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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hillary as hedge 


At dinner the other night a conservative friend wanted to know when I would "start to attack Hillary Clinton." Well, certainly not until she has actually sewn up the Democratic nomination, and even then it will depend on which of the less than entirely inspiring Republicans ends up on top and how I feel about him at the time. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a partisan for Republicans. I just tend to vote for Republicans. While I agree with Democrats on many issues, I agree with Republicans on the issues that I care the most about. So, for example, I believe that abortion should be lawful (although not to the extent of current law, but that's a detail), I support gay marriage, and I think we need national policies to promote the conservation of energy produced by fossil fuels. However, in my hierarchy of concerns all of these considerations (except perhaps the last) rank very low. I care far more about a forward and nationalistic foreign policy, light regulation of business, free trade, and low capital gains taxes, and I favor the usual Republican position on all of those subjects.

Against that backdrop, I have with some reluctance come around to the point of view that Hillary is the "least bad" Democrat. Yes, her election coincident with a large Democratic majority in the United States Senate will be terrible for business and that will undoubtedly cost us all a lot of money. While some may protest that her husband's economic record would be evidence to the contrary, I believe that Hillary's preferred policies are substantially to the left of Bill's, and in any case Bill had to deal with a Republican Congress for most of his term.

However, I hold out some hope that Hillary Clinton would develop a foreign policy closer to my preferences than any other Democrat. I am not alone in this view. Not only do the angry doves of the far left obviously agree (as any reader of left-wing blogs knows), but so does Reason Magazine's Radley Balko:

Cato Institute President Ed Crane recently wrote a piece for the Financial Times pointing out that when you strip away the partisan coating, Mrs. Clinton's grandiose, big-government vision is really no different than that envisioned by the neoconservatives so loathed by the left. Clinton, remember, not only voted for the Iraq war, she still hasn't conceded she was wrong to do so, and has made no promise to end it any time soon.

In fact, the L.A. Times reported last week that Clinton has refused to commit even to pulling U.S. troops from Iraq by 2013, which, if elected, would be the end of her first term. TV journalist Ted Koppel recently told NPR that Clinton has admitted the U.S. would still have troops in Iraq at the end of her second term.

The 1990s, remember, weren't exactly a decade of peace. Bill Clinton ordered more U.S. military interventions than any other post-WWII administration, and there's no reason to think any of them were over Hillary's protestations. She supported the U.S. military campaigns in Haiti, Kosovo, and Bosnia. She once boasted that as the tension in Kosovo mounted, she called her husband from her trip to Africa and, "I urged him to bomb."

Hillary Clinton voted for both the Patriot Act and its reauthorization. She voted for building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border. She voted to loosen restrictions limiting the federal government's ability to wiretap cell phones.

It goes deeper than that. Hillary, I believe, will be far more keen to demonstrate that the first woman president cannot be pushed around than to prove that women somehow govern differently or more "humanely" than men.

The idea that Hillary may be the least-bad Democrat for Republicans who care most about foreign policy has widespread currency on the right, even if it is painful to acknowledge. A few months ago I ran a straw-poll on this blog asking the question, "If you knew for a fact that a Democrat will win the general election for president in 2008, which leading Democrat would you prefer?" Seventy-four percent of respondants chose Hillary against the alternatives of Edwards and Obama, although most commenters admitted that they cringed in anguish even as they checked her box.

Nobody said that it wouldn't be painful.

14 Comments:

By Blogger davod, at Sat Oct 20, 09:46:00 AM:

Your comments remind me of those geniuses in the Conservative establishment who said the Republicans in Congress needed to be taught a lesson. We got taught a lesson alright. The lesson is that despite what you think of the Rebublicans in Congress, the Democrats will always trump the sleaze.

What we know the Dems have done is bad enough. G.d knows what they have done which has not come to light yet.

So yes: Keep up with the "Hillary is the better bet for conservatives" and hope and pray that the Hillary you imagine is indeed the Hillary you get.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Oct 20, 10:07:00 AM:

"Hillary, I believe, will be far more keen to demonstrate that the first woman president cannot be pushed around"

This is selfish in the extreme, but so be it: If she would reserve that for foreign policy I would fear her less.

Will she? Everything about her says she wants control over everything and everyone. Having something to prove can only make that worse.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sat Oct 20, 10:40:00 AM:

davod, it is highly unlikely that I would vote for Hillary against any of the leading Republicans, so have no fear. My point is slightly different: Is there any leading Democrat that you would prefer to Hillary? If not, you want her to get the nomination given the fairly substantial probability that the donks will sweep next year.  

By Anonymous Locker Room, at Sat Oct 20, 11:16:00 AM:

Hawk, here's some unsolicited but sound advice from an old business colleague: Whenever you develop the urge to say something starting with "I think we need national policies to promote . . . " do yourself a favor by retiring to a dark, quiet room to lie down until the urge to speak thusly passes. By doing so, your frequency of sounding utterly foolish will drop substantially.  

