Hillary Clinton Innovates New Model for “State of the Union” Address

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hillary clinton campaign.jpg
Last night, I watched Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first “Conversation” with Americans over the internet. There are three more sessions — one tonight at 7 pm just before the President’s State of the Union address (ouch!) and then on January 23rd and 24th, all 30 minutes long.
I have to admit that while I could quibble with some of the substance of her remarks, the whole thing just blew me away.
Hillary Clinton has just created the new model for the State of the Union address — and made the format we are going to see tonight look as stiff, unimpressive, and anachronistic as an old vacuum tube television.
Preempting President Bush, Clinton was able last night to touch on her concerns about the President’s absence of clear-headed strategy in Iraq and still underscore her security concerns about al Qaeda and Iran; talk about New Orleans and what she would do to help get that city kick-started again; address America’s energy dependency problems with a massive new effort she has titled a “Strategic Energy Fund” as well as comment on other alternatives such as “all kinds of ethanol,” hydrogen, and the like. She talke about education, health care, trying to get ahead in a convulsive, unkind, and turbo-charged economy that is harsh on those at the lower end of the economic ladder.
Hillary told someone to “keep dreaming big dreams” and to “have hope”. She endorsed talking to “bad guys” abroad and working through these problems rather than trying to act like they aren’t there. Global warming and climate change got a lot of attention from her. She talked about shoring up America’s shoddy and dilapidated alliances abroad.
She even said that her three favorite movies were Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, and Out of Africa. She did all of this in less than 30 minutes and even asked someone in upstate New York to work on her campaign.
She, in essence, gave a State of the Union address to the nation in a novel new style that was “interactive”.
President Bush tonight is going to go through exactly the same routine that Presidents have followed nearly every year and strut, and glad-hand, smile, wave, at Members of Congress — our representatives — and then proceed to give Americans his read of what has gone right and wrong in America’s portfolio of challenges.
Senator James Webb will get to respond after — but that’s it! Well, there will be pundits out there offering views on the President’s remark and the Democratic Party response. But President Bush won’t respond to Webb; no one will respond to the pundits (I’ll be doing coverage tonight for a couple of networks).
I lost count but Hillary dealt with a good dozen or so questions, fielded by a smart looking young lady who was drawn into the camera’s view now and then to give us the idea that she was randomly picking these questions as they popped over the internet wire. Excuse me if I am a bit skeptical about that; nothing happens randomly — well few things — in this kind of high-octane politicking.
Nonetheless, it was impressive.
What was not impressive was that while Hillary Clinton bemoaned our situation in Iraq and told Americans that we still have a lot to worry about from a reconstituting al Qaeda network and from Iran and its nuclear weapons pretensions, she didn’t really give us any ideas how to move forward. While she embraced diplomacy and talking to bad guys, she should have stated her commitment to the kind of “New Diplomatic Offensive” that the Baker-Hamilton Study Group recommended in the Middle East.
While mentioning Israel specifically as a potential victim of Iran’s growing power in the region, she should have mentioned moderate Sunni regimes that also could be at risk. She had an opportunity to change the narrative that broad progress in the Middle East and the establishment of a “new equilibrium of interests” does not have to mean a net zero-sum loss for Israel. She stayed on the same old foreign policy/national security grooves that the President is on — and many others who haven’t thought deeply about how to leap frog over the current mess.
She could have read one of Senator Hagel’s recent speeches to understand that we can’t afford a false choice in our relations with Arab states and Israel. She failed to articulate that — and she didn’t leave open the door that we may in fact be misreading the situation with Iran and its nuclear weapons ambitions. I happen to be one that thinks that Iran is on a long-term nuclear weapons course unless we collectively agree to modify that course, involving Iran’s agreement. But my mind is open on that and given our past intelligence failures on this front, we should maintain humility in our prescriptions.
I tried to lob three questions at Senator Clinton:

1. Who would she appoint to the United Nations as our Ambassador? or what kind of person would she select to represent American interests at the UN? Her fellow Senator from New York Chuck Schumer was just fine with John Bolton? Would she be?
2. Would she be the kind of President who gave her staff license to challenge her? to force consideration of every last policy option? to put bad news before good news? Or does she like her team to validate her views and not challenge her? How would she deal with Brent Scowcroft-style or Lawrence Wilkerson-style public commentary differently than President Bush has?
3. What does she think about Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and their political leadership. Should we be engineering regime change and democractic political reform in these states as a high priority? or would she opt for stability in the near to mid term and reform/democratization later?

