Hillary Clinton: I Want Staff to Challenge Me

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hillary.jpg
President Bush 41 has given a number of speeches this past year — one recently at the Germany Embassy — but in lots of other places where he goes out of his way to praise the team of people he had around him, particularly Brent Scowcroft, James Baker, and a few others.
He says that these people fought for their policy views freely and openly around him and compelled him to think through every last option and to consider the costs, consequences, and opportunities behind every national security action and foreign policy decision. the elder Bush embraced complexity and understood that decisions could not be made in a vacuum and that there were linkages to be considered between things.
It’s one of the reasons why George W. Bush’s father decided not to topple Saddam and invade Iraq after the first Gulf War.
This decision-making discipline and approach seems to be a stark contrast to what we are seeing today among Bush 43’s retainers where self-censorship is rampant and complex decisionmaking isn’t allowed in the door.
This week I posed a set of questions to Senator Hillary Clinton who began her webcast “Conversations with Americans” earlier this week. I think that the format she chose to have an exchange with Americans about tough issues was brilliant — and showed what a different “model” for a State of the Union Address might one day look like.
Senator Clinton answered one of my questions about whether she wanted to have staff that challenged her views or who essentially became believers in her infallibility — something that we have seen too much of under President Bush 43.
Here is the exchange:

CRYSTAL PATTERSON: We are going to take a break from the live questions to respond to Steve Clemons who posted the following on the Huffington Post blog. Would you be the kind of president who gave your staff license to challenge you, to force consideration of every last policy action, to put bad news before good news? Or do you like your team to validate your views and not challenge you?
HILLARY CLINTON: Steve, I think you can ask anybody who works for me that I like people who challenge me. I like people with expertise and experience and strong opinions. Now, I may push back because I also have my opinions, but I want that kind of give and take and debate. I don’t think any one person — and certainly no president in these difficult and complex times — have all the answers. And I don’t think you find answers from an ideological starting point. I believe in looking at the facts and the evidence, trying to understand what you’re trying to achieve in terms of the values that you have and the objectives that you’re setting forth in order to get results.
What we’ve seen in the last six years is exactly the opposite. It is as though there is a little echo chamber where everybody is saying the same thing where the president, from what we’ve been told, is rarely challenged or confronted. That is not the kind of office that I run today. That is certainly not the kind of White House that I would want.
Another thing, I would like to get a broad cross-section of people. I don’t want people who already agree with me. I want honest, experienced, hard-working patriotic people who want to be part of a team, the American team, in order to understand what we have to do to meet the challenges of today.
So I hope that if you ever run across anybody who works for me, you will probably hear that I have got high standards because there is a lot at stake. I want people to work to the best of their ability and I want them to be part of a team, even if the other members of the team disagree. I think through that process you can come to better conclusions.
And I’m always open to new evidence, new ways of looking at things, asking those hard questions about the direction we’re headed. I think it leads to better decision-making. And sometimes it is a little messy because you’re trying to get to a point after hearing all sides and you want to keep searching for the very best outcome, the consensus that’s going to stand the test. But that, to me, is a better way of making decisions than this kind of top-down, intimidatory style where you have to tell them what they want to hear. That’s been a disaster and I certainly hope we can get beyond that.

These conversations she’s been having are a great way to cover lots of ground with folks and have what appears to be an interactive process.
I articulated some of my own policy differences with Senator Clinton in my first post about these conversations — but I do think that the model she is using is highly effective, and I was thrilled actually that she answered one of the questions I pushed her way.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

51 comments on “Hillary Clinton: I Want Staff to Challenge Me

  1. Carolyn Hardy says:

    Hilary, the more you put senator Obama down the less votes you’ll get. Think about being nice and stop looking as if you are his mom. Stick to the issues. When I saw the last debate and that picture everybody knew it was you. I saw it in your eyes. People are talking about giving their votes to another candidate if you don’t stop it.Remember your husband bad things that he did to you as our president that shamed the country. I am a fan of both you and President Clinton. Thank God, that nobody brought this up.

