When a patient needs brain surgery, the patient will likely choose a doctor who has years of experience. A patient will not choose a surgeon who has no surgical experience, and forsake the medically experienced and competent as medical insiders. Likewise an astronaut or cosmonaut who is scheduled to fly into space will feel more comfortable when the rocket has been worked on by experienced engineers, and will not dismiss them for being engineering insiders.
Hillary Clinton has a rich career with over three decades of experience of serving as a public servant in various capacities. I am certain you have heard of this argument before: lawyer, first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, senator from New York, and the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s career has given her a wealth of experience in understanding the workings of Washington.
One of her strengths, I’d argue is that she is a statesman before a politician or ideologue. A statesman’s job is to use public policy and the instruments of government to better the lives of as many citizens as possible while also respecting the rights and liberties of all citizens. This means using different policy prescriptions for evolving problems. A politician’s job is to demonstrate fealty to an ideology and win on charisma. An ideologue is the more extreme variant who is wedded to an ideology regardless of evidence or changing circumstances.
In some ways politics is more complex than brain surgery or rocket science. In brain surgery, the brain has essentially the same structure and a series of actions is likely to almost always yield the same result. The same is true in rocketry. In politics, the world is constantly evolving. Almost never is it possible to know for certain that a specific policy prescription will necessarily yield the desired outcome.
Hillary Clinton was raised in a staunchly Republican household, became a progressive in college, campaigned for the Bernie Sanders of her time, George McGovern, and then became a centrist politician. In her experience she has come to embrace an attitude that champions utility over ideological commitment. That is something that sets her apart from her challenger in the last Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders, but also Donald Trump. Sanders was an ideologue wedded to an ideology regardless of evidence or changing circumstances. Trump spouts out ideas to impress crowds and elicit cheers.
Clinton’s attitude is that we must pursue solutions, regardless of their ideological background, so long as they work and they improve the lives of people. To many people, this looks like dishonest flip-flopping. When her policy prescriptions are compared against the time period, be it in the 1970s when Keynesianism still reigned supreme, 1980s-2000s when neoclassical economics made a comeback, or now in the post financial crisis world where the wisdom of neoclassical economic thought has been shaken, we see a Hillary Clinton whose undergirding values and principles remain unchanged, that government must be used to improve people’s lives, but we see policy positions that adapt to the changing economy and changing world. That is the type of dynamic leader America needs, and that is why #ImWithHer.