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  • Is Hillary Clinton Tough?

    Posted by Jonathan on October 5th, 2007 (All posts by )

    Tom Smith is cautiously optimistic about the possibility of Hillary Clinton as president. I am not so optimistic.

    Hillary is a person of bad character, and people of bad character tend to be unreliable. Being single-minded and vindictive toward domestic political adversaries who pose no physical threat is hardly the same thing as being bold and resolute toward ruthless external enemies who are killing Americans almost every day. She may be too risk-averse and unprincipled to stick to her guns. Bush has made many mistakes but he also has the strength of character and simple courage to pursue, against much opposition, the course that he thinks is correct. Does Hillary? I don’t know. I suspect that she does not, at least not to the extent of some of the other candidates. I don’t want to have to find out.

    Leaders and voters in democratic countries are sometimes tempted to put unscrupulous people into positions of authority, under the belief that such people will not hesitate to do what has to be done in tough situations. But unscrupulous people, by definition, have their own agendas, and it is a delusion to believe that they will provide some kind of short cut around the hard work, hard choices and pain of winning a war. We are better off electing strong, forthright, principled people.

     

    45 Responses to “Is Hillary Clinton Tough?”

    1. Lexington Green Says:

      “… strong, forthright, principled people.”

      Unfortunately, there are only politicians in the race, so we will have to make do with one of those.

    2. Ginny Says:

      Lexington’s response shares a cynicism that seems to motivate this Clinton (if not always the other one). Sure, if it continues to look like we’re winning in Iraq, she won’t pull out. That isn’t the same as believing history demonstrates certain ways of thinking underlie more stable countries and certain economic models underlie more productive economies. Leadership may draw the best from people, but certainly it can give freer reign to petty vindictiveness; self-pity and narcissism were evident in her treatment of Bill’s “bimbos.” We can’t say we haven’t been warned.

    3. Rachel Says:

      I’m with both Lex and Tom Smith. Hillary seems the best of a bad bunch. I think she’s more trustworthy on foreign policy than the rest of them and I find her defiance of the nutroots comforting. Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic.

    4. Ginny Says:

      Well, anytime I hear McGovern speak my vote for Nixon seems right. But that doesn’t mean his paranoia, exacerbated I’m sure by the 1960 votes in Illinois and Texas, wasn’t bad for the office & bad for the country. Hillary’s paranoia seems of at least as long a standing as his. That she’s better than her opponents on Iraq is true. And at least her opportunistic and self-centered vision means she’s quite willing to throw Kos to the wolves if that is pragmatic. If Soros becomes sufficiently kryptonic, perhaps that influence, too, will go away. Then we only need worry about the infuence of the Hsus of the world. And perhaps Acorn can get out the vote for Kucinich.

    5. pst314 Says:

      I also wonder, given the lifelong hatred and contempt that she and her husband have shown for our soldiers, I wonder what sorts of harmful decisions she might make.

    6. Shannon Love Says:

      I agree with Ginny that Hillary reminds me strongly of Nixon.

      Like Nixion, their ethical lapses (such as the Hsu scandal) seem to spring from a belief the political deck is unfairly stacked against them and that bend the notional rules and even cheat just to stay even. Worse than Nixon, the Clintons and their ideological cohort seem to believe themselves trapped in a no-holds barred struggle against outright evil political opponents. Leftist political theory is full of books and other works explaining how the right has unjustly and even fraudulently gained and maintained power since the 70’s. With such a view of modern political life, how can the Clintons not, as Nixon did, fall prey to the temptations of political corruption?

      The post-60’s Left spends so much time and energy telling themselves how intelligent, moral and altruistic they are that come to view anyone who slows their ascent to power as a stupid, amoral and selfish. They’ve lost that healthy doubt of themselves that every good democratic leader must have. I don’t think they have any intuitive grasp that they can do something seriously wrong.