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  2. Mary says:

    I am talking to the women in America. It is time for us to step up to the plate and,not only make a change but MAKE HISTORY. England, India, and other countries have had female leaders; why can’t we. Instead, we women are so bogged down in the arguments of the male candidates for the Presidency that we have failed to prioritize what is really important. For once in our luxurious lives, we need to work hard to be heard like the suffragettes did in earlier times. The only sexist movement we have in this country can be found among the male population which continues to relegate women to second class status. Hurray for Hillary; she is more than a match for any of them but our small minds have held her back and I can think of no reason except the reasons given by the men in the media. WAKE UP BEFORE OUR CHANCE IS GONE TO ELECT A MADAME PRESIDENY!!!

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  3. Rick B says:

    Thanks, Steve.
    I wasn’t so much ticked off as serprised and puzzled. Now I understand your editorial intent.
    ET. Thanks, F11 works well. The wide screen is much better.

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  4. Pissed Off American says:

    I like it too. I imagine its the face she adopts whenever anyone tells her to be honest.

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  5. Steve Clemons says:

    There has been a ton of discussion about why I chose this picture. I always try to pick pictures that will add something — or be interesting. I’ve done this with Bush, Cheney, Chafee, Hagel, and Hillary. I have posted lots of pictures of Hillary — but this one caught my eye….and since I was writing something about her answering a question I personally posed, I didn’t just want to have a picture that looked bland — that would be too sycophantic. These are nuances of course…but I like the picture I selected, though I hear the catcalls. Sorry to have ticked some of you off….but I like it. I think it shows a humorous side of Hillary.
    Steve

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  6. SD Law Student says:

    Why post that picture?

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  7. Pissed Off American says:

    “I’am for Wesley Clark, the bane of the military industrial complex, and well, he just seems the most honest of them all. I did like Edwards, but when he went to Israel, ON THE STUMP for support, he lost me. Going to a foreign country seeking support for his candidacy is unseemly. His visit there speaks volumes about the hold Israel has over the political scene in the U.S.”
    Posted by Frank
    Haven’t you heard? Clark is our latest “anti-semite”, having had dared to question Israel’s horseshit about Iran. And whats worse, when he got called to the carpet for his comments, he started equivicating and back-peddling at a furious pace. Makes you realize that there is a real FEAR in Washington about daring to challenge the Israelis or their lobbies. Even Steve refuses to weigh in on this issue, and quite often tends to be a mouthpiece for the AIPAC propaganda, such as this business of Iran’s alleged quest for nukes.
    (Geez, I had to change access numbers in order to bring this thread up. All the other threads come up fine, but this one kept coming up “page cannot be found”.)

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  8. Frank says:

    Hillary has been obtuse when taking a position on Iraq. Her responses to earlier direct questioning about her vote which allowed Bush to make a mockery of her responsibilities as a senator,was sickening to watch.
    She is AIPAC’s prize “finial”, and competes with Lieberman and McCain in being one of Israel’s most important national treasure. I wish “Finial Hillary” would be as supportive of US interests as she is of Israel’s.
    I’am for Wesley Clark, the bane of the military industrial complex, and well, he just seems the most honest of them all. I did like Edwards, but when he went to Israel, ON THE STUMP for support, he lost me. Going to a foreign country seeking support for his candidacy is unseemly. His visit there speaks volumes about the hold Israel has over the political scene in the U.S.

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  9. ET says:

    Rick B, To maximize my screen I push the F11 key. Perhaps it will work for you.

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  10. Easy E says:

    HILLARY THE FAVORITE IN RACE FOR JEWISH DONATIONS
    E.J. Kessler | Fri. Jan 26, 2007
    “New York’s junior senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is expected to snare the lion’s share of the Jewish community’s substantial political donations in the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination…..”
    http://www.forward.com/articles/hillary-the-favorite-in-race-for-jewish-donations/
    Looks like Hillary will be the contingency plan if Bush fails to strike Iran. Scary.

