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A Clinton Distancing Act


Even as Bill Clinton campaigns for his wife, she's distancing herself from some of his policies. (AP).

They sat around a table in the dwindling days of the campaign and debated what to do about the North American Free Trade Agreement. Some advisers wanted the candidate to oppose it, others wanted him to support it if for no other reason than to take the issue off the table. In the end, Bill Clinton decided to support NAFTA as long as side agreements could be reached to strengthen labor and environmental protections.

That was the fall of 1992 and now, some 15 years later, one can imagine a similar debate taking place in another Clinton campaign. This time, the candidate came out on the other side. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's slow-motion repudiation of one of her husband's signature achievements, culminating in her statement last week that NAFTA had been a "mistake," signals both the changing political environment and a different style of Clinton campaign. Forget the Third Way. Maybe the First and Second Ways weren't so bad after all.

This was not the first time Hillary Clinton has distanced herself from Bill Clinton's policies or governance philosophy. She has vowed to scrap the "don't ask, don't tell" rules her husband put in place allowing gays to serve in the military but only if they do not admit to being gay. She has called for repealing part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which tried to limit the spread of same-sex marriage and which her husband signed, albeit reluctantly. And she disagreed with her husband's statement that there should be a presidential exception to a torture ban in case of imminent terrorist threat. Republican strategists are quietly happy that she has not gone Bill Clinton's way. "She lacks her husband's political gifts and rejects much of the centrism he championed," Karl Rove, President Bush's former chief strategist, wrote in his inaugural Newsweek column, headlined "How to Beat Hillary."

On some level, of course, it's not all that surprising that Hillary Clinton would feel it necessary to take different positions than her husband in discrete situations. She needs to demonstrate that she is her own person and circumstances have certainly changed since the 1990s. The Democratic base always opposed NAFTA but today some strategists believe the party more broadly has turned against free trade, or at least free trade as it has been practiced. Don't ask, don't tell may have been a step forward for gays in 1993 but all these years later has become a symbol of discrimination.

At the same time, it's an extraordinary thing that she would renounce one of the central legacies of her husband's presidency. NAFTA was not just a passing policy, it helped define Bill Clinton as a new kind of Democrat. He took an agreement negotiated by his Republican predecessor, George H.W. Bush, negotiated new side agreements to address labor and environmental concerns and waged an enormous battle to win bipartisan approval in Congress. Hillary Clinton was privately aggravated that Bill Clinton decided to push NAFTA before her health-care plan, but otherwise stood with her husband at the time.

She has been steadily distancing herself from NAFTA over the last few months, saying it needed to be "fixed" and had not worked as well as it should have. She went furthest, though, in last week's Democratic debate in Las Vegas when asked flatly if it had been a mistake. "NAFTA was a mistake to the extent that it did not deliver on what we had hoped it would," she said. "And that's why I called for a trade timeout. When I am president, I am going to evaluate every trade agreement." Still, her timeout seems somewhat situational; she voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement last year but has plans to vote for a pending free-trade deal with Peru because, she said, it includes more of the kind of protections she favors.

In explaining her policy shift, she has tried to disassociate her husband's administration from responsibility for NAFTA. "NAFTA was inherited by the Clinton administration," she told Time magazine's Karen Tumulty in February. But that ignores, of course, the fact that Bill Clinton's trade representative spent seven months negotiating side agreements that satisfied the president's concerns at the time before pushing it through Congress, meaning the deal that passed was not strictly the one left by the first President Bush. And the trade representative who negotiated those agreements? Mickey Kantor, who chaired the 1992 campaign and is supporting Hillary Clinton this time.

Her Democratic rivals pounced after last week's debate to accuse her of flip-flopping. "I think it's important to note that Senator Clinton was a cheerleader for NAFTA for more than a decade," Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) said at a news conference with United Auto Workers representatives in Iowa on Sunday. "I realize that changing your position to suit the politics of the moment might be smart campaign tactics but isn't the kind of strong, principled leadership America needs right now." Obama's Web site posted a page of statements highlighting her switch, including a quote from the San Francisco Chronicle calling her stance "clearly a flip-flop favor to unions and industry sectors hit by layoffs and cheap imports."

Former senator John Edwards (N.C.), meeting with union nurses in Nevada the morning after the debate, mocked Clinton for laughing when asked about NAFTA. "One moment from the debate stuck with me - when Senator Clinton was asked about NAFTA and she tried to joke about charts and laugh about it. For the one million Americans who lost their jobs because of NAFTA, this isn't a laughing matter." Some anti-NAFTA bloggers likewise accused her of laughing about the trade pact.