      On the other hand, I do think we could count on Hillary to do the right thing in a major crisis. I think the imperatives of office guide presidential behavior more than ideology. The real threat she would poise would be an unwillingness to at in any case that doesn’t present an immediate and obvious danger. Her instinct will be to forestall action and let problems fester until they reach a crisis.

    7. david foster Says:

      When objections were raised to Hillary’s health care proposal in 1994, she responded: “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized small business in American.”

      Of course, nobody was asking the government to take responsibility for these businesses–only to not wantonly destroy them.

      The language is interesting–*I” can’t take responsibility. Hillary was not the personification of the government, she was not even in a decision-making position, she was merely in a staff role. Use of this language by a person in this position denotes to me a pretty high degree of narcissism, in addition to the cavalier willingness to casually destroy other people’s lives demonstrated by the statement.

      Note also the “undercapitalized” part. In a Hillary administration, you’d better be either a well-capitalized corporation, or a large and well-organized interest group, or you are likely to get crushed.

    8. Lexington Green Says:

      “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized small business in American.”

      I remember that comment well.

      She wants to create a Colbertian or, strictly speaking, fascist-corporatist state. The government will permit private enterprise, but only large enterprises that will seek and obtain monopoly rents from the state in exchange for direction by the state. There may be shoe shine stands and even corner coffee shops. But there will be little in between mom and pop scale enterprise and huge businesses. The former are too small to matter, and the larger can and will be coopted by the state. The middle-sized companies, entrepreneurial companies, start-ups, cannot be allowed to exist because they are the seedbeds of creative destruction. Innovation and change and disruption of a politically organized “marketplace” must be choked to death in its cradle.

      That is Hillary’s vision. It is a little like France, a little like Canada, a little like fascist Italy.

      Want to live in it?

      You are going to get your chance.

    9. Rachel Says:

      I don’t want to live there. I’m just trying to be optimistic in the very likely event that I will be living there.

    10. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Just shoot me.

    11. Lex Says:

      “I’m just trying to be optimistic in the very likely event that I will be living there.”

      I am thinking more of trying to thwart her at every step using every means, legal, political and through the media of holding her at bay.

      Optimism could be truly lethal in this case. Hillary is a hardcore statist, with a willingness to do and to so and to some extent even to be anything in order to possess power, with a Nixonian hatred of “them”, the people who disagree with her policy views, who are therefore evil. The goal is the destruction of the private life and decision-making and the reduction of everyone in society to being a client of the state, dependent on the state for work, for medicine, for the necessities of life, so that the political process is the only available mechanism for getting anything or resolving any dispute or taking any initiative. That was the goal of Hillarycare, which had nothing to do with medicine for poor people. It was about making the entire middle class dependent forever on the state. This was pretty much articulated by Bill Clinton, who said the Democrats had to stop making government programs be for the poor, since the middle class would only support a larger role for government when they were reliant on government. Bill, however, was a benign creature compared to his wife.

      Too bad the GOP has been destroyed by the Iraq war and their own greed and stupidity. There walls are down. Hillary is going to come in with a veto-proof majority.

      Barring a miracle, we are well and truly f*cked for at least two years. The 2010 midterm could decide our fate, whether we will be a country based on freedom and private initiative, or whether we finally lose what we have had for all these years.

      I am a pro-life, religious right, conservative-not-libertarian. But I am hoping Rudy Giuliani can get momentum, since only he can even possibly stop Hillary.

    12. Tokyo Tower Says:

      > On the other hand, I do think we could count on Hillary to do the right thing in a major crisis.

      Wow, Shannon… I’m quite surprised. Is this suppose to sound comforting? As the old saying goes, the difference between the intelligent and the wise is that the intelligent knows how to come out of the hole when he falls in it. The wise just avoids the hole. I think Hillary supports the hole.

      It may be the time for American conservatives/libertarians to seriously consider voting for the underdogs (Constitutionalists, Libertarians). I wonder why this has been postponed for so long.

    13. Lex Says:

      “It may be the time for American conservatives/libertarians to seriously consider voting for the underdogs (Constitutionalists, Libertarians).”