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  11. PUBLIUS says:

    While ‘stefan’ is right to have observed earlier that “politico-speak” is sometimes required, it isn’t always.
    I too was perplexed by the photo, then I thought of canaries. Very diplomatic.
    PUBLIUS

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  12. Rick B says:

    Steve,
    Two questions.
    1. Is there any editorial intent to the particularly unflattering picture you posted of Hillary?
    2. Could you have your tech guy modify the screen that pops up for Comments so that we users have the option of expanding it to cover the monitor face? That’s a minor tweak to your blog code and it allows the center button of the three on the upper right corner to be used. As it is, I can only accept the small comments screen, minimize the whole thing or cancel it. Whoever made the decision not to let us maximize the comments screen blew the decision.

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  13. sdemetri says:

    Sorry for the off topic link, but this Amy Goodman interview of Jeremy Scahill talking about Blackwater’s rise as a mercenary force will curdle your blood.
    Excerpt:
    “Well, Erik Prince, the head of Blackwater, and other Blackwater executives are major bankrollers of the President, of Tom DeLay, of Santorum. They really were — when those guys were running Congress, Amy, Blackwater had just a revolving door there. They were really welcomed in as heroes. Senator John Warner, the former head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called them “our silent partner in the global war on terror.” Erik Prince�s sister, Betsy DeVos, is married to Dick Devos, who recently lost the gubernatorial race in Michigan.
    But also, Amy, this is a family, the Prince family, that really was one of the primary funders. It was Amway and Dick DeVos in the 1990s, and it was Edgar Prince and his network — Erik Prince’s father — that really created James Dobson, Focus on the Family — they gave them the seed money to start it — Gary Bauer, who was one of the original signers to the Project for a New American Century, a major anti-choice leader in this country, former presidential candidate, founder of the Family Research Council. He credits Edgar Prince, Erik’s father, with giving him the money to start the Family Research Council. We’re talking about people who were at the forefront of the rightwing Christian revolution in this country that really is gaining steam, despite recent electoral defeats.
    And what’s really frightening is that you have a man in Erik Prince, who is a neo-crusader, a Christian supremacist, who has been given over a half a billion dollars in federal contracts, and that’s not to mention his black contracts, his secret contracts, his contracts with foreign friendly governments like Jordan. This is a man who espouses Christian supremacy, and he has been given, essentially, allowed to create a private army to defend Christendom around the world against secularists and Muslims and others, and has really been brought into the fold. He refers to Blackwater as the sort of FedEx of the Pentagon. He says if you really want a package to get somewhere, do you go with the postal service or do you go with FedEx? This is how these people view themselves. And it embodies everything that President Eisenhower prophesied would happen with the rise of an unchecked military-industrial complex. You have it all in Blackwater.” And:
    “And then, perhaps the most frightening employee of Blackwater is Cofer Black. This is the man who was head of the CIA’s counterterrorism center at the time of 9/11, the man who promised President Bush that he was going to bring bin Laden’s head back in a box on dry ice and talked about having his men chop bin Laden’s head off with a machete, told the Russians that he was going to bring the heads of the Mujahideen back on sticks, said there were going to be flies crawling across their eyeballs. Cofer Black is a 30-year veteran of the CIA, the man who many credit with really spearheading the extraordinary rendition program after 9/11, the man who told Congress that there was a ‘before 9/11’ and an ‘after 9/11,’ and that after 9/11, the gloves come off. He is now a senior executive at Blackwater and perhaps their most powerful behind-the-scenes operative.”
    http://tinyurl.com/2k9nga

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  14. Dan Kervick says:

    While I don’t particularly want to see Hagel run for President, I do wish Democrats could just pull off a straight up interparty trade of Hagel for Lieberman. Heck, I’d even be willing to throw in one or two Democratic house reps. I don’t like the idea of our Senate majority hanging on by the thin thread of Lieberman’s vanishing ties and commitment to the Democratic Party.

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  15. Carroll says:

    I particularly like this train of thought…
    “He (Hagel)often speaks of the current period as a “transformational time” that could bring a political earthquake, as early as the 2008 election. He sees parallels to 1960 and 1980, which resulted in the pivotal presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
    “Politics and politicians must become relevant to the times . . . or they become irrelevant,” Hagel said. “And when you become irrelevant, something is going to fill that void.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    I think we need that “political earthquake” right now….I bet the vast majority of people increasingly regard the dems and repub both as irrelevant to good goverment.