None of my questions got picked up — but I hope that they might still be in the queue for tonight.
Regrettably, I will have to record her performance this evening as I will be up at the Library of Congress for the annual “State of the Union” bash that the Atlantic Monthly throws with lots of Members strolling through before they head over to the U.S. Capitol.
While they go to mingle, shake hands, and either sit quietly or vociferously applaud President Bush’s spin on the past year, I’ll be offering some of my own views on the President’s address compared to the style and substance of Hillary’s presentation last night.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

31 comments on “Hillary Clinton Innovates New Model for “State of the Union” Address

  1. MP says:

    Rich writes: “The disturbing thing is that the interests involved in, the financing of, and the influence shaping primaries and general elections APPEARS to be increasingly heavily globalized. Again, can’t leap to conclusions, but does the guy in Iowa have anywhere near the connection to Nemazee as other global players? to Clinton?”
    It depends on how rich and how smart and determined the guy in Iowa is. Iowa is part of the “globe.” Better yet, it’s part of the US. And don’t forget, even the poor guys in Iowa put GWB into office. And were eager to do so.

    Reply

  2. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “Can you imagine…lying for political ambition when you know millions of innocent people will suffer and some will die for your greed, your ego, your vanity, your total and absolute lack of one shred of intergity and even humanity.”
    No I can’t. It’s terrible. It is how many, if not most, politicans are. And always will be. The only thing they are afraid of is losing the next election. There are a few brave ones. But they generally come from safe districts.
    Generally, they justify it to themselves by saying, “better me than he,” or “I need to live to fight another day,” or the like. It’s the way a lot of people justify a lot of things in their lives–only with politicians, the consequences are greater for more people.
    Just to take a minor point: Look at how many Republicans from ’94 went back on their one-term-only pledge when basically nothing was at stake other than their future in the Capitol. Very few are true Jeffersonians in that sense.

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  3. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “Actually there is some debate in this country as to who is actually an American in their outlook and who is not…to me an Iranian born here and growing up in our culture is much more likley to actually think like an American than a Jew born in Egypt that immigrated to Israel and then to the US.”
    I think it depends on the person. Also, defining the American “outlook” is tricky–all conflict between you and me aside. The first person to wave the flag is often the scoundrel.
    Looking back through our history and seeing how often this very same debate has been had–even down to many of the same words–should give anyone pause.
    I have to say that there are a lot of different American outlooks, simply because we are a mongrel nation and PROUD of it. That’s a fact. Our LACK of purity is what makes us strong.
    And just to dip my little toe in here…buying influence is one of the ABIDING features of the American outlook. If you believe Beard, the “money talks” credo starts way back in 17– and maybe before that.
    But it doesn’t rule uniformly and it can be trimmed and cut back. Could we go for federally funded general elections (my dream)? Yes, I suppose we could, but we’d probably have to get rid of the Supreme Court first.
    Would it result in better legislators making better decisions? I can only hope–but I’m not holding my breath. Big business is often more reasonable and biddable than are ideologues who offer their opponents no levers of influence.
    So yes, I’m FOR reducing the influence of money on politics, but 1) I don’t believe it will happen significantly, 2) I’m not so sure it will result in better law or conduct, but 3) I’m more than willing to give it a try.
    Have I covered my ass sufficiently here?

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  4. Carroll says:

    This is the ONLY way, seems to me, to eliminate the obscene amounts of money involved. In a campaign where one candidate may raise and spend $500 million, it’s really the only and obvious option.
    Posted by rich at January 24, 2007 06:06 AM
    >>>>>>>>
    ABSOLUTELY, ….the word “obscene” is the only way to describe the buying of political offices in this now sham democracy by special interest groups and individuals, foreign or domestic.
    I am going to slap the next person who whines…’well, that’s just the way it works”…Because it doesn’t have to work that way. It can be changed.

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  5. rich says:

    MP: I saw that!
    It is funny, though it doesn’t allow us to draw conclusions. I’m loathe to read mal-intent into someone’s ethnicity. Our relns w/Israel&Iran aren’t parallel. My comments about language, & general usage vs. stereotypes still stands.
    The disturbing thing is that the interests involved in, the financing of, and the influence shaping primaries and general elections APPEARS to be increasingly heavily globalized. Again, can’t leap to conclusions, but does the guy in Iowa have anywhere near the connection to Nemazee as other global players? to Clinton?
    Time to force broadcasters to fork over free air time for political campaigns. The public owns the airwaves; broadcasters only have a charter. The public responsibility required by those charters at minimum causes one to realize that profiting from election advertising is a parasitical relationship to the body politic, with obvious impact.
    This is the ONLY way, seems to me, to eliminate the obscene amounts of money involved. In a campaign where one candidate may raise and spend $500 million, it’s really the only and obvious option.

