February 28, 2007

Why I don’t support Hillary, right now, almost two years away from the primaries.

Filed under: Guest Comment — PeninsulaJim @ 11:38 am

I look for three things from my presidential candidates. 1) I want a candidate to show leadership, 2) I want a candidate who understands that he/she represents PEOPLE and not dead presidents, and 3) I want a candidate who is capable of reacting to real time facts, and not constrained by imaginary precedents.

By leadership, I’m talking about a candidate who understands that politicians are not elected to command, but to serve. However, political leadership understands that the best policy is not necessarily the policy that people currently think they want. When a politician is confronted with segregated schools, and Jim Crow laws, said politician must understand what it will take to turn the public perceptions around. I don’t want a politician who will accept those evil standards because doing otherwise will risk re-election and financial contributions.

Hillary has failed the leadership test by voting to authorize Bush’s reckless adventurism in the face of a legitimate enterprise to scrub Afghanistan of Al Qeada killers. Whether or not she believed the basics of Bush’s false intelligence, she risked the failure of measures required to extinguish the more immediate threat. Even if Saddam had WMD, he did not have the capability, espoused by Condi Rice, to send us all up in a mushroom cloud in 15 minutes. As the head of a nation (albeit a despotic head), Saddam was constrained by his own place in the world. An attack on the US would have meant Saddam’s immediate and unquestioned destruction (not “mutually assured destruction” which was the Cold War standard). Osama was not, is not, so constrained by geography. Between Saddam and Osama, Osama always was the greater threat, and the waste of lives, money and manpower in Iraq severely curtails our ability to meet that threat.

Both John Kerry and John Edwards acknowledged this after their failed bid for the White House. I don’t want an apology from Hillary Clinton. I want an acknowledgement that she miscalculated and will not do so again. Whether or not Saddam had WMD, Hillary made the wrong and deadly choice. She cannot blame 9/11 for her vote. It was not Saddam who attacked her New York constituents, it was Osama.

While Hillary argues that her conclusion was the only one possible if what was being presented was true (and certainly the majority of the congress acted in order to appear patriotic at the expense of reason), there are others who ignored the chance to look patriotic, preferring to protect America and Americans. One such person was Al Gore (recipient, as former Vice President, of the same intelligence that Hillary was getting), who wisely had this to say at the time. (see link –, again, I don’t want an apology from Hillary. I want an acknowledgement that she made a political calculation which was not in the best interests of the American people. I just want to know that she understands that, and that she won’t make that calculation again. If she won’t do that, then I won’t vote for her in the primaries. I’ll vote for someone who sees that folly for what it was. Should she fail to do so, it doesn’t mean that I won’t vote for here should she win the nomination, because the alternative will likely be someone who helped create the political climate in which unreasonable decisions are proclaimed reasonable.


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