Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bob Harris deconstructs Hillary's announcement

Bob Harris:
Saturday, 20 January 2007
Hillary's in. Well, whoopty-doo.

No, she's not evil; she just votes along with evil when it seems politically expedient

Forgive me, but aside from huge money and name recognition, which is all usually swell, and as much as I'd like to see the Democrats take the White House, and as badly as the US could use more women holding important public offices, and while I'd enjoy being proven wrong... let's look at the basic math.

Everybody must surely realize that 30 to 40 percent of this country -- the same hard-skulled core of lunatics who still support our Criminal-in-Chief -- will simply never, ever vote for Hillary Clinton.

Of the remainder who might vote for Hillary, at least half were opposed to the war from the outset. Remember, the Iraq War was never particularly popular; Zogby figured 42% of the US was opposed before the first bomb ever fell; most of these, obviously, were Democrats. And Hillary, these early war opponents will remember, was an active, enthusiastic accomplice to the crime. (See below.)

If these numbers are even close, then Hillary has a maximum of roughly 35% of the electorate who could conceivably support her with gusto.

In short: if Hillary wins the nomination, the Democrats just ain't likely to win the White House in 2008.

I mean, come on -- the GOP death machine could prop up the corpse of Augusto flicking Pinochet and get 35 percent. About that many people still support George W. Bush, for gods' sake, despite Iraq, New Orleans, warrantless spying, and a dazzling array of further crimes and incompetence that could fill this page.

Now, I'm not saying Hillary has been treated fairly, or that she's one tenth the hellion she's made out to be. I'm not siding with the contemptible nutjobs who long ago convinced themselves that she's a Chinese communist agent who had a tawdry affair with Vince Foster and then killed him using the lead pipe on the grassy knoll. These same bastards happily call anti-war veterans "cowardly" for merely having a lick of goddam experience and sense, not to mention the occasional three limbs blown off, and they now try to imply Obama might have been on the wrong side of 9-11. They'd frame Bill Clinton for the Fatty Arbuckle case if they could. In their minds, Hillary is part Black Panther, part castrating mama figure, Tanya from the SLA in a Brooks Brothers catsuit, an evil so frightening that no lie can be greater.

It must suck to be Hillary sometimes. I get that.

But here's what sucks worse: the Iraq war is one of the deadliest, stupidest, and most criminal foreign policy mistakes of our lifetimes. (Just making that list is a major accomplishment, btw, considering Guatemala, East Timor, Cambodia, etc.) And Hillary, despite her recent weaseling -- sorry, triangulation is the term of art -- vigorously supported Bush's Iraq adventure from the start.

In the wake of 9-11, it wasn't just George W. Bush telling the world "every nation has to be either with us or against us." It was Hillary, as you can hear for yourself.

In October 2002, during the debate about giving Bush authorization to invade Iraq, it wasn't just Dick Cheney telling the world in that Saddam Hussein had links to Al-Qaeda. It was Hillary, from the floor of Congress.

And in February 2005, it wasn't just John McCain claiming that democracy was taking root in Iraq, and that the insurgency was in its last throes. It was Hillary, standing right at John McCain's side.

Yeah. So President Hillary would be soooooo much better about Iraq. Clap louder, everybody. Make it come true.

If this were a just world, not one person who authorized Bush to invade Iraq would ever be re-elected to anything, and the prime engineers of this mess would be going to jail instead of Fox News desks. And if this were a just world, Hillary would be held in almost as much contempt by people opposed to this war as Bush, Cheney, and the rest of Team Chimpy.

Maybe a lot of people who supported the war early and then turned against it will identify with her more strongly than with people who were right in the first place. So I dunno. Maybe I'm wrong.

I can certainly imagine Hillary changing the subject away from Iraq, which she'll have to as much as possible. I can picture many Democrats supporting Hillary eventually in the hold-your-nose, best-we've-got, wish-it-wasn't-her sort of way. And with our inherently corrupt campaign finance system in which a big war chest often buys power, yeah, she might have a shot. And maybe I'm a big enough jerk that a year from now you'll see me holding my nose, too.

But it seems to me, anyway, that when you're starting as an active accessory to the bloodsoaked mess that your core constituency now deeply opposes, and when you're starting with less than half of the electorate not already actively hostile to you in some way...

It's no wonder that Hillary's announcement gives Iraq exactly one sentence, implying opposition but without taking any position whatsoever. If you read closely, you'll notice she instantly changes the subject to liberal-sounding blah about health care, conservation, and Social Security (while falsely adopting the right-wing talking point that Social Security is in financial trouble, incidentally) -- but all cleverly framed as open questions, so she doesn't have to take any position right now.

I don't really blame her for that.

I mean, we can all see just how wise Hillary Clinton is when she decides to take a clear stand.


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