Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Two Open Questions to Hillary Fans

Would you support Hillary Clinton for the nomination if Bill Clinton had died on the operating table when he had heart surgery a couple of years ago?

Would you support Hillary Clinton based on her own resume if she had never been First Lady?


The Law Talking Guy said...

If Bill Clinton were dead, the sympathy vote for HRC would probably make her the clear winner for the presidency. A death like that would make it impossible to argue that she's not her own woman now. Also, it would make it impossible for people to make snide attacks on Lewinsky and all.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Answers from a Hillary fan: Yes, I would support her if Bill were dead. As to whether I would support her based on her own resume if she had never been First Lady... The question does not make so much sense to me, because I consider having been an active, involved First Lady to be an important part of her resume.

Raised By Republicans said...

Aside from the disasterous failure of her health care initiative, how active and involved was she really?

USWest said...

More active than you realize, RBR, if Carl Bernstein is to be believed. And based on what I have read, had it not been for her discipline and often her guidence, Bill would not have made it to the White House. Her biggest fault was her tin ear- not her brains or her policy work.

As per your questions: Yes and Yes, although I don't think those are useful questions to ask.

HRC has worked in Washington on the Watergate hearings. She had worked on campaigns for the likes of Carter. She was active in the governor's mansion where health care had also been part of her portfolio. She has a pretty good resume that many people aren't aware of. She was always very active in women's and children's issues. That was not a new thing that she took on in the White House.

Had she not been first lady, her level of experience would be equal to or greater than that of Edwards and Obama. She may have been a Congresswoman and/or Senator in her own right much earlier. She did what a lot of women did in the 1960s and 70s. She put her ambitions aside to support her husband. That was always a duo. If people want to critique her because they think Bill might be too involved, then that is a fair critique. But who cares? It can possibly be any worse than the collection of Papa Bush's babysitters that have been in his White House for the last 8 years.

What gets me is that people fail to recognize her experiences before 1992. She was a rock solid career woman in her own right. They only see her as a shadow figure behind her husband. That raises the ire of the feminist in me.

If you want to dislike her for her policy stance, fine. If you want to say that she may not be the best strategic choice for the Democratic party right now, then fine. But let's not get into this back and forth of "may candidate is nicer than yours".

I like Obama. I like HRC. I am voting HRC because policy wise, they aren't that different and I like HRC. It's the primary. Hell, I was going to vote for Biden. HRC gets my vote now. I'm a white woman voting for white woman who I think would do a goo job. So bite me.

And another note: Democratic Congress people should refrain from supporting candidates before the primary. That is just wrong.

Raised By Republicans said...

Actually, my question about her resume was intended not as a comparison with Obama but with Boxer or Feinstein or any other female Senator who has never been seriously considered as a viable candidate for the Presidency.

I really think that a large share of the HRC fans are supporting HRC largely because they credit her with things that were achieved during the Bill Clinton Presidency with Hillary's personal achievements. I know a number of serious feminists who have real problems with that kind of thinking. So I asked about it.

As for her "tin ear." What did Bernstein mean by that? I'm curious. Was he talking about an inability to take advice or just a kind of social/public akwardness? If it is the former, that's a real problem for how she would govern. If it's the latter, it's a problem for the campaign.

USWest said...

Tin ear: It's the latter to it is a campaign problem. HRC is, by and large, a straight shooter who makes the mistake of thinking that people will be as pragmatic in their understanding and approach as she is. We saw shades of this when the debate started about her position on the Iraq war. She voted in favor of empowering the president, she said, not realizing how far he would take things. And she stood by that. However, that is a nuanced, pragmatic position that the media, and many Americans don't get.

This pragmatic stance, by the way, makes her more conservative than many liberals would like. In fact, if the Conservatives in this country weren't so bigoted and misogynist, and if the Republicans weren't so anti-Clinton, they would probably find a good partner in HRC as president- someone willing to be fair and work out deals with them. Her values are more conservative than people realize, however, her policies choices tend more toward a liberal approach- all in all, fair and balanced. That is why I support her. But government isn't about fair and balanced and that is the problem.

Unfortunately,she is divisive and that really is not so much her fault as the fault of the media, the conservatives, and the hidden, but powerful Washingtonian elites. And that is what will hurt her. And that really pisses me off because it isn't right or fair.

What Bernstein says is that HRC is charming, engaging, bright, warm, and very funny in private. Her public persona, however, is something different in part because she and her family have been so pilloried. Bernstein says that anyone who knew Bill and Hilary before Arkansas and the White House agreed hands down that either one of those two could be president in their own right.

