Archive for Hillary Clinton

How Hillary lost – It’s the War Stupid!

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , on May 11, 2008 by plinynovo

Over the past few days, I have read and watched the inevitable postmortems on Hillary’s campaign as pundits attempt to explain how HRC went from a planned coronation to being the houseguest who will not leave.  The analysis routinely focuses on a number of factors – usually beginning with her failure to sense the change mood, to poor planning for caucuses, to wasteful spending to a myriad of causes, but one that is rarely mentioned, to me seems to be the obvious elephant in the room – her vote on the Iraq War.


Yes, the fact that she voted for the authorization of force has been mentioned, but it has not been analyzed as a reason for her defeat – not truly.   Here is my attempt to explain that it was this vote that caused many voters to begin looking for an alternate candidate. 

 In 2002 most people who paid attention knew full well that G. W. Bush was marching this country to war with Iraq.  All of the media covered it (and indeed seemed to support it).  During this time period a substantial portion of the democratic activist base saw this and strongly opposed it.  Also at the time, it was apparent that the majority of the country was falling for the Bush Administration’s constant attempts to conflate Iraq with the 9-11 attacks and, helped by a media establishment that abdicated all responsibility for journalism, most Americans were supportive of the War. 

 The base looked to Democratic leaders in Congress to challenge the claims of the administration – indeed they looked to Hillary Clinton herself.  She let that base down – and indeed became one of the most active democratic cheerleaders against Iraq.  Why did she do this?  She has offered various explanations since the vote – none of which admit a mistake and moreover all of which lack creditability.  Perhaps we will never know exactly what was in Hillary’s mind at the time of the vote, but I can tell you want many Democrats believe.  Whether true or not, many see her vote as being purely political.  She was already thinking of a run for the Presidency.  She made a calculation that a vote for the War would show her as a strong leader willing to use force to defend the nation, thereby negating any questions about her future qualification as Commander-in-Chief.  On the other hand, she felt that a vote against the War would open her up to criticism as being a left wing “peacenik.”  Thus, the reasoning goes, she made the vote, not because she believed it was the right thing to do, but rather because it would help her become president. 

 The essence of a purely political act is not doing what you think is right, but rather doing what you think will benefit you.  This is what the activist base saw Hillary do in 2002.  Whether true or not, they knew in their hearts that Hillary, in her heart, agreed with them that the war was wrong.  She was too intelligent, too experienced, too – like them- not to know that going to Iraq was a disaster.  If she voted for it, she had to be doing it to help herself.  It is one thing to make a purely political vote on a spending bill – okay there is a bridge to no-where – but maybe she got something for it.  But it is completely another thing to make such a vote on the decision to go to war.  People die in wars.  It is absolutely immoral to vote to go to war if you do not believe in the justness of the war.  It is the moral equivalent of murder.  One can forgive a mistaken, but good faith, belief in such a vote, but not a politically calculated vote of self-interest. 

 It was with this vote that Hillary lost the activist base of the party.  Had the war proceeded well, she might have pulled off her presidential bid.  But the war didn’t go well.  As the casualties mounted and as the war drug on, it became clearer and clearer that the war was, as the activist had always expected, a disaster.  As this happened, the small activist base grew.  Those who had originally ignored the issue or even supported the war began to join the anti-war contingent.  They began to ask how did we get here.  They looked at Hillary (and others in Congress) and asked “how could you have let this happen?’ 

 Some like Edwards and Kerry apologized, but Hillary didn’t.  She stood by her decision as being the correct one; then she tried to say that she hadn’t voted for war, but for diplomacy.  The fallacy of the argument was clear.  Hillary was seen as saying anything to help herself.  The Clintons have always been seen as being willing to say or do anything to win.  This is the narrative that has grown up around them since the early ‘90s.  It was easy to see her vote on the war as fitting into that pattern.  The more she tried to finesse her vote, the more she looked like a purely political creature with no principals.  The more she looked like she had no principals, the more people grasped for something new – for change.  People began looking for an alternative, for someone who would offer a way out of the mess in Washington.  There is something to be said for being in the right place at the right time.  Barrack Obama was the perfect person, with the perfect message to capitalize on the mood of the party. 