By Anonymous cjm, at Sat Oct 20, 12:48:00 PM:

wishful thinking of the highest magnitude. she will be as effective in foreign policy as carter was/is, perhaps even less so. the woman has a pathalogical personality and will be focusing her "dark powers" on subverting the constitution, not on winning wars. the sole hope (if she is elected) is that her paranoia will cause a permanent loop in her brain, as she adds names to her list of enemies.  

By Anonymous Dr. Mercury, at Sat Oct 20, 01:14:00 PM:

Hawk, don't listen to "locker room". Self-admittedly, he's old, he's just some business guy, and he uses the snobby word "colleague", so that's three strikes against him right there.

Me, personally, I think we need more national policies to promote better comment editing features on blogsites.

I'm just sayin'!
_________________________________

Prediction:

Hillary sweeps Giuliani, 52% to 45%, with Nader grabbing his usual 3%.

IMHO, there's a huge factor at play in the upcoming election that's never been important before, yet most of the bloggers are completely overlooking it:

The single woman's vote.

And especially single mothers. Heretofore, while they may have leaned Democratic, they weren't a persuasive voting bloc.

But what's the divorce rate in the U.S. right now? 50%?

So, just how many single women do you think are out there?

Tons, would be a pretty good guess. And, unlike any previous time in history, Hillary will give them something to inspire them. How many single moms over the years declined to vote because it was simply too much of a hassle with a crying baby to deal with?

How many of these same single moms will drive through torrential rainstorms and freezing sleet to vote for Hillary, crying baby and all?

How about most of them?

If everything splits right down the middle with the rest of the country -- as it usually does -- the single women are going to put Hillary over the top, and then some. We'll be lucky if we don't hear the word "landslide" for the next fifty years.

As far as this article goes, and TH's avoidance of joining the Hillary-bashing club, he's to be highly commended. There is something quite serious going on in parts of the right-wing blogosphere these days, and the bloggers and their readers are too infused with CDS to see it. I document the problem here.

Exhibit A would be cjm's comment here in this thread. Note all the CDS tipoffs:

- pathalogical personality
- "dark powers"
- subverting the constitution
- paranoia
- list of enemies

Exhibit B: Did you happen to see Mary K. Ham's recent video, where she was "depressed"? And what snapped her out of her terrible "depression"?

A rampant dose of CDS.

Her hatred of Hillary gave her new life, new hope, new drive! Forward, troops, to battle!

As I said in my article, let's hope I'm wrong.

Let's hope the nation, in that final, secret moment with their finger on the voting button, will come to its senses and elect a strong Republican to protect our country in a war that may last another thousand years. Hell, it's already lasted 1,300 years. There's no reason to assume it's going to end anytime soon.

On a happier note, TH, this is a great oxymoron:

"Not only do the angry doves of the far left..."

Angry doves. :)  

By Blogger John O, at Sat Oct 20, 06:21:00 PM:

I think Hillary is among the group of Americans Gerard Baker refers to here: href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/gerard_baker/article2689746.ece

"There’s another, more important aspect to the world’s affection for those in America who are most critical of it. The Americans who win global approbation in Oslo or at the UN are not simply critics of current American policy. They want to construct an international system that will for ever prevent the US from pursuing its own objectives, a system designed to dilute, counterbalance and constrain America’s ability to govern itself. They prefer a world in which American democracy is subordinated to a kind of global government, rule by a global elite, tasked to make decisions on everyone’s behalf in the name of multilateralism.

"Al Gore wants the US to give up its economic autonomy and submit to rule by binding international obligations to curb its carbon emissions. Some of the Democratic candidates for the presidency want to tie down the American Gulliver under a web of global treaties. The British Government, if recent speeches by ministers are to be believed, is now apparently seriously committed to the idea that only the UN has the legitimacy to determine how nations should behave. In other words, that a system that gives vetoes to China and Russia and honours the human rights contributions of countries such as Syria or North Korea should be accorded a full role in the promotion of the dignity of mankind.

"There’s a larger irony in all this. Even as the US demonstrates the openness of its own society, its unrivaled capacity for self-examination and self-correction, a free system based on the absolute authority of the rule of law, it is told it must submit itself to the views of Moscow, Beijing, and Brussels.

"Fortunately, while the American system may be forgivingly tolerant of people with wild and dangerous ideas, it doesn’t generally let them run the country."

