Friday, October 21, 2016

The Political Desk: Presidency

To absolutely no one's surprise, I'm with her. Hillary Clinton for President.

However, I have changed my opinion over time. When this thing started, I was sort of "Meh, Hillary". OK, fine,  Hillary. Hillary, if you insist. I'd like a firebrand. Mr. Sanders has that emotional engagement that attracted me. But if it must be Hillary, sure, that'll do.

That's what I thought at the time.

But over the course of the campaign my opinion of her has increased. The presidential campaign is a set of gates, hoops, and tests. Some of them are important. Some of them are revealing. Some of them are damned silly. But over the course of the course of the process, you get a feeling for the candidate, their choices, their support staff, their wisdom, their determination. Almost every time such a test has been offered, she's passed. Hard-fought primaries and caucuses. Smooth and professional convention. Solid, reliable, and likable Veep. Strong performance of the debates. Goofs? Yep. October Surprises? Uh-huh. Deplorable truth-telling? That happens. Yet every time she rises and exceeds.

If Hillary Clinton was in your D&D group, she'd be the one who came prepared. She not only has her own set of books, but dice and extra blank character sheets for those who forgot theirs. She remembers where to find things in the Player's Handbook, and knows what the previous editions rules are. She has a plan for taking down the dragon, depending on its color. She plays 5E rogue because that bad boy is OP, and knows how she would fix it. She will drive the DM crazy.

The worst I can say is that she's a politician. She looks at problems from all sides. She has an organized campaign. She knows when to pivot. When she gets in, she will undoubtedly do things I do not approve of. There will be a lot of holding of the feet to the fire, of gently slapping the administration against the back of the head until they come around. There will be that rugby scrum that is politics. I'm good with that.

And all the folk who have been hating on her for decades? They're not going away. Conservative radio hosts, whose jobs have been imperiled by a rising economy, will have a comeback. Investigations will bloom on everything she does. This will be the most scrutinized administration in history. And I'm good with that as well. Everyone complains about the hypocrisy of the GOP going after the motes in the Dem's eyes while there are literal beams in their own, but the flip side of this is that we expect more from Democrats, and they tend to deliver.

The other guys? After you scrape away all the racism, dogwhistles, insults, thin-skinned tweets, misogyny, and outright abuse from Mr. Trump, there's not a lot there. Woefully unprepared and temperamentally unsuited, his positions are vaporous and shifty. Every test forced upon him has been a disaster - his convention a joke, his debates hip-deep in lies, his vice presidential choice the guy who almost forced GenCon out of Indy. He's the best his party could offer and he's just not very good. And that's BEFORE you add back on all the racism, dogwhistles, insults, thin-skinned tweets, misogny, and outright abuse.

At the gaming table, he's the brat, the loudmouth. Yeah, he can quote Monty Python but he's always shouting lines from the Dead Alewives as loud as he can. And you're really suspicious how he legitimately rolled all his stats at 14+ (Ms. Clinton breaks in here to note that the standard array is a smarter and fairer methodology for character creation).

Which gets us to Mr. Johnson. And you know, I'm going to break tradition and tell you that if his policies sound good to you, go vote for him. He is the most establishment Republican of the major candidates. His politics don't fit with mine - he's that breed of Libertarian that endorses handouts for the wealthy and austerity for the masses. But to be frank, at least he has positions I can reasonably disagree with.

And much is made of his brain-fart over Aleppo, such that "Aleppo moment" takes its place with "Dean Scream" as a way of marginalizing a promising candidate. But what's important is that he admitted fault and went forward. It feels weird to say that admitting you screwed up is a virtue, but there you have it.

At the D&D table, he's the guy whose opnions you disagree with, but who is always there for the game. He's got experience, and if he prefers 2nd Edition but has a homebrew 4th Edition patch he's been noodling around with. He's the solid dwarf fighter.

And then there is Dr. Stein. In D&D terms she's the player that shows up every four years and wonders why everyone else is higher level. I want to like the Greens, but the anti-science end of the spectrum just rubs me the wrong way. I can see how if you were hard-core fans of Mr. Sanders it can appeal with her anti-big-business, but she doesn't have the experience and chops of the Senator from Vermont.

The other guys? Yeah, give them a cruise in the voter's guide. There are TWO Socialist parties in the mix - a Socialist Worker's Party and a Socialism and Liberation Party. Both have candidates with more real political experience than Dr. Stein and Mr. Trump. If you think that the GOP is insufficiently crazy, then you might want to look at the Constitution Party, that hates the UN, the Gold Standard, and the fact they took Gunsmoke off the air. So there are other options here. Who knows, you might find something to your liking before you write in "Mickey Mouse".

I disagree with the comments that if you don't vote for a major candidate, you're helping the OTHER major candidate win. The people who help the OTHER candidate win are those who vote for the OTHER candidate. That's followed by the larger group of those who do not vote at all. I'm good for you guys showing up, and even if you decide that they ALL should go stick their head in a pig, I would rather have you not vote for the President and then vote on the rest of the ballot than not vote at all. I may mock you, but I won't blame you. So go vote.

More later,