Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Warming to Hillary

I am trying to warm to Hillary Clinton for several reasons.

While I was offended by his inability to keep his instrument in his pants, I was and continue to be an admirer of her husband as a leader and a statesman. He is a brilliant and charismatic person, and he cares about doing for others.

My wife is a near-charter member of NOW and, initially out of respect for her but increasingly because I have come to see their position as just, I have become something of what used to be called a feminist. (I’m not sure what they are called today, but I’m still one of them.) I firmly believe that a female president would be a very good thing for this country.

But I just cannot warm to Hillary Clinton, no matter how much I try to do so. She has been described as "calculating," and to me that word fits all too well. Her words always seem scripted rather than honest; they always seem to reveal not so much what she thinks or feels but rather what she believes will best serve her purpose.

A case in point is her absolute refusal to avoid even approaching the admission of error in her vote approving the war in Iraq. She dances around it, she changes the subject (usually to an attack on Bush), but she is a person who will not admit that she was wrong or that she made a mistake.

John Edwards voted the same way she did, and here’s what he says,

"It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn't make a mistake -- the men and women of our armed forces and their families -- have performed heroically and paid a dear price.

While we can't change the past, we need to accept responsibility, because a key part of restoring America's moral leadership is acknowledging when we've made mistakes or been proven wrong -- and showing that we have the creativity and guts to make it right."

Here are a couple of quotes from Hillary Clinton,

"Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn't have been a vote, and I certainly wouldn't have voted that way."

"If I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have voted that way. It was Bush who made the mistake, leading us into…"

Her response places the blame on those who gave her the information, and accepts no responsibility herself. What she doesn’t include in her response is that there were those who knew, or at least suspected, a great deal then of what we know now. There were those who were questioning the rationale for the decision, and those who spoke out and voted against it. Hillary Clinton wasn’t one of them.

When you make a decision merely on the information that is placed in front of your face, without questioning the validity of that data or seeking to obtain knowledge of what other data may be available, and that decision turns to be not only wrong but disastrous, you cannot blame the information you were given or the person who gave it to you. The error is yours in that you failed to exercise due process before making the decision.

Hillary Clinton wants us to overlook her failure of due process and join her in blaming the Bush Administration for giving her bad information, to not just overlook her failure but to reward her for it.

I have known of quite a number of people who will not admit to ever having made a mistake. They are dangerous people to be around. George W. Bush is one of them, and it would seem to appear (I suspect erroneously) that Hillary Clinton is another.

The reason I suspect that appearance to be deceiving is that I suspect that her position on that vote may actually be the "calculations" of Hillary Clinton gone awry. The pundits are saying that she cannot admit mistake on the war vote because she needs to appear strong on security, needs to appear decisive, cannot appear to flip flop, etc.

One cannot really doubt that she is well aware of those needs, so I sense that we are hearing not what she thinks or feels about that vote, but rather what she believes will best serve her purpose. When asked about her vote on the war, her reply is phrased to serve her need to appear strong on national security, etc., rather than being an honest answer to the question.

I’m actually used to that kind of empty political rhetoric, so while it isn’t drawing me to her it also is not really turning me against her either. But it gets worse. I don’t have the date, but recently she delivered this in response to a question about her vote for the war in Iraq,

"As a senator from New York, I lived through 9/11 and I am still dealing with the aftereffects," Clinton said. "I may have a slightly different take on this from some of the other people who will be coming through here."

"I do think we are engaged in a war against heartless, ruthless enemies,"
she went on, "If they could come after us again tomorrow they would do so."

I really thought, hoped, that we were finished with conflating the events of September 11th with a dictator in Iraq who not only had nothing to do with those events, but who was an enemy to the group who was the perpetrator of them.

To invoke 9/11 when asked about Iraq is a degree of cold calculation that is unconscionable. In trying to justify her vote on the war she is trying to justify the war itself. That goes beyond calculation and into actual dishonesty.

That dishonesty reeks of desperation, so determined to justify the unjustifiable that she uses Bush’s justification of Saddam’s involvement with 9/11 to serve her own purpose. She even goes so for as to use the "they’ll follow us home" rationale that even Bush has abandoned as hopeless, and to which only a few rabid Republicans are still desperately clinging.

It is just impossible for me to warm to this person. I really want to. The more I hear from her, though, the less I think that I could vote for her.

The problem with the two party system is that I may have no choice. In all probability it will, in Nov 2008, be a choice between her and John McCain.

If so, I will write in my wife’s name.

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1 comment:

  1. Heh.

    If it comes to that (Hillary vs. McCain) maybe I'll write in your wife's name too.

    'Cuz I won't be casting a vote for either of those two, in all likelihood.