But on January 20, 2009, we may very well have a Democratic President. And the reason I think Hillary is the worst of the Democratic contenders is that she'd be the most effective in accomplishing her goals. She would cede as much American power and freedom of action as possible to international institutions, particularly the UN her husband aspires (perhaps with her help?) one day to lead. (Just imagine the nightmare our country would face if her successor was confronted with Bill Clinton as Secretary-General of a newly empowered UN, especially if he/she was a Republican.) One way or another Hillary's legacy will be the diminished ability of future Presidents to protect American interests and the ever greater intrusion of foreign institutions into American life.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Oct 21, 02:03:00 AM:

I don't understand how why the "least-bad" argument for Hillary that keeps coming up. Has everyone forgotten how she and Bill behaved while in the White House?

Yes, Hillary may be better than Obama -- who is a lightweight but perhaps not fundamentally dishonest -- and Edwards -- who is a lightweight and a hypocrite – at stating positions that are closer to what her opponents can accept, but given her history, why would anyone with an IQ greater than a donut hole believe anything she says?  

By Anonymous cjm, at Sun Oct 21, 03:54:00 AM:

i don't hate hillary, i just believe her to be incredibly incompetent, and suffering from at least one severe personality disorder. when she claimed her husband was a victim of a "vast right wing conspiracy" was that the product of a healthy mind ? when she illegaly collected files on political opponents, was that not a list of people she considered enemies ? when she takes money from the PRC is that not subverting the constitution ? why not provide counter examples, if you disagree.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Oct 22, 01:58:00 AM:

TH: "Hillary, I believe, will be far more keen to demonstrate that the first woman president cannot be pushed around"

"Sore need, and my new reign compel these deeds: to guard my border on all sides." --Dido, queen of Carthage, Aeneid, quoted approvingly in The Prince.

Bayswater  

By Blogger HILLARYNEEDSAVACATION, at Mon Oct 22, 11:55:00 AM:

Well, it was an interesting read, but I cannot say your best effort.

Never was a partisan Republican either, except since the Clinton malfeasance.

For example, the biggest issue of Our time is 9-11, and the Clintons for 8 long negligent years, basically did nothing to address the growing threat of Radical Muslim Militancy.

In fact, after the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, they were tearing down the USA's capability to defend itself.

The Gorelick Wall alone is a mindless offering...

They even invited Mr. Arafat to the White House for tea.

I respect your open minded nature, and agree the Hillary is acceptable is foolhardy, but let's not pretend some fake claims on a stage will create a solid 'strong on defense candidate' out of Hillary Clinton.

In fact, after North Korea was exposed as cheating on the Clinton appeasement deal, Hillary Clinton produced a WAPO article calling for a return to more appeasing the nutty NK Dictator.

The Clintons inept effort, has much to do with the problems we face today.

Bill and Hillary inherited growth, raised taxation, and left us in a recession.

The Clintons gave enormous Loan Guarantees to Enron, basically enabling rampant corruption.

They even peddled pardons...

The Clintons are as misguided as it comes, and Hillary's latest smear of the credibility of General Petraeus should make everyone concerned.

Sorry, you cannot get any worse than Bill and Hillary returning to the White House.

One of the biggest problems with the Clintons, is the overt deceit hiding the Liberal Agenda.

The Nation would be better served with a more honest liberal, so it can see more clearly what they have to offer.

Making it easier for the Nation to decide on it's future, instead of encountering another corrupt facade.

Hoping the Clintons will turn out better the next time, has far less of a chance, than another Democrat surprising the World.  

By Blogger kreiz1, at Mon Oct 22, 01:09:00 PM:

I'm in agreement with your observations, TH- relatively speaking, Hillary is the best Dem candidate, especially in the foreign policy realm. Her domestic spending inclinations are, of course, sobering. And I have misgivings about her Cheney-like penchant for secrecy. On the plus side, she's always prospered when she's played by the Rules. One can only hope that this characteristic will surface if she ascends to the Oval Office.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Mon Oct 22, 05:22:00 PM:

Seems as if we’re arguing about the meaning of a single word again, in this case “Best”

What I expect out of a Presidential candidate is somebody who will be frugal with the nations checkbook, appoint judges who actually follow the Constitution, who will defend us against people who want to kill us, even if they are on the other end of the globe. Somebody who will leave us alone when we want to be left alone, but will offer a helping hand if we ask for it. Somebody who is not in the game just to attract chicks, who will view every decision as “Is this in the interest of the US” instead of “Can I cash in on this”. Somebody who believes government is here to only do things that need to be done, are permitted by the Constitution, and are good for the country. Somebody who believes if a law is bad, it should be changed, not simply interpreted out of existence. Somebody who respects what people have worked their lives to accumulate, and does not simply view it as an undertaxed resource.

The only part I see that Hillary matches on this is her rather strong stand on people who would want to kill Americans. Nobody crosses Hillary twice.  

By Blogger kreiz1, at Mon Oct 22, 06:01:00 PM:

Somebody who believes if a law is bad, it should be changed, not simply interpreted out of existence. Thought we were talking about VP Cheney and David Addington, especially when qualified by nobody crosses [them] twice.  

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