Tuesday, October 30, 2007

President Hillary Clinton

No, it’s not a special Halloween edition – The Three Scariest Words. Frankly, President Rudy Guiliani and President Mitt Romney are scarier, although they would be faced with Democratic majority in Congress which would be more likely to fight them than they would Hillary. The Shorenstein Center did a study on the early months of the campaign in the main stream media which noted that there was an emphasis placed almost entirely on the horse race rather than on the policies and potential Presidencies of the respective candidates. Since Hillary is the most likely winner, I figured I’d take a shot at this less frequent kind of analysis.
Now analyzing Hillary is tricky, since it involves parsing her positions in search of the truth, as well as looking at her history. Given that I believe little of what she says on the campaign trail, since most of it is what her pollster, Mark Penn, believes to be what people want to hear, this becomes exceptionally difficult. Let’s look at various issues to see what President HRC would be like.
Her name: I said President HRC but she is now running just as HC – the Rodham having disappeared for this campaign. I assume because polling data indicates that Bill Clinton is far more popular than anyone named Rodham. I assume that once elected, she’ll return to the name she used as Senator.
Iraq: In the early months of the campaign she screamed her big Iraq declaration “If George Bush doesn’t end the war in Iraq by January, 2009, I will!” She doesn’t say that anymore. She refuses to say she’ll end it by 2013. She’s the only Democrat who has not declared that U.S. troops will be out of combat operations in 2009. It’s clear she thinks she has effectively convinced the soft-headed Democrats that she’s anti-war, so she can return to the center for the general election. Her real position on Iraq is slightly to the left of Joe Lieberman. Despite her lie that she voted for the war just to give Bush the leverage to negotiate, there was not one piece of evidence that she opposed military action there, before or after it happened. Bill Clinton publicly supported it, she hasn’t split from him yet. It was not until Mark Penn told her she had to be anti-war to get the nomination that she spoke out against it. Look for the war to continue, albeit with fewer troops, which would happen no matter who the President is. The only way she gets us out is if she thinks she needs to to get reelected.
Iran: She voted for the retarded Senate resolution declaring Iran’s Republican Guard a terrorist organization. She was the only one of the Democratic candidates to do so, I assume because she figures she needs to vote that way for the general election. That the vote could be used by Bush to justify military action against Iran is irrelevant to her, since all that matters is her getting elected. Now that’s irresponsible, but the other interpretation, that she actually believes this to be a good idea is even worse. It demonstrates a frightening lack of understanding of Iran’s internal politics and bodes poorly for her ability to navigate in that part of the world. Of course, her Iraq position sort of does that already, but this is a little scarier. Will she, as a woman, feel the need to never look weak? Will this lead to military actions against Iran? If you aren’t a little frightened of that possibility, you are ignoring both her personality and her history.
Health Care: She will get nothing done on this because she has no ability to reach across the aisle for votes. The GOP will use her as a way to raise money and fire up their loyalists. What she will try to do is come up with a system to get more people health care without hurting insurance companies profits. Good luck with that one.
Trade: Given the amount of money her campaign has received from Chinese sources, many of them questionable, we can expect us to continue her husband’s policy of kowtowing to the People’s Republic. Given her close connections to big business and her husband’s support of Republican trade policies, we can count on more free trade agreements with some cosmetic side agreements which will generally be ignored.
Judicial Appointments: Pro-choice judges will be allowed to apply. The Supreme Court will get it’s first pro-choice judge in a decade, and maybe even a non-Catholic.
Torture: One could assume she would be opposed to it and would also close Guantanamo. But that could run into the “weak like a woman” thing she wants to avoid, so I’m less confident about these things than I might be. Look for more authoritative statements opposing these things, but I’m not sure they will be really meaningful.
Personal Freedoms: Here it gets tricky. The best hint we get of Hillary’s likely position on these things is the concept of “It Takes a Village”. She is a big believer in the nanny state. One of the few issues she has stepped to the forefront of is violent video games, where she shared the lead with Joe Lieberman. My expectation is that she will continue to oppose these things, along with misogynist lyrics in rap music, internet porn, and internet gambling. Both because she probably believes in those things and because it will allow her to show the religious right that she’s not the devil incarnate.
That's right, I'm not a fan. Many of you may find these positions just fine. If that's the case, to quote Hillary herself, she's your girl.

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