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  16. Carroll says:

    Interesting article about Hagel considering a presidential run after all.
    Particulary interesting that is mentions what some of us have thought of before…a cross over with a dem and repub on a presidential ticket…something I would like to see because it would help destroy the two party system and open things up more. If Hagel were to enter later after we are all tired of the usual yada,yada, he might catch on…I have seen good comments on him from Dkos members of all places…so something is cooking among people in what he presents.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/25/AR2007012502086_pf.html

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  17. Punchy says:

    Wow…Mr. Clemons…a more softball-ish question could not possibly be proffered…you’re now the journalistic equivalent of Jim Rome, asking the inane and then feigning surprise when you get the canned response.
    Next time, ask he why in the hell the Dems haven’t challenged these signing statements…

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  18. Easy E says:

    STRIKE MY PRIOR POST. HERE IS CORRECT VERSION
    Hillary and others should pay attention to U.N. nuke chief
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16813170/
    and to reliable CIA intelligence (non-manipulated)that has found no evidence Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6167304.stm

    Reply

  19. Easy E says:

    Hillary and others should pay attention to U.N. nuke chief
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6167304.stm
    and to reliable CIA intelligence (non-manipulated)that has found no evidence Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6167304.stm

    Reply

  20. pauline says:

    POA wrote:
    “Hillary is a political opportunist that is just going to give us the same ass reaming that the Bush Administration has given us. She is going to say anything to achieve the throne, then she is going to do whatever she damn well pleases. Just like Bush has done.”
    imo, she is a female Dick Cheney, full of secrecy, deceit and desire for the utmost power and control. She smiles for the crowd and the camera and then plots her schemes around the clock 24/7. What did citizens like so much about her when she was secretly planning a disastrous national healthcare program? Rose law firm records appearing and disappearing? Bogus profits on how to turn a $1000 investment into $100,000?
    Her level of openness and honestly requires a high-powered microscope to discover!
    I cannot see how a Hillary Clinton White House would be much different from what we now have — a White House full of AIPAC influence, military-industrial corporate influence, Big Pharma influence, this or that corporate lobbyist influence. Whew, the billions and trillions of dollars will keep her blind to the no-nonsense solid, ME peace-seeking policies that I can only hope and pray the next US president will earnestly put on top of the list.
    One thing I am certain of — Hillary’s “staff”, which will include Hollywood insiders, will portray her quite differently from her reality. An old piece of stale white bread will be made to look so nutritious to a nation of hungry voters.
    Get ready to watch a lot of children, elderly and bunches of racial minorities in her upcoming public films, er, tv ad campaigns. Her cameras will be rolling in Iowa this weekend, getting ready to add new film footage for this “star’s” war chest, where reality will be left on the editing floor.

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  21. MP says:

    Carroll, I agree with most of your post, but this bit is misguided: “They both understand that “radical” Islam isn’t a recent brain fart of uber Muslims and did not appear on the scene without provocation.”
    It would be a mistake to root radical Islam simply in US policies or in Israel or their actions. You have to distinguish between real causes and what they SAY are the causes.

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  22. Linda says:

    From most all of the above with which I agree, Hillary is not the favorite of the Democratic base that is way to the Left of her triangulated centrist positions–so if she stays where she is on issues like Israel and health care, she may have problems in the early primaries.
    I totally agree with i-remember and will add to that posting since I haven’t liked either of the Clintons after the way they botched health care reform (and probably made it impossible to really happen for another ten years–beyond the decade or so already passed by). We only elect one President, and I don’t want two for the price of one–didn’t then and don’t now. Hillary and Ira Magaziner knew NOTHING about health care when they took it on. And the process they used was closed to most of those who worked in the field. I happened to work in a place where one of our consultants was among the trusted few consulted–so we heard what was happening inside. It was a very bad process. The plan was too complex, incremental,did not deal with problem of high cost of insurers and administration or with big Pharma, i.e., not at all universal single-payer which is harder to do but the only thing that will really work.
    Both Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama are brilliant women lawyers, and I am sure are consulted privately by their husbands all the time. The problem with both Clintons is that while they both are quite intelligent, they either are arrogant or down-deep very insecure because they seem to need to tell everybody, or have everybody tell them, that they are the smartest people in the room. That oncerns me too.

