically safe for her. From marriage equality to the war in Iraq to ensuring that the poorest Americans have opportunities to have a better life, she has never supported a law or policy that was politically risky or would threaten her chances to advance her political career. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has taken principled and politically risky stances, not because they would advance his career, but because that’s what he believed in. As it turns out, his values and my values match up very well, and that’s why I can enthusiastically and passionately support him:
The decision to go to war in Iraq was a major failure of judgment by the Bush administration and the people who implemented the war. But the Democrats in the House and Senate who had to choose how to vote were not really facing a test of judgment. They were facing a test of political courage. And pretty much every single one of them who had presidential ambitions failed it miserably, including Senator Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton is an extremely intelligent woman. She’s capable of understanding complex issues in great detail. I do not for one second believe that she was somehow ‘fooled’ by George W. Bush into actually believing the invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do. I do not for one second believe her judgment failed her when it came time for that vote.
That’s why so many of us were drawn to Barack Obama in 2008. Because when the chips were down and you had to have enough faith in your own judgment that it would be vindicated in the end and had to have enough courage to stand up and do the right thing, they did.
Hillary Clinton didn’t.
That’s the single biggest reason I was opposed to her candidacy in 2008 and it’s still the single biggest reason I’m opposed to her candidacy today. When push comes to shove and it’s her political career at stake, Hillary Clinton doesn’t lack judgment. She lacks courage.
That’s why she stayed silent on gay marriage until 2013.
That’s why she won’t say no to Super PACs and billionaire donors.
That’s why she won’t oppose capital punishment.
That’s why she won’t push for universal health care anymore.
Does this issue [of voting for the Iraq war] still matter? Hell yes it does.It was one of those critical moments when the character and judgment of so many of our political leaders was laid bare for all to see. Bernie followed his convictions and had the courage to oppose the war. Hillary Clinton and too may other establishment Democrats did not.
This is something that I could have written myself (and I wish I had), because it sums up very clearly why I don’t believe a single thing Hillary Clinton says when she pretends to care about the things that Bernie Sanders has been fighting for his entire career.