That actually distorts what happened. CNN's Wolf Blitzer, serving as moderator, recalled the NAFTA debate in 1993 between then-Vice President Al Gore and former presidential candidate Ross Perot and asked Clinton if Perot was right after all. Clinton and the audience both laughed at the mention of Perot and she quipped that all she remembered of that debate was his charts. That was a joke at the expense of Perot, not NAFTA or people who lost jobs, and then she went on to give a serious answer about trade.

But it was the serious answer that was so telling. By rejecting NAFTA, don't ask don't tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, she has signaled that she does not plan to take the same tack her husband did in trying to find a middle path, the so-called Third Way, between liberal and conservative orthodoxies. While she has been more hawkish than her top Democratic rivals on foreign policy matters, she has otherwise steered a more traditionally liberal course through the primaries.

It's not that she's against triangulating. It's just that she seems to be triangulating her husband.

-- Peter Baker

Posted at 12:10 PM ET on Nov 20, 2007  | Category:  Morning Cheat Sheet
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Finally someone decides to focus on the fact that Hillary is not Bill. She does not have his acute political skill and when not so tightly scripted shows that she has several policy points that diverge from his in many troubling directions.

So if you are voting for Hillary to get Bill--think again! They are different people folks! Remember those people who thought that George H.W. and George W were peas-in-a-pod? Certainly America is smart enough not to make the same mistake twice! Right?

Posted by: d.pryor | November 21, 2007 10:58 PM

"I realize that changing your position to suit the politics of the moment might be smart campaign tactics but isn't the kind of strong, principled leadership America needs right now."

Oh yeah, TRUST ME. I think I have heard this before. A strong, principled leader would have well stated, clear cut answers when people ask him for particulars with respect to the issues. I don't know how many times folks in here have said go to his web site. I have and I posted his answers to issues and how they were nearly all blurry. I am sorry but whoever I vote for, I do not know who as yet, will have to have real answers not just "support the veterans because it is the right thing to do" type answers. I have heard that same crap for 40 years from every politician anywhere including the Illinois senator before. This could just have well been said by Jimmy Carter, Ronald Regan, either Bush or Bill Clinton. I do not associate HRC with Bill as President because I do not feel it is correct to do so. Anymore than the many, many black people injecting the call to black voters. If we are going to be race neutral then all sides had best begin to act like it.

I for one do not want a President who is unwilling to see that some action was wrong and acknowledge that error. I have just seen 7 years of denial and stubbornness. Neither of these is a quality and I for one would like to see a quality President.

Posted by: RetCombatVet | November 21, 2007 5:22 PM

Hillary has the intelligence and savvy to be America's best President since her husband, despite the attacks from the above readers who fear a woman of strength.

Posted by: mainetimes | November 21, 2007 5:10 PM

ralphdaugherty - Hillary experienced? What experience? Do you mean running the attack machine that destroyed the lives and reputations of people who were critical of "their" White House? Or, maybe you are referring to her diasterous secret health task force that was in no way different than Dick Cheney's secret energy task force? Or, perhaps, her foreign travels to India where she *illegally* raised millions of dollars for her campaigns? Or, are you so silly as to count her time spent as "first lady" as experience?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 21, 2007 2:53 PM

Do reporters find that describing Hillary as "mocking" when she compared her foreign policy experience to Obama's to make for good headlines?

Obama made a good and legitimate point about his experience growing up, and Hillary addressed it in comparison, but when I read what she said I didn't see any "mocking" statements.

It obviously makes for more interesting journalism to have controversy, but could the political reporters who describe her as "mocking" Obama tell us how one can go about addressing and countering points raised by opponents without by definition being "mocking"? I don't think you can.

I would limit the description of "mocking" to those who repeat the words of others in a sarcastic manner. That's what mocking means.

Hillary oversold the comparison, no doubt, but the words read as ernest to me, not sarcastic and mocking.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | November 21, 2007 1:13 PM

To get votes requires people to know how their votes were got, so there is no need to "admit" whatever conspiracy to buy votes you're apparently pushing.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | November 21, 2007 12:56 PM

Even though many may like the policies Hillary proposes they should also consider her record.
.
The last Clinton Administration, when faced with the fact that protection rackets where torturing people with poison and radiation, chose to avoid their responsibilities to incarcerate the criminals and protect the citizenry.
.
Instead, they made a deal with the criminal gang stalking protection rackets to leave them alone and to consequently abandon the citizenry.
.
Do we want a President who sells out the citizenry for votes?
.
Do we want a President who sends a "crime does pay" message to society?
.
Would you vote for a President who has signed nonagression deals with the KKK or the Nazi party? Gangs that torture with poison and radiation are much like the KKK and Nazi Party.
.
We do not need a sellout President. We need a principled leader President.
.
I could be wrong since I was not there when the sellout decision was made but since nobody will admit the sellout they do not have to defend it.
.