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  23. stefan says:

    While they all have to do it, politico-speak doesn’t do too much for me. I imagine that Bush, asked the same question, would have given a very similar answer. What people say is certainly important but it’s what they DO that really matters. What’s the previous buzz from her staff?
    Of course, if it was Bush saying it everyone would just roll their eyes. So at least Clinton gets the benefit of a doubt.

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  24. Michael says:

    Steve,
    It’s almost a guilty admission, but I must agree with POA and others that have spoken out in his support: as it stands, I cannot and will not trust Hillary to put the strategic interests of this country above those of AIPAC, JINSA, and other supporters and financiers of right-wing Zionism and the Israeli-American arms industry.
    In these parlous times, a more meaningful question is not whether she will allow her position to be challenged by staffers, rather will she herself challenge the pressures brought to bear on her prospective administration by the Israeli lobby.
    I could not support Gore in 2000, after Lieberman was chosen to be his running mate, much as I like the man and his politics. With the nightmare of the past six years still weighing heavily on this country, it would be a cruel irony to be forced once again, in 2008, to choose between the Left and Right halves of the same old War Party.
    I have had enough. I think the US electorate has had enough, yet most of the politicians, pundits, sweetly-scented party functionaries, and well-heeled hoard of beltway bandits, just don’t get it. They – and with all due respect, I think you too, in this instance – seem to believe that if you put a dab of lipstick on the pig, no one will notice the profound lack of meaningful, substantive change. So what if Hillary doesn’t eat kittens, like Vice President Morbo? What matters is, will she pander to the same war-mongers as he does? That’s all I want to know. Right now, that’s all I care about.

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  25. jf says:

    I agree with others who noted that your softball question does not jive with the malicious photo. Personally, I’m for Gore, should he enter. Otherwise, I would rather see Obama, I think. But to be fair to Sen. Clinton, if she knocked your question out of the park, which I feel she did, you owe it to her to say so publicly, rather than just say “it was a great process,” and “I’m thrilled she answered *my* question.” It’s your own fault for lobbing her a soft one to choose among your substantive questions. I took away from her response that, not only did she say she would be different than the current president, but that she could articulate the reasons why- “articulate” being the operative word. But you’re still the best, Steve.

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  26. sdemetri says:

    Taking advantage of the Hillary blog link on Steve’s site, my kneejerk response to her was the following:
    “Given the extraordinary tensions that are building in the Middle East due to the foreign policy of the current administration, it is of immediate importance that the relationship of the US Government with our ally Israel be evaluated and adjusted to acknowledge the role hostilities between Israel and its neighbors are subverting our ability to effect positive change in the Middle East. The apartheid conditions the Israeli government is imposing on the West Bank and Gaza is as a festering wound that is poisoning relations in the entire region. For me to even say this is not permitted in our national dialogue, as questioning Israel’s motives and our support of Israel, even in a well-documented, dispassionate, objective way earns the label of anti-Semite. What a shame.
    Israel is an ally, a modern, sophisticated democracy that can stand as a model for other nations to look to. I have no doubts of that. However, the government that deployed millions of cluster bombs in Southern Lebanon in the last 72 hours of the 2006 war, knowing full well that a treaty was about to be finalized, is a criminal government. The conduct of that war in many others way can only be described as beyond despicable. Appropriating land in the West Bank and Gaza contrary to UN resolutions, imposing excruciating conditions on the Palestinians, dividing families, destroying their economies, conducting assassination strikes with apparent disregard for the collateral damage to civilians, are the acts of a criminal government. It is praiseworthy that the State Department has sought to investigate at times such actions as blanket deployment of cluster munitions, but without an open dialogue in this country of the very real effects of our military support of Israel, we are at best, turning a blind eye, at worst, are complicit in these crimes against international law with our continued support in the manner it has been offered.
    I have supported Democratic candidates my entire voting life. I am 51 years old. I have been appalled at the actions of my government these past six years. I sincerely fear the Democratic Congress will do no better in our relationship with Iran, than the Republican Congress has done with Iraq. And so much of the fear mongering, hyperbole, and demonization of Iran, in favor of direct engagement, has to do with our relationship with Israel. If we are a great nation, a claim that has lost a considerable amount of its cache around the world, we will directly engage both nations and prevent a Middle East conflagration. We will encourage negotiations between Israel and Syria. We will encourage a political solution with Hezbollah in Lebanon, engaging Hezbollah’s political wing as a means to marginalize its militias and build trust with the Lebanese people. Iran has offered as recently as 2003 to directly address their support of Hezbollah and Hamas. It is beyond reason that we have not accepted the invitation. These festering hostilities must be resolved. I hope this is your desire as well. I cannot offer my support if these goals are not shared.”
    The Post this morning says Bush has authorized killing Iranian operatives in Iraq. The Eisenhower and the Stennis aircraft carrier battle groups are converging on the Arabian Gulf. What will Hillary do about George’s fomenting hostilities with Iran?