      That is wisdom?

      The time is upon us for the anti-statists to rally around who ever the GOP pukes up as the only hope of stopping Hillary — probably Rudy. The Democrats will some day nominate a tolerable center-left candidate who we can all live with. Perhaps that will be a good moment for a gesture-vote for a marginal third party, which hands the victory to the left for four years. But this upcoming election is not that time. Mrs. Clinton is a very dangerous politician who will do great harm to the country. Stopping her should be the libertarian goal, as well as the conservative goal, and the goal for many other people.

    14. Tokyo Tower Says:

      I truly agree, Lex. But the Republican party has prospered on the “But this upcoming election is not that time” argument for how many administrations now? And the overall result was that Republicans are leaning each day closer to liberal policies, more than any of its conservative-libertarian support could feel comfortable about (as per this administration’s spending, as per the profile of candidates the GOP is currently providing, and so on).

      My point being, if Rudy is your guy, you might as well have a scenario where he keeps on supporting the current administration’s war policies at the expense of every other: abortion, private property, and so on.

      If you will end up with the same result between Hillary and Rudy, why not bite the bullet now for a change? It may teach the GOP a lesson…

      Having said that, I have no idea what candidates Constitutionalists and Libertarians have to offer. And I hear from friends that they historically lack sophistication to solidify their support-basis. Scary times, aren’t they?

    15. david foster Says:

      Tokyo…”if Rudy is your guy, you might as well have a scenario where he keeps on supporting the current administration’s war policies at the expense of every other: abortion, private property, and so on.” Just to focus on one of those points–surely a Democratic administration would do more damage to the concept of private property than would any likely Republican administration.

      Also damage to other rights. I think Hillary, in particular, is very moralistic (which is not the same thing as moral) and authoritarian, and I can easily imagine an upsurge in the enforcement of politically-correct thinking and behavior.

    16. Lex Says:

      “…the overall result was that Republicans are leaning each day closer to liberal policies…”

      This is because the small-l libertarian wing of the GOP has been incompetent about making its case. You cannot be party successfully if you cannot even be a faction within a party successfully. People with libertarian ideals are poor at organization and persuasion, because they are ideologically committed to individualism, which in practice often means being anti-social loners, and because they dogmatically believe that all their policy ideas are a matter of moral right, so they don’t have to persuade anybody about anything. None of that works in a democracy. People with those values, which I almost totally share, need to grow up.

      “…if Rudy is your guy…”

      The only guy who has ever been my guy was Reagan. The rest of them, it’s damage control.

      “…If you will end up with the same result between Hillary and Rudy …”

      That is my point. We won’t Hillary will be terrible. Rudy will be probably tolerable, maybe good. No comparison. Rudy, to pick one issue, has repeatedly said he would appoint judges like Alito and Roberts. There are six out of nine justices over seventy years old. The next president could get several appointments. That in itself is enough reason to vote against Hillary by voting FOR the candidate most likely to beat her.

    17. Rachel Says:

      The time is upon us for the anti-statists to rally around who ever the GOP pukes up as the only hope of stopping Hillary — probably Rudy.

      I heartily agree. But it doesn’t help when evangelicals start spouting off about a third-party candidate, in which case Hillary won’t even need to campaign. The truth is, no one candidate ever completely satisfies everyone–and in an ideal world, Rudy probably doesn’t even come close–but look at the alternative.

    18. Tokyo Tower Says:

      Hello, David.

      > Just to focus on one of those points–surely a Democratic administration would do more damage to the concept of private property than would any likely Republican administration.

      Well, what is Rudy’s position on eminent domain? I think Kelo’s decision is the largest affront to property rights that ever took place in the US, and still, why can’t Rudy show his policies about it?

      Hi again, Lex.

      > This is because the small-l libertarian wing of the GOP has been incompetent about making its case.

      Well, if libertarians can no longer make their case in the GOP, and if you basically share their views on policy, isn’t it another very good reason to stop supporting the GOP? That’s what logic would tell.

