Who’s Worse, Clinton or Paul? By David Swanson

Dandelion Salad

By David Swanson
After Downing Street
Fri, 2008-01-25

Let’s assume, just for the sake of masochism or preparedness, that the Republicans nominate McCain or somebody similar, that the Democrats nominate Clinton, and that Paul runs as an independent or libertarian. Here’s a question for those who care about peace and justice: Who’s worse, Clinton or Paul?

I’m assuming most of us will agree that McCain is the worst of the lot. Of course, I’d rather see Edwards nominated than Obama or Clinton, and I’d rather see Obama than Clinton. And, yes, of course McKinney or Nader would be preferable to the whole sorry bunch. But just for the sake of excruciating self-abuse and maybe illumination of the need to nominate someone who is not Clinton, let’s try to answer the question.

If Ron Paul had been president for the past 7 years, a million more Iraqis would be alive, and another 4 million would not be refugees. The world would be a safer place, and Americans would have lost fewer freedoms. Clinton has supported the worst of the crimes of the past 7 years and opposed very few of them. She voted to invade Iraq and voted repeatedly to fund the occupation. Paul did neither of those things. Of course, this does not tell us whether Clinton would have launched the wars that Bush launched if she had been president.

Clinton does keep open the possibility of attacking Iran, even with nuclear weapons. Paul opposes new foreign occupations and would end the existing ones, close down the empire, and bring the troops back from the 80 percent of the nations on earth where they are now stationed. Paul would do something else remarkable for the federal budget: he would cut the budget of the Pentagon. Clinton would not.

But Paul would also eliminate the little the United States gives in foreign aid. Clinton might not boost it, but would probably not eliminate it. Clinton might also, in limited ways, restore the right to organize a union, halt the fall of the minimum wage, and restore a little progressivity to the tax code. Paul would not. Paul would cut empire spending, not in order to spend on something useful, but in order to cut taxes on corporations, the rich, and the poor alike. He would cut spending on everything useful as well. What Clinton’s husband did to welfare, Paul would do across the board.

It’s very difficult to imagine Clinton investing in the sort of green energy program that is probably needed to save the planet from ruin, but it’s impossible to imagine Paul doing so. On the other hand, it’s quite possible to imagine Clinton getting us into a nuclear war. How do we choose which way we would least like to perish?

In the meantime, how would we live? With Paul, the government would do even less to get Americans health care. With Clinton it would do a bit more, albeit at great wasteful expense propping up a private insurance system doomed to ultimately fail.

With Clinton in the White House, we’d face militaristic machismo and corporate corruption. Taxpayers would work half the year for the greed of weapons makers, media corporations, and insurance companies. Under Paul, the government would only boost corporate greed through deregulation; the machismo would take the form of immigrant bashing and world government conspiracy paranoia. Clinton would bomb some countries and talk to others. Paul would neither bomb nor talk.

Clinton has been a leading opponent of impeaching Bush or Cheney for their abuses of power. She could be expected to take advantage of the new presidential powers to spy without warrants, rewrite laws, violate laws, operate in secret, etc. Paul backed impeachment of Bush until he became a candidate and then sold out. But he bases his policies – even those I oppose – on his interpretation of the Constitution and U.S. law. To some significant extent he could be expected to try to operate within the bounds of the Constitution.

Clinton would continue the illegal occupation of Iraq. Paul would end it without offering the Iraqi people a dime in restitution or assistance. That’s also exactly what he would offer any struggling American. Clinton would make minimal advances in public education. Paul would cut or eliminate federal school spending.

Women who value the right to abortion would lose it under a Paul Administration. This is not speculation. He openly says he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. That’s his principle and he stands by it courageously and honestly, but most Americans disagree with him.

Clinton would be no friend to immigrants, but Paul would be worse. Paul would allow fewer legal immigrants, while denying any illegal immigrants a path to become citizens. An immigrant woman here without papers who was raped would be denied the right to an abortion. Her child, born in America, would be denied citizenship. Her family would be denied welfare, as well as health care, and education, not to mention any investment in public transportation. Undocumented workers would gain no workplace rights under a Paul government, and so the rights of all of us would continue to erode. In fact, immigrants would be scapegoated and associated with 9-11, and Paul’s priority would be “securing borders,” which ain’t cheap (or useful).

