Carol Platt Liebau: Bartlett's "Strange New Respect"

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bartlett's "Strange New Respect"

In this piece by Bruce Bartlett running in yesterday's LA Times, Bartlett asserts that conservatives are coming to terms with the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency, and finding it significantly less distasteful than one would have thought.

It's of course impossible to ever know someone's motives entirely, but it's worth noting that Barlett has been a virulent critic of the President's. In fact, part of the foundation for his "strange new respect" thesis as it involves Hillary Clinton is the assumption, as he argues in the piece linked at top, that "a Republican can't win the presidency next year; none of the party's candidates look strong enough to overcome the handicaps that President Bush has imposed on them." Once again, you see, it's all President Bush's fault.

Of course, the polling doesn't support Bartlett's assumption; Rasmussen analysis of presidential polls found that even though in generic polls a Democrat beats a Republican, when specific Republican candidates are put up alongside specific Democrats, it's neck and neck.

What's more, Bartlett seems to quote various conservatives somewhat selectively; a Republican's willingness not to bash a particular position of Clinton's in a particular context hardly equates with generalized support for her or even resignation to the inevitability of a Clinton presidency.

Indeed, the conservatives Bartlett cites -- including Kathryn Jean Lopez, Rich Lowry, and Bill Kristol -- are almost certainly too savvy to be taken in by Hillary Clinton. Everyone remembers the very moderate campaign Bill Clinton ran; after he won, however, he immediately tried to put gays in the military and allowed his wife to attempt to socialize 1/7 of the U.S. economy. And everyone understands just how malleable the Clintons' "principles" are when the pursuit of higher office is at stake.

It would require someone quite foolish (or quite eager to see President Bush take the blame for an electoral debacle) to believe that Hillary Clinton -- always well known to be more liberal that her husband -- would govern as moderately with a liberal Democratic Congress as Bill Clinton did with a Republican one.

Even if Bartlett believes that Hillary Clinton can be taken at her word, the rest of us aren't quite that naive.


Blogger Earth to Carol said...

I was intrigued to find out why right-wingers might hate Hillary.

1) Strongest military in the world.

2) Hillary tried to fix a deteriorating and for many Americans an unaffordable health care system.

There is little difference between extreme partisanship of the right and left. Both lead to a failure in reasoning and honesty.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

Perhaps Hillary was ahead of the curve.

Now US ranks 41st in life expectancy.

Researchers said several factors have contributed to the United States falling behind other industrialized nations. A major one is that 45 million Americans lack health insurance, while Canada and many European countries have universal health care, they say.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

I'd like to repeat a question I asked previously and got no good answer to: why is it that some conservatives hate Ms. Clinton so? When I asked it previously, the only answer I got was that she is a Marxist, but the respondent did not respond to my requests for evidence.

This piece argues that she cannot be trusted. That's arguable, but it doesn't really answer the question. What's the real issue here? Why is Ms. Clinton so detested? Is it solely because of her failed attempt at health care reform? Is it because her support for the war in Iraq has been lukewarm?

I am no fan of Ms. Clinton, but I don't see why some people hold her is such contempt.

9:05 PM  
Blogger LarryD said...

Chepe noyon:

Here is Kyle-Anne Shiver's reasons, in her own words. But I'm not at all sure the word 'hate' applies.

For more general answers, look at the details of the Harris poll, back in March.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Thanks for the link, larryd. It adds credence to my suspicion that the opposition to Ms. Clinton is not honest. The giveaway, to me, is that the case Kyle-Anne Shriver presents against Ms. Clinton is so threadbare. She offers two basic arguments: that Ms. Clinton is a liar and that Ms. Clinton did not divorce her husband for his infidelities. The latter argument is so absurd that we can dismiss it out of hand. The former argument is especially ironic given the long history of misrepresentations of the truth committed by the Bush Administration. As the slogan goes, "When Clinton lied, nobody died". Anybody who can make a big deal out of the vague accusations of dishonesty against Ms. Clinton, while simultaneously overlooking the obvious falsehoods perpetrated by the Bush Administration, doesn't deserve much credibility.

Here's my hunch: the culture of the right has gone off on a tangent based on personal attacks. Instead of addressing issues, the whole point seems to be to attack, attack, attack the personalities of the candidates. This started with the disgraceful treatment of Mr. McCain by the Bush campaign during the 2000 primaries, and continued with the equally disgraceful personal attacks of the 2000 and 2004 campaigns. Having been successful with the tactic, the right got stuck in a rut.

I hasten to point out that this tactic is not universal on the right. Several Republicans, most notably Mr. McCain, have run clean campaigns, but the honorable members of the Republican Party have been sidelined by the junkyard curs.

This behavior pattern long predates the 2000 election, but only in the last 8 years has it really taken over the Republican Party. And they're doing exactly the same thing with Ms. Clinton. It has worked well for quite a few years, but I suspect that the American public, having become fed up with the Republican Party, will not be so receptive to the mudslinging this time around.

I for one hope that the 2008 campaign will be fought on issues, not personalities. I fear that this will not happen -- but I also suspect that the Republican Party will pay a high price in the process.

Best wishes.

7:46 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home