Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What he said...

Publius over at Obsidian Wings captures perfectly many of my own objections to Hillary, and why they are not, in most cases, about her...but what surrounds her. [my emphasis added to the passages that particularly strike a chord]:
When the primary fumes pass, we’ll all come around to Clinton, especially compared to the GOP monstrosities. But with Clinton, my perception is that none of this inspired future is possible. Hers will be a competent, moderate, K Street-friendly administration. But I want more – and I think the nation could get more. Thus, my frustration with Clinton’s victory probably has less to do with her personally, than with the fact that I see a very different sort of future slipping away if she wins...

First, and most fundamentally, I think her actions on the national security front disqualify her. The Dems should not reward radio silence on Iraq, torture, etc. during the years it mattered with a presidential nomination. Period. [...] If you make an insincere political gamble, you have to pay that bill if you lose.

Second, and relatedly, I have fears about her national security judgment going forward. Specifically, I fear that she’s so afraid of looking liberal that she either won’t attempt bold change (e.g., Cuba, Israel/Palestine), or will be bullied into doing something foolish (Iran). Her past positions are strong evidence of what she’ll do in the future – see, e.g., Kyl-Lieberman – and it’s not good.

Third, on domestic policy, I think she’s got all the right stuff – she’s brilliant and has great policy proposals. But the fear is that those proposals will just collect dust in the White House policy shop. I’ve seen nothing since 1994 that indicates the slightest willingness to take political risk for something she believes in. She’s too cautious and scared (just like Kerry). Turning back to Obama briefly, I’m more convinced that he’ll at least try to aim high. I also believe that an Obama victory would create more favorable underlying social and political conditions for real progressive change.

Fourth, I detest her administration-in-waiting. [...] I’m not really talking about the Secretary of State, but the next tier down – i.e., the players who will run the executive branch on the micro-DC level. [...] DC is full of exiled Clintonites. They’ve been biding their time in DC law firms and consulting shops getting wealthy. If Clinton wins, they’ll simply move their offices across town and re-assume control of the government’s purse. They’ve had a full decade to become more entwined with K Street interests...

I couldn't say it better myself, so I'm happy to just lift it. I'll add that I do NOT think she will be freed from the cautiousness she's exhibited as a Senator once she reaches the White House. I think everything she's done for the last ten years has been in preparation for becoming President, and the Clintons are surrounded by legions of people equally invested. None of that will change in Janary 2009 because she finally is President. They/she will still need to win a second term.

Yes, to a degree that is true of all the candidates, but she embodies it and embraces it. Seeing Terry Mcaulliffe's face again this weekend for the first time since Howard Dean replaced him as DNC chair was like stepping in dog shit. That guy should have been tied to a tree and left for the wolves, but he'd be appointed Chief of Staff in a Clinton Administration. It's the scum that will float back in in Hillary's wake that has long been one of the biggest reasons I thought she must be stopped (aside from her electability challenges). My excitement for the possibility of Obama is more recent, but Hillary's key flaws have been around for years, and she shows NO sign of recognizing them, never mind correcting them.

22 comments:

Mike said...

Agree entirely. But I don't agree that it has nothing to do with "her," as opposed to what her administration/presidency would be. Not sure I get that.

Her term would be the way Publius describes because she's shallow, selfish, ambitious, and devoid of any real message/policy/ideals.

steves said...

As someone who is firmly entrenched in the independent camp and has right leanings, you may want to take this with a grain of salt, but here are my thoughts.

I agree with most of the fears expressed. Like Romney, she seems like she will say anything to get elected.

"I fear that she’s so afraid of looking liberal that she either won’t attempt bold change (e.g., Cuba, Israel/Palestine), or will be bullied into doing something foolish (Iran)."

I'd love to see normal relations with Cuba, but this would piss off a good portion of Florida. As for boldness in the middle east, I am skeptical of that. Haven't we had enough of that in the last decade? Over at Firedoglake, they echo my concern:

"I'm disappointed that the Democratic front-runners aren't articulating anything closely resembling a progressive foreign policy. The articles they wrote for Foreign Affairs are not encouraging."