      > The only guy who has ever been my guy was Reagan. The rest of them, it’s damage control.

      This is my point exactly: with all the clear signs of American’s strong support for more conservative policies, how come you don’t have politicians like Reagan, who embody the values behind those policies and goes the distance to actually implement them? How come in modern democracies, Reagans are the exception and not the rule? Does it really have to be about compromising, always?

      > There are six out of nine justices over seventy years old.

      Well, the same argument was made for Bush’s second run. And the justices issue is still there. Rudy does the talk, but does he talk the talk? Would he really nominate Alito, given his track record?

      Conservatives have consistently supported the GOP based on the judge-appointment argument, and still, it takes an act of courage for Bush to nominate Alito, even though his support basis was massively demanding it. How about Harriet Miers? What makes you think Republicans would actually deliver on this issue? If Bush is liable to fold under liberal pressure on this matter, how about Rudy, whose comes from a New York law office? Can you get more liberal than that? What would his friends say if he nominated Alito?

      I think I have a valid question which my American acquaintances have all failed to answer to my satisfaction: where does the divide between the GOP’s electoral basis and its representatives’ policies come from, and how come it doesn’t get filled? In Economics terms, it seems that the GOP has the monopoly for supplying conservative-libertarian policies for a consumer basis eager to accept it, but still, the GOP fails to provide it satisfactorily. In Economics terms, someone else would step in to provide said demanded policies, either within the GOP or from s third party, but this does not happen: why?

    19. Lex Says:

      “…evangelicals start spouting off about a third-party candidate…”

      Yeah, I know. I am friends with the Catholic version of this. It is very difficult to talk sanity to them. Voting to them is some kind of spiritual deed, instead of just being damage control, as it usually is.

      “…if libertarians can no longer make their case in the GOP … isn’t it another very good reason to stop supporting the GOP…”

      You miss my point. If the small-l libertarians cannot even get a following in the relatively sympathetic GOP, they are even more hopeless in the general electorate. They need to actually learn how to make their case to people who do not already agree with them. Until they develop this basic competence, they will have no impact.

      “Harriet Meyers … What makes you think Republicans would actually deliver on this issue?”

      1. Rudy said so, and I believe him until he does otherwise. 2. I know Hillary will be horrible.

      The whole point is this: There is a horrible prospect, President Hillary Rodham Clinton, or a tolerable prospect, President Rudolf Giuliani. Gimme what’s behind curtain B. I’ll take my chances with it.

    20. Mwalimu Daudi Says:

      The only certainty in a Clinton II administration is that Hilly the Hun will act purely in her own self interest. If she believes (for example) that Iran is a threat to her administration, then she will turn it into a radioactive desert. If, on the other hand, she sees no threat from Islamofascism, then she will pursue a policy that will make the Truthers giddy with joy. Hillary is one of the most paranoid politicians that I have ever seen this side of Robert Mugabe, and it would be a fool’s errand to try to determine which way she will go in a foreign crisis.

    21. Geoffb Says:

      Is Hillary Clinton tough?

      Only on anyone standing between her and power.

    22. MlR Says:

      Tokyo Tower:

      Consider me with you. I’m not convinced that continuously voting for the lesser evil is a suitable long-term proposition. It isn’t working. We’ve now got two big-government parties, each trying to outbribe the other with money that doesn’t exist.

      Moreover, even if I thought that winning abroad was worth losing the war at home (what’s the point?), I’m not at all impressed with the “Rudy will be tough on the war” stuff. Setting aside my personal belief that our large social experiment in Iraq was a giant pipe dream, I haven’t seen any actual prescription of what being “tough on the war” really means today. It is nothing but a slogan for someone who’s out of power and therefore has no responsibility.

      It certainly does not mean confronting Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, or whoever – our overstretched military and government preclude that. So basically it just means talking big and pretending that we’ll actually follow through. Our government wants to manage the world but none of the candidates are going to commit to allocating the resources necessary to do it.

