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Friday, August 24, 2007

Hillary Channeling Rove?

posted by on August 24 at 10:15 AM

In New Hampshire yesterday, Hillary Clinton said that she would be the best Democratic candidate in the event that the U.S. suffers another terrorist attack before the next election.

It’s a horrible prospect to ask yourself, ‘What if? What if?’ But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world. So I think I’m the best of the Democrats to deal with that as well.

She’s getting some flak for what seems to be a Rove-like playing of “the terror card.” But if I read the quote right, she’s talking political strategy: She’s saying that she would be best-positioned to withstand the inevitable “soft on terrorism” charges that Republicans would probably throw at Democrats after another terrorist attack.

I don’t know if she’s right. Looking at the Democratic field, I guess Kucinich and Gravel could easily be cast by Republicans as “not the person you’d want in the White House” right after another terror attack. Dodd, Biden, and Richardson? I don’t see them being open to a “soft on terror” charge, unless wanting to pull out of Iraq could be twisted around to equal “soft on terror.” (Which has been tried already, and might certainly be tried again.) Obama? With his recent talk of unilaterally invading Pakistan to get at Osama bin Laden, I think he’s pretty well inoculated against “soft on terror” charges, although the experience question could definitely be turned against him in such an environment.

Maybe Clinton was talking about Edwards, and his contention that the so-called Global War on Terror is “just a bumper sticker slogan.” Whether you think he’s right or not, that quote could provide a lot of easy ammunition for Republicans in the wake of another terror attack.

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I think that the Bush Administration will let another terrorist attack happen summer of 2008 as a way of underminding the Presidential race to either getting the GOP re-elected or just simply declaring martial law and using a privately funded army from Blackwater to keep him in power.

And this little consipiracy would explain all the missing money from funded a private army for Busyh to use later.....

Okay, I am taking of the tin hat now.

Posted by Just Me | August 24, 2007 10:24 AM

OMG, Just Me, I was thinking the EXACT SAME THING!

It would not surprise me if Bush tried to stay president.

Posted by monkey | August 24, 2007 10:38 AM

Hasn't Hillary repeatedly said in all of the debates that she will not engage in hypotheticals? This sure sounds like a hypothetical to me..

Posted by xiu xiu | August 24, 2007 10:48 AM

It's curious that Obama is so often singled out for having an "experience" problem. While he's in his first term in the Senate, Clinton's barely into her second, and Edwards served only a single term there before leaving government entirely in January 2005. Neither Clinton nor Edwards have served in elected state government in a large state, as Obama did for eight years prior to his election to the Senate. And I don't give Clinton credit for having served as First Lady, an unelected position which has no constitutional or statutory authority to exercise.

Posted by Trey | August 24, 2007 10:57 AM

I will have a difficult time voting for HRC if she's the Dem nominee. Same bullshit, slightly repackaged. Plus dynasties suck. They just just get exponentially more retarded the longer they go on(ie - the Windsors, the Kennedy's and Bush II: Electric Iraqaloo).

Posted by chris | August 24, 2007 11:02 AM

@2: What gives you the idea that Bush *wants* to remain President? Look at his body language. He's tired. He's not having fun anymore. I think he can't wait to get out of office so he can go play on his ranch.

Posted by Orv | August 24, 2007 11:03 AM

The "War on Terror" IS just a stupid bumper sticker slogan. How the fuck can you declare war on an abstract noun?

Posted by JessB | August 24, 2007 11:05 AM

Check out the big brain on JessB!

Posted by excellent point | August 24, 2007 11:16 AM

Trey @4, great observation about HRC's playing the experience card. Her additional experience over an Obama or Edwards comes from being First Lady. Now, perhaps this is valid experience, but still it's an assertion that deserves to be challenged.

My concern about Hillary, though, is about issues, or rather that she doesn't appear to have any real stands on issues that cannot be traced to some kind of political posturing. On some level, you can excuse her for that perhaps...