No kidding. Obama even references Kennedy, who I doubt would have been fondly remembered for foreign policy if he hadn't been assassinated.

"an Obama victory would create more favorable underlying social and political conditions for real progressive change."

This is what may scare away independent voters who are more moderate. For instance, I am very interested in gun rights and second amendment jurisprudence. Some of the democratic candidates seem pretty neutral on this subject and others, like Bill Richardson, are fairly pro-gun. Obama, in the past, has supported a ban on any semi-auto and has called for national ban on concealed carry.

michelline said...

Excellent post. You've managed to do a very nice job of capturing the disquiet many feel about a Hillary presidency, without attacking the person. There are many (like your friend mike here) who just hate her because... I have no idea. Maybe it's cool to just hate her. Your analysis actually is well thought out and dispassionate. It won't make me change my vote, :) but it does broaden my horizons.

Kudos to you for (what was to me at least) a very thoughtful and thought provoking analysis.

Mr Furious said...

I don't agree that it has nothing to do with "her," as opposed to what her administration/presidency would be. Not sure I get that.

There is a slight dischord there, but let me try and explain...there is no shortage of people who have a problem with her because she's "Hillary Clinton." That she's viewed as power-hungry, manipulative, and calculating...all of which are basically true for any major league politician, but distorted on her because she's a woman, and because she was assigned a certain villainess role in the 90s that she will never escape.

On the flip side she has garnered an unfair amount of worship and adulation that I don't think she has earned, either.

I try to look at her candidacy without either of those lenses.

I DO think that the people she surrounds herself with, and the degree that she has staked out risk-averse positions on issues does NOT reflect well on her. It might not reflect her beliefs or her personal position, but if she casts her vote on it that way, it's the same thing. No, actually it's worse.

I suppose when you boil it down, I DO have a problem with her, I just like to think it's a result of deeper analysis and thought than the visceral reactions from so many others...

Mr Furious said...

I should also add, that over the last week or so my opinion of her has been in a steady decline.

Mr Furious said...

Read your FDL link, steves. I don't agree entirely with their conclusions...

In all three cases (even Hillary) I read "rebuild" the military as "repair or regroup", not splurge. And I don't think any of them are prone to a headlong Bushian foreign policy.

Smitty said...

Sorry steves; I too have to disagree with FDL's conclusions. We can have a well-funded military so long as it's not used in, to coin Mr. F., a Bushian fashion. I'm not afraid of nor do I think having a sizeable, well-funded military is a bad thing and I don't think it's a reason to condemn any of the Dem candidates. There are plenty of other reasons.

Foreign policy proposals and military spending can be two separate thoughts.

steves said...

I agree Smitty. I don't think it is conclusive, by any stretch, but some of the language used makes me concerned about Obama and what he would like to do as part of an overall strategy. Hillary was more vague and Edwards the most mild. I certainly wouldn't say they are probe to Bush-like foreign policy at this point. That would just be plain mean.

Based on what I have read in other publications, I still think Edwards has some good ideas and that he would be the best, in terms of foreign policy, of all the remaining Democratic candidates. I will readily admit that this is mostly based on gut instinct and I have been wrong before.

Smitty said...

I didn't know if you caught what my wife and I said in your comments on your Off The Map post, but the short-sitedness of the Dems in agreeing to go along with the Republicans' lead on moving Michigan's primary date is staggering enough thaty Mark Brewer, the Dem Party Chair, ought to lose his job over it. There are already rumblings.

steves said...

Here is an example from Obama:

"To empower forces of moderation, America must make every effort to export opportunity -- access to education and health care, trade and investment -- and provide the kind of steady support for political reformers and civil society that enabled our victory in the Cold War. "

That sounds nice, but how is that different from exporting democracy. From what little foreign travel I have done, one thing that has stood out is that many around the world view us as arrogant because they get the sense that we "know what is best" for everyone else and want to impose our values on others.

