Op-Ed: The Case for Hillary Clinton for President by Richard Calkins

In a recent editorial in the Washington Post, Hillary Clinton was described as “a knowledgeable politician who has been vetted many times over. She understands and respects the U.S. Constitution. She knows policy. She can cite accomplishments in the public interest, such as pressing through an important children’s health insurance program. As a senator, she was respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. She completed four years as secretary of state to generally positive reviews. She began her campaign by rolling out a series of serious policy papers.”

As president, Hillary will have the opportunity to appoint possibly four Supreme Court Justices who will uphold Roe v. Wade, restore the full Voting Rights Act, overturn Citizens United, and allow for serious and humane immigration reform creating a path for citizenship, among other things. She will expand on the Affordable Care Act, commit to full funding of Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights, protect Medicare and Social Security, greatly enhance veterans’ medical treatment, and fully fund efforts to deal with the Zika virus, Ebola, and other threats.

Economically, she will work to fill tax loopholes that allow businesses (and Donald Trump) to shield their income from taxes. She will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. She will develop a jobs program that will address America’s crumbling infrastructure of highways, bridges, rail transport, and airport security.

She will support a equal pay for women with a bill that will have the teeth to enforce. She will continue to lower deficit spending, as Obama has done, and lower interest rates on student loans. She will expand on Obama’s extraordinary economic record of 73 consecutive months of job growth, dropping unemployment to 4.7 percent, increasing consumer confidence, thus increasing the stock market by more than 11,000 points.

Environmentally, Hillary will continue efforts and research for alternative energy sources, reducing the need for foreign oil. She will lead, as Obama has done, international efforts to reduce pollution and address the reality of global warming. On the home front, she will work to eliminate voter suppression laws, ensure full civil rights for the LGBT community in every state, and reinstitute the assault weapons ban and tighten background checks on gun sales.

By contrast, Donald Trump has no set agenda for any of the above, not a problem for someone with no fixed beliefs. He would be the candidate with a museum of bigotry, including launching his campaign by calling Mexicans “rapists” and denigrating a federal judge litigating a case based on his ethnicity. He would propose banning Muslims, clearly unconstitutional. He would build a wall on our southern border, and deport 11 million immigrants, the latter in violation of our constitutional rights of due process and search and seizure.

He wants to jail women for having abortions, called Megyn Kelly, Carly Fiorina, Rosie O’Donnell and many others bimbos, pigs, ugly, dogs, slobs, and made crude remarks about menstrual cycles. He condones violence at his rallies, has motivated white supremacist groups, and appeals to the basest instincts of his supporters. He is a pathological liar, as has been demonstrated several times on a daily basis.

Hillary Clinton is supremely qualified, as is her running mate, Tim Kaine, to be president, and has been long in the political arena. They are both competent, knowledgeable, and have great integrity. Donald Trump, by contrast, is bigoted and ignorant. He’s a danger to the American way of life, and to our republic.

Richard Calkins is the immediate past president of the Talbot County Democratic Forum

The GOP: On a Path to Suicide by Richard Calkins

Within the course of two days last week, House Republicans have clearly demonstrated their contempt and disinterest in actual governance and disdain for lower income and immigrant Americans.

On Wednesday, July 10, the GOP-lead House decided to refuse to consider the bipartisan Senate immigration bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants. They refuse to hold a conference committee with the Senate to reconcile differences. Says Republican Representative Tom Cotton of Arkansas, reform “should not be handed to a conference committee so that they can be reconciled with the Senate bill,” he said in the Wall Street Journal Thursday. As New York Times observed, “A refusal to sit at a bargaining table is another way of refusing to govern.” John McCain calls such an approach “wacko.” But the GOP seems to be hell-bent on harming immigrants, poor and lower income Americans, fearing actual compromise that has defined leadership in this country.

The House GOP wants to pick apart the Senate bill, rather than dealing with it comprehensively. In doing so, their obvious goal is to send immigration reform to a slow death, although polls clearly show that Americans want comprehensive, not piecemeal reform. Moreover, The Congressional Budget Office has said that reform will cut nearly $1 trillion from the deficit over two decades, and vastly increase GDP and the collection of payroll and other taxes. But the GOP’s obsession with the “amnesty” canard they’re pedaling has blinded them, even though the Senate bill’s path to citizenship is thirteen years, full of provisos that hardly makes it easy to achieve.

But wait-it gets worse. On Thursday, July 11, the House passed a farm bill stripped of any reference to the Food Stamp program, which has been included in farm bills for 40 years, since 1973. Ignoring the fact the program has lifted nearly 5 million out of poverty in 2012 and returns nearly $2 for every $1 dispensed in the program, the ideologically driven GOP, says The New York Times, has “contempt for anyone desperate enough to rely on government to help buy groceries.” Make no mistake-food stamps will be provided, but as conservative columnist Kathleen Parker said “Republicans managed to create yet another partisan problem where none existed,” and have adopted “self-immolation tactics.”

In extracting food stamps from the farm bill, GOP Representative Pete Sessions of Texas said “What we have carefully done is exclude some extraneous pieces.” Say what? Extraneous? 47 million people on food stamps is extraneous? The numbers of Americans on food stamps have increased largely due to the GOP’s attempts at austerity and cutbacks in programs for the poor, and their attempts to further subjugate the less fortunate to their ideological intransigence is insensitive, and grossly unfair, and inconsistent with the values of this country.

Parker goes on to say that what her fellow “Republicans are selling appeals to an ever-diminishing market that doesn’t even include their erstwhile allies in business and industry.” In insisting on legislating to appease this diminishing white conservative base, it’s fair to say that the only time Republicans will ever see the White House again is by taking the daily tour.

Richard Calkins is President of the Talbot County Democratic Forum