Posted by: avraamjack | November 21, 2007 8:30 AM


::::::::::::::::::::::
::::::::::::::::::::::
::::Key word 'ACT'::::
::::::::::::::::::::::
::::::::::::::::::::::

Mrs. Bill Clinton announced, at the beginning of her vie for the White House by stating that she supports everything that her husband has stood for as President.

Plain and simple, Hillary is a proven liar by what she did when she dropped Universal Healthcare like a hot rock after Bill's second term as President was sealed.

Oh, and not you average politician liar... this lie has led to child without healthcare, as well.

Posted by: theman_in_black | November 21, 2007 8:00 AM

One of the reasons I support Hillary for President is her very sound economic and energy policies. Bush and his right wingers who consider Democrats socialists have left this country in tatters.

The debt they have run up, to 9 trillion dollars now, almost all but 1 trillion of it run up by Reagan and the Bushes, has put us and generations to come in servitude to the actual socialists like China.

You right wingers are actually worse than socialists, as hard as that is to do.

All we have ahead of us now is a disaster to clean up from from people who consider borrowing from socialists for their children to pay to be a cherished notion.

I am quite sure your children will cherish your name in vain for decades to come.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | November 21, 2007 7:57 AM

Even though many may like the policies Hillary proposes they should also consider her record.
.
The last Clinton Administration when faced with the fact that protection rackets where torturing people with poison and radiation chose to avoid their responsibilities to incarcerate the criminals and protect the citizenry. Instead they made a deal with the criminals to leave them alone and abandon the citizenry.
.
Do we want a President who sells out the citizenry for votes?
.
Do we want a President who sends a "crime does pay" message to society?
.
Would you vote for a President who has signed nonagression deals with the KKK or the Nazi party? Gangs that torture with poison and radiation are much like the KKK and Nazi Party.
.
We do not need a sellout President. We need a principled leader President.
.
I could be wrong since I was not there when the sellout decision was made but since nobody will admit the sellout they do not have to defend it.
.

Posted by: avraamjack | November 21, 2007 7:45 AM

It would be ideal to select a candidate solely on the strength of his or her ideas, but unfortunately we must also view these people as symbols. Hillary by playing the "Clinton card" and claiming her time as First Lady as "experience" is open to justifiable criticism as a symbol of the Bush-Clinton era of DC politics. Obama is not just a brilliant mind, articulate voice, and a person of principle, he's a symbol of the opportunity this country creates for all people and a symbol of a rare opportunity to create consensus in DC. This is a crucial opportunity for the country to turn a page domestically and internationally - I hope sincerely we do not miss it. Obama has my vote.

Posted by: maq1 | November 21, 2007 7:43 AM

If the Liberals who comment on the on-line articles are representative of most of the Post readers, I can see why Brokaw said the print Washington Post would be dead in ten years. Aren't any of them capable of thinking for themselves? Time to consider the words of the great Southern philosopher Forest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does". The Socialist hillary rodham clinton is a greater threat to the Republic than the terrorist Osama bin Laden ever could be. Osama is driven by hate, hillary is driven by hate and GREED!!

Posted by: truthperiod1 | November 21, 2007 5:38 AM

It's so obvious that all the while we want Politics of Change, why Media is promoting double standard on Senator Clinton?...everytime she says or answers the accusations from her opponents especially Edwards and Obama, Media is projecting her the person with criminal record...she is the most battered candidate ...Mr. Obama has been so badly mouthed on Mrs. Clinton attacking her below the belt so with Mr. Edwards, is this the kind of people we want our trust..this is so evident the kind of image we want to give to the world?...and the comments of Mrs. Obama, it's scary to know how she described the gap between the blacks and other colors?..what happened to what Mr. Obama said about the colors red, blue and whitein his stump speech?

Is it bad for Mrs. Clinton to run as candidate?...why condemned her? ..does she have a criminal record?..are we GOD?

is it wrong to be a Clinton?..With the former President , Bill Clinton's legacy, America was a GREAT NATION!
With all the attacks on Mrs. Clinton it's not humane anymore. ..where will she go but to prove to the American people that she can deliver the quality of life all of us deserves!

Why give her the double standard? Who is playing now the gender card? It's very obvious, it's definitely NOT Senator Clinton!


Posted by: MrGreenfield1 | November 21, 2007 4:01 AM

You have to watch the dirty tricks from right wingers that fill blogs with hate. They're practically on autopilot by now.

I notice that everyone that hates Hillary just loves Obama. Never Biden or Richardson or Dodd, the experienced Democratic candidates.

