Say What You Will, Hillary Has Earned Some Respect
by Big Tent Democrat, Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 05:26:00 PM EDT
On Thursday I will be writing a front page post explaining how I have come to support Chris Dodd's campaign for the Presidency. I will be explaining how Dodd has won my support. I will not be critical of other candidates. However, I will be critical of candidates' supporters and the Netroots for the drift I perceive away from issues, political and substantive, in choosing who to support.
Hillary Clinton is my fourth choice in the race. Ironically, issues are not the main reason. The main reason is I believe she has the hardest road to hoe because of the high negatives she carries with the public. The next most important reason is I believe her drive to moderate her image in the Senate runs counter to the type of politics that I think Democrats need to run - one of strong contrast with the GOP. But issues are another reason. Her timidity on Iraq has been troubling in particular. But Hillary has earned my respect the past six months. I'll explain why on the flip.
First and foremost, to date, Hillary has proven herself the most proficient politician in the race. I thought it was Edwards at first, because of his brilliant flanking of the field on Iraq, overcoming his co-sponsorship of the Iraq War Resolution. And I still believe Obama has the most natural political talent and the greatest potential for greatness. But Hillary's political performance the last six months has been exceptionally good. She has reaffirmed her progressive bona fides on issue after issue and neutralized her potential weaknesses with smoothness and aplomb. She rarely makes mistakes. Her performances at the debates have been first rate. She has become a top notch politician.
At daily kos, Psi Fighter has taken to attacking Hillary in a diary series that is transparent in its hostility and unfairness. The following passage is illustrative:
In the end, that's what Hillary Clinton's campaign is: a media machine that has been able to misrepresent what she is - someone who entered Washington as an outsider but is now the consummate insider - and turn it into a front-running campaign that is long on rhetoric but short on ideas.
The notion that labelling someone an "insider" or an "outsider" is anything BUT rhetoric and somehow an engagement of ideas is simply ironic. Psi Fighter studiously AVOIDS substance in his discussion on Hillary Clinton. He is all buzzwords and nonsense.
There are strong political arguments for not supporting Hillary Clinton. But I believe there are few ISSUE positions that support the idea that Hillary is a significantly weaker choice than Edwards or Obama. Or even my guy Dodd. On why Dodd is my choice, I will save for Thursday, but to pretend, as Psi Fighter does, that it is issues that drive him from Hillary is simply disingenuous hooey. An attempt to feign issue substance.
I personally feel that political reasons can be just as, if not more, valid as reasons for supporting a candidate than issue reasons in this race. But let's argue those political reasons. Let's respect the fact that all of the candidates are pretty solid progressive Democrats.
Let's stop pretending that Hillary is a secret Republican operative. You merely come across, to me at least, as a blithering fool. Let's stop pretending that the fact that Edwards and Obama do not take money directly from lobbyists but do take money from spouses and CEOs and hedge fund managers means something substantively. It can mean something politically, but do not act as if you have an actual issue concern here.
Let's be honest. And falling short of that, let's at least not pretend we think Hillary or Edwards or Obama or Dodd are not progressive Democrats. You know they all are. Prefer who you prefer, but do so within the bounds a some decency and honesty.