Does the Left admire Reagan more than Clinton?

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , , on May 10, 2008 by plinynovo

Have the Clinton’s damaged their reputations with the left?  I know this is not a scientific study, but I offer this evidence of the rift between themselves and the Democratic left.  Today I was participating in a discussion on Daily Kos.  It was one of those discussions not on the issues of the day, but one just for fun and talk about history.  The discussion contained a Poll as well as comments.  The topic – “the most admired US President of all time.”  185 votes were cast by the participants.  Why am I discussing this?  Bill Clinton got three votes from the Daily Kos crowd.  Ronald Reagan got four.  


Even in a non-scientifically selected cross section of Daily Kos readers, to me it seems significant that Reagan beats Clinton in a poll of great presidents.  I can only attribute this to dissatisfaction of the left with both of the Clintons due to the 2008 race.

Rasmussen to stop polling Clinton/Obama – The Race is Over

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , on May 9, 2008 by plinynovo


Okay, if there was any doubt that Obama is the nominee, there can be no more.  Rasmussen has decided that it will stop polling the Democratic contest and will instead focus on the Obama-McCain race.  To sum it up, Rasmussen stated:

With this in mind, Rasmussen Reports will soon end our daily tracking of the Democratic race and focus exclusively on the general election competition between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama. Barring something totally unforeseen, that is the choice American voters will have before them in November. While we have not firmly decided upon a final day for tracking the Democratic race, it is coming soon.

Hillary “Annie Oakley” Clinton shows how in touch she is(n’t)

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , , on May 5, 2008 by plinynovo

According to a Politico article, Hillary has been filling mailboxes across Indiana and N.C. with mailings questioning Obama’s commitment to the 2nd Amendment (and thereby demonstrating her gun bona fides).  The problem is that her ad men reversed the image of the gun, making it a non-existent left handed model of a highly expensive ($2,200 for the existent right handed model) German rifle customized for the European market.  You may say, so what – who cares?  If you are among the many that say that, you are not a gun owner (and that is the audience she is after with this mailing).  

Politico quotes gun enthusiasts as saying: “I find it laughable on its face,” he said. “It’s like a picture of Babe Ruth hitting right-handed,” and “I bet the Clinton folks did a mirror flip on the stock image to make it look more ‘aesthetic.’  What a latte-sipping, Gucci-wearing thing to do.”

This may not be the biggest gaffe in the campaign, but I find it hilarious (or should I say ‘Hillarious.”)


Obama-Clinton, a hate-filled dream ticket

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , on May 4, 2008 by plinynovo

Andrew Sullivan has an interesting op-ed in today’s Times of London.  While I am not sure, I agree he makes an strong argument for an Obama- Clinton ticket.  

While I agree with the idiom advanced by Sullivan, that such a combination would ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” I am unsure whether this would serve to show Obama as the uniter he has campaigned to be.  Such a ticket might marginally show some effort at being a uniter, but this type of uniting has a long history (think of Kennedy-Johnson, Reagan- Bush, Roosevelt-Gardner etc).  For that component, I think Obama should take a true page from Lincoln’s playbook and look at a Republican running mate.  I suggest, Chuck Hagel would go much further to show Obama as a new kind of uniter.


The pandering Hillary’s Gas Tax plan that will never become law

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , on May 4, 2008 by plinynovo

Much has been written and said criticizing the economic soundness of Hillary Clinton’s Gas Tax Holiday.  The conventional wisdom is that while it would have no real benefit it is good politics (i.e. good pandering).  Lost in all of this analysis is a simple fact.  She is promising something that she not only knows is bad economics, but is also not going to happen.  This is pandering of the worst sort.  It is one thing to promise something that will have no effect, if you actually plan on doing it – it is quite another to promise something that you have no intention (or in this case power) to do. 


