Monday, March 24, 2008

Hillary Clinton

I just finished reading an article in The Huffington Post by Jane Smiley, regarding her opinion of Hillary Clinton. Smiley almost places Clinton squarely in the Republican camp because of the climate of her campaign against Obama and because of her long ties to Washington and its insiders. McCain and the Republicans, Smiley says, are more Clinton's friends than those on her own side. She so equates Clinton to the Republican side that she says the campaign has become Clinton and McCain vs Obama.

Smiley's view is interesting. I have visited and contributed to forums in which many of the contributors equate John McCain with Democrats because of some of his past positions. These people are usually from the extreme right side of the the Republican Party. To them anyone to the left of George Bush is a tofu eating liberal bent upon destroying our way of life. Therefore, McCain, with his past positions on abortion, stem cell research, and comments about Falwell and others, is a liberal Democrat, and, the devil reincarnate. To these extremists, compromise is tantamount to treason.

I am not familiar enough with Smiley at this point to know where she traditionally stands. However, this column with its references to Bush and the Republicans and her placing Clinton in the same boat certainly reminds me of those right wing Bush supporters. It almost looks as if she takes Clinton to task for working with Republicans to pass legislation, much like the right wingers assail McCain for his reaching across the aisle.

Granted, Clinton has been disappointing to me during this campaign. I naturally expect the Republicans to reach deep down in their bag of tricks to discredit a candidate as Saxby Chambliss did to Max Cleland or the Swift Boat "Veterans" did to John Kerry. Clinton and her staffers have reached down into the mud pile to assail Obama. Now this is not necesssarily a surprise. After all, we are talking about politics here. The most surprising actions to me have been the racial attacks, given Bill Clinton's standing in the Black community and his history of helping Blacks. Yes, Clinton took quick action to quash these comments, however, one has to wonder where these ideas came from and the climate which engendered them. It is also a concern that staff members or endorsing politicians are the ones who are making these muddy charges, not the candidate herself. Is this by design?

Still, I can't put Clinton into the same boat as Bushonian Republicans. Yes, she is a somewhat seasoned politician who isn't afraid to slide into the mud filled gutter to take her opponent to task. She seems to want the nomination and the presidency so bad that she will let nothing stand in her way to get it. Yes, she voted to give Bush carte blanche in invading Iraq. Yet, I don't see her sliding down the path that the Republicans have blazed over the past twenty years, certainly not the path of the past seven years.

Personally, I have serious reservations about Clinton. I don't fault her for reaching across the aisle to Republicans as a representative of the people should do in order to truly do the job of the people's representative. I don't fault her for wanting to be president very badly. Presumably, she wants the job because she believes that she has something good to offer this county and can best achieve her goals by being president. I don't fault her because she is a woman, as a close friend of mine did this past week. There is no reason why a woman can't be a good president. I have worked with many good women and hired them into positions in which they excelled as well as the men before them, and in a couple of instances much better.

Hillary Clinton simply doesn't create excitement in me. Her husband, whom I think was a fine president and a very intelligent man, despite his stupid philandering, seems to be in a position to overshadow her in the White House. He is a strong personality, and between the two of them, I see them as being the source of further polarization between the parties, should she be elected. They will undoubtably be the target of rumor mongerers and a great source of material for the right wing demogogues behind the microphones of talk radio. In short, I don't think she will be good for the US internally, should she be elected. I think that as the nominee of the Democratic party, she may very well send many of those voters on the fence at the moment into the arms of John McCain, or as some say, Bush Lite.

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