The Hillary Two-Step
By: Mark W Adams

This gets to the heart of my problems with Senator Clinton.

What we have heard, instead is this: She voted for the bill authorizing the Iraq War, but didn't mean it. She voted against the bill that inserted inspectors into Iraq but forced Bush to come back to Congress to get war authorization, but she always wanted to limit the president's authority. She voted for the Bankruptcy Bill but was pleased it did not pass. She touts her experience but has not indicated what it is she actually did that confirms that experience. She suggests she is the only one prepared to deal with a terror attack, but never indicates what her expertise is in that role. She says that executive experience, managing departments, is critical... but does not indicate that she has ever done it.
And all of this is consistent with my biggest beef with her on a comparably trival matter -- how she voted on Flag Burning. It was the first time I saw this BS in action from her, and I had expected much better.

My first indication that Clintonian triangulation was the very essence of Hillary's ambition was her vote against a Constitutional Amendment that would allow Congress to pass a legitimate law criminalizing flag burning, and then she voted for a clearly unconstitutional law criminalizing flag burning that is in obvious conflict with the unmodified First Amendment without the Amendment that she just voted down.

My head still swims with that one.

Pandering to everyone and standing for nothing is a feature, not a bug of Hillary's approach to politics. And yet, I still like her and trust her to do the right thing when push comes to shove. I look at what she's done in her life, her clear liberal bona fides, and I know when she's not in campaign mode she'll do the right thing, and even when she's pandering I'm one of the groups she tips her bonnet to. Don't ask me why. This is purely a gut thing.

She absolutely makes me nuts sometimes. A lot of the times. My Mom had a similar effect on me. Maybe that's why I trust her in the end. Like Mom, I know she only has my best interest at heart.

It's exactly the opposite vibe I got from our Republican Presidents over the last 40 years (except maybe Ford). I always had the feeling that Nixon, Reagan and especially the Bushes gave a rats ass if people like me lived or died, or what kind of horrors we faced just getting through the day as long as they and their fat-cat friends were doing okay.

Unlike John Edwards, who I'm absolutely convinced would make the best choices if he were POTUS; I need to be reminded that in the end, Hillary doesn't completely suck. As for Senator Obama, I still need to be sold that he knows what the hell he's supposed to do if we put him in charge -- and will know if and when his advisers are giving him bogus info.

I honestly don't know whether it's better to have a liberal leaning technocrat like Hillary or an inspirational "Reaganesque" leader like Obama (as long as he rejects supply-side economics for Pete's sake -- and stays awake at cabinet meetings). Neither are as qualified as Richardson or as dedicated to fixing the structural problems we face as Edwards. I see both Hillary and Barack as content with the system as it is, and thinking they can simply steer it in a new direction. It's that kind of thinking that leads to Newt Gingrich becoming Speaker of the House and the end of any hope for change -- but at least they'll steer us away from the abyss we may have already crossed into.

Edwards will still be on the Ohio ballot come March, and like I did in 2004, I will proudly vote for him. This time, it will probably make more of a difference than it did then since his continued involvement could put him in control of the others' fate. But come November, alas, I'll most likely be fighting to elect one of his rivals. I just don't know which one I'd rather get behind. I suppose I don't really have to choose, do I?

What's fun is that if Barack wins the nomination, he's probably claimed the mantle of the candidate who's most "Reganesque" from all the GOPers trying to out-Gipper each other right now. You can debate all day what Reaganomics was since he raised and lowered taxes. You can fight over his death-squads and the consequences of arming future terrorists against his credentials as a cold-warrior. But no one disputes his claim to fame as the Great Communicator -- and only Barack Obama can be cast in that role today.

When it comes to policy, Reagan was a disaster and I pray Obama understands this. But when it comes to telegenic image, Barack has got that star-quality down. He's saying to all those disaffected Reagan Democrats that rejected Clinton long ago, "Come on home." Like Ronnie, he can point behind the crowd to some fictional city on the hill, and everyone will turn around and look. The man is absolutely captivating.

If Hillary wins the White House, and doesn't deliver on universal health care and get us the hell out of Iraq, I will be so damn pissed. The ONLY thing she'll have going for her as an incumbent is that the alternative is a fucking Republican, and I've no doubt I'd back a decent primary challenger to her, if only to keep her in line. If she's smart, she'll make sure both Barack and Edwards are part of her administration so they don't run against her again -- cuz I know she'll piss enough of us off to want to back either John or Barack in 1012.