Editorials

Clinton is the clear choice for president

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton

Of the candidates for president of the United States, only Hillary Clinton has the experience and temperament for the job.

The Democratic nominee — as a young lawyer, first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state — has championed the rights of children, women and families in the U.S. and abroad, worked in a bipartisan way to expand educational opportunities and access to health care for everyone from poor children to 9/11 responders and survivors.

Such priorities are the true building blocks of a great country and a peaceful world.

Clinton’s long experience in public life provides insight into how she would conduct herself as president. For example, in May, she spent two days in Appalachia — including a two-hour session at an Ashland restaurant listening to the ideas and concerns of about two dozen residents.

There may be emotional satisfaction in shouting about a “war on coal” and blaming Appalachia’s decades-old problems on President Barack Obama. But when the noise dies down and the election is over, sound bites will do nothing to help rebuild the region.

Clinton has committed to a Marshall Plan for Appalachia and said she will assign her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to see that it gets done.

In Ashland she also promised to protect the health and pension benefits so critical to retired miners and to fund research to preserve coal as part of the country’s energy supply, while investing in creating new jobs in the region. She committed to creating a “trade prosecutor” to stop foreign companies that flood the American market with cheap steel, undercutting domestic producers and idling their workers.

Some complain that Clinton would continue many Obama economic policies. Bring it on.

The United States has experienced one of the strongest and most consistent recoveries from the Great Recession among developed countries. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international economic tracking group, found: unemployment has fallen to pre-recession levels; inflation is down; the financial sector is more stable; and more people have health insurance.

Challenges remain, including income inequality and the crushing debt too many students take on. Although Republican nominee Donald Trump has successfully tapped into some of the frustration felt by those still struggling, Clinton has a better plan to broaden prosperity and provide relief for students and their families.

Clinton is also committed to reducing gun deaths in the U.S., which now equal automobile deaths. She supports comprehensive background checks, including for gun shows and all online sales, and prohibiting gun sales to people on the terrorist watch list. An overwhelming majority of Americans, including gun owners, support these proposals.

Clinton has shown a deep understanding of another threat taking too many lives: drug abuse and addiction. Her proposals include teaching adolescents about the dangers of drug abuse, better education for medical professionals who prescribe opioids, increasing access to drug treatment and recovery programs, and assuring that first responders have naloxone, the drug that can reverse the effects of overdoses and save lives.

Her work for more than two decades to expand access to health care makes her the best suited to guide the country through necessary adjustments in the Affordable Care Act — without kicking out the millions of Americans, including the half million in Kentucky, who have joined the ranks of the insured.

In this and many other areas, Trump has offered only simplistic, demagogic approaches. His campaign has been little but a long series of hate-spewing, offensive and inaccurate attacks on almost everyone.

He has promoted racial and religious intolerance, his characterizations of women are offensive and unacceptable. His policy statements are so superficial and shift so often as to be meaningless. He has said almost nothing about addressing drug addiction.

Trump presents himself as an outsider but he’s just a novice with no experience in public service. He displays the temperament of a dictator not a leader and has vowed to undermine First Amendment free speech protections, a foundation of our democracy.

There is no evidence that Trump would have either the desire or ability to engage in the compromise and negotiation required to be an effective president.

Clinton, like every candidate, is far from perfect. She can seem wooden and humorless. She sometimes sees truth as a flexible proposition that she can bend to her ambitions or goals. Her lack of transparency just creates bigger problems, such as the controversy over her use of a private email server to handle State Department business.

An FBI investigation of about 30,000 of her emails discovered three that had been marked as classified but found no sign the account had been hacked and no criminal wrongdoing. She has acknowledged using the private server was a mistake but the issue, and her handling of it, eroded the public support she had when she left that job.

Still, her strengths far outweigh her flaws. In this election, she is the only choice for voters concerned about the future of Kentucky and our nation.

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