Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hillary: a step to the left?

Taylor Marsh covers Hillary’s leftward tack after getting booed by Democrats for saying that setting a firm date for withdrawal would be not in our best interest. I don’t think the “stay the course” arguments are going to be very persuasive come November (to say nothing of 2008). By then, Zarqawi’s death will be a distant memory. I don’t picture Iraq improving much, barring a major strategic shift on our part (and even then, it’s iffy).

I’m not sure about Hillary. On the one hand, she is a force to be reckoned with. And she has an ability to work with people and win them over, as her work in the Senate shows. And her husband is one of the great political talents of our time. But her hawkish poses seem to spring from political calculation, rather than conviction (or from any sense of what is actually going on in Iraq). And her support among party activists is very low. (To say nothing of the irrational hatred she inspires among the some of the right.) I haven’t heard her combating the Bush administration much, which is what I think any Democrat with a spine should be doing.

How many times must I say it? Bush is not popular folks. I promise: nothing bad will happen to a Dem nomination seeker who stridently criticizes Bush. They’ll get a groundswell of support from the progsphere. And you’re not going to alienate the general electorate, because anyone you have a chance of getting already doesn’t like Bush. Of course, the right-wing noise machine and Karl Rove will smear you and attack you relentlessly, but they’re going to smear the Democratic nominee no matter what. This is what many Dems haven’t learned yet. They think if they compromise enough, defer enough, cave in enough, that Karl Rove will be nice to them. It aint gonna happen. He’ll slime you no matter what. That’s the reality. This Democratic “politeness” has allowed the political center of gravity to drift rightward and “Bushward” for far too long.

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