Outside of Kucinich, who is our Ron Paul like candidate, they of course would prefer to face Obama. I think most of these I hate Hillary, go Obama posts are from right wingers trying to game the Democratic primary to their advantage.

But it was worth wading through their muck to read Jenn2's responses.

She reminds me of Hillary. Too intelligent for right wing simpletons.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | November 21, 2007 1:27 AM

I absolutely love the Hilary bashers who simply cannot deal with a female. They will hate her, revile her, misquote her, but in the end the problem is actually just one--she's not male. The obsession that taints the Post and the news media in general and repeatedly paints her candidacy in such a harsh light is not just wrong, it does the nation and Clinton a gross disservice.

Obama, by contrast, is totally vapid, offering little beyond the color of his skin that points to real change or demonstrates competence. Nonetheless, he earns an amazingly free ride from the press as though he'd emerged from the heavens. Simply because he's African American doesn't give the man the capacity to change anything except the color of the next president's skin.

Of course, a sincere bravo must be voiced that a black individual is making a serious run for the presidency. But what a total shame and colossal disappointment that it has to be one with so little real ability or gift for the office.

One can only hope that enough people with intelligence, wit and a bit of forethought will realize the marginalization of Hilary is a press induced movement, not a prudent or thoughtful one. And that the constant drumbeat of harshness and hatred toward her could unwittingly destroy the greatest chance this nation has to reclaim its lost destiny--to once again inspire the world toward a better tomorrow.

Posted by: Bi1lMe | November 21, 2007 1:23 AM

"She couldn't protect her marriage from an intern so how is she going to protect our nation from terrorists?"
Is this what passes for political thought these days? I shudder for the future of the Republic.

Posted by: chuckmcf | November 21, 2007 12:15 AM

I guess I should quit even looking at these blogs. Fortunately, the folks who post here do not represent the general population, and the diatribes that are entertained and enabled here have very little to do with any election results, ever.
As a Hillary-supporting Democrat, I have never read a post here that swayed me one inch from that support. I would say that this is a veritable classroom of illogical argumentation--the Jesuit who was my logic professor from college would have a heyday labeling all the attempts at obfuscation at work. I am sure I will provoke a chorus of voices to badger me about my stupidity and predict doom for Democrats if we nominate Hillary, but I'm just as sure that none of them will register as a trenchant argument. The issues really do matter to me, and Hillary is enough of a centrist, enough of a liberal, and yes--sane, sensible, and warm enough for me to trust her in office. I don't expect to be greeted with any respect for having come to that assessment, just a raft of ad hominem commentary from individuals here who find it unbelieveable, or don't want to believe, that I am anything but an uninformed or sycophantic nut case. Wishing this to be so will not make me go away or make me unlike millions of others out there in the electorate. Those of her detractors who think her poll support is all name recognition are simply underestimating their foe.

Posted by: intrepidone38 | November 20, 2007 7:37 PM

Hmmm.. This Peter Baker chap seems to write about stuff that doesn't make sense to me.

Am I mistaken, or does he assume that Hillary should govern exactly as Bill did? Does Peter Baker not understand that, as two separate and whole human beings, Hillary and Bill may have different policies, ideas, desires and ethics?

I don't think I am mistaken. I believe Peter Baker is mistaken.

Posted by: martiniano | November 20, 2007 7:23 PM

When Al Gore had a "debate" on the subject of NAFTA with Ross Perot, Perot said that NAFTA would be a "giant sucking sound" of American jobs fleeing. Okay, wrong country (the jobs left to China not Mexico)- but it was the right diagnosis. He also said that Mexico should be brought up to a much closer economic level with the US before we entered into a free trade agreement with them. Looking at this with 20/20 hindsight, it looks like Perot got this right and Clinton got it wrong. Perot's opinions reflected that of the average, educated middle class person at that time. This is one of many proofs that there's nothing wrong with democracy and that the average person can make good decisions, except that what we have now in the Federal government is not democracy.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | November 20, 2007 7:22 PM

Let's see, after Bill purportedly molested all those women, Hillary tore their lives apart - Paula Jones, Annita Broaderick, Jennifer Flowers. ALl were used y various right wing operatives, but all *had* been molested. groped, treated like a piece of meat by Bill Clitnon. Then, they spoke up about it...or were "outed"...and Hillary and her machine ruined their lives, made comments like "if you troll a dollar through a trailer park...", and her hysterical mob joined in the chase. So these women were molested twice, once by each Clinton. ANd we're supposed to forget that? Obama, Edwards, Biden, Richardson, the f***ing Easter Bunny!, anybody for President but this gutter snipe piece of trash.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 20, 2007 7:18 PM

Why don't you tell the whole story? It was George Bush senior, who negotiated NAFTA.
Hillary has strengths that none of the other candidates have from having been attacked by the Repiblicans.

