Carol Platt Liebau: The Problem with Hillary

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Problem with Hillary

William Saletan joins scores of others taking shots at Hillary Clinton this morning. Saletan is incensed because Hillary won't concede error in voting for the Iraq war. He writes:

According to Clinton's advisers, she has taken this position for several reasons. She believes in "responsibility" and would want congressional deference if she's president. She wants to look "firm," because that's what voters want. She thinks an apology would look like a gimmick and a flip-flop, repeating the mistakes of Al Gore and John Kerry. That's the "box" she's trying to avoid.

The preceding paragraph is all, doubtless, true -- and therein lies the problem. Sure, she "believes" in responsibility, whatever that means (although what could be more irresponsible than promising to "end the war" if elected?). But look at the other three other rationales: She wants free rein herself if she's president; she doesn't want to look irresolute; she doesn't want to look like a flip-flopper.

Therein lies the nub of Hillary's difficulties. As one Dashwood sister asked the other in the film version of "Sense and Sensibility," -- "Where is your heart?" And that's just the problem. There's no deeply held belief being vindicated -- just a pile of strategic calculation designed to angle her into what she believes is the best position to win the presidency. That's where her heart is . . . filled with no conviction deeper than the selfish desire to win.


Blogger Greg (the skinny one) said...

Isn't what you're (somewhat accurately) pointing out about Hillary very similar to George Bush's hollow attempt to placate the religious right with words about wanting to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage -- only when an election loomed?

Where are his deeply held convictions on that matter when it comes to his day-to-day?

(And to the other Greg who asked on the other post if I thought a pro-abortion activist would have been a better choice to run the Iraqi health ministry -- instead of the anti-abortion activist Bush appointed -- the answer is clearly no. I never said or even implied that. Is that what passes for debate around here?

How about someone TRULY qualified for the position? How about someone with large-scale administrative experience with a track record of results? The fate of Iraq hung in the balance and the president dispatched people whose main qualification was their fealty to him."

7:47 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

I'm sure, skinny Greg, that W still supports such and amendment, but the furor has died down a bit. As he has appointed two solid judges for the SCOTUS, that's just as good. One more, and amendments, something few really want to see happen, won't be necessary, as the SCOTUS would be less likely to hand down stupid lib decisions that would allow gay marraige.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Hey Greg,

"(the skinny one)" is a nice touch!

So if pro-abortion or anti-abortion are not what matters, why bring that point up? It certainly appears that you are making the point that an anti-abortion activist could not possibly be qualified as a Minister of Health.

I'm all for qualified people. But, so far your only evidence for lack of qualification in this case is an anti-abortion stance and a friendly relationship with the President.

That, Skinny, does not pass for good debating points around here.

And what about the other three points I made in that post? Ignoring questions or points is not good debating tactic, either.

I still give you credit, though, for that "(the skinny one)" thing. That was cool!

12:42 PM  
Blogger Greg (the skinny one) said...

Greg, the point was not his stance on abortion, per se, but that that was about ALL he had going for him. The man was an unknown social worker whose first act in Iraq was to launch a anti-smoking campaign for crying out loud. Talk about detached from reality.

He replaced a multi-doctoral man who specialized in disaster-response and who had worked in Kosovo and Somalia. But his loyalty to Bush was suspect, so he got canned in favor of the crony.

This is the legacy of this administration. Campaign donors and unqualified ideologues tapped to handle a situation that cried out for world-class experts, regardless of their political leanings. (And no, I didn't say anything about Albright or of your other favorite villains on the left, so please stop trying to put words in my mouth.)

As for your other points, I stand by my assertion that it was Bush who tried to coax the public into buying into this venture with many predictions that could not have been farther from reality. 'The war will pay for itself.' Blah, blah.

I'll see y'all later. I don't have the time to check in all the time and frankly, if it takes our comments twelve hours or so to show up, it kind of kills the free exchange of ideas.

Take care.

8:53 PM  

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