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  27. Maude says:

    The staff members in the past who challenged HRC are long gone.
    She is such a liar.
    That answer was too long. A simple yes would have done just fine.
    She’s all over the place on Iraq.

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  28. featherfamily says:

    Carrol says it very well.
    I can empathize with either Hilary or Edwards very well — tho my life experience and usual politics are far far to the libertarian left of them.
    They are courageous, intelligent, personable, etc., etc., in most issues.
    But both of them have to run to AIPAC and kiss the prayer-book shawls of right-wing Likud-ism, because a small class of American ultra-Zionists is SO influential in media ownership and inside-the-beltway politics.
    Can we trust them? Can we not? If Kucinich could get 12% in the polls in an early primary state, we might have a debate.
    I am not satisfied with the Democratic party and its allegiance to right-wing Zionism. I voted for Anderson in ’80, and Nader in ’96 and ’00, but right now “our” (the non-Zionist radicals) best bet is to infilitrate the Democratic Party and whatever fringes of the media we can get to, and ORGANIZE AND ORGANIZE LIKE HELL, more with shoe leather than via the internet, until we can get 20% of an Iowa or a New Hampshire to vote for a candidate that will not be beholden to right-wing Zionism … and to protest by word AND DEED to the media AND TO THEIR ADVERTISERS that we will not patronize a media/political culture that only gives us one side of the story…
    No War on Iranm, No Eternal War on 1+ Billion Muslims … the relatively few thousands of foreign criminals who are determined to kill Americans, out of their misguided Islamic extremism, are best dealt with NOT by war and bombing runs, but by DETERMINED police action closely coordinated with local regimes, and usually completely without publicity, combined with POLITICAL compromises with the moderate leaders of the national/religious viewpoint the extremists mis-represent … i.e, somehow severing the now all-but-undiscussable (see Jimmy Carter’s troubles) allliance between American military/diplomatic power and right-wing Zionism …

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  29. Carroll says:

    Does Hillary want the citizens to challenge her ideas?…that is the real question.
    We have all said many times that somewhere along the line representation changed from electing people to carry out the majority will to electing people based on what “they believe” not what the majority public directs them to do.
    I said before I am torn on Hillary…she is smart, agressive and would probably be one of the most “competent” presidents ever in the WH. I do not doubt that she cares about health, working families, children….I also do not doubt that she is smart and cunning enough to gloss over certain things and make questionable policies done in behalf of her backers somehow accceptable to not well informed citizens.
    You know she is not so stupid as to not understand exactly what Israel is doing in opccupied Palestine, and not so naive as to not know what is expected of her by her zionist backers in the US. The same can be said of Edwards, they are both attorneys, they know how to read the war convention articles. They both understand totally what has happened in and to the US regarding our Israeli connection and arms industry. They both understand that “radical” Islam isn’t a recent brain fart of uber Muslims and did not appear on the scene without provocation. Can she be “moral” on some issues and not on others? Can we as a country stand any more “selective” moralism?
    So where is the real Hillary? Does she think she is clever enough to actually be able to get away with doing what is right for America and Americans, while at the same time keeping her elite and special interest backers behind her to insure her a second term? She could be thinking she is that clever, or she could be just another personally ambitious political whore who tries to minipulate the country.
    The only thing I can go by is what she has done, what she has said, imput from blogs like TWN and whatever intutive sixth sense feeling I get from watching and listening to her.
    So far I am not willing to take a chance on her in regard to our foreign policy and the special interest behind her campaign financing.
    What we desperately need are truth tellers and reformers, who aren’t afraid to take on special interest out loud in their campaigns, not more of the same old trite pandering, “framing” of issues and spin the wheel to win and trick games of trying to pick the shell the pea is under.