  1. I mean, there was a political explanation for her Iraq War vote.
  2. There was a political explanation for her sponsoring a bill to criminalize flag burning. (I hope I'm getting the details right on that.)
  3. There's a political explanation for her lack of a concrete health-care plan while she takes major contributions from the HMO and pharmaceutical industries.

All of HRC's disappointing stands can be chalked up to the single imperative of getting elected president. But what happens then when she gets elected president? Yeah, she'll spend the next four years posturing and pandering, rather than leading, so that she can get re-elected.

If there has ever been a time in recent American history when we have needed a president who can lead, who can move the debate beyond the tired left/right arguments, who can drag us kicking and screaming and compromising to some real changes, that time is 2008. Sorry if I don't see that kind of vision and leadership coming from Hillary. (Of course, she'll still be better than any Republican.)

Posted by cressona | August 24, 2007 11:27 AM

@6, Let me field that one with one Bush quote "Things would a heck of a lot easier if this were a dictatorship and I were the dictator". Then read all the executive orders he has signed in the past 10 months....

Posted by Just Me | August 24, 2007 11:28 AM

There was an interesting op-ed the other day in The New York Times. One Roger Cohen was arguing that France's new president Nicolas Sarkozy was enhancing France's stature in the world by making his position less imperial. Meanwhile, Bush has been dragging down America's standing in the world by making his position more imperial.

Maybe this is a bit of a fine point, but Cohen sure found a choice way to finish the piece:

To the next U.S. president will fall the huge task of restoring America’s international standing. I wonder whether a dynastic succession back to the House of Clinton as if all we had were Tudors and Stuarts would be the best way of stripping the regal and so returning the country to itself and the world.

Posted by cressona | August 24, 2007 11:34 AM

The most complete original report I can find is here -- and she's not "channeling" Rove, she's ripping him a new one.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | August 24, 2007 1:08 PM

@10: The "dictatorship" quote was a long time ago. He was still enjoying popular support, then.

I wish people wouldn't spout off on conspiracy theories about Bush, when there are so many bad things they could talk about that we can *prove* he's done. Black-helicopter style speculation just damages progressives' credibility.

Posted by Orv | August 24, 2007 1:41 PM

I cannot fathom the mindset that considers the Republicans as better situated to deal with military and foreign policy than the Democrats. Has that stereotype ever made any sense?

Big Democratic foreign policy debacles include the Bay of Pigs and the initial escalation in Vietnam. GOP failures include the second half of the war in Vietnam, Nixon's bombing of Cambodia and much of the related fallout; Iran-Contra, the Marine barracks bombing, and the ill-advised decision to finance Islamic radicals in Afghanistan under Reagan; and everything Bush has touched for almost seven years. You could argue that Carter didn't do enough with the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis, but in retrospect that turned out well.

Successes include Nixon going to China, Carter getting Egypt to make peace with Israel, the end of the Cold War (credit which is due to presidents from both parties over several decades, but mostly to Gorbachev). Oh, and winning a couple of world wars under Democratic presidents.

Everything else is pretty much in the muddled middle.

From that history, if anything, the Democrats have the better record.

What's more, there's no sign that experience or inexperience mattered. Inexperienced FDR won WWII. Inexperienced JFK screwed up the Bay of Pigs but rebounded with skillful handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Inexperienced Reagan had the good fortune of historical timing but still screwed up a lot of things, even while being just receptive enough to Gorbachev to let the Cold War come to a sputtering end. Experienced LBJ screwed things up worse than anyone until GWB. Carter was inexperienced but in retrospect has one of the better foreign policy records. There's no obvious correlation at all.

Experience matters in the inner workings of foreign policy, but it doesn't matter in the White House. What matters is policy, and the good sense to choose capable advisers and administrators. Given that, Obama and Edwards are better choices than Clinton. If the experience question matters at all, it's not in ability to respond to a security crisis, but in ability to respond to the attacks of the political opposition. Hillary's got the advantage there.

Posted by Cascadian | August 24, 2007 4:36 PM

Just remember, if you want experience, US Sen. Obama has more time in office than US Sen. Clinton does.

Just sayin.

Redecorating the Lincoln Bedroom doesn't count.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 24, 2007 5:06 PM

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