Is Congress going to pass Clinton’s proposal?  Is it going to do so before the summer driving season begins?  If it does, is George W. Bush going to sign a windfall profits tax? The answer is NO to all of these questions.  Additionally, is Clinton going to leave the campaign trail and return to Congress to even push the proposal?  Once again the answer is no.


As a libertarian, I generally like plans to reduce taxes.  However, I would say that this tax amounts to a use fee.  People who drive benefit from highways.  The more you drive, the more you benefit from the roads.  Therefore, in the big scheme of things this is one of the least unfair taxes on the books.  If Clinton really wants to help average Americans, she should focus on what she will do, beginning in January 2009, not promise something she will not and cannot do now.



More on Doug Coe’s ‘Family’ – John Baldacci, Hillary Clinton et al

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , , on May 3, 2008 by plinynovo

A little more on Doug Coe’s ‘Family’ is surfacing in the media.  Lance Tarply, writing in an article in the Portland Phoenix, describes Maine Governor John Baldacci’s connections with the group – the Maine Governor lived in the Family’s row house on Capitol Hill when he was a Congressman.  He writes: 


Revelations about the Family/fellowship began emerging last fall with a story by investigative reporter Lisa Getter in the Los Angeles Times. She describes an organization that, while “in the shadows,” has had “extraordinary [political] access and significant influence on foreign affairs for the last 50 years.”

Its accomplishments range from financing an anticommunism film used by the Pentagon in the Cold War to, in recent years, bringing together the warring leaders of the Congo and Rwanda in the first of a string of meetings that led to a peace treaty. The Fellowship (Getter’s preferred label for the group) also has brought several notorious, right-wing Latin American generals to Washington for prayer meetings — men connected to the torture of civilians and CIA-linked death squads.

Getter quotes the group’s long-time leader, Doug Coe, 73, as saying that its mission is to establish a “family of friends” around the world by spreading the word of Jesus to powerful people: “The people that are involved in this association . . . are the worst and the best. Some are total despots. Some are totally religious. You can find what you want to find.”

Members, who carry no cards and are very loosely defined, are required to keep quiet about their activities. But publicly available documents reveal that the Fellowship Foundation — a central legal entity, but far from the only one involved with the group — has an $11-million-a-year budget and a board of directors including Grace Nelson, wife of Florida’s Democratic US Senator Bill Nelson. Its president is Richard Carver, Air Force assistant secretary under President Reagan. Its rich backers include Jerome Lewis, a Denver oilman; Republican contributor Michael Timmis; and Paul Temple, a Maryland investor. Among members, Getter writes, are congressmen who are in charge of the State Department and foreign-aid budgets.

“It’s an incredibly secretive, powerful group that has entree all around the world,” Getter said in an interview about her article. “It has tentacles everywhere.”




The members of Congress who live at C Street, Sharlet writes, are “brothers in Christ just like us, only more powerful. We scrubbed their toilets, hoovered their carpets, polished their silver.” In the interview, he described C Street as a place for “centering your decision-making on Christ.”

Sharlet, in both interview and Harper’s article, sees the Family as a scary institution — not exactly conspiratorial, he said, but behind-the-scenes activists whose work is troubling. Among his observations:

• “The most important thing for them is power,” and the ultimate goal of the Family is “a government built by God.”

• “Doug Coe is one of the most important people on the planet.”

• Coe — whom he described as “frighteningly charismatic” — and his son David Coe, the Family’s heir apparent, refer to the Mafia and Hitler as role models in the acquisition of power, although, in the Family’s case, power is gathered to spread the word of Jesus. “You guys are here to learn how to rule the world,” he quotes David Coe telling the residents at the house — called Ivanwald — where he lived with the other male apprentices/servants.