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  30. Robert Morrow says:

    AIPAC is one big engine behind Hillary in the primaries and, boy, are they suckers because Hillary would sell their a___es and Israel down the river in a heartbeat if US public opinion ever turned against Israel. The Clintons have no particular political ideology except putting the Clintons above everyone else, which is actually a religion for them.
    Hillary, 20 years ago, was about as big a Palestinian supporter as you can imagine. IN FACT, in 1972 or 1973 when she first went down to Arkansas she refused to get out the car to meet Bill’s Jewish friend because he had, I think, a picture of a menora on his front door or the symbol of something Jewish.
    If the Jews think Hillary will cover their back in a foxhole or Israels’ … they had better than again.

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  31. Easy E says:

    Steve,
    I agree with POA. Let’s look at some credible candidates beyond those inflicted upon us by our military industrial/corporate complex and “the lobby”. If even the mainstream blogosphere continues to ignore the likes of Dennis Kucinich, etc., this country will be doomed.
    How about a real TWN perspective on KUCINICH!
    * http://kucinich.us/
    * http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Dennis_Kucinich
    It’s time for new ideas and leadership, folks, because the old guard is apt to perpetuate continued greed, conflict and war.

    Reply

  32. I-remember says:

    The evidence is strongly against the Senator’s beautiful-sounding claims: in the health care fiasco, the then First Lady ignored the people who warned her the numbers were bogus. And often didn’t even give them face time – sent them to IRA who didn’t pass it on because it’s not what he wanted to be true.

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  33. ET says:

    Today’s op ed in The Nation by my impeachment guru, John Nichols, rekindles hope for impeachment’s return to the table.
    Check out this blistering critique of Cheney’s latest legal loose screw from a man who *knows* his constitutionalities:
    http://www.tpmcafe.com/blog/ticia/2007/jan/25/edging_impeachment_back_onto_the_table

    Reply

  34. Pissed Off American says:

    You know Steve, sooner or later you are going to have to weigh in on this AIPAC thing. Hillary is up to her neck in catering to Israel’s interests, INCLUDING helping them exagerate the threat that Iran poses. That makes her a damned liar Steve, no matter how much you want to fawn over her. You know damned good and well what the IAEA and the CIA have said about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
    I am more than a little curious, Steve. Why are you totally ignoring Kucinich, when he has in fact been RIGHT for these past six years, and has consistently opposed these lying bastards in the Bush Administration? Aren’t you sick of helping the media hand us these packaged frauds masquerading as “statesmen”, or “stateswomen”?
    Steve, tell me just ONE substantive effort Hillary has made in these last six years to oppose Bush’s policies. Do you see her demanding accountability?
    Hillary is a political opportunist that is just going to give us the same ass reaming that the Bush Administration has given us. She is going to say anything to achieve the throne, then she is going to do whatever she damn well pleases. Just like Bush has done.

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  35. jonst says:

    So, Robert Morrow digs up the old bullshit R. Mellon (head)Scaife Arkansas Project nonsense. See who can be fooled, bought, or buffaloed again. State Troopers indeed.
    Come on with this time Robert….this is not the good time 90s where people had the luxury of being distracted by blow jobs. Come on Robert….try that shit now given criminal negligence and dereliction of duty on the part of the GOP, and the military, in Iraq et al. Lets see how far it flies this time.

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  36. I am Jack's Smirking Revenge says:

    Have to say, this parody of HRC on SNL does sort of rung true. (Link below)

    Reply

  37. Jon Stopa says:

    Name the Presidents that didn’t have a violent temper–Ike? Johnson? Nixon? Hmm…Clinton? Bush II?

