Running for president means asking a lot of people to put their faith in you -- and putting your faith in a lot of people. You've never let me down, and my promise to you has always been this: if you put your faith in me, I will fight for you every day when I'm president.
When I get to the White House, I'll end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home. I'll stop the cowboy diplomacy and Bush's war on science. I'll reverse the attacks on our Constitution and civil liberties. I'll ask the Congress to send me everything that Bush vetoed, like stem cell research and the Children's Health Insurance Program.
From day one, I'll be fighting for you, because America needs a clean and decisive break from seven years of George Bush. Not one of the Republican candidates is capable of making that happen. They're all promising four more years of the same failed policies. They see Bush's failure in Iraq and want to continue it. They see failure of leadership on the economy and want to repeat it. They see his assault on civil liberties and the disgraces of Guantanamo and want to carry them on.
Now, since this is meant for Democratic primary voters we can disregard the digs at Bush and look merely at the substance of what Hillary is saying.
She first says this about Iraq...
I'll end the war in Iraq?
My question is immediately when. Here is what Hillary Clinton said in a previous debate about pulling out of Iraq.
"It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting,"
She went on not to commit to pulling out of Iraq before her first term were to end. Thus, while she gives her supporters the impression that she makes pulling out of Iraq a priority, she also doesn't even commit to pulling out of Iraq until after 2013. This dichotomy of positions is so easy to attack that I don't know where to begin. This is of course perfect for any advertisement. Also, depending what she says in any debate, her other position can also be used to bludgeon her.
Then, Hillary points out that Bush has conducted a war on science and mentions stem cell research. Here, like most Bush opponents on this matter, Hillary simply mischaracterizes Bush's position on the matter. Bush is not and never has been against stem cell research. In fact, the Bush administration has been funding stem cell research since 2001.
In a much-anticipated decision on what he called a "complex and difficult issue," President Bush on Thursday night said he would allow federal funding of research using existing stem cell lines.
Bush said there are about 60 existing stem cell lines in various research facilities -- cell lines that have already been derived from human embryos.
The president stopped short of allowing federal funding for research using stem cells derived from frozen embryos, about 100,000 of which exist at fertility labs across the country.
The question for the Bush administration always involved EMBRYONIC stem cells. Clinton doesn't say EMBRYONIC stem cells but rather an all encompassing stem cell research. Bush's position is that he doesn't want the federal government to fund research in which human life is created solely so that it can be destroyed and studied. Since this is a much more difficult position to attack, folks like Clinton try to inaccurately paint Bush as against stem cell research altogether. In this situation, as in any in which someone is not saying something accurate, Hillary needs to be confronted with the truth and see how she deals with it then. First, she must be held accountable for her mischaracterization of Bush's position. She isn't the only one and at this point I am sick of everyone mischaracterizing Bush. If you have to mischaracterize your opponents, then how strong can your position be?
Second, Clinton has to be confronted with this...if she is all right with science creating life solely so that it is destroyed, at what point does she see science as going too far? Is she against cloning for instance? After all, there are a lot of exciting possibilities in cloning? If she has no problem creating life to destroy in the name of science, why would she have a problem with cloning life in the name of science? Where would scientific research stop and morality and ethics start in her administration?
Next, she says that she would end the so called assault on civil liberties and mentions Gitmo by name. Since she doesn't specifiy which assualts, we can only assume that she means things like enhanced interrogations, warrantless wiretaps, military tribunals, and of course Gitmo altogether. Since she finds Gitmo so especially obscene, my first question would be where those prisoners would go. Most of their home countries don't want them. Does she plan on trying them in our own federal system? Does she understand that terrorists routinely kill the friends and families of those that they see as turning against them? Does she understand that any witnesses against any terrorist in any open court would immediately have their lives threatened? Given that, how exactly does she expect any terrorist to be convicted in any federal court?
As for enhanced interrogations and warrantless wiretapping, this creates another opportunity to paint Hillary as weak on national defense. First, I have always found the entire debate about warrantless wiretapping to be quite absurd. I don't know any other time in the history of warfare in which the President needed a judge's permission to spy on the enemy. Thus, proclaiming that the Commander in Chief is destroying civil liberties because he is spying on the enemy without a judge's permission is to me absurd. On a political level, it can be painted, rightfully so, as weak on national defense. Most of the Republican candidates have, rightly so, not identified what techniques they will and won't allow because then you are telegraphing that to the enemy. By coming out against Bush, as she has, Clinton has in fact told the enemy what she won't use. Because she sees anything outside basic police interrogation protocol as an erosion of civil rights, the enemy can prepare for the basic interrogation techniques that she will allow. This gives Republicans yet another chance to paint her as weak on national defense.
Now, anyone of us that knows Hillary knows that this is only scratching the surface as far as attacks on her, however since she has chosen to highlight these things to her supporters we can assume that these are her priorities, and this is how these priorities ought to be countered.