Tuesday, July 18, 2017

President Hillary Clinton: Boring? Maybe, but also Linear and Productive

Hillary Clinton is a workhorse, not a show pony. Her nose-to-the-grindstone style is well-known. That's what we voted for! Yes, it would have been boring ... and productive. Hypotheticals are not productive. Woulda, shoulda, coulda gets us nowhere. The irony is that having brought the three-ring circus to town, the Trump team persists in its contention that all the mindless activity represents movement in some direction while it is only a variety of acts going in circles.

Yes, as POTUS, Hillary would have been boring, wonky, policy-oriented. What I loved from the getgo about Hillary is that she is linear. She would have lectured us on the details and explained the data. She is intersectional. We would have learned stuff and would have learned how stuff interrelates. We always do when Hillary speaks. We would have moved forward. I would have taken that in a New York minute rather than what we have now: a clown car, show ponies, and twisty acrobats all performing simultaneously under a dark big top. I always hated the circus because who could keep track of all that?

In recent years, there has been an interesting trend in international relations research: a renewed focus on the role that individual leaders play in foreign policy outcomes. This runs counter to traditional international relations scholarship, which argues that the system imposes powerful structural constraints on individual leader behavior. Over the past decade, however, an increasing number of scholars have focused on the first image, suggesting multiple ways in which individual foreign policy leaders affect their country’s approach to international relations.Donald Trump’s electoral college victory in November has accelerated this research even further. At a minimum, he has sounded different from, say, a garden-variety Republican on a number of fronts. But if Hillary Clinton had won 100,000 more votes in the salient states, would things be all that different? This kind of counterfactual analysis is also a crucial part of political science and foreign policy analysis.Read more >>>>