Under a Paul administration there would be fewer immigrants for a good reason: he opposes the trade policies that destroy the economies of the nations they flee to come here. But Paul opposes those policies because they are international, not because they empower corporations and hurt workers. That’s none of his concern. He’s a “property rights” man, even if it’s at the expense of those without property. He opposes NAFTA for the same reason he opposes the United Nations. He would erode international law even more swiftly than Bush, thereby endangering us all in the long run.

And eliminating Clintonian corporate trade agreements might slow the exploitation of third-world workers but would not end it. That would require global agreements on workplace rights, something neither Paul not Clinton would ever take the lead on, but something unions might be able to work toward under Clinton.

Under Clinton we would have major national campaigns of protest, against occupations, against media conglomeration, against corporate trade. These are very difficult battles for us to win. Under Paul, we would have many more battlefronts, but they would all be smaller, and organized groups might be more willing to wage them because Paul would not be a Democrat. We’d be fighting to save schools and housing and transportation and all sorts of other programs. We might have a better shot at winning such campaigns, and we would have the option (admittedly not the best option) of addressing such needs at the state level. Paul might destroy more of what’s good in the federal government than anyone before him, but he would not forbid the states from replacing it.

If Paul does run, and if he does draw support, there is the possibility that Clinton will improve some of her positions, although Edwards hasn’t had that impact on her. There’s a guarantee, however, that the left will eat itself alive with accusations of treason. To do that to ourselves over a candidate who would eliminate anything good we’ve ever created, a candidate likely to take more voters from McCain than Clinton, would be tragic.

I don’t have an easy answer, except this: DO NOT NOMINATE HILLARY CLINTON.

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USA Today excludes Ron Paul (video)

Ron Paul Would Consider Kucinich in Cabinet Post by AlaskaSteven (link)

Ron Paul’s replies FL debate 01.24.08 (video)


13 thoughts on “Who’s Worse, Clinton or Paul? By David Swanson

  1. Paul is less bad than any of the Democratic or Republican frontrunners but he’s still bad so I wouldn’t vote for him. I will vote for a progressive third party candidate. Just because Paul is less bad than Clinton doesn’t mean much. Fidel Castro is less bad than Clinton too.

  2. I love the title of the article “Who is worse, Clinton or Paul?” Its not who is better…its “oh my gawd…I can’t decide who is worse” LOL that made me chuckle.

    Ron Paul is doing a few things to the public discourse, for one he is the most outspoken anti-war candidate left. He not only wants the Iraq war done, he wants all the troops from the over 100 countries we are stationed at brought home and he wants the CIA to stop meddling in foreign nations. Raise your hand if you know that the CIA kidnapped the President of Haiti Aristide and overthrew his government? That the CIA backed a assassination attempt on OPEC member Hugo Chavez in Venezuela? These kinds of actions have the tendency to really piss people off!

    Ron Paul also has the great benefit of separating Conservatives from Fox News, which is a great achievement by itself. In fact, if you want a good laugh search “Sean Hannity Flees Ron Paul Supporters” on YouTube.

    And like Shaine B. Parker said in the post above, he wants the Executive office to be a equal branch of government and would remove the absurdities (illegal wiretaps, habeas corpus reinstated, etc.).

    Clinton voted authorization for the war, voted to fund the war, voted for the Patriot Act, voted wrong every single time. She championed NAFTA and GATT in the 90s right after leaving the board of Wal Mart. Yes, she is a social liberal and thats great, but she sounds more like a Goldwater conservative. Oh guess what, she was a ardent Goldwater supporter.

    When Clinton voted for the Lieberman bill to declare the Iranian Republican Guard a terrorist organization, and that all options (read nukes) were on the table with regards to them, then I knew that I could not vote for Clinton. My conscious will not allow it.

    After 8 years of massive corruption and lies, the Democrats should be able to pick up great majorities in both the House and Senate, although the pure incompetence of Pelosi/Reid are putting that in doubt too. Dodd had to filibuster his own party over removing retro-active telcom immunity from the FISA bill and Pelosi/Conyers refuse to proceed with impeachment.

    It may well be a year where our big decision will be figuring out: “who is worse?”.

  3. A valid point was made that Paul could not dis-assemble the Federal, because Congress wouldn’t allow it. Paul in reality would be able to do little aside from get us out of Iraq and close foreign military bases. That is sufficient ground to support him over Clinton.

