Don Lesser: Not ready to count Hillary out as presidential timber

Last modified: Friday, March 07, 2014
AMHERST — While my sympathies are in line with columnist Jonathan Klate, and my politics more in sync with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, I must disagree with his argument (“Not ready for President Hillary,” Monday). Hillary Clinton is by no means a left-of-center politician and, like Klate, I disagree with her politically motivated votes and positions.

However, given the extreme polarization of American politics today, Elizabeth Warren has no chance of being elected.

In my opinion, it is more important to keep the country from electing another Republican president than ideological purity. Besides, should Warren win, she, like our current president, has relatively little experience in Washington.

She, like President Obama, would come into the post with few political allies, a lack of experience and a Congress that has fractured into increasingly extreme positions.

I supported Obama over Clinton in 2008. The level of vitriol and rabid opposition to anything Obama has obscured what I feel to be his flaws. He lacked experience and political allies. Once in office, he veered toward the center.

He chose his financial advisers from the Wall Street and financial communities and, to date, the too-big-to-fail banks and Wall Street firms have not been punished for the actions that led to the Great Recession and have grown larger.

President Obama is not a natural politician and does not practice politics as a personal connection. The president lacks the fire and imagination of the candidate.

What does this have to do with Hillary Clinton? She has been a senator and secretary of state. She has been involved with politics on the state, federal and foreign policy levels. She has political allies, political savvy and can throw a figurative punch when it matters.

She has made mistakes, surely, and the right-wing attack machine and much of the country hates her with a passion second only to Barack Obama. But there is no one else who can run the country.

In a world where compromise has been defined as voting 100 percent for your opposition’s positions, I believe that Hillary Clinton has the experience and political will to lead this country and to slow the headlong pace toward the Reaganomic transfer of wealth and power to the top 1 percent.

She is by no means perfect. She is the best candidate and would make the best leader of any of the potential candidates that I see.

I expect to disagree with many of her decisions, but I firmly believe she can run the country and can lead it in a better direction than her political opposition.

Sometimes ideology is not enough. In these times, we need something more. We need a leader.

Don Lesser lives in Amherst.