Hillary Clinton made it official today and joined the fray. Click here to listen to Clinton’s official announcement from her website and here to read the actual text.
Frankly, reading and listening to Hillary’s announcement is like drinking soda without carbonation. It's focus grouped for the political fifty-yard line. Just like Al Gore in 2000, Hillary will campaign from weakness. Too fearful to offend the “middle class” or appear weak on national security will result in a mealy mouthed posture. Strength stems from authenticity but does Clinton even know who she really is anymore?
Clinton is very closed and insular and listens to a tight circle of advisors like Bush. As we’ve seen, such an insular governing style is dangerous. Her husband was far more open, hungry even for a diversity of information as president. Hopefully, he will serve as an information conduit for her as Eleanor Roosevelt did for FDR. My suspicion however is Hillary would be obsessed with leaks as president and drown inside her bubble. Also, she has the imagination of a grapefruit.
Edwards interests me because on domestic issues he’s offering specifics about valuing “work over wealth” whereas Hillary’s a corporatist. I remain troubled about Edwards’ record on Iraq and therefore I’m not quite sold on him yet. Obama to this point is a platitude machine but his candidacy does intrigue me. How will he handle the fishbowl? Is there more to him than “something new”? I’m curious to find out.
An Al Gore candidacy would intrigue me because he’s grown as a person since 2000. I suspect he would campaign on candor instead of being afraid to lose. I'd sign up for his campaign in a heartbeat. Alas, it doesn’t appear he will run.
I used to believe Hillary was authentic with a core but unlike Gore, the former first lady has regressed. I hoped Hillary would emerge as a Robert Kennedy sort of figure in the senate but she has not put her prestige on the line for the working poor or the cause of peace.
Hillary is so afraid of appearing weak that she appears weak. Her pandering on an amendment for flag burning last year has me wondering what else she would surrender to project an image of values and toughness. We don’t need that sort of weakness undermining the progressive cause. Hillary has proven she can take a punch. She also deserves credit for providing effective constituent service as a senator. As a senator, Hillary has been a workhorse more than a show-horse unlike Obama or Edwards when he served. As a New Yorker I respect that.
But her original support of the Iraq war was a callous and cowardly act of political expediency. Her tepid “if I knew now what I knew then” explanation regarding Iraq is neither believable nor acceptable. War and peace requires a different standard of leadership. Not calculating cynicism resulting in needless bloodshed.
I don’t underestimate Hillary. She’s disciplined, smart and tough. And I'd love to support a woman for the White House. We could certainly do worse and this country has. But her candidacy for president does not inspire me and I expect to support somebody else.
ADDENDUM: Click here to review the comments from my crossposting of the above topic on Daily Kos. Special thanks to The Nation magazine for linking today's post under "Newsfeeds." Hopefully it will stay there for awhile. Also, a special thanks to Blue Gal for including a link to this post in the blog roundup for Crooks and Liars. If you look under my left side bar you will find a link under "Intrepid Voices" to Blue Gal's terrific blog. I love her style. Her recent post entitled "Death Of A President" is a must read.