    Reply

  38. Len says:

    One thing this episode shows is that Crystal Patterson is doing her job well, finding your question at HuffPo and lobbing it to Senator Clinton. I’m afraid Obama is going to have to ramp up his web presence to play in this league. He was one of the first political leaders to launch an audio podcast, more than six months ago, and it’s been an effective vehicle. But Hillary’s comfy couch and and back-and-forth with Crystal during the internet chats come across better than Obama’s more formal video announcement on Jan. 16.

    Reply

  39. davidf says:

    Steve,
    She ignored your two more substantive questions. What we really need to know is what she’ll do about global warming, global water issues, etc. If Al Gore isn’t running then will the next Dem Candidate work to include Gore – if he’s willing – in a high profile role dealing with these issues? I emailed a question along those lines to the 2nd of Hillary’s conversations but she seemed more keen on talking about how she loves to hike.
    I’m not so enamoured with this new approach since you can just answer what questions you want – and have your staffers write the answers. It would be mor eimpressive if she talked some difficult questions and actually laid out some policy positions of consequence.

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  40. Ben Rosengart says:

    I am with those who do not exactly understand your purpose in asking that question, the answer being a foregone conclusion. Was your intention simply to highlight Bush’s closed-mindedness?

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  41. Dantheman says:

    Steve,
    Can you get a new picture of Hillary? This one looks like she’s about 30 seconds into a Who can hold their breath the longest? contest.

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  42. pt says:

    steve,
    I’m afraid I have to agree. It’s a little like asking: are you the type of candidate who will work hard or be lazy. I mean, come on! It reminds me a little of those charades that passed for Bush’s town halls where folks asked ridiculously rhetorical questions. try harder please. And, don’t get so intoxicated with attention. It’s not fame that matters; it’s whether we are conequential.

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  43. Steve Clemons says:

    I don’t disagree with most of you on how other candidates would respond — but my point in posing it was to contrast the tendency for self-censorship under Bush with what we really need to happen around any President.
    best, steve clemons

    Reply

  44. Linda says:

    Any smart candidate would answer that question in the same way, and that includes Republicans. There really is no other possible answer. Nobody is going to admit that he/she has a closed mind. I wish you’d have asked her a harder question. And I really don’t care what movies, books, or music a candidate likes best.

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  45. Robert Morrow says:

    Hillary says she does not like a “top, down intimidatory” style. Well, that is news to people who have known her closely and intimately for 35 years. I have 100+ plus books, DVDs, audiotapes, videotapes on the Clintons and one of the common themes, from the people who know her best, is Hillary’s abusive, autocratic, authoritarian, dictatorial style. The Secret Service says Hillary screams, curses, shrieks and demands to have her way at all times. The state troopers say she screams, curses and insults people personally. And her staff say Hillary screams, curses and insults people personally.
    L.D Brown in Crossfire, p. 44, says that Hillary used to make a sport of belittling and tearing down Bill. Hillary used to ride one state trooper so hard that he would often BREAK DOWN IN TEARS.
    That is the unfortunate reality of the 1984 Arkansas Mother of the Year. When Hillary was presented that award, one of the state troopers said behind the stage that Hillary should get the award for “Motherfucker of the Year.”

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  46. Dan Kervick says:

    Well, she would have to be pretty incompetent not to hit that softball out of the park 🙂
    A follow-up question: Senator Clinton, do you incline towar competence and sound judgment in foreign policy, or do you anticipate that a Clinton White House will adopt a more bungling and clueless approach to foreign policy management?

    Reply

  47. XL says:

    She is so impressive – that is an excellent answer (and very politically astute) to your question. I just hope she can leap over the right-wing slime machine. Personally, I am a big Edwards fan, but I can see that Hillary Clinton is extremely capable. I admired her health reform efforts back in the 1990s and was sorry to see her fail. Success is the best revenge and perhaps after the hyper-machismo of the current administration – the country will be ready for a more holistic approach which she clearly embodies.

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  48. Zathras says:

    Well, I’ll be. I would have sworn that Sen. Clinton would have answered that question: “Of course I want staff to validate my views and never challenge me. Yes-men are very important in my life, and I want to see nodding heads whenever I say anything. Or else! Because, you know, I look on George Bush as a role model.”
    Shows you what I know.
    I wonder if one of Steve’s sources could tell him which of Sen. Clinton’s staffers drafted her response.

    Reply

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