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  6. CheckingIn says:

    And someone should ask why she appears happy to reveal her Middle East strategy (& not being naive — presidential foreign policy platform) in front of her Israel-firster fundraisers, and neo-con Iran regime-changers, BUT NOT comfortable to reveal her position to the Democratic Party voters?
    http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/events/sabanforum2006_schedule.pdf

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  7. Carroll says:

    Hillary, Billary, Politically, Shillery
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.>>>>
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/816545.html
    A no-brainer for American Jews
    By Akiva Eldar
    Dr. Saeb Erekat relates that when Bill Clinton visited Israel in 2004 in honor of Shimon Peres’ 80th birthday, he had a chance to ask the former U.S. president why he blamed Yasser Arafat for the failure of the Camp David talks. Clinton, Erekat says, said Ehud Barak told him that if he blamed the Palestinians, it would help him (Barak) win the elections.
    The smell of elections hovered over the July 2000 Camp David talks. Not only – and not even primarily – the smell of elections in Israel. The only journalist invited to interview President Clinton during the talks was from Newsday. Clinton did not invite the correspondent to tell him about the important talks on Middle East peace. He wanted to tell the paper’s Jewish readers why they could not manage without his wife in the Senate.
    This was the beginning of Clinton’s campaign to recover from the Monica Lewinsky affair. In the early Clinton years, Hillary acquired a reputation as a real dove. In the spring of 1998, when Arafat threatened Benjamin Netanyahu with a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, Hillary Clinton told Israeli and Palestinian youth via a video broadcast that “it will be in the long-term interests of the Middle East for Palestine to be a state, and for it to be a state that is responsible for its citizens’ well-being, a state that has responsibility for providing education and health care and economic opportunity to its citizens.”
    The remarks immediately upset the Jewish establishment and prompted the White House spokesman to explain that they do not represent the president’s position. This awful statement haunted her in her campaign against Republican candidate Rick Lazio, who said a Palestinian state would “undermine regional stability.” He also accused her of having contact with Muslim immigrant organizations, some of whose activists were known Hamas supporters.
    Clinton rejected the accusations and announced her opposition to a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. In an interview with a New York Jewish weekly, Clinton welcomed Congress’ decision to halt aid to the Palestinians if they were to unilaterally declare a state. Overnight, the establishment of a Palestinian state responsible for its citizens’ well-being ceased being important. On the other hand, the separation fence eating into Palestinian areas became justified, even vital. Clinton also did not hesitate to challenge Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who had reservations about Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount, and protested the Palestinian reaction to “a legitimate visit to a holy site.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I now rest my case. The world really can’t take anymore of being run for the ambitions of the zionist cultist and the political whores.
    Can you imagine…lying for political ambition when you know millions of innocent people will suffer and some will die for your greed, your ego, your vanity, your total and absolute lack of one shred of intergity and even humanity.

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  8. Charles Coutinho, Ph. D. says:

    Mr. Clemouns’ analysis of Senator Clinton’s new style ‘state of the union’ by a Presidential candidate, seem to be subdivided: one part presentation (good); one part substance (not so good). One can only be bemused by Mr. Clemouns
    confusion. When in point of fact, of course, the
    second aspect follows from the first, by definition. Like her better looking, but, equally
    shallow, French counterpart, Segolene Royal, Senator Clinton wishes to use the intimacy and closeness of the internet to cover-up her complete lack of new ideas, particularly about
    foreign policy. Needless to say, this was true of
    then First Lady Clinton, when she was parachuted, into the Senate seat in New York in 1999-2000. With absolutely no qualifications for the post, other than being married to the then President of the United States. Of course one could say much the same of George W. Bush, political trajectory.
    And, we have all seen what the end result of that
    particular exercise has been….Am I the only one, who is surprised that the American people are
    ready for a second round with this type of Presidential ‘timber’?

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  9. Dirk says:

    Well mlaw230 certainly has a point, why would she answer the questions Steve or some of the others here have posed? The questions have to be asked in other ways which leave her wiggle room but are never the less very illuminating about her positions.
    Especially (3) reworded to say: Do you subscribe to the concept of preemptive or preventative war? What prerequisites would you consider before commiting troops?
    I agree with mlaw230 in that the War Powers act and consultation with Congress ought to be part of her answer, as well as the UN (if not unanimously from the SC).

