Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hawkish Hillary

Austin Bay links to this AP story:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - As 55 people died in Iraq on Saturday, the holiest day on the Shiite Muslim religious calendar, Sen. Hillary Clinton said that much of Iraq was "functioning quite well" and that the rash of suicide attacks was a sign that the insurgency was failing.

Clinton, a New York Democrat, said insurgents intent on destabilizing the country had failed to disrupt Iraq’s landmark Jan. 30 elections.

"The concerted effort to disrupt the elections was an abject failure. Not one polling place was shut down or overrun," Clinton told reporters inside the U.S.-protected Green Zone, a sprawling complex of sandbagged buildings surrounded by blast walls and tanks. The zone is home to the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy...

...The fact that you have these suicide bombers now, wreaking such hatred and violence while people pray, is to me, an indication of their failure," Clinton said.

It wouldn't take a lot of cyncism to conclude that Hillary is a shrewd opportunistic politician and just about everything she says and does these days is done with an eye on the 2008 nomination. But lets give credit where credit is due, since 9/11 Hillary Clinton has pretty consistently come down on the hawkish side of things and she has resisted taking on the defeatist tone of Ted Kennedy or even John Kerry.

The Democratic party is in a bit of dissarray right now, and the selection of Howard Dean as chairmen of the DNC is a but curious to me. They have allowed the Michael Moore/George Soros/Ted Kennedy "we went to Afghanistan to build a pipeline" conspiracy peddlers to become the avatar of their party and suffered a couple of sound electoral defeats as a result. The Democrats essentially put themselves in a position where they could benefit only if the American public could be convinced that Iraq and the economy were in shambles. On the other hand, George Bush was out saying he is fighting for the causes of freedom and democracy world wide, while the Democrats - through their defeatism and absence of a coherent alternative policy - almost come out against those causes by default. Only bad news was good news, and GWB now had a monopoly on the freedom/democracy rhetoric.

During the feel-good Clinton years you didn't see that from the Republicans. When the economy was booming and it seemed (incorrectly of course) that we were at the end of history, you didn't see Newt Gingrich and the bunch try to convince the electorate that Communism was actually coming back and the economy was actually doing awful. Instead they tried to take credit for the good by touting their congressional policy, the "Contract with America", welfare reform, etc.

"Things are improved because of us!" sounds better to me than "see we told you the world is a mess!" I bet it sounds better to a lot of swing voters too.

While I definitely lean towards Republicans more so than Democrats, I would prefer to see a functioning two party system. The Republicans have proved that, regardless of their platform of fiscal conservatism, they can spend with the best of them when they have control and it's their pet bills in search of funding. (And it would be nice to see George Bush use his veto pen at least once this term since he decided to leave it capped for the first four years.) A few more Democrats in Congress could help put them back into a state of gridlock where nothing gets done, and that is when our government is at its best - doing nothing and leaving us alone.

Some have speculated that if the Democrats don't get their act together that they'll eventually slip into irrelevance and cause a Republican party split between the social conservatives and the more libertarian wing. Wow, now that is a real comforting thought for me, but also one that is highly highly unlikely I am afraid. The two parties in America are really good at shifting right or left depending on the mood of the electorate - we still set the parameters. The Democrats just got a little over excited and shifted far left (chasing the Soros/MoveOn money), and now it appears that Hillary Clinton is poised to step in and move them back to the center. We'll see, but I'll take that over the obstructionism of Kennedy and Dean.

Of course, as was the point of Austin Bay's column, this whole Hillary thing likely signals a defining moment in the Iraqi campaign. After all, when one of the most opportunistic political figures in the country runs to Iraq to "bask in the light of its success", you know better times are ahead.


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