Closing Argument: Hillary Is The Real Change Agent In This Race

The hope and change we voted for 8 years ago goes on: don't stop now!

The hope and change that Obama wrought is definitely still a "work in progress." That's where Hillary Clinton comes in. Hillary is the ultimate policy wonk, the superstar of nuts and bolts, "make it work" government. But make no mistake: although she may not duplicate Obama's soaring rhetoric, her vision is his vision. Meanwhile, her extreme competence, her very capacity to see through implementation of the very hardest things, will continue to build on the structures that Obama has put into place.

And that is why this is uniquely Hillary's time--Hillary's moment in history.

Beginning almost exactly a year ago, this author has been writing a series of columns debunking a variety of myths--and outright lies--that have been spun about Hillary Clinton: about Iraq, about Libya, about State Department email practices and protocols, about what "classification" really means, about the extraordinary, and uncorrupted, work of the Clinton Foundation. You can see, and read, them all right here:

But what bothers this writer more profoundly than any of the above is the bizarre claim that Donald Trump is the voice of "change" in this election. If he does represent change, it is that of a regressive mutiny: change that would take us back to a time of greater inequality, of alienated communities, and of unfair access to government services, self-improvement, and the ladder of opportunity. Not to mention change to a coarser, more divided polity.

I'll let you in on a little secret: remember that "hope and change" thing many of us voted for eight years ago? About a Presidential candidate who would deliver more peace, more prosperity, more equality, and more respect around the world? Despite what you have heard from all the naysayers, Barack Obama--against harsh foes and terrible odds--has kept his word.

Clawing us out from under the Great Recession, Obama passed a stimulus and saved an iconic American industry (among a myriad of other actions) so that we now have under 5% unemployment and we're gaining the same number of jobs each month that we were losing when he first came into office. Overseas, we have no major ground forces committed to combat anywhere on the planet. (And can there be any doubt that, working with our allies, we will ultimately defeat ISIS, along with any other iterations of radical jihadism?) In the last eight years, we have made important strides in regaining the respect and cooperation of our allies that had previously been lost.

Domestically, the President's brokering of Dodd-Frank (bringing the most significant changes to U.S. financial regulation since the Great Depression), creating the first-ever Consumer Protection Bureau, and affording all comers access to health care, has helped to foster basic economic equality. And we have become a more perfect union in other ways, due to big strides this President has made to improve equality for women, LGBT people and other minorities.

Given the vitriol and obstructionist tactics of his political enemies, it is a wonder that our President has been so successful--but the hope and change that Obama wrought is definitely still a "work in progress." That's where Hillary Clinton comes in. Hillary is the ultimate policy wonk, the superstar of nuts and bolts, "make it work" government. But make no mistake: although she may not duplicate Obama's soaring rhetoric, her vision is his vision. Meanwhile, her extreme competence, her very capacity to see through implementation of the very hardest things, will continue to build on the structures that Obama has put into place.

And that is why this is uniquely Hillary's time--Hillary's moment in history.

Domestically and on the economy: Hillary has a "first 100 day" plan to boldly invest in real, solid jobs in a way we haven't seen since World War II. First and foremost, this means infrastructure, such as fixing the crumbling roads, bridges and airports Americans have to navigate on a daily basis. But it also means investing in research and technology, small businesses and clean energy in ways that will keep the country growing for years to come. Hillary also has solid, real plans to make college debt free (and help those already carrying student debt), raise the minimum wage, strengthen Wall Street reforms, ensure that the wealthiest Americans and biggest companies pay their fair share in taxes, and introduce long-overdue family-friendly labor rules such as ensuring equal pay, paid leave, and helping with the spiraling costs of child care and elder care.

Speaking of health care, Hillary will improve on Obamacare. Are there flaws in the President's signature health care system? You bet there are. When new, history-making systems are introduced into America's complex political and social ecosystem (think Social Security or the Great Society legislation of the 1960s), further legislative amendments and tweaks are always required to make that new system run well, and work for everyone. But instead of applying the needed fixes, one of our houses of Congress has merely voted to repeal it--dozens of times, year after year. Based on her track record in the Senate, Hillary is well-positioned to repair Obamacare in real and meaningful ways.

Both overseas and at home, Hillary will call on her deep reservoir of knowledge, experience and the talent around her to keep our nation--and world--safe from terrorism and other bad actors, wherever they are found. She will continue the effort to remove ISIS's strongholds in Iraq and Syria. (This writer predicts that one year from today, we will not even be talking about ISIS as an ongoing threat.) Hillary will work with our allies to dismantle terror networks and alleviate cross-border threats, while also hardening our defenses for home-grown terrorism. She gets into "the weeds" on this stuff, exemplified by her determination to work with our tech companies to fight jihadist propaganda online and intercept ISIS communications and Russian hackers alike.

It is true that Hillary may display a more muscular foreign policy than has our current President; she will strongly consider options such as setting up safe-zones in Syria and doing everything she can to take out the ISIS leadership. This is because our war on terrorism is personal to her: as a New York Senator, she set foot on Ground Zero on September 12, 2001 and has worked tirelessly to get lower Manhattan, and countless victims, the relief they needed. Overseas, she has witnessed, almost first-hand, the genocides in Rwanda and Yugoslavia; so she will be tough when needed to stop such atrocities, wherever they may occur.

Finally, she will pick up and carry the ball, as close to the finish line as humanly possible, to bring this country together--and to help make for a more perfect union. Equal pay for women, employment non-discrimination for the LGBT community, and guaranteed citizenship for "dreamers" (the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants) are just a few of the things she will achieve to bring this country together.

If all of the above doesn't count as a "vision," then I simply don't know what would.

In sum, for those who care, and for progressives everywhere, Hillary Clinton is the guarantor of continuing the forward-looking path that has been blazed by the likes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy--and immortalized by the words of that most recent of change-makers, Ted Kennedy:

For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

You can see all that Hillary Clinton has to offer our country at: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/

Jeffrey Marburg-Goodman served as a senior legal counsel in the Obama Administration. The opinions expressed here are his own.