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  10. ET says:

    I would ask Senator Clinton what she is doing to move impeachment forward, given that she is sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

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  11. Pissed Off American says:

    Steve. You can imagine the questions I would ask Hillary. And, in my opinion, they are the questions that NEED to be asked. About AIPAC’s influence on her agenda. About Bush lying this nation into war. About the exagerated rhetoric about the threat Iran poses. About not holding Bush accountable. About not doing anything substantive to oppose Bush…..etc.
    Do you seriously entertain the notion that my questions would get past the vetting process? No way. Lets call a charade a charade, Steve. You know it, and I know it. Its bullshit. Nothing more than a stage production.

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  12. vachon says:

    Being able to weed out uncomfortable questions in a silent way is not something I’d call courageous or noteworthy. Let’s see her in an unscripted format. And I don’t mean in a formal debate or in front of a pre-selected audience, either. The rap on Hillary is that she’s too calculating. This web-chat just reinforces it.

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  13. MLS says:

    Are you lobbying for a position in the HRC Administration? What is with this sudden flurry of fawning posts to her?

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  14. Zathras says:

    Steve ought to ask himself this question: given Sen. Clinton’s staff and technical support, could he have done what he saw her do?
    I could. So could a lot of people. Manipulation is not that difficult, given practice and resources, and Sen. Clinton has had plenty of both. But as we’ve seen illustrated dramatically over the last six years, manipulation of public opinion doesn’t translate into success as President.

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  15. Carroll says:

    Hassan Nemazee
    Mr. Hassan Nemazee was born in Washington, D.C. on January 27, 1950 and attended Landon School, graduating in 1968. He received his AB degree with Honors …
    Haim Saban
    (born 15 October 1944 in Alexandria, Egypt) is a television and media proprietor.
    Born to a modest Jewish family, Saban went to Israel in 1956, and eventually to the United States. He currently resides in Beverly Hills, California
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Actually there is some debate in this country as to who is actually an American in their outlook and who is not…to me an Iranian born here and growing up in our culture is much more likley to actually think like an American than a Jew born in Egypt that immigrated to Israel and then to the US.

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  16. MP says:

    Then again, Saban is also an American which I guess gives him the right to contribute, no?

    Reply

  17. Carroll says:

    Who will be the highest bidder for the WH? ..the Israelis, the regime change Iranians or the Saudis?
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3355786,00.html
    Israeli billionaire Saban biggest donor to US politicians
    Communications tycoon has donated at least USD 13 million to American politicians. As a close friend of the Clintons he contributed to the Democrats, but President Bush has not been deprived either
    Itamar Eichner Published: 01.23.07, 10:07
    Israeli billionaire and media mogul Haim Saban is at the top of the list of donors to political campaigns in the US.
    Fox Network revealed over the weekend that Saban has donated approximately USD 13 million to various candidates.
    According to the report, Saban, a close friend of the Clintons, is one of the major donors to the Democratic Party, though he has also contributed to republican candidates, including President George Bush and Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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  18. MP says:

    Hey Rich,
    This is too funny…and I bagged it just for you. It’s all about one of the biggest “New York money people.” This from tpm today:
    “Hillary Clinton has just scored a big coup: Top Dem donor Hassan Nemazee, who was John Kerry’s 2004 New York finance chair and the force behind the DSCC’s fundraising success in 2006, has decided to back the New York Senator, Election Central has learned.
    Nemazee told Election Central that he told Clinton of his decision this afternoon after some difficult deliberation over which of the candidates to support. “The hardest part of my decision is that I have long and deep relationships with the other candidates,” Nemazee told me. But I believe that she’s the best qualified and best suited for this race, and will ultimately prevail both in the primary and the general election.
    Asked if he saw Clinton as more electable than Obama and the other candidates, Nemazee said: “I wouldn’t have chosen Hillary if I didn’t think she was going to win the primary and the general election. She’s the best prepared and the best qualified and she is in my judgment electable.”
    In the world of New York’s top donors, Nemazee is one of the biggest gets. Kerry’s New York finance operation raised approximately $75 million in 2004. With Nemazee as the national finance chair, Chuck Schumer’s DSCC in 2006 raised $115 million, outpacing the NRSC by substantial sums and thus helping Dems take control of the Senate.
    Now Nemazee is set to push hard on Clinton’s behalf. “I’ll be doing my best to raise as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time,” Nemazee said, adding that he hadn’t set a fundraising target.”
    To find out a bit more about Hassan, you go to–get this–IAPAC–Iranian American Political Action Committee. Link below. It just shows how close Jews and Muslims are–though Iranians are not semites, to the best of my knowledge. Enjoy.
    http://www.iranianamericanpac.org/leadership/p_nemazee.shtml

    Reply

  19. Jacob Matthan says:

    Hillary did not address my question.
    With everyone screaming about the Bush twins not volunteering to go to Iraq, as a supporter of the war, did Hillary want or require her daghter to volunteer for service in Iraq, or was the capping meant only for others serving in Iraq?
    No reply of course!