Posted by: pwoodhull | November 20, 2007 7:09 PM

Actually I think Billary reminds me more of Nixon - powermad, vengeful, and paranoid. As far as Slick Willie is concerned, he did ONE good thing during his tainted presidency - he supported free trade, which is always a good thing. Other than that, it's time to put an end to Clinton Inc.

Posted by: birvin9999 | November 20, 2007 7:05 PM

Oh, LOL!

It's the NEW!

IMPROVED!

BILLARY!!!!!!


All the sniveling machevelian slimeball Lawyer you Loved,

Without any of the stuff you Did Not!!!!!


Anybody DUMB Enough to Vote for this POS Pair, DESERVE the Disaster that will occur!

BTW-Don't like the Housing Bubble and Subprime Mortgage Scams set up with the Flip this House Routine arranged by the Capital Gains Waiver on Homes sold w/in 2 Years?

It was Sliped in by SLICK!

And he did not even give America a Kiss!

Posted by: rat-the | November 20, 2007 6:49 PM

When is senator Hillary going to speak with consistency about her own beliefs and policies? Until that happens, CONSISTENTLY, she's going to continue to fall in the polls and her dream of world domination will be over.

Posted by: brianmmayhew | November 20, 2007 6:48 PM

Does Bill really want her to win? Right now he can come and go as he pleases. If he wants to hang out with his girl friend, he can do so discreetly. If Hillary wins, he will be expected to move back into the Whitehouse. And with all of that time on his hands, you just know that he will get caught with his hand in the cookie jar again. And we will all have to go through THAT again.

As for HRC's experience, what exactly is that experience? Health Care? Iraq? She has no executive experience to speak of. But it doesn't really matter who the Dems nominate. They are all very weak candidates. The two front runners best qualifications are their gender and their race respectively. Will that be enough in a general election? It might.

Posted by: Art3 | November 20, 2007 6:36 PM

Hillary couldn't even account for the blow by blow affair that Billy Boy was getting.

Posted by: at8man | November 20, 2007 6:24 PM

So many haters out there. Its a good thing Hillary is distancing herself from Bill. She is a woman who knows what she wants and will not let her husband tell her what to do, no matter who he is.

Hillary is the best chance this country ever will get to restore our immage in the world from 8 years of cowboy diplomacy. With Obama's lack of experience, some are talking about a president who boasts his childhood as foreign policy experience.

It takes many high level meetings, negotiations, and personal experience in the white house to be able to say you're qualifited. That being said, Hillary, Richardson and Biden all have that. Which one is can beat the Republicans? ONLY HILLARY CAN BEAT THE REPUBLICANS.

Posted by: vitali002 | November 20, 2007 5:59 PM

I just don't get Hillary's experience? Doing what? She was First Lady, not Secretary of Defense! For God's sake, she was so involved in White House business, she didn't even know her husband was having an affair? She is another politician who thinks she knows something, when she does'nt know a thing!

Posted by: wallasongs | November 20, 2007 5:46 PM

peterdc said:
'moving towards the world that all of us who want- one that rids the United States of George Bush and those who would think like he does'
Why would you want to rid the United States of people who do not think like you? That sounds like intolerance to me. And That's what you Democrats are always accusing the Replublicans of. Hmmmm?

Posted by: maddogjts | November 20, 2007 5:42 PM

Hillary, via her Senate record, shows every indication that, as President, she would closely follow her husband's lead.

Like Bill, Hillary is 'Republican Light' & as such, since the GOP have little chance of winning the election next year, she would be a wonderful consolation prize for them. Like Bill, who did nothing to attempt to reverse the regressive & aggressive policies aimed at the Middle Class & the poor by Reagan, the GOP would find her entirely open & amenable toward acceptance of many of their agendas.

And like Bill, they would likely find her very cooperative in GOP attempts to dismantle Federal programs to aid the Middle Class & the poor like The Great Society & The New Deal.

Because of his willingness to ally himself with the GOP to pass legislation to decimate AFDC & greatly tighten eligibility for Food Stamps & Medicaid, & to advance trade treaties like NAFTA & GATT, (very harmful to the Middle Class,) Bill Clinton was a disaster for the Liberal Base of his own Party.

If Democrats nominate Hillary for President, they will be asking for more of the same.

Posted by: book134 | November 20, 2007 5:27 PM

Billary is Richard Nixon in a bad jumpsuit. Corrupt, powermad, evil.

