March 12, 2006

"If Clinton is elected, American politics over the next years will be as brutal and stagnant as now."

TimesSelect is so frustrating. I can't understand the decision to limit the impact of the columnists. I'm reading David Brooks's column about Hillary Clinton today, and I want to send you over there, but I can only give you their limited access link. But let me give you a taste of it anyway.
The Dubai ports deal — a politically unpopular measure that almost all experts agree was justified on the merits — was a test of character. John McCain and Chuck Hagel passed. Clinton, though, joined the ranks of the nakedly ambitious demagogues....

"The White House is trying to hand over U.S. ports," Clinton charged.

"We cannot afford to surrender our port operations to foreign governments," she roared.

"We cannot cede sovereignty over critical infrastructure like our ports," she insisted.

All of these statements were deliberately misleading, since there was never any question of ceding sovereignty or security. They played to the rawest form of xenophobia....

This episode — which combines buckraking with pandering — brings back the Clinton years at their worst: the me-me-me selfishness, the occasional presumption that humanity exists to serve Team Clinton.

It also shows Clinton doesn't understand her political weaknesses. First, nobody, not even among her friends, is totally sure she actually believes in anything, or whether she just coldly calculates political advantage. This episode reinforces that sense.

Second, Clinton is the only presidential candidate who does not offer a break from the current polarization and bitter partisanship. A McCain or Mark Warner presidency would shuffle the political deck. But if Clinton is elected, American politics over the next years will be as brutal and stagnant as now. The 1960's Bush-Clinton psychodrama would go on and on.
I never trust any of the candidates, but there are some I trust less than others. It is rather hard to see why we should trust Hillary Clinton.

22 comments:

me said...

The Republicans would have a field day if she were the nominee. It would be the anti-Kerry campaign times 1000. She has been calculated for years. The Whitewater scandal was all about Hilary. She allegedly had an associate change non-recourse notes into recourse notes the night before investigators were to be on site to check the notes.

Troy said...

I don't get the Hillary as candidate thing. Americans usually go for someone likeable -- and despite current irrational Bush-hatred, most reasonable people at least acknowledge that Bush is courteous (some may even bring themselves to say nice...).

Bill Clinton -- loathsome on many accounts, still seemed someone with whom you could sit and drink a few beers, tell jokes, and communicate -- even if most of it was bullshit -- it would still be fun and interesting.

Hanging with Hillary just seems like it would be painful on many levels. Given that, I have a hard time believing it possible she would get elected. Throw in her dismal personality numbers, and even a minimal sexism among a certain segment (perhaps in a bipartisan fashion) of voters. She has no charisma and does not fake sincerity well.

PatCA said...

She and Bill to me are the apotheosis of boomer careerism. Even though I worked on his campaign, I thought him an oily skunk--but he was better than their oily skunk. I will say that it didn't really cause a problem except for dropping the ball on terrorism (my opinion, so let's not hijack this thread, okay?) but that was a biggie. I think she would do the same if it helped her "career."

Wade_Garrett said...

The biggest problem I have with a Hillary campaign is not her careerism, or anything like that. Rather, I just really don't want to see American politics turn into this dynastic war between the Bushes and the Clintons. If Hillary runs, and wins, then the odds of Jeb running in 2012 would be approximately 100%. The Repbulicans found a way to pin the catastrophic ports deal on Bill Clinton. The last thing we need is four more years of stuff like that.

AJ Lynch said...

Bingo- I expressed the exact same sentiment as Brooks on your blog a week or so ago.

But, of course, I did not do it as forcefully or convincingly as Brooks, a professional writer.

So there!

Jacques Cuze said...

Molly Ivins, whom you have disavow, “Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone. This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges.”...

Ann Althouse Yes, Clinton has to dance around to stay in the middle, in range of victory, when she's got people demanding that she cater to them. And then you can just complain about the dance -- ooh, she's triangulating, Dick Morrisily -- but the inference is there. You've got your head in the sand if you can't see it. I think you can see it, though, but you just feel bad when anyone points at it. So great, happy sliding to another loss in '08. I'd step back and laugh if I were a Republican, but I'm not.

Apparently you used to like weaseling Hillary Clinton style before you were against it.

In the meantime, you are objectively pro "No one could have imagined (planes used as weapons, levees breaking, the sale on shoes at Feragamos during Katrina)

Wickedpinto said...

Apparently you used to like weaseling Hillary Clinton style before you were against it.

I think the good madam was making a point of what hil needed to do to even think of candidacy, rather than saying what hil needed to do to get the good ma'am's support. There is a difference. I read that as.

"I don't trust you bitch, so you bess'n give everyone else a lie they can support, cuz you ain't getting a lick from me, get to work on your 'triangulation' cuz I all I see is you copping out from any of your 'ideal's' if you have any"

Art said...

Regarding the ports deal: What part of 70 percent plus opposition don't you understand? Maybe W was right on this one. But if someone with his skill of coopting people into supporting his positions, his presumption of authority on natural security issues, and a national press corp that eats things out of the palm of his hand can't sell this, nobody can.
If Hillary had said, "You know, I don't agree with the President very often but this is the right thing to do," do you think Karl Rove would advise whatever candidate he's managing in 2008 to give her a pass on this one because she did his current employer a favor? Not on your life. Your heading is wrong: It should be, "Whoever is elected, American politics will be as brutal and stagnant as now."

