Friday, September 14, 2007

Hillary in Power

"How will Hillary govern?" I posed this query in a recent post.

It's no mystery, of course, as we have Senator Clinton's record by which to guide our analysis (YouTube courtesy of
Goat's Barnyard):

But see also this week's cover story at Newsweek, "How She Would Govern."

The piece is a trip down the Memory Lane of 1990s presidential politics. It's a good analysis as well: Hillary's portrayed as ambitious and unbending, and she gets her comeuppance with the brutal political repudiation of the Clinton administration's healthcare initiative, which she spearheaded.

The article is also insightful in noting Hillary's signature unwillingness to give in, and her redoubtable skills of political recuperation.

But Hillary's lacking in conviction, and I think that quality tells us a great deal about how she'll lead. She's twisted and turned on Iraq, which this passage illustrates:

To many in her party...Clinton is often too afraid of political risk. Their most compelling piece of evidence: Iraq. It is hard to remember now, but in her early days in the Senate, it was taken for granted that Clinton's greatest political imperative was to boost her hawk credentials. As a woman, and a Clinton, she had to prove that she could be as tough as any man if she ever wanted to run for the presidency. After joining the Senate Armed Services Committee, she immersed herself in details of force structure and military preparedness. She reached out to generals and formed a close bond with Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, an Army ranger and paratrooper. In October 2002, she joined 28 other Democrats in voting to authorize the Iraq War.

Clinton says the Iraq War vote was without "any doubt" the most important one she's made as senator, the product of a "difficult, painful, painstaking" decision-making process. Over and over in the campaign, she and her aides have said that her vote was one of principle, not expediency, that she sincerely believed her "yea" would give Colin Powell the leverage he needed to persuade the administration to wait to invade until it had the support of the United Nations. This is hard for many in either party to believe. "Everyone knew that was in fact a war resolution," says one former Clinton administration official, who now supports Obama and did not want to criticize Clinton on the record. "The overwhelming sense among the Dems then was that this was a politically sensitive vote. They didn't want to be on the wrong side of a winning war, and a popular president. Political calculations were pre-eminent in the decision." Indeed, in her persistent refusal to acknowledge that political realities played any role in her decision, she seems most like the old Hillary—incapable of admitting a flaw.
There's a inevitability to Hillary Clinton's White House bid, well, at least in her quest for the Democratic nomination.

But should she win in November 2008, there should be no surprises regarding her formidable political powers, nor any delusions about her "weather vane" approach to government (thanks to
G-Man over at The Pickle for the "weather vane" analogy.)

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