Posted by: birvin9999 | November 20, 2007 5:23 PM

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: Pressure HRC to take an enforcement first approach. Join non-partisan NumbersUSA @ http://numbersusa.com/index

Posted by: sskyvickers | November 20, 2007 5:16 PM

Last thing we need is some couple's marital problems becoming OUR problems. The very idea of a former (and somewhat disgraced) president's wife taking over the job is pretty ridiculous in any case.

What about some outsider who would be brilliant at the job? That would make a change.

If you want to know what "status quo" means, just look at the team we have lined up on any TV channel you care to name.

Posted by: wardropper | November 20, 2007 5:12 PM

It's interesting that NAFTA is so widely being called a failure. Usually by people who have no idea of what the actual numbers are. They throw around claims that "millions" of American jobs have been lost usually based on tendentious studies conducted by groups withs special interests. If you look at the actual trade balance numbers with Mexico shorn of distortions like invisibles, guess what we've moved to surplus where we used run deficits. Now I can understand why the Mexicans are unhappy about this, but why should we be. Particularly when we are running monthly traded deficits of around $55billion. That's not to say there isn't lots of work to be done on addressing structural changes in America and levelling the playing field with China but the evidence suggests that actually NAFTA has been good for the USA. Not that I'm surprised Clinton is putting some distance between herself and NAFTA. She is after all running for president and sometimes you have to pander to the crowd. Sad but true.

Posted by: johnbsmrk | November 20, 2007 5:04 PM

she's not george bush. she's not bill clinton. when you can't define who you are, you'll have to settle for who you aren't.

Posted by: thebishop10 | November 20, 2007 4:53 PM

what amazes me is the number of illiterate and uneducated arguments against Hillary Clinton presented here. the worst candidate? why, because you don't like her? that 'likability' factor sure worked out for the millions of intellectually-challenged Americans who voted for George W. Bush - twice - and the millions of us who were stuck with him.

any one of these candidates will say what needs to be said to get elected. it might play well for Edwards and Obama to throw that at Clinton, but they are no different. what truly matters is who can do the job.

and on another note, why would anyone in their right mind allow people from Iowa or New Hampshire to determine our candidates for us? this whole process is ridiculous, manipulative and outdated. we deserve whatever befalls us for following around like thoughtless sheep.

Posted by: matthewmaverick | November 20, 2007 4:51 PM

Hillary vote for the invasion occupation of Iraq. She also voted to strip our hard fought civil liberties with the Patriot Act. (traitor act more like)

She has even refused to say when or how she will bring the brave troops home.

I'm voting for Congressman Ron Paul in 2008. He vote no on Iraq, voted no on the patriot act and he has pledged to bring our troop home and safe immediately.

www.ronpaul4all.com

Posted by: oneman | November 20, 2007 4:46 PM

Pres Race Analysis

Dems:
HRC - The gift that keeps giving to opposition - Republicans will have to turn away the volunteers.

Obama - very inspirational - best candidate of a very weak field

Edwards - he has a hair problem, trial lawyer in a big house.

Richardson - Most experience, best candidate on paper. Most likely vp nod

Biden - winning all the debates, I guess that does not matter in name recognition polling.

Dodd - Very sharp but is anyone listening

Republicans

Rudy - Great experience - honest straight talker - but far right will block his nomination.

Romney - the more the voters get to know him the stronger he does in the polls - great CEO credentials

McCain - too old, far right will block him over immigration

Thompson - No one with hi definition will vote for him - he looks and sounds dead.

Huckabee - like Pat Robertson before him Iowa will be a temporary boost -

Romney over Obama in Nov 08 unless Dems get a brain and draft Gore - then Gore wins.

Posted by: weinbob | November 20, 2007 4:28 PM

I am mystified that the Iowa ABC poll results show HRC thought of as most experienced. Least trustworth Yes ($1,000 investment became $100,000) - hmm.

Spouse of Govener, Spouse of President and Senator from a State she is not from equals massive name recognition not experience. Barbara Bush for President - she has been the wife of a president, wife of a VP, mother of a pres, and mother of a govener - Now that's experience.

HRC's experience in parsing, triagulating, and giving 60 second sound bites to the MSM is outstanding. However on the ground with the voters her lack of charisma, honesty and leadership experience may be enough to reverse this tool of the special interests.

Anybody but Hillary.

Posted by: weinbob | November 20, 2007 4:12 PM

No Rudy or Dummy errr Dubya protect us... Hell Rudy's own kids won't vote for him, so that tells you about him.... The people I do trust are Gore, Edwards, and Obama, but not in that order.... Huckabee is a craven idiot (no evolution?) and Ron Paul is certifiable..... Right now America's future is bent over a jailhouse shower barrel, with just a sliver of hope available to us.... If HRC is the choice we can kiss our tails goodbye....