Goatwhacker said...

I would like to see Hillary run as she has shown a willingness to discuss a middle ground instead of endlessly partisan crap. That said, there are many people who will dislike her regardless of her current positions and if she won it would be at least four more years of a president half the country hates. Hopefully one of the parties can provide a better candidate.

Daryl Herbert said...

There are two things I don't like about Hillary Clinton:

1 - She's a political sociopath. She has no values or principles at all, except obtaining power.

2 - She's a left-wing radical pretending to be a moderate. She passionately believes in left-wing causes and wants to bring them about but knows she can't get elected if she's honest about what she wants to do.

There four points to make about that:

1 - on its face they are contradictory

2 - nevertheless, other people seem to share those fears

3 - perhaps there is some way to
reconcile them

4 - whatever Hillary does, she will be open to attack as 1-having no values OR 2-being a secret radical OR 3-being a waffler

Confirmation Word: ucquo
Perhaps a relation of quxxo's?

elcurado said...

While these are not necessarily untrue or unfair criticisms of Clinton, I can't help but think there is an important subtext here: those criticizing Clinton from the right don't like it when someone on the left beats them at their own game.

I am no lover of most Ds or Rs, but it seems the Rs are, in general, better at playing political hardball. Yet, when a D does it (here, Clinton), the right is up in arms.

Something about people who live in glass houses....

josil said...

i've always been curious about Hil's early work as a Goldwater volunteer. was she a true believer? certainly, she was not triangulating then. clearly, she is ambitious...but damned if i can can figure out whether she is a left wing radical or anything else to the right of that.

Bruce Hayden said...

I have read a couple of the books on her (obviously by those who don't like her). Several interrelated character traits scare me about her back in the White House:

- Her paranoia. She is apparently as bad as the president she helped bring down, Nixon.
- She is ruthless. Pretty much all the abuses of power when her husband was president were hers: the FBI files, the IRS audits, the Bimbo patrols, and even the way she ran her health care project (and Ira Magaziner is her guy, not Bill's).
- She is venal. All of the Clinton financial scandals were hers, from the cattle futures all the way through looting the White House on the way out.

Wave Maker said...

I don't think there is any question that she is a radical in her heart and mind. And that makes her more recent "centrist" pronouncements at once terrifying and despicable. She is entirely unbelievable, to me -- but if she can fool enough people and get herself elected, I would expect her to take off her sheep's clothing and march us off the edge of the cliff.

Simon said...

Bruce,
I have to admit that I think it unlikely that there is a single accurate book out there about Hillary Clinton, so I would tend to dismiss all of the stories, including those you quoted, as unsubstantiated. Hillary is exactly like George W. Bush in the sense that no book written about them in their lifetime is going to be trustworthy, since they inspire too much hatred/loyalty.

jakemanjack said...

I want to see Hillary run. Just to see Hillary LOSE.

Politics beyond the Clintons; that day must come.

amba said...

Ann, what's your take on Russ Feingold bringing a resolution to censure the president for illegal wiretapping? Regardless of where you stand on the NSA issue, I thought that was rather contemptible and transparent grandstanding and it made me disinclined to vote for him.

The funny thing is, the short list of people I could stand to vote for has both Republicans and Democrats on it. I wonder if any of them will be candidates.

amba said...

Hillary's not on that list.

VW icvxvsk - ice vixen? ice fish?

Ann Althouse said...

Amba: I'm thinking of doing a post on the Feingold thing.

Coco said...

I thought this was a very intellectually lazy article rife with cherry-picking to support a conclusion: I've decided to write a column bashing Hillary. I don't have a problem with the conclusion, but two things struck me as really weak:

(1) the way he sets up the column suggests it is proper to use a politican's stand on this issue as a litmus test for sincerity and honesty. That's hogwash and cheap because Brooks will never hold himself to that standard....ever.

(2) he uses events from the 8 years of BILL Clinton''s administration as PROOF that Hillary has flipped sides on the issue...but there's not a bit of evidence here that she (1) supported those past decisions (b) were involved in making them or (c) even knew they were being made a the time.

The latter one interests me most because this presents an interesting and obviously novel scenario if Hillary runs for PREZ. What constitutes a fair criticism of her position on issues if they are different from her husband's previous administration? Is she locked into the same views as made sense to BILL back in 1992 (even assuming she shared them then)? In other words, is it fair to criticize her if she takes a view different from her husband on an issue 15 plus years later? How will she handle such attacks (fair or unfair)?

Johnny Nucleo said...

A pet annoyance of mine is when in interviews Hillary starts her reply with "You know..," which means "I'm about to pretend to be candid."

Compare her to someone like Joe Biden. Biden is an idiot, but you can't help but love him. Regardless of whether or not you agree with her, Hillary really sucks at the game.

Paramendra Bhagat said...

Karl Rove, Hands Off Hillary