    23. MlR Says:

      “Our government wants to manage the world but none of the candidates are going to commit to allocating the resources necessary to do it.”

      -Nor should we want them to. They’re not Bismark and we’re not Sparta.

    24. MlR Says:

      We lost control of the Senate, Congress, our Southern border (and with it the future of the Republican Party) – and won continued responsibility for security in the Middle East, possibly the biggest booby-prize in World History.

      Sorry for the triple post, just discouraged.

    25. JeanneB Says:

      Ginny said:

      Sure, if it continues to look like we’re winning in Iraq, she won’t pull out.

      It won’t matter what it “looks like”. We’ll never know. The moment her transition begins there will be a strategic campaign to undermine the war (and Bush). Dems are too heavily invested in defeat and will never tolerate a successful conclusion in Iraq.

      Remember how Bill ran on a tax-cut platform? Immediately after the election he started telling us how his transition team had found things were soooooo much worse than expected! Bush (dad) lied, the economy is in tatters, the deficit is grossly understated….we can’t afford a tax cut, we must have the largest tax increase in history!

      That’s exactly what Hillary will do. Her transition team will cherry pick intelligence, stregically leaked to a compliant press, aimed at destroying any public will to continue the war. We’ll hear about atrocities Bush II hid from us and all kinds of “civil liberties” violations. It will be a waterfall of American guilt and Iraqi incompetence. In the full bloom of public disgust, she will then withdraw from Iraq, close Gitmo, demand new restrictions on intelligence gathering….with regret, of course, that we were so misled. That’s how she’ll do it.

    26. shamus Says:

      Very few House races are competitive — perhaps ten percent of them in a good year. This means that representatives can pretty much do what they want without regard to the views of their constituents. They have a monopoly.

    27. DWPittelli Says:

      I would march barefoot through broken glass to vote against Ms. Clinton. And I live in Massachusetts, whose electoral votes would never make the difference to a general election. A person who has proven, in adulthood, to be personally corrupt (voters may have forgotten the commodities deal, but a $100,000 bribe is still a $100,000 bribe), mendacious and paranoid is never going to be a suitable choice for any position of power.

      In contrast, Obama is remarkably honest for a politician, because he has a lot less to lie about, most notably his Iraq position. I don’t agree with him, but I also don’t see him sticking his finger in the air before bravely voting for a popular war, and then sticking it up again before bravely denouncing the now-unpopular war with weasel words like “Bush misled us into war” (Clinton’s way to get everyone to hear “Bush lied” without unambiguously making such an unsupportable claim).

      I have no more in common with the positions of Mr. Obama, and his qualifications are slightly more marginal than those of Ms. Clinton. Further, he is a naif. But a naif can reasonably be expected to learn. A crook cannot reasonably be expected to become honest.

    28. Lexington Green Says:

      “…continuously voting for the lesser evil is a suitable long-term proposition….”

      Right. The small-l libertarians need to become a more effective and convincing faction within the GOP — improving the lesser evil is the long-term proposition. Third parties don’t work in our system, since it is winner-take-all in election. You always have two parties, each one a bundle of factions. If you have views that cannot by themselves command a majority, you must affiliate with one of the two big parties and try to get things done on a case by case basis. That is the program. It beats what exists most places.

    29. Paul A' Barge Says:

      Leaders and voters in democratic countries are sometimes tempted to put unscrupulous people into positions of authority, under the belief that such people will not hesitate to do what has to be done in tough situations.

      This is a simplistic and insulting characterization of leaders and voters in democratic countries and I suspect that it would be typical of whoever would make this characterization to make the corollary, that people who do not hesitate to do what has to be done in tough situations are unscrupulous.

      But hey, that’s just me.

      How about you provide a list of examples from history to back up this condemnation?

      In other words, provide some evidence from history to assert that given the opportunity to vote for strong, forthright, principled people, voters in democracies chose instead unscrupulous people and did so because they wanted to get something done.

      Tick. Tock. Still waiting …

    30. Ginny Says:

      Mr. Barge,

      Words like “sometimes” are clearly not important modifiers to you; they are to most of us.

