Saturday, May 28, 2016

I want to vote for someone for president who can think things through

So, Donald Trump bailed out on a debate with Bernie Sanders. So did Hillary. Both of them are obviously scared to debate him. Perhaps they feel that they don't need any additional exposure to potential weaknesses since they've got their nominations sewn up, right?

Their willingness to break commitments to others is troubling. It's not just their willingness to break commitments that is bothersome. That's a personal problem that both of them will have to deal and probably already have had to many times.

Their lack of commitment to something as simple as a public debate shows us that neither Trump nor Clinton fully comprehend what their level of commitment means to the voters. Their lack of commitment shows that they're not really thinking things through before making a commitment.

I would love to see either one of them debate Bernie Sanders before the June 7th primaries. Sanders is ready and willing to show up for it. Hillary has said that a candidate should be willing to debate anytime, anywhere because, you know, debating is part of running for office. She chastised Obama for not being willing to debate her in 2008 and is now eating those words.

Trump had been in talks with the Sanders team for the last few days to set up a debate. For a day or so, it looked like it was going to happen. First it was "just a joke". Then Trump started talking about real money. Someone committed $1 million. Then another committed $10 million. Then a few more committed $20 million for the debate. Then Trump got cold feet.

First Trump said, "Debating with Sanders would be inappropriate." Then he said, to paraphrase, "I don't debate with candidates who don't win", reported the Washington Post. This after Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that the Democrats have rigged the primaries against him. In the same Washington Post article, they go on to help readers reconcile their feelings about Hillary Clinton's email scandal by quoting her at length.

Hillary says that if she could do it over she would. Well, she didn't. She admits that it was a mistake. What she doesn't admit is that for anyone else, her behavior would mean an immediate dismissal and very likely, prosecution. She would like it to be over so that she can focus on Donald Trump as if Bernie Sanders' campaign is dead. The email scandal is not over. Far from it. Sanders is crisscrossing California like there is no tomorrow and we can all see the polling gap narrowing to less than the margin of error between them. Her nomination is no longer a sure thing.

When Hillary Clinton set up her private email server in her basement at her home, did she think things through? Given the current criminal investigation into her use of a private email address and server, we can safely say the answer is no. When she voted for the Iraq War, did she think things through? Given the disastrous results, no.

Sanders led the opposition against the Iraq War and saw the same information she did. Even if there might have been cause for war, Sanders has been clear that war would have been a last resort. Sanders had already thought it through and made his concerns known: what happens in the vacuum created when Saddam Hussein is gone? Anyone who voted for that war wasn't thinking it through.

Clinton and Trump have both demonstrated some unpredictable behavior around commitments. Trump bobs and weaves. Clinton tries to be predictable, but she seems to think that she owes nothing to the American people after backing out of a debate she promised she'd do. Neither one of them show the patience to think things through as president. They have no compunction about being inconsiderate to Bernie Sanders and his supporters. How about the people they know?

During his time in Congress, Sanders has shown the patience and willingness to think things through. If he can't figure it out, he asks for help. As the Amendment King in Congress, he's demonstrated his commitment and willingness to work with others. From day one of his campaign, he has said over and over that he can't make the changes many of us want alone. He needs help from all of us.

This willingness to think things through is the defining difference between Sanders, Trump and Clinton. This is why I still support Sanders for president.
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