    Reply

  20. karenk says:

    Yes, Hillary is in step with generation D alright.I’d love to see a woman as President, though the politics of Nancy Pelosi are more my preference. Just still not sure if the country is ready and will vote for a woman for president. I still remember the butt kickin Mondale got for choosing Ferraro-people talk about equality for women-but acting on it is a whole other story…

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  21. Pennsylvania says:

    Innovative? Not, I think. How does Ms. Clinton converse with those who are poor and have no access to her Internet chats?
    Since she seems to feel that she can buy her way into the White House (or why else forgo Federal matching funds), perhaps she doesn’t need the poor…?

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  22. Carroll says:

    There is going to be a lot of pressure on Hillary and the rest in this election from the Israeli and war camp in this country.
    Evidently the Israeli camp thinks “America is being Poisoned” against Israel by our elites and that they have to be more “assertive’ in letting eveyone know who is boss.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1167467790606&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
    I predict this will make things even nastier in this election….that is if anyone can smoke the candidates out from behind their TV ads and one way internet messages to question them on AIPAC and Israel and Iran.

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  23. Carroll says:

    Hillary performed as expected. I feel like I have seen the 2008 campaign movie a hundred times.
    What it boils down to once again is what can I promise the little people to make them ignore what I am doing for the big people.
    Will higher wages be enough to make you not question an attack on Iran and matters of war and peace and life and death?…no?…then how about health care to sweeten the deal?…no?…then how about if I add better schools for the kiddies?…no?…then maybe I can up the offer with tax breaks…o.k.?…great, now you be quiet and eat the crumbs from the cake you paid for while I attend to my real constitutients who paid for this message.
    I am tired of them all.

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  24. Linda says:

    Steve,
    What Hillary did last night was not new at all. Congressman Tom Campbell, a moderate Republican and one of the best people in the House, when he ran against Diane Feinstein for the Senate in 2000 (didn’t have much of a chance of winning)every single evening went on his website and answered questions from citizens. So it isn’t new at all. Campbell returned to teaching at Stanford Law School and now is Dean of the Business School at Berkeley. With Jim Leach defeated in the election last fall, Chris Shays and perhaps a few others the only moderate Republicans that remain in the House.

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  25. DonS says:

    The reason your question won’t get answered, Steve, about the mideast and Israeli-related policy remains pretty much the same as its been for the dems. The so-called progressive and left-of-center votes are taken for granted by the so-called centrist with their neocon-influenced mindset; progressive concerns will never make it into arena of “serious” ideas.
    We keep trying but its like beating the head against the wall.
    Just out of curiosity, can you name one high profile person in DC who “gets it” with regard to US policy vis a vis Israel and the mideast? Obviously, their keeping it under they’re hat because, you know, they must be “serious”, not fringey. Actually, I realize you probably couldn’t divulge anyway, you know, you wouldn’t want to blow their cover.

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  26. mlaw230 says:

    Those are three questions that she shouldn’t answer;
    1) because obviously it will not be Bolton and the candidate will be selected, in part, based upon the situation at the time, besides, a true leader doesn’t have to worry about his UN ambassador going off the reservation. They do what they are told, so although there is certainly great value in having a lucent, level headed diplomat in the post, it really is not a power position or ought not be in a sane administration;
    2) because EVERYONE believes that s/he welcomes criticism and internal debate, its the practice not the threory that seems to lack; Do you expect her to say “No, I will surround myself with Toadies and ideologues” ? The question here is to ask her how she will avoid the isolation and “bubble” that comes from the position itself.
    3) I get your point here but a potential President really ought not opine on various governemnts around the world, certainly not publicly or in advance. Ask her about the concept of preemptive war, or the prerequisites for commiting troops to combat, she ought to answer that, and if she does so without mentioning the war powers and Congress she ought not be elected.
    Hillary’s “substance” may be a bit contrived and safe, but contrived and safe sounds kind of OK just about now. The internet forum may well keep her from appearing harsh and inhuman- its a simple fact of life that most women’s voices can get a little shrill when they try to speak loudly from a podium. This works for her, but it wouldn’t work for Bush. At this point nothing will work for him, as he has lost all credibiity, but even at his peak a conversation requires something beyond slogans, and he is marginally better on a very strict script. We ought not elect people who require scripts.
    Lastly, reality is about to be changed. Ibelieve we are going to attack Iran, and that will reshuffle the deck.

