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    Sunday, July 21, 2024

    Hillary Clinton is the candidate ready to lead

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a Women for Hillary fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency in Washington Oct. 5, 2016. (Andrew Harnik/AP Photo)

    Our next president will confront considerable challenges.

    The U.S. economy has grown steadily but only modestly since the Great Recession that began in the months before the current administration took office. Many Americans are frustrated at the pace of growth. Continuing a decades-old trend, low- and middle-income wages have remained stagnant with continued transference of wealth to the richest 1 percent.

    A president’s ability to steer the economy is overplayed and the blame assessed to the president for poor performance overwrought. Yet that is where, as President Truman noted, the buck stops. And so it is left to the incoming president to address those frustrations, even as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and the economy tries to maintain balance without the training wheels the low rates provided.

    This presidential campaign has revealed racial and ethnic divisions deeper than many of us appreciated. It has disabused us of any conclusions that the election of a black president had introduced a post-racial society. Work in that regard remains and picking the right leader is critical.

    As great as those domestic tasks may be, the foreign policy challenges are arguably greater still.

    In Asia, China is extending its reach with manmade islands and well-placed investments. Led by the pernicious Vladimir Putin, the wounded Bear, Russia, its economy damaged by low oil prices, seeks to exert and expand its influence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Meanwhile, Islamic terrorists continue their borderless war on the West and all who do not share their warped beliefs.

    A changing climate threatens to disrupt civilization if left unchecked. A landmark, but fragile international agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions and slow climate change was negotiated under the Obama administration. It will take wise U.S. leadership to work towards its implementation.

    For all these reasons, U.S. voters cannot afford to elect an inexperienced president or an irrational one, which defines the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. They need a realist, a seasoned and tested leader. This is why, given the available options, the best choice is clear — Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate.

    Why Clinton

    In her eight years in the U.S. Senate, Clinton had a reputation of working across the aisle.

    “I had an excellent working relationship with her. She was on speed dial. Our offices would constantly talk. We never had to worry about Hillary one-upping you or anything. She was very, very good,” recalled Congressman Peter King of New York, a Republican still in office, when speaking to NPR.

    A New York Daily News editorial noted “her low-key, good-faith deal brokering … helped produce bipartisan legislation combating human trafficking and guaranteeing full payment of bonuses to wounded veterans, plus more.”

    After the experience of seeing the rise of the alt-right and the nomination of Trump, mainstream Republicans in Congress may be ready to reconsider their tactic in the Obama years of denying a Democratic president any policy victory. If so, in Clinton they will find a president with the skill set to find the path to compromise that is necessary to  get things done.

    Her election will cement into place the Affordable Care Act, which has provided access to health care for millions of the previously uninsured. Attention should then turn, finally, to taking steps to improve the law, as has been necessary with every major piece of social legislation.

    The deficiencies in the law are coming into play next year and the following years. Insurance costs are hitting the lower and middle class and small businesspeople the hardest, those the law was intended to most help. It is an opportunity for Republicans to address their biggest criticisms of the law and Clinton, we are confident, will listen.

    In another area open to compromise, Clinton will endorse tax relief, but of a kind that eases the burden on the middle-class and small business, not fattens the wallets of the wealthiest.

    She proposes immigration policies that would bring those who came here illegally, but who have otherwise proved to be law-abiding and productive neighbors, fully into the economy and civic life. At the same time, she would improve enforcement of visa deadlines, step up border security and enforce deportation orders. That’s sensible immigration reform.

    A Clinton administration would support expanded community policing and better training to shrink the divide, where it exists, between police and the communities they serve and move us closer to color-blind enforcement of law.

    The Democratic nominee's abandonment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal was disappointing. It was a political calculation, the candidate recognizing that support for free trade had become a liability in the current populist environment. But her record shows Clinton realizes that global engagement, not the "America First" isolation espoused by the other major party nominee, is vital to both the nation's economic future and its security. America can compete globally if its workforce is provided with the education and skill sets necessary for this technologically demanding age. Clinton recognizes this and has set it as a goal of her education policies.

    Foreign Policy

    On foreign policy, there is no comparison between Clinton, a former secretary of state, and the other presidential contenders. Clinton knows the world and its powerbrokers. She has demonstrated the ability to use diplomacy if possible and the fortitude to use military options if necessary.

    Clinton led the effort that achieved unprecedented international sanctions against Iran, forcing it to the table and leading to the deal that saw the cessation of Iran's nuclear weapons program. Confronting the seemingly hopeless, Secretary Clinton's renewal of diplomatic relations with Myanmar helped persuade its junta to adopt democratic reforms.

    She is not a flawless candidate. No candidate is. But neither is Clinton the lawless scoundrel her opponents have tried to concoct.

    True, her use of a private, unsecured server while secretary showed a major lapse of judgment and revealed a tendency to be too controlling. But a thorough FBI investigation found no crime. Clinton, her former president husband, Bill Clinton, and daughter, Chelsea, must sever connections with the Clinton Foundation to avoid any appearance of impropriety. The sooner, the better.

    And yes, she shares the blame for foreign policy failures in Libya and Syria. However, in our view her push, early in the civil war, to arm those Syrian rebels most closely aligned with western values — though rejected by the Obama White House — was the right position.

    No easy solutions

    The path forward is difficult. The issues are complex.

    Americans must reject promises that industrial jobs can suddenly be restored by renegotiating trade deals, a tactic that instead invites economically damaging trade wars. They must reject a huckster who says he can quickly dispatch of our enemies with a secret plan. They must reject the un-American notions of rounding up millions of people for mass deportation or banning, because of irrational fears, members of a specific religious group from entering our country.  They must reject a candidate who ignores the scientific evidence of man-made climate change and who would roll back hard-won reproductive rights for women.

    Instead they should elect the candidate who has demonstrated she is ready for the job. The Day endorses Hillary Clinton for president.

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