Monday, January 14, 2008

I watched a bit of Hillary on Tim Russert's show yesteday morning while I was prepping pancakes. I only watched the part where she talked about Iraq, and I think she did a decent job of defending her vote in favor on the authorization of military force in Iraq on the merits of the legislation itself. Basically, she said that she was voting for the threat of military force so that we could get inspectors into Iraq, and she lay the blame for the misuse of that authorization squarely at the foot of the president.

Which is fine, as far as it goes.

But if we take her at her word and boil this justification down to its essence, it's that she trusted Bush to do the right thing, and he didn't. And that shows a naivete which doesn't match up with her claim of great experience and judgment.

On the other hand, if we believe that she has the experience and judgment to "get things done" in Washington, then the only plausible explanation for her vote was as a political maneuver to cover her ass, made necessary by the same conservative political machine that has McCain kissing Jerry Falwell's ass, etc. Which doesn't make her look like she's very effective at fighting for us in Washington.

Either way, it's a problem.

Now, don't get me wrong. I like Hillary well enough. But I cannot, off the top of my head, think of a single time in her life where she's taken a principled stand that actually cost her something, and that bothers me. If you can, though, please post it in the comments. There's a chance she'll be our nominee in the fall, and I'd like to be happier about it.


Emily said...

I see almost all of her comments and moves as political maneuvering. I used to like Hillary okay, but the more I pay attention, the more aggravated I become. She is constantly spinning her rhetoric to try to match the mood of the day. Sometimes it works for her, and sometimes (as in her comment on Martin Luther King) it backfires. Regardless, it does not encourage me in my hopes for a good leader.

Matt Saladino said...

I'm having a hard time feeling good about any of the candidates. They are playing the electability game. The same one everyone plays that is all based on bullshit. piles and piles of calculated bullshit with multi-million dollar advertising budgets. The clearer they try to make themselves, the more convoluted it gets. I don't think any of the front runners represent major change (like they say) because they are all doing the same song and dance that has been done before. And I think that goes to show you people don't really want change. They need to be fed those familiar lines of crap to feel good about a candidate. They just want the idea of change.

Just look how well the democrats turned things around in congress. That's what I'm expecting from a democrat president...Not much.

Lance Mannion said...

I don't think Clinton trusted Bush himself as much as she trusted Colin Powell. It's hard to remember it now, but people in Washington in both parties thought very highly of Powell and a lot was made of the fact that Bush picked him to be his Secretary of State. I'm still not sure what happened to him. I don't think he knows.

As far as the Democrats in Congress not changing anything, Matt, the math really is against them. There are at least 10 Democratic senators who in a better, more civilized age would have been Republicans---they are conservative progressives, very pro-business, very hawkish---and a proportionate number of the same in the House, which makes for an essetnially conservative majority in both houses. I don't think the Democratic leadership is doing a good enough job, but still there is only so much that can be done without the votes. We need more liberal Congressmen and Senators more than we need any particular Democrat for President.

Mike said...

I don't think it can be said too often that the reason nothing can get through Congress is because the Republicans have made it a policy to filibuster every single bill.

The Dems could do something about it, though, but I'd also like to see the media talk about it more.

Christie said...

This isn't so much about Hillary as the character of US elections and the way the candidates think they need to so carefully define themselves into the middle instead of representing their true views and the true limitations of what a president (legally) can really do.

Money determines the nature of our elections - especially the primary season.

There is the issue of the national parties..If you don't play the game the way the party thinks it ought to be played, you don't get the money.

The second issue is the media. The amount of money it takes to run a viable candidacy is phenomenal. I'm not a conspiracy theorist but..

Who fans the flames of false drama and creates an atmosphere in which every word has to be carefully analyzed by a team of PR folks before they can be uttered? The media.

I mean really this whole MLK thing would not have been a big deal at all if the media didn't try to make a mountain out of a molehill instead of focusing on platform differences. No wonder making a decision is "gut" decision for most Americans- we have very little facts to work with.

Of course who benefits the most from the huge amounts of cash spent on campaigning? The media.

Hmmm...ok this is getting way too long and isn't really on topic so I'll quit now.