      Jonathan can defend himself but I find a comment that ends “tick tock” to be offensive and out of place – especially from someone who has clearly not bothered to read Jonathan’s succinct post. What makes you think that is the appropriate tone for comments? What are the conventions of places in which you usually make your arguments?

    31. MlR Says:

      “Right. The small-l libertarians need to become a more effective and convincing faction within the GOP — improving the lesser evil is the long-term proposition. Third parties don’t work in our system, since it is winner-take-all in election. You always have two parties, each one a bundle of factions. If you have views that cannot by themselves command a majority, you must affiliate with one of the two big parties and try to get things done on a case by case basis. That is the program. It beats what exists most places.”

      But I increasingly don’t buy this. The Republican Party doesn’t help libertarians make their case. Fusionism got comparatively little.

      I refuse to believe that the United States is stuck with the Republicans and Democrats for the rest of its entire history. And I think that small-l libertarianism has a shot at being sold if it is attempted – the Republican Party won’t do so because it is now run by Establishment figures who are fat, dumb, and happy.

    32. Lex Says:

      “I refuse to believe that the United States is stuck with the Republicans and Democrats for the rest of its entire history.”

      The labels stay the same. The contents change depending on who is promoting policies.

      Political parties exist to win elections, periog. They adopt and change and discard positions to the extent they believe those positions will help them win elections. It is up to libertarians to find policies that are popular enough that they will help candidates win elections. Unless and until they do that, their ideas will only exist on blogs and in beer-soaked kvetch sessions — not that those are not fun in their own way. If the libertarian approach were popular enough to win a lot of elections, it would come to define the party. If the ideas are inherently unpopular, as I think they unfortunately are, then it is a matter of picking issues one at a time and promoting them, where there is the chance of progress, or damage control.

    33. Jonathan Says:

      Paul A’ Barge:
      WRT democratic leaders, an obvious and egregious example is the Israeli govt’s decision to delegate anti-terror authority to the Palestinian Authority. Israeli pols publicly argued for this decision by stating that the lawless PA would be more effective at fighting (other) terrorists than Israel could be, precisely because the PA was ruthless and not bound by the rule of law. Hillary Clinton is no terrorist, and is trying to gain voters’ support by pleasing rather than intimidating them, but the same point applies: meanness, corruption and ambition are no substitute for honesty, courage and overall strength of character when it comes to making hard decisions required by wartime leadership.

      I should note that my argument applies, though I think to a much smaller degree, to Giuliani as well as Clinton. The argument that Giuliani is a jerk and will therefore be effective against our enemies is, I think, weak. However, I think that there are other reasons to favor Giuliani. And I hope that I am wrong about Hillary. I think that she is about as bad as they come in the context of national American politics. But if she is elected I hope that she will do the right things. And maybe she will. But, as I wrote above, I would rather we not have to find out if she is up to it.

    34. Tokyo Tower Says:

      Hi Lex, Hi MIR, thank you all for the comments.

      Let me try to summarize the argument for the sake of discussing it. Tell me if I’m wrong.

      1. US democracy is based on a two-party system where third parties have little if no chance to gain meaningfull representation. Right now the two major parties are the Republican and the Democratic.

      2. Considering that Hillary Clinton is most likely to become the Democrats’ candidate, and considering that Hillary, for her track record on morals, policies and practices, is absolutely unnaceptable as choice for conservatives/libertarians, said conservatives/libertarians are forced to vote for any GOP candidate as less-worse option.

      3. (l)ibertarian policies are not popular enough to amass enough support for changing the hegemonic position of both parties, which tend to refuse their adoption.