  4. she supports civil rights?

    why did she vote for the patriot act?

    she is pro-choice?

    why did she say that “it should be up to the states to decide,” which is exactly what ron paul has said repeatedly.

    she supports labor? give me an example? i think a great way to support labor is to let people keep the fruits of their labor without the irs/income tax extortion and the hidden tax of inflation which robs workers of their purchasing power. in this sense, ron paul is on the side of labor.

    “some progressivity in taxation?” now you’re just grasping at straws.

    again, i’m not sure what you think you are accomplishing here. hillary will continue squandering all our money overseas, she will continue to devalue the dollar and run up deficit spending, and she will continue to erode our sovereignty and sell us piecemeal to the international agencies that are already buying up our infrastructure as collateral on the debt.

    if that’s what you want, more power to you. keep propping up those corporate candidates with your cheap rhetoric.


  5. Hillary Clinton is not a white nationalist. She supports civil rights. She is pro-choice. She supports labor and the minimum wage. She supports expanding government health care. She believes in maintaining some progressivity in taxation. On these grounds alone she is the better candidate. It’s not even close.

    The only positions Paul expresses that I agree with are ending the Iraq war and releasing non-violent drug offenders from federal prison. But why on earth would I vote for a neo-confederate simply on the basis that I agree with him on two issues?

  6. “Hillary’s more intelligent than Ron Paul”. ROFL.LMAO. Man, the media needs some fixing. What she’s good at is spending twenty minutes not saying a damn thing. I guess people havent quite noticed yet that THE ECONOMY AND THE DOLLAR ARE TANKING. Big spending democrat will lead us right off the cliff that we’ve been led up to by the neocons. We have no choice but to elect a fiscal conservative. Who doesn’t want more money in their pokcets?

  7. I was supporting Kucinich, and the fact that he has been forced out of the race convinces me that we really don’t have a choice. If we must choose between the lesser of two evils, I would choose Clinton over Ron Paul. I don’t think she’s any less evil, but she’s more intelligent. Ron Paul is a crackpot politician who would create domestic chaos, and actually make this country more vulnerable to attack because he has no foreign relations agenda. We can’t just pull out of Iraq and hide behind our borders. We have done too much damage in the world to just come home and not offer any compensation for the damage we’ve done in the rest of the world.

  8. Goodness. Paul is not an isolationist. Wouldn’t talk to countries? He would talk to all countries.

    I don’t support many of Paul’s domestic policies. I’m willing to accept that, b/c 1) ending the global domination attempt is more important than any domestic issue right now for the benefit of the whole world. 2) despite the best attempts of W. & Co., the presidency is not a dictatorship. I grow very weary of most non-mainstream writers forgetting that many of Paul’s “radical” domestic plans would fail to ever take form b/c of a little thing called Congress.

    With Paul as president, he would end the empire. Congress could not stop this. With Paul as president, he would not be able to dismantle everything back to the early 19th century status of government, Congress wouldn’t allow it.

    What presumed harm he would do to the country domestically could easily be undone in the future. I still think he is the only presidential candidate who would end the empire project, and that makes my support for him unwavering.

  9. Be clear about something. For those who believe the Iraq war is Bush’s war (Bush 2 that is), let’s remember bombing in Iraq began in 1998. It’s been speculated this was to distract attention away from Bill Clinton’s sex scandal (I believe destroying Iraq has an even longer history). Pulling out of Iraq when Hillary’s husband initiated the problem might make for some very difficult household politics. I do not believe Hillary has any other intention than to continue where Georgie boy leaves off. Those who believe otherwise should get their heads out of the sand.

  10. Very good points, and a couple I hadn’t thought about. Above all else, I strongly encourage people to vote, and forget about the “lesser of two evils” nonsense. My personal nightmare scenario is Clinton vs. (almost all of them) and no viable 3rd party candidate to chose. I don’t know what I would do under those circumstances, but one thing is for sure, I’m voting this year.


  11. Name one candidate that makes complete sense, and you stand by on every issue ? NONE.
    Actually the candidates whom speak clearly, truthfully, are often the ones not listened to, but instead are
    Clinton wins someone loses,
    Paul wins someone loses.
    McCain wins someone loses.
    Just look around, we’re all not winners, but at least we can TRY.
    Investigate the candidates yourself, then decide, don’t believe the 30sec. spots.
    Be informed before you decide, it is Important.

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