As to the cold war support of certain groups, while it may have had good intentions, we also ended up supporting dictators like Pinoche, a group that became the Taliban, and the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

I am certainly not suggesting that we never give aid to developing countries, but I would like to see more caution.

Rob said...

This should probably be a separate post, but I don't have a blog...

I wish this was a question I wouldn't have to ask, but here goes.

Do you really believe that when push comes to shove, Independent Middle America will vote for an African American or a Woman?

I think it's great (as a start anyway) to finally have a female and an African American this prominently involved in a Presidential election.

Do you really have faith that people out there won't vote for the white guy?

Heck, they didn't even vote for Kerry and they already knew how lousy Bush was.

I know it is not an issue with the people who comment here, it's the unseen masses out there. I just don't think we've come this far.

(and i hope and pray that I am wrong)

Rob

Mr Furious said...

I hear what you're saying, Rob...I guess we'll find out.

Toast said...

Her term would be the way Publius describes because she's shallow, selfish, ambitious, and devoid of any real message/policy/ideals.

You know, Mike? You talk about Hillary the way David Bossie does. The way the crew at the American Spectator does. The way Richard Mellon Scaife's goons do. It's a sick, foaming-at-the-mouth hatred. You impute motives to her you have no knowledge of. You say she has no ideals and no agenda when her biography paints a very different picture. I can understand and grapple with Furious' anti-Hillary position because it seems fairly rational. Your antipathy towards her is something else entirely.

Heather said...

I agree completely with the K-Street comment; I lived and worked in Maryland/DC for 10 years and they're all just waiting in the wings... armed with K-street interests. It scares the hell out of me.

Toast said...

and because she was assigned a certain villainess role in the 90s that she will never escape.

She was "assigned" that role by crazy-ass wingers and their lickspittle allies in the press. It's one thing to hear it from them. Hearing it echoed by liberals is disgusting.

Mr Furious said...

Hearing it echoed by liberals is disgusting.

Qué? Take it up with Mike. I NEVER said she's evil incarnate. To the contrary, I think her passion is genuine, but her means to that end were corrupted years ago, and she and her husband entrenched themselves with an element I want banished from the party and DC.

Mr Furious said...

Oops. I missed the comment where you take Mike out to the alley...

Toast said...

Qué? Take it up with Mike.

I was. Sorry if that wasn't clear from my earlier comment.

Mr Furious said...

You were. I had missed the earlier comment.

Deb said...

This is my favorite post you've ever written, Mr. F. Even your comments could not be better put.

I like Hillary. I think she has some great ideas. I think she will never implement them for all the reasons you've listed, and because of that, she will simply be "more of the same". Not even more of the same things we liked about Mr. Clinton -- must more of the same DC B.S.

I suspect I'm not as far over on the Obama acceptance spectrum yet. Maybe that's because I really hate giving up on my Edwards dream. But I'm working on getting there.

Deb said...

Darned typos. "... JUST more of the same DC B.S."

Mike said...

I don't think she's "evil incarnate." I have no idea if she's "evil," nor do I care.

I said she's supremely selfish, and nothing she's done or said in nearly 2 decades of public life shows me otherwise. I'd say -- and have said -- exactly the same thing about Rudy Giuliani, and in the 90's I said the same thing about Bill Clinton.

The fact that Toast & Michelline get so irrational (and personal) in their response to my criticisms, suggests an emotional level of support.

Seriously, look at Michelline's sarcastic use of "your friend Mike." Michelline, you and I are both regulars at Toast's place. I'd consider you one of my "blog friends" just because of that. The fact that you see me in a different light just because I don't like Hillary is too bad. I've never said anything mean to you, but whenever Hillary comes up, you attack me personally. What's up with that?

And Toast, you freaked at me because I said George Steinbrenner was "repulsive," yet you imply that my opinions about Hillary are "disgusting." What's up with that?

I'd also ask why haven't either of you taken me to task for my hatred of Rudy? If my "hatred" of Hillary is rabid or sick or foaming at the mouth, then by way of comparison, my feelings abour Rudy are off-the-charts crazy. I truly hate him.