Posted by: CoCoSausage | November 20, 2007 3:58 PM

to coco: Do you know how idiotic that little analogy sounds. Typical Republican BS. Did George or Rudy protect us on 9/11 ?
I think your just looking for a laugh with that and the only thing I'm laughing at is your stupidity.

Posted by: jime2000 | November 20, 2007 3:47 PM

To be very blunt with my most liberal Democratic colleagues: Can you contemplate the anguish personally or to the nation to have to listen to Hillary's voice from the Bully Pulpit for 4 years? I do not put the adjectives in there (smug, hectoring, complacent, disagreeable, etc. because she can't help it) Does the country need this? Do Democrats want to snatch defeat from the jaws of easy victory? Go Iowa, go!

Posted by: walden1 | November 20, 2007 3:44 PM

Support for NAFTA wasn't a mistake. WJC would not have been elected without it. Same with the Iraq War vote in Oct 2002. HRC would not have been re-elected without it. Same with support for continuing the war. HRC will not be elected if she opposes a continuation, so she will. Then once elected, she will say it too was a mistake.

You have to say what will keep you in power because to be in power means you have the power to keep moving past the contradictions. Tomorrow will always forgive so long as you will choose the right words today, whatever those words are.

It's not about consistency. It's about mallability. The cost of change is always factored into the move before it is made. The supporters know implicitly that any support (or opposition) is a luxury ahead of the necessity of political survival.

Posted by: blasmaic | November 20, 2007 3:39 PM

I didn't answer your question, because it isn't a question. It's ridiculous. Your spouse's conduct in your marriage has nothing to do with your national security policy. Here are some other equally valid questions:

So you have a dog, how can I expect you to be able to drive a car safely?

Mike Huckabee doesn't believe in evolution, how will he ever protect our borders?

Fred Thompson has a much younger wife, can he really be trusted to reform Social Security?


Posted by: Jenn2 | November 20, 2007 3:39 PM

I don't know- I just don't know

Posted by: tennis67 | November 20, 2007 3:38 PM

I don't know- I just don't know

Posted by: tennis67 | November 20, 2007 3:37 PM

I hope that HRC crashes and burns so we can get rid of the Clintons and W. messed it up so bad that the Bushes are already toast.... Let's move from these two families to more diverse thinking and problem solving....

Posted by: CoCoSausage | November 20, 2007 3:36 PM

I add a comment only for Democrats: it would be a major historical mistake to nominate Hillary for President. I speak not against the possible Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton medieval royalty angle, which is a negative, but ask "Why is Hillary Clinton a Democrat running for President at all?"

If Hillary had the good sense and experience she claims on the campaign, she would have simply not run, and supported the best contender. She is running for President against the Republic's good. Her ambition and her baggage should, therefore, be an issue in the campaign.

That's before we come to the personality issue. I hope Iowa voters don't vote for her because they think she is the most electable. This would be almost as bad as their choice of Kerry last time for the same reason.

Please, please, please Democrats understand that Hillary--god bless her, honorable Senator--is the absolute worst for the Democratic party, left, center, right. Can't we simply vote for Obama or Edwards or Richardson and get past Karl Rove's Dream Candidate to defeat.

Women and black women especially (for I think these votes are pumping the polls nationally) need to pay attention. If you have this nostalgia and cosey feeling for Clinton, dig down, and think about it for a while.

Posted by: walden1 | November 20, 2007 3:34 PM

Boy, that is some top-notch analysis right there. By that logic, if we elect Rudy Giuliani we'll lose to the terrorists three times. That plus the likelihood that we'll have to see him in drag again is a big minus in my book.

Just facts, and you didn't answer my question regarding HRC or her experience claim.... She couldn't protect her husband from an intern, how can she protect us from terrorists?

Posted by: CoCoSausage | November 20, 2007 3:30 PM

As Hillary continues to define herself, she shows how unelectable whe is. I'd have voted to amend the constitution to allow Bill to run again but I don't think I could vote for her if she is my party's nominee.

C'mon Dems, can't we field better candidates?

Posted by: CntrvilleCitoyen | November 20, 2007 3:25 PM

"She couldn't protect her marriage from an intern, so how is she going to protect our nation from terrorists?"

Boy, that is some top-notch analysis right there. By that logic, if we elect Rudy Giuliani we'll lose to the terrorists three times. That plus the likelihood that we'll have to see him in drag again is a big minus in my book.

