Monday, March 24, 2008

Half of This Blog Likes Hillary (and the Other Half Has Friends Who Comment)

So Jess has been writing eloquent and well-argued posts supporting Obama and criticizing Hillary Clinton. As you may or may not know, I am a Hillary fan. And here's why.

First, Jess mentioned that voting another Clinton into office would further the dynastic trend that has shaped American politics--most notably in the presidency--since 1988. But America is a dynastic nation, like it or not. We may have fought a war against Britain to throw off the shackles of monarchy, but we've never quite shed the notion that some families are simply destined and determined for greatness. When we had won the election, the people asked Washington if he would be America's king; fortunately, he said no, and explained to us how hypocritical that would be, but it's telling that our revolutionary people's first instinct was to find a new king. Our second president was John Adams...and our sixth was his son. FDR, one of the most celebrated presidents in American history, was related to Teddy Roosevelt, and it's surely no coincidence that Frank followed his fifth cousin in ascending to the White House. John F. Kennedy later became president, and various other Kennedys, to various degrees of success, have followed suit. Sure, electing the son doesn't always work out, but to argue that electing another Clinton for president goes against the nature of our country is an idealistic notion; if anything, it proves the maxim that history repeats itself.

Then there's the matter of experience. Hillary hasn't been a senator long, but then, neither has Obama. Hillary gains the upper hand in that she lived in the White House for eight years. On top of that, she actually took action; sure, her health care plan kind of blew up in her face, but at least she did something. She was not content to just be a president's wife; she decided she was going to play an important role in the governance of this nation. That instinct for leadership doesn't happen in many people. Also, well, Hillary knows how things in the White House work. Again, she lived there for a while. She knows how to grease the right wheels, what to say and who to say it to, and--especially being married to Bill--exactly what a president can and cannot get away with, politically and other wise. Does that sound shady? The presidency is rarely a squeaky-clean office. But it requires an understanding of political nuance with which Hillary has more experience than Obama. Look, I think Barack will make a great presidential candidate someday. Just not now. I'd rather see him stay on Capitol Hill for a little while longer, get a little more politically seasoned, get to know Washington a little more fully, and then run. I just don't think he's ready yet. I mean, what do I know about how much experience a person should have before he or she is presidential material? So maybe I'm wrong, and maybe he is ready. But that makes Clinton ready as well. Ready-er, if you will.

Finally, a lot of people have said that in a race against McCain, Obama would do better. It's true that he is less of a polarizing figure; plenty of people hate Hillary, but few hate Obama. That said, the Republicans have time and time again relied on brilliantly manipulative and harsh advertisements, attacks, and statements in debates to defeat their opponents (Swift Boat, anyone?) As the 3am-phone-call ad suggests, the Clinton camp is ready to take on the Republican spin machine. I think Clinton could throw barbs right back at McCain, with a woman's scorn to boot. Obama has not been able to attack Clinton as memorably as she has attacked him. Say what you will about the state of modern American politics, in which attacks get you ahead, but it's naive to think that playing nice will win you an election, especially against a Republican party more desperate than ever.

So. Go Hillary! They had you pinned for dead, but you won Ohio and Texas. You're far from out of this race. And when this Democratic nomination election gets decided by superdelegates--which it almost certainly will--I hope that you still have your superdelegate lead.



Marshall said...

Clinton acknowleged today for the first time that it was a "misstatement" when she said in a major prepared foreign policy speech last week that "I remember landing under sniper fire" but also tried to brush off the entire issue as "a minor blip." She also gave a revised account of her airplane landing and her tarmac greeting at the Tuzla Air Force base 12 years ago -- seeking to explain a picture re-published this weekend in the Washington Post showing her and daughter Chelsea calmly greeting an 8-year-old girl.

In her speech last week at George Washington University, Clinton maintained "[t]here was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base. Today, she told our group at the Daily News that she was informed that we "had to meet this 8-year-old girl," so "I took her stuff and left."

What experience precisely? If she has such a record, why the dissembling over foreign affairs, both in Northern Ireland and in Bosnia?

Her two primary tasks during the years of her husband were Health Care and the selection of the Attorney General. A disaster and a clusterfuck, respectively. I think if you look back you will see she really doesn't play well with others in an executive capacity. She may be a capable legislator, though Obama's record in this area is alreay far more substantial (Ethics, Nuclear Proliferation, etc.). But I dont trust she has the ability to forge alliances or to twist arms. From everything I've read, she apparently takes things far too personally, holds grudges and is quite vindictive. The Health Care debacle is really quite a good example of how she would fail as President. Also deciding than Janet Reno was the most qualified person to run the DOJ makes me nervous about her appointing judges and other officials.

Your point on dynasty is well taken, except for two things.

1) Teddy Roosevelt and Jack Kennedy were both excellent Presidents. Bill Clinton was, god love him, not. With each passing day he seems more and more a failure and a total betrayer of liberal ideals. Waco, Defense of Marriage Act, etc.

2) Those 'dynasties' were spread out over time. What Jessica is talking about is literally Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton, and what that says about America and it's laziness. This is a media age, and I think it's a terrible message to send to the world.

I think Barack Obama is the most extraordinary candidate presented to this country in several generations. I think it would be such a mistake to compromise our ideals and make him 'wait his turn'. Not just a mistake, but a great national shame.

I think Barack Obama has shown the judgement, vision and character necessary to lead.
I don't think you're ever "ready" to be president, just able.

Casey said...

Marshall baby sexy baby

Justin said...

Experience and the fact that dynasties are okay? Do you have any real reasons for liking her?

Jess and Josh said...

go get him boyz

Mazi said...

She has no mathematical chance to win the nomination and the super delegates are irrelevant at this point...I think it's a good time to stop talking about her, especially with Michelle Obama only giving us undeserving Americans one chance at him.