Tuesday, June 24, 2003

(this was too long for the comments box, so here it is in the open)

Carlton wrote, in the comments below: "Well, for a list of what Hill's been doing as a senator, you can go here: http://www.hillpac.com/hot_topics/107th_accomplishments.php
I don't believe she voted against the patriot act, which was passed during a period of mass hysteria, you must admit. I am disappointed that she hasn't been more of a voice -- or that there hasn't been more of a voice -- speaking out against the tax cut. but these complaints are not particularized to her, at least not for me. You are right that Clinton's presidency is still under construction -- but I believe it is being rehabilitated. I think the intervention in Kosovo will be seen as a positive -- for coalition-building, if nothing else. Remember when the "A" in NATO stood for "Alliance"? Intervening in Haiti had, I think a good result as well. There's also the Family Medical Leave Act, reformation of the student-loan system (the deets of which I'm a little unclear about) the blocking (by executive fiat) of new roads in national forests . . . what do you want? He had the most embattled presidency of the 20th century. It should say something that these items are top of the list for deletion by the current administration. Mostly, Greg, I wonder why you are so upset about Hillary. You seem to be frothing at the mouth about this. I still don't know why."

I'm not so much frothing, but it does bug me when people talk about how liberal Hillary and Bill were without demonstrating the ways in which they were.

Your points:
-- periods of mass hysteria are precisely the time when one should expect a leader to lead. Hillary and Bill were nowhere to be found during this latest period, except among the hystericals.
-- if we were talking about all politicians, then it would be fair to give Hillary a pass on the tax cuts and similar things. But we aren't. We are talking about her and the degree to which she is a liberal. I'm particularizing her for the purpose of discussing her.
-- The Kosovo intervention, while not a bad idea, was horribly executed. Lots of people got killed and lots of things got broken for no reason other than US military tactics (on a side note: I don't see the need for NATO).
-- Clinton dithered on Haiti for several years before actually doing something, and the something he did was a half measure. Haiti was in AWFUL shape when Bill left office, and has gotten worse under Dubyah (as have most things: no Dubyahlover am I). A big strong liberal humanitarian like Bill (or Hillary) would surely give a shit, right? Has Hillary tried to get anything done since she became a senator? She does, after all, have Hatian-American constituents.
-- The Family Medical Leave Act is a good thing. Credit Bill and Hillary for that one. How long were they in office?
-- The Student Loan thingy is something I'm also fuzzy on. Considering that I have a shitpile of student loan debt, my instincts tell me it wasn't the most dramatic reform in the world.
-- The roads in National Forrests deal was also not bad, but you do know that logging in National Forrests increased under Clinton, right?
-- Yes, his presidency was embattled. He won ALL of his personal battles, though, and was (and is) hugely popular. Had he used a fraction of his skills on getting meaningful change going, I would certainly remember him more fondly.

I really, genuinely don't think he or his wife want[ed] the same sort of change that I or my ilk want[ed], however.

I guess that gets to why I'm so chapped about Hillary: she is not what she is perceived to be. If you want a very intelligent, ruthless, skillful centrist who will use progressive rhetoric to maintain slavish support while going about the business of doing, essentially, nothing to change the world, then Hillary (and Bill) are the candidates for you.

But if you want a liberal, look elsewhere. If you want a leftist (which the right seems to think they are), you've got to look even further.

The thing is, we knew this (or could have). Bill was governor of Arkansas for 10 years before becoming president (for 8 years!). Did Arkansas become a liberal island in a sea of backwardness? Um. No.


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