As an aside, the very issues that dog HRC now dogged her in Arkansas. The southerner's thought her uppity. She managed over time to win them over. But she had to make alternations to her attitude and her methods.

In Washington, Bernstein says the Clintons, HRC in particular, made two key mistakes. And this is interesting because we tend to see Washington less as a royal court than a political capital. That is HRC and Bill saw it and they paid dearly for it. The Washington Beltway is like a cheap version of Versailles and Hollywood combined. There are insiders, privileged people, rich, beautiful people. If you don't play, you pay. HRC isn't wrong when she talks about the "right wing" conspiracy. They paid dearly for trying to do what I think was the right thing.

Here are a couple of examples to illustrate my point: 1) the Clintons were not interested in the Washingtonian elite. They weren't interested in high brow tea parties or the cocktail social set. They wanted to work on serious problems and neither of the Clintons were into fluff. That pissed off the rich, social ladies who expected HRC to host tea parties for them and to allow them entry into the White House as the Bushes had.

2)The White House servants undermined the Clintons because they weren't "proper" like the Bushes, too down to earth, to easy going and they valued their privacy. Unlike the Bushes, the Clintons weren't used to servants and had a hard time ignoring their presence. One example was the secret service. Apparently for Bill to go from the residence to the Oval Office required like 5 agents- we are talking an elevator ride. In the residence, there were agents like every 10 feet and guards posted around every door of the oval on the inside! When you read about it, it was ridiculous the President was in the the White House for heaven's sake! Both Bill and HRC hated that, saw it as a waste of tax payer money, and felt that they merited a little privacy. They worried about people listening in of policy discussions from inside the Oval. HRC didn't trust these agents- woman's intuition. The Chief of staff wasn't taking care of the problem as asked, so HRC did. And that pissed off the Secret Service. Apparently on agent did talk to the press at one point.

Then the Clintons wanted to serve more American food in the White House rather than so much French cooking. That pissed off the kitchen staff that felt American cooking was below them. So they started whispering campaigns. If HRC and Bill had a bedroom argument, it got whispered to the Washingtonian elite by secret service and servants. And the rumor's started, which the press picked up. Hilary fought back and she got a bad name as a result. Bernstein's book is filled with tales like that. And to be honest, she had a harder time in the White House than her husband did because people are so petty.

The bottom line for me on HRC is that I totally get her. I see her experiences and I know the judgments that are made about tough minded, serious thinking women. I identify. Like I said before, it is like racism. Unless you experience it, you tend to deny it exists. Sexism is the same way. And the key here is to watch what women voters do. I suspect they will be torn into two camps. The tough minded, well adjusted type of women will be HRC supporters. The jealous types who are unhappy with the world will be against her.

Woman on woman hostility in the workplace is worse than anything that men dish out.

Raised By Republicans said...

Of course there is a "vast right wing conspiracy." It's called the Republican Party. I've never had a problem with her about that.

And I agree with you that she is often treated unfairly in the press. But then the fact that she is divisive is a problem for the rest of us even it is undeserved.

In fact, I've been thinking of posting something about how I think the Clintons are misunderstood by both their supportors and their detractors (especially Republicans) that would have hit many of the ponits you mentioned.

All that said, I don't think of her (or Bill) as principaled pragmatists so much as "Downsian" politicans who watch the median voter and try to adopt that position to ensure electoral victory without caring much about the policy that results. Anthony Downs's theorized that politicians in two party systems (in electoral systems like we have in the US) will converge on the median voter's position. Bill Clinton was a master of this.

It resulted in two things. Republicans had little room to maneuver against him because they always found Bill Clinton tightly hugging the median position on every issue (leaving them to assume less popular positions). It also resulted in a more or less well deserved reputation for "flip flopping."

HRC seems to be attempting to do the same thing but without anything like Bill's charm. I bet the health care plan she runs on in the general (I'm betting she'll win the nomination) won't be nearly as comprehensive or expensive as the one she's running on now.

I don't think for a minute her positions (and there have been several) on the Iraq war were motivated by pragmatism with regard to what would pass or what would be good for the country. Rather I think they were motivated by her calculation of what would get her elected.

In most cases that kind of calculation is just fine as it ends up meaning that she'd give us centrist policies most of the time (even if she'd flip flop around a bit first). But in the case of torture or the Iraq war such cold blooded triangulation and flip flopping is disturbing.