      As far as 1. and 2. go, I guess there is not much conflict between our positions. I beg to differ on 3.. Firstly, it is not just a matter of standing for libertarian policies, but for conservative ones as well. As an outsider, I must say it is hard to look at the GOP and find a strong stance on basic (conservative) issues such as abortion, free trade, eminent domain, foreign policy, and so on. Even regarding the war against terror, I am not sure what Rudy or McCain stand for. Furthermore, I don’t think Lex has given enough indication that Rudy would see through the nomination of conservative judges, as he claims. Bush had more reason to do it and hesitated once. If this is all so, Reps may end up as undesirable as Dems. Look at Nixon, for a good example.

      Secondly, at least regarding some of these issues (abortion, gay marriage, etc.), the American electorate seems to be predominantly conservative. I am trying to find some data on the acceptance of libertarian policies, without much success. Free trade would be my first focus, but relations with China seem to be souring the libertarian position. My guess is that most Americans are against eminent domain decisions, though. (It is just a guess, I admit.) Furthermore, I have the impression most Americans would support a restriction on public spending, lowering of taxes rates and simplification of the current filing system (even some sort of sole tax VAT policy?).

      If this is so, at some point some sensible leadership, from conservative or libertarian stock, should be able to capitalize on these issues within the GOP or from a third party perspective. If such leadership does not exist, maybe the problem is indeed, as Lex points out, one of strategic positioning and guts, instead of systemic, two-party-related one. Certainly, it would take time to convince the American electorate to support these policies. But this is my emphasis exactly: it has to start at some point, and it might as well be now. Too bad I am not a US citizen.

    35. JeanE Says:

      I think Rudy’s NYC background should reassure conservatives that he will not be swayed by pressure from liberal poiticians or pundits. It takes a certain degree of resolve simply to declare yourself to be a Republican in NYC, and Rudy has demonstrated that he doesn’t back down to appease critics from the left or the right. He’s supported Bush on the war in Iraq, and hasn’t really gone out of his way to “distance himself form the president” to use MSM’s favorite phrase. When confronted with criticism from the right about his views on abortion, he’s worked to find common ground (judges) but hasn’t bowed to pressure to change his views.
      A candidate who is used to being surrounded by like minded people and friendly media is more likely to be swayed than Rudy- he’s used to being criticized, and doesn’t seem compelled to make ammends to everyone who disagrees with him. That kind of strength will hold up well against domestic opposition and foreign enemies.

    36. Lex Says:

      “US democracy is based on a two-party system where third parties have little if no chance to gain meaningfull representation”

      No. The two parties are shifting coalitions composed of factions, interest groups and ideologiclally motivated people. They cooperate to get part of what they want through a process of negotiation and horse-trading. ANY interest group can find a home in one party or the other, unless it is so radical that it will always alienate more voters than it will attract. A faction can take over a party if the things it wants to do can appeal to enough voters.

      The model is the original conservative movement, which took over the GOP starting in the mid-1950s. From around 1954 to Reagans victory in 1980 was 26 years; from 1954 to the GOP taking over the House in 1994 was 40 years. These things take a long time. But they can be done.

    37. ny nick Says:

      Somehow I don’t think the American voter, having just lived through six years of dishonesty, corruption, incompetence and hubris of Republican leadership, will buy into your Hillary is “unscrupulous” idea. She may be wooden, well scripted and a less than engaging public speaker but she does project an air of quiet competence. Right now, considering the alternative, that looks pretty good to the average voter. Regarding Rudy, even Rudy knows deep down that he has no chance to beat Hillary if they both end up their party nominees. Rudy is quite well known here in NYC and those who know him best, like him and respect him least. Never a good sign. Hillary will run him into the ground and grind him under her boot. He knows it too. That’s why he’s trying to take her out now, before she gets nominated. Once she does, Rudy is toast. Republicans know they are in for a difficult election in ’08, that’s why you see so many senators retiring. I’m sure I will hear about how Rudy is going to beat Hillary with his superior 9/11 powers but ask yourself this, when was the last time a Republican beat a Clinton in an election?

    38. Shannon Love Says:

      Ny Nick,

      Long term observers of Clintons have noted a long pattern of Nixonian political practices. Nixon, remember, was well thought off enough to win elections in a landslide twice ( and probably should have won a third in 1960) yet his inability to resist using any dirty trick in order maintain power doomed him. The Clinton’s follow the same pattern.