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  27. AFL says:

    Duke Lacrosse/Hillary Clinton connection:
    D.A. Nifong’s assistant D.A.s have been urged to resign to maintain their integrity. Hillary Clinton lost her integrity forever when she refused to leave her husband on Jan. 24, 1992, when he left the campaign trail in New Hamshire to preside over the execution of Rickey Ray Rector, a mentally ill, mentally African-American. Bill Clinton did this to show he was not “soft on crime” so as to win the New Hampshire primary. Compare him with former Ill. Gov. George Ryan, whose last act as governor was to commute all the death sentences to life; his conscience would not allow him–a conservative Republican–not to save the lives of those who may be innocent. Hillary Clinton is a lawyer, extremely intelligent, but has no conscience. It’s too bad the most prominent Democrat most prominent in opposing the death penalty–Russ Feingold–isn’t running.

    Reply

  28. AFL says:

    Duke Lacrosse/Hillary Clinton connection:
    D.A. Nifong’s assistant D.A.s have been urged to resign to maintain their integrity. Hillary Clinton lost her integrity forever when she refused to leave her husband on Jan. 24, 1992, when he left the campaign trail in New Hamshire to preside over the execution of Rickey Ray Rector, a mentally ill, mentally African-American. Bill Clinton did this to show he was not “soft on crime” so as to win the New Hampshire primary. Compare him with former Ill. Gov. George Ryan, whose last act as governor was to commute all the death sentences to life; his conscience would not allow him–a conservative Republican–not to save the lives of those who may be innocent. Hillary Clinton is a lawyer, extremely intelligent, but who has no conscience. It’s too bad the most prominent Democrat most prominent in opposing the death penalty–Russ Feingold–isn’t running.

    Reply

  29. Steve Clemons says:

    Greg — thanks for your lucid response. You have made the point that I have tried to articulate in past posts. The “person” who has done exactly what you suggest is Chuck Hagel. I understand the resistance of many others who have problems with his views on domestic policy. But we all look at politics through prisms of priority, and while Hagel as a package is not perfect, his framework through thinking about foreign policy achieves the standard you set.
    My advice to Hillary, Obama, Bill Richardson, Wes Clark, John Edwards or whoever plows ahead — is to mimic Hagel’s material. That’s a winning course and would quickly differentiate and Dem from the rest. Wes Clark is the closest actually — and perhaps Joe Biden, but I fear Clark will not run (though he should) and Joe Biden hasn’t broadened his message on Iraq yet to include this kind of broad message, at least I haven’t heard it publicly.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  30. Steve Clemons says:

    Just for all of those who have been witnessing POA heroically try to support my concerns and questions for Governor Richardson, I’m pretty sure he’ll zap me on this one.
    Expecting it — Best to all. . .but before you clobber me, wouldn’t an interactive State of the Union address, even if partially contrived, be a better model that what we go through every January?
    Best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  31. Greg Priddy says:

    I have to say… I really can’t see her answering any of those three questions. To me, Hillary Clinton has always seemed to see foreign policy is terms of what’s politically safe and furthers her political aspirations. Right now, that means two key concerns, 1) mend fences with the strongly anti-Iraq-war Democratic base, emphasizing that the current course is wrong and offering vague assurances that she would get US forces out, and 2) making sure not to say anything which would get her in trouble with her supporters who also support right-wing positions on Israel-Palestine (even though some of them are liberal on US domestic issues), and Iran. Threading the needle may necessitate some degree of ‘trangulation’, but hey, the Clintons are good at that…
    I certainly wouldn’t expect an answer to #3, because the ‘moral grayness’ of needing to deal with authoritarian governments doesn’t resonate well with parts of the Democratic Party base, and because her current coterie of advisors leans toward “muscular Wilsonian” views.
    Bottom line: I expect ‘triangulation’ — not grasping the nettle and dealing head-on with thess sorts of tough issues… I’m undecided on the primary at this point, but anyone who steps up to the plate and tackles these sorts of issues will be much more likely to win my support…

    Reply

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