Edwards's Scissor Hands and Clinton's 5 P's
by sirius, Mon Nov 12, 2007 at 03:36:48 PM EST
"The war in Iraq isn't even history yet, but the Bush Administration is repeating the march to war with Iran - and they're getting help from a person who should know a lot better - Senator Clinton.
"On Saturday at the Iowa Jefferson Jackson dinner, Senator Clinton unveiled her new campaign slogan to `turn up the heat' on the Republicans.
"Well, somebody will have to tell me how you `turn up the heat' by voting with Bush, Cheney and the neocons on their path to war with Iran. Because I don't believe that's turning up the heat - I think that's giving them exactly what they want.
"Senator Clinton had her chance to stand up and she chose not to use it. Our nation needs leaders who have the strength and backbone to fight the president on his march to war with Iran - not quicken the pace."
This quote highlights number 5 of Clinton's 5 P's. The Politics of Pretend. Pretend to be a progressive. Pretend to be a leader. Pretend to stand up to the Republicans. Pretend Kyl-Lieberman is all about diplomacy.
Clinton's 5 P's:
On September 26, 2007, Hillary Clinton voted with the majority of the Senate to pass the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which declares the Iranian National Guard a terrorist organization. Senator Jim Webb called the amendement "Dick Cheney's fondest pipe dream."
You may remember Mike Gravel asking Clinton about it in the debate that took place on the same date as her vote.
Clinton: My understanding of the Revolutionary Guard in Iran is that it is promoting terrorism. It is manufacturing weapons that are used against our troops in Iraq. It is certainly the main agent of support for Hezbollah, Hamas and others.
And in what we voted for today, we will have an opportunity to designate it as a terrorist organization which gives us the options to be able to impose sanctions on the primary leaders to try to begin to put some teeth into all this talk about dealing with Iran.
We wouldn't be where we are today if the Bush administration hadn't outsourced our diplomacy with respect to Iran and ignored Iran and called it part of the axis of evil. Now we've got to make up for lost time and lost ground...
In the same debate, John Edwards also criticized Clinton for her vote.
Edwards: But I want to come back to a discussion that took place a few minutes ago to make everyone understands what Senator Gravel is talking and Senator Clinton was talking about. Because there was a very important vote cast in the United States Senate today. And it was, basically, in a resolution calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.
I voted for this war in Iraq, and I was wrong to vote for this war. And I accept responsibility for that. Senator Clinton also voted for this war.
We learned a very different lesson from that. I have no intention of giving George Bush the authority to take the first step on a road to war with Iran.
And I think that vote today, which Senator Biden and Senator Dodd voted against, and they were correct to vote against it, is a clear indication of the approach that all of us would take with the situation in Iran because what I learned in my vote on Iraq was you cannot give this president the authority and you can't even give him the first step in that authority because he cannot be trusted.
The Real News has some questions they would like to ask Senator Clinton, and if you think this is just putting some teeth in diplomacy, this video cites a few facts you really ought to know.
In the October 30th, debate, Clinton again defended her vote as "diplomacy."
Clinton: I prefer vigorous diplomacy. And I happen to think economic sanctions are part of vigorous diplomacy. We used them with respect to North Korea. We used them with respect to Libya.
And many of us who voted for that resolution said that this is not anything other than an expression of support for using economic sanctions with respect to diplomacy.
Edwards had this to say about Clinton's Yes vote on Kyl Lieberman during the Democratic debate on October 30th:
Edwards: Well, I just listened to what Senator Clinton said and she said she wanted to maximize pressure on the Bush administration. So the way to do that is to vote yes on a resolution that looks like it was written, literally, by the neo-cons.
I mean, has anyone read this thing? I mean, it literally gave Bush and Cheney exactly what they wanted. It didn't just give them what they wanted. They acted on it.
A few weeks later, they declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, and -- this is going to sound very familiar -- remember from Iraq? The prelude to Iraq? -- proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.
The way you put pressure on this administration is you stand up to them; you say no.
A lot of us on this stage have learned our lessons the hard way, that you give this president an inch and he will take a mile. And this is about such an important issue, and we have to stand up to this president. We need to make it absolutely clear that we have no intention of letting Bush, Cheney or this administration invade Iran because they have been rattling the saber over and over and over.
And what this resolution did, written literally in the language of the neo-cons, is it enables this president to do exactly what he wants to do. He continues to march forward. He continues to say this is a terrorist organization. He continues to say these are proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.
How in the world is that -- Democrats -- we're not talking about Republicans now, Chris and Joe -- Democrats standing up to this president and saying, "No, we are not going to allow this, we are not going to allow this march to war in Iran"?
Way to turn up the heat, Senator Clinton! The problem is, we want Democrats to turn up the heat on the Republicans NOT Iran.
After the debate, the Clinton campaign claimed the other Democrats had "piled on" Senator Clinton. Her campaign sought to paint her as the victim of an attack. Some people claimed this "attack" would backfire on the other candidates, and Edwards in particular, apparently thinking that people would sympathize with Clinton's inability to answer the tough questions she was asked.
The New Republic, in an article wittily if bizarrely titled "Edwards's Scissor Hands," has a very interesting take on how Edwards's experience as a trial lawyer has taught him how to read a jury or an electorate. (Emphasis mine.)
It was hard not to think of this passage on a brisk morning last Friday in Cheraw, South Carolina, as Edwards warmed up a crowd of some 200 locals. A few days earlier, Edwards had led the Democratic field in its first thorough grilling of Hillary Clinton--at one point urging her to shift from general- election mode to "tell-the-truth mode." Now he was eager to revisit the moment. "I want to start by saying a few words about the debate that took place in Philadelphia a couple of days ago," Edwards announced. "You know, I have a really simple rule: When you get asked a yes or no question, you can't answer yes and no. That doesn't work. ... We certainly can't afford to have a Democratic nominee who does that." The crowd chuckled, then nodded along in approval.
Though Edwards was the debate's consensus winner, the distinction had come with a caveat: What if he'd unwittingly turned Clinton into a sympathetic victim? It was a reasonable question, but one that ignored a key biographical detail: Having spent two decades doing rhetorical battle in some of the most hostile courtrooms in North Carolina, with juries ready to punish the slightest hint of overreach, Edwards arguably has a better feel for how voters will react to his words than any candidate in recent memory.
"There are a lot of people that the jury doesn't want to see you pound on," Edwards told me later. "What happens is, psychologically, they'll put themselves in the shoes of the witness. And you don't want them to do that." Then he picked up on the analogy between a trial and a campaign: "Tough is fine. Juries don't mind you being tough. Voters don't mind you being tough. ... If you're being factual and you're giving them information that's defining their choices, nobody's offended by that."