Speaking substantively and as a Democrat who would prefer to nominate someone other than Clinton, I think these are good issues to stake out herself as different on. It's not 1993 any more, you don't have to cling to the old ideas. Maybe for Karl Rove it's "centrism" to call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, but I think increasingly it's seen as just plain silly. Now that NAFTA has had time to play out, we've been able to see the many disadvantages it brought with it.

Sticking with a policy regardless of whether or not it fits the circumstances any more is classic Bush. I for one would like a return to empirical thinking, under any president.

Posted by: Jenn2 | November 20, 2007 3:25 PM

Again we hear from the mindless anti-Hillary spokespersons. No thought to any concept of moderation or respect for what it takes to govern.

Hillary Clinton has been able to reach across the isle as a Senator and work with Republicans to pass legislation because she is not like George Bush or the polarizing indviduals who write their diatribes on these blogs.

She is willing to listen to a wide range of ideas and concepts and understands that rarely do you get everything you want in moving government forward all at once. It takes patience and the ability to make compromises.

Hillary has stood her ground for 35 years on issues of education, children's rights, the rights of the GLBT community and civil and human rights for everyone. She had the guts to stand in Beijing and criticize the Chineese government for their policy on having girl children killed and there are women around the world who will never forget that and never underestimate what it did for them in a positive way.

The fact that she is willing to relook at the parts of NAFTA that are not working and make some compromises to guarentee that people have jobs is a positive, not a negative. If only George Bush would look at the mess he made of Iraq and be willing to make compromises now to bring our troops home.

The people that one should have trouble believing are not the ones that say they will compromise but the ones who say they won't.

I like John Edwards and Barack Obama but it is some of their statements that come from a desire to say what people want to hear and make issues appear black and white- right or wrong, not Hillary's statements. Very rarely is anything involved in governing that easy or clear particulary in a nation that is divided on so many issues.

Hillary didn't divide us, and Edwards and Obama didn't but she has the better chance of uniting us. It is the belief in different views of the world that separate us and create the polarization. At least Hillary understands that and is based enough in reality and experience to know that just by decreeing what she wants won't get it.

Working across the isle and moving towards the world that all of us who want- one that rids the United States of George Bush and those who would think like he does, is what Hillary will be able to do better than any other person running for President.

I would hope that at least all those on this blog who claim to be Democrats will stop the hate long enough to support what all the Democrats running for President said they would do in the last debate and that is support whoever is the Democratic candidate for President.

Posted by: peterdc | November 20, 2007 3:23 PM

So if she is distancing herself from her husband and his policies then where is all of this so-called experience that she's using as a platform? She couldn't protect her marriage from an intern, so how is she going to protect our nation from terrorists?

Posted by: CoCoSausage | November 20, 2007 3:12 PM

THANKK YOU for pointing out that hillary IS NOT BILL CLINTON!

Bill Clinton was a MODERATE genius who grew our economy, made policy decisions that pushed aside the wingnuts on both wings of american politics and shot straight down the moderate center of fiscal responsibility.

hillary is a word-parsing politician and lawyer who is opaque, and will obfuscate every issue. Heck I MIGHT agree with her, but I'll never know because I can't trust a single word out of her double speaking mouth. The only people who support hillary are GLORIA STEINEM ERA SEPERATISTS AND MODERN-DAY WING NUTS

This is why hillary is UNELECTABLE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION AND A GUARANTEED LOSER... NOT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN WILL VOTE FOR HER AND THEIR TURNOUT WILL BE A RECORD HIGH IF SHE RUNS, AND HALF OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY HATES HER!

GO OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT IN 08!

Posted by: onestring | November 20, 2007 2:58 PM

Why does Hillary get to have credit for the accomplishments of her husband, while also getting to shrug off any failures?

Such BS.

Posted by: julieds | November 20, 2007 2:34 PM

What ?

Wait- i thought Hillary was Bill, and Bill was Hillary.

Isn't that why some folks want her in office?

...because Hillary (through osmosis, i guess) has absorbed her husband and his experience and their administrations would be identical, and take us back to the glory of the 1990s?

Hm....

Posted by: julieds | November 20, 2007 2:32 PM

There are generally three positions on this:
1. "hard NAFTA": the one prefered by the GOP

2. "comfy NAFTA": the one prefered by the Dems. They want NAFTA, they just want "worker protections".

3. "no NAFTA": the one prefered by Ross Perot et al and the one that would have happened if we'd all paid more attention to those wacky charts.

As for the orthodoxy, supporting NAFTA isn't a rightwing core belief. In fact, true conservatives would reject it. For instance:

eagleforum.org/column/2001/july01/01-07-11.shtml

On a related note, guess who's got their fingers in one of the pies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElAvo8EM4uk

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | November 20, 2007 12:58 PM

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