      The Hsu scandal shows that the Clinton political machine pays next to zero attention to who they get their money from or what their agenda is. This is a pattern going back decades. Such an attitude is very dangerous. The same sense of arrogance and infallibility that dogged the first Clinton administration will dog the second.

      Nixon waltzed to office twice in landslides. Yet his presidency failed and we’re still paying for it. I am not eager to repeat that.

    39. Rich Rostrom Says:

      Nixon was loathed by all the right-thinking people long before he was elected. Remember the comment of New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael in 1972?

      I only know one person who voted for Nixon.

      His first victory was not a landslide; he drew 43.4% to Humphrey’s 42.7%.

      Nixon was paranoid. But he was an outsider who was never comfortable with the national elite.

      Clinton is paranoid too. (Note the recent comments by Clinton consigliere Sid Blumenthal, insisting that the blogosphere’s takedown of Dan Rather’s bogus Air National Guard documents was entirely directed by Karl Rove and his staff. Why does he say that? Because that’s exactly how the Clinton machine would have done it.)

      And she combines that with the arrogance of an elite insider. Bill and Hillary are rock stars among the “tranzis”, the Hollywood crowd, Big Media, and the academic left. While Bill was AG and governor in Arkansas, Hillary was sitting on corporate boards and collecting on insider deals.

      If there is a Clinton II Presidency, it could well be the most corrupt in our history. And the most incompetent: liberal economist Brad DeLong served in the Clinton health-care “task force”, and came away with the belief that

      Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life.

      And the most wrong-headed. Hillary’s first adult political activity was defending the Black Panthers; she interned with Robert Treuhaft, a far-left lawyer who was a Communist much of his life; her personal associates today are all fashionably left-wing. (But fashionably left-wing: think “trustafarian in a Che t-shirt bullying the staff at a luxury resort”.) Every bad idea rattling around the Left today will get a sympathetic hearing in the Clinton II administration, as long as it doesn’t inconvenience their wealthy friends.

    40. Ginny Says:

      And then there’s Sandy Berger.

    41. commenter Says:

      The original post was fascinating because it brought together in one paragraph all the militarist buzzwords:
      “strong”
      “principled”
      “forthright”
      “resolute”
      “bold”
      “courage”
      “do what has to be done.”
      That’s muscular right-wing speak for military activity. In this case the invasion and continued occupation, at enormous cost, of Iraq. Anyone who is not a strong supporter of Israel (which was indeed rid of a major enemy when Saddam was removed) would recognize that this strong, forthright act has made the United States much weaker.

    42. Jonathan Says:

      …Anyone who is not a strong supporter of Israel (which was indeed rid of a major enemy when Saddam was removed) would recognize that this strong, forthright act has made the United States much weaker.

      Anyone who is not a troll with a lame argument would respond to what I actually wrote.

      Interesting, though, that in your world, “principled” is a militarist buzzword.

    43. Shannon Love Says:

      Commenter,

      That’s muscular right-wing speak for military activity.

      Actually, its right-wing speak for no more Cambodias.

    44. Rachel Says:

      “strong”
      “principled”
      “forthright”
      “resolute”
      “bold”
      “courage”
      “do what has to be done.”

      Much better to have leaders who are unscrupulous, underhanded, vacillating, meek, cowardly and unable to take action. Sounds like Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis.

    45. JeanneB Says:

      While I may disagree with some of Gulliani’s positions, at least I don’t feel he’s hostile to my beliefs. Hillary is.

      My strongest opposition to Hillary (or any other Dem) lies in the entrenched bureacracy. Think of those who have blithely leaked national security secrets in a transparent effort to undermine the president at a time of war. The very same people would be empowered/rewarded by a Clinton administration. Rudy has a record of taking on such bureaucracies. I relish the thought of him vs. the State Department, with him letting them know that THEY don’t set policy (no one elected them).