• The group, although bipartisan, is deeply conservative. While somewhat opposed to institutionalized Christianity, “they have a deep affection for the military” and see themselves as waging “spiritual war.” In his instruction by the Family, he heard about “biblical capitalism” — laissez-faire capitalism. Among those involved, he writes, are many prominent corporate executives as well as John Ashcroft, the attorney general, and Charles Colson, the Nixon aide convicted in the Watergate scandal who became an evangelist.

• In the Family’s prayer groups, or cells, a central idea, Sharlet said, is to cede your life to the authority of the group. Yet membership makes you part of “a chosen, and if you’re in leadership, God has chosen you.” He believed this kind of thinking “starts shifting you rightward.”


 Meanwhile, I ran across this interview with the New York Times, where Hillary Clinton gave some insight into her relationship with the Family.



Senator Clinton: There were many people, both people who I had known a long time and people who I had not known, but came seeking me out and offered their personal support. I got a lot of recommendations about scripture verses to read and about other spiritual readings. I’ve written about this and talked about it a lot, but the parable of the prodigal son as conveyed by Henri Nouwen, made a huge impact on me. The discipline of gratitude was — you just read along sometimes looking for sustenance and support and something jumps out at you and it just really resonated with my beliefs and my sense of what we are called to do. Forgiveness and gratitude are features that I associate with Christ. That to me is part of how one lives as best one can following the example of Christ.


Q: This women’s group that you’ve talked about in the past – they prayed for you, you met with them a few times. I don’t know that much about the group, like how often you guys met, was it really like these small groups that they have in churches in terms of that level of interaction? I also understand that you were a little apprehensive about meeting with them initially and I wondered if you could talk to me about why that was and how that was overcome.

Senator Clinton: As I recall, I was invited to meet with them by a good friend of mine, Linda Lader. I had met a few of the women, but I didn’t know most of the women, and I also was asked to visit with them by Doug Coe, who was and still is, the director of the National Prayer Breakfast and the National Prayer outreach and it was over at their headquarters in Virginia which is kind of a retreat center. And, they invited Tipper and I to come to lunch and I really did it mostly for Linda and Doug who asked me to.

Q: Because you were a little bit wary?

Senator Clinton: Well, you know, I didn’t know. I had friends who prayed for me, I prayed for myself, I prayed for other people, I felt like I was sustained by prayer. Since Bill had decided to run for president I had countless people saying they were praying for us and then once he became president there was a real outpouring of people. But I went, and I’m really glad I did.

It was a wonderful group of women in a bipartisan gathering who really thought that the mean-spiritedness and the negativity that had come to mark so much of our political life was very much counter to their beliefs and so they wanted to lift up Tipper and me and did so at this lunch. And, then they wanted to continue to pray for me. So I met with them periodically, I wouldn’t say regularly, but when our schedules could work out I had them to the White House. Holly Leachman became sort of the real contact person for me in the group and became a friend. It was fascinating because a lot of them were deeply involved in the national prayer group, and I was very touched by their desire to choose me to pray for. And it was a way for me to let go and let them do it and for them to reach out and do it. What was fascinating is that over time a lot of the people who had been part of the most critical and negative attacks on me began to seek me out. The first person who did that was David Kuo. Doug Coe had asked me to come to speak to a dinner that was held the night before the prayer breakfast and most of the people in there were people who were very unsure of how I was or what I stood for but Doug was always very supportive of me. He had me speak at one of the national prayer lunches, he arranged for me to meet Mother Theresa after one of the national prayer breakfasts. And, David came up and asked for my forgiveness, and several other people have done the same.

Q: Was that difficult?

Senator Clinton: It was surprising when it first happened, but it was very moving to me. I was sort of startled because it was in a public place. I was shaking hands and he gave me a long history about who he had worked for and what he had done to attack me and impugn my motives and my character and everything, and I said, of course I forgive you. When I got to the Senate, Sam Brownback sought me out. I wouldn’t have talked about it except that he talked about it, and it was very touching to me. He actually came to see me and said now that we actually know each other, because we had never met before, he said, I really came to ask for your forgiveness. I think that a prayer network often can move us to do things that we might not otherwise do.