Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Blogosphere is abuzz over Krauthammer's latest

One of the things about being a blogger is you start to care about things most people simply don't know about. Yesterday, Charles Krauthammer wrote a piece in which he gave Hillary Clinton a tacit endorsement. Now, I personally took this endorsement as almost tongue in cheek. Besides when a political opponent endorses you is it really much of an endorsement? Here are some excerpts from the column regarding Clinton vis a vis free trade.

The Washington Post correctly calls Hillary's retreat from free trade "opportunism under pressure," the pressure being the rampant and popular protectionism of her presidential rivals, particularly in protectionist Iowa. But while "opportunism under pressure" suggests (pace Hemingway) cowardice, the better description of Clintonism is slipperiness. Adaptability. Cynicism, if you like.

Note her clever use of terms. Reassessing NAFTA sounds great to protectionists, but it is perfectly ambiguous. It could mean abolition or radical curtailment. It could also mean establishing a study commission whose recommendations might not reach President Hillary Clinton's desk until too late in her second term.

Next, he moves onto foreign policy...

On Iraq, for example, she talks like someone who knows she may soon be commander in chief and will need room to maneuver in order to achieve whatever success might be possible. Clinton has emphatically refused to give assurances that she would get us out of Iraq during her first term. Unlike, for example, Bill Richardson, who advocates a route so radical that we'd leave equipment behind, she has committed herself to little more than a drawdown of forces as conditions allow.

On Iran, Clinton has been pilloried from the left for supporting a completely anodyne resolution designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. This would trigger serious economic sanctions that would greatly complicate its ability to operate.

Next, he moves on to domestic issues...

And look what Clinton unveiled this week: a modestly government-subsidized, personal retirement account. True, it is yet another big-government middle-class entitlement. Yes, she ignores the looming Social Security crisis. On the other hand, establishing a universal, portable, personal retirement account (though without the government subsidy) is something conservatives have long and devoutly sought. It establishes a parallel to the Social Security system -- the perfect vehicle for a future conservative administration to use for shifting from the current unsustainable government-controlled program to a privatized system such as the one in Chile.

Finally, he finishes...

Even Clinton's response to a debate question on torture -- "As a matter of policy it cannot be American policy, period" -- is elegantly phrased to imply an implacable opposition to torture, and yet leave open the possibility that in extreme circumstances a president would do what she had to do, i.e. authorize torture, regardless of the express policy.

Clinton rarely falters. Always careful, always calibrated, always leaving room for expediency over ideology. That's Clintonism, of both marital flavors. Gender sensitivity prevents me from calling her the consummate needle-threader. Consider her instead Columbus' match as the Great Navigator.

Now, I took all of this to be a tongue in cheek knock on Clinton as totally power hungry, void of principle, and someone willing to drop everything she believes in and everyone that believes in her if she needs to to maintain power. In other words, this was a back handed warning to her supporters. She really isn't one of you. Alas, not all of the blogosphere sees things as I do.

To get to the point, Charles engages in some ill-founded hope when he de-claims as per Mrs. Bill Clinton:

Her liberalism is redeemed by her ambition; her ideology subordinate to her political needs.

Yes, Charles, her POLITICAL needs. See poll numbers. See risk aversion. See unwilling to fight a war longer than 72 hours. Her pragmatism stops there, not as to what's bet for the country. It’s what is best for Hillary. And given that her election would be interpreted by her as a repudiation of a strong America abroad (despite the fact that it has kept us safe since 911), she can be counted on to appease enemies.


The bigger point he goes on to make here is that we have lived with this before (Bill) and while none of us could ever bring ourselves to vote for her, we'll certainly be no worse off for losing to her all the same...given the actions of the GOP over the last 7 years.

We couldn't be worse off if Hillary and a Dem congress were in power the last 7 years? Is you crazy man?!!

Now, me, personally, if someone is complimenting you because you put power over principle, then they really aren't complimenting you. I don't think it is much of a compliment when this is his conclusion

Clinton rarely falters. Always careful, always calibrated, always leaving room for expediency over ideology.

That said, the blogosphere was all over him. I think the visceral reaction to the column has a lot more to do with the visceral reaction that the right has toward Hillary Clinton than any real or perceived endorsement Krauthammer has given to Hillary. Besides, not only is Krauthammer a political opponent, but when the endorsement comes down to one not worrying about her ideology because he believes she has none, well then it isn't much of an endorsement. I doubt very much that Hillary will be highlighting this particular endorsement.

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