March 19, 2005


Trying To Craft a Winning Message for Hillary Clinton (E.J. KESSLER, March 18, 2005, The Forward)

These days Senator Hillary Clinton has been sounding more like a Bush administration hawk than like the first lady who drew flak for kissing Yasser Arafat's wife and endorsing a Palestinian state before the White House did.

The Palestinian Authority must "act with dispatch to dismantle the terror operations," Clinton declared in a March 6 speech to the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Sounding like President Bush, she also told the assembled Jewish communal leaders that "there is no more important task before the United States than to support the spread of freedom and democracy, and to do so with a unified voice."

The previous week, at a gathering of Jewish activists in Washington, Clinton, a New York Democrat, blasted "the continuing support of terrorism that comes out of Syria and Iran" and insisted that stronger sanctions were needed to deal with the "aggressive posture" in Damascus.

Such hawkish positions might alienate Clinton's old fans on the anti-war left, as she prepares for a re-election campaign in 2006 and a possible presidential run in 2008. But Ann Lewis, Clinton's new message-meister in Washington, has a different view: This sort of tough foreign-policy talk is the medicine that's going to save the Democratic Party.

"The first and crucial step for the Democrats to regain the public trust and confidence is to make clear that people can have confidence in us that we will keep them safe," Lewis said in a recent interview in her Washington office. Lewis, communications director of Clinton's political action committee, Hillpac, chastised Democrats for being "slow and ungainly" in adapting to this "very basic and not unreasonable criteria for choosing leaders."

And she goes on to rather openly suggest later in the piece that by this criteria it was reasonable for voters to choose George Bush over John Kerry. That should make Ms Clinton popular in the Senate cloakroom.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 19, 2005 4:41 PM

How are Hillary and other Democrats going to convince us that they're not just pandering to get votes? I just don't believe them when they start talking tough.

Posted by: Kay in CA at March 19, 2005 5:19 PM

Syria, North Korea, Cuba, VZ, Iran...

Posted by: oj at March 19, 2005 5:29 PM

I beg your pardon, however, wasn't FDR a democrat that lead us through WWII? To have any party, republican or democrat claim a lock on courage, seems to be just to be infighting.

Posted by: Scorpion at March 19, 2005 9:36 PM


The last courageous Democrats were Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, and Henry Jackson. Since then, it's been titmouses all the way down.

--Don't want to forget Bob Casey, but he was spurned for his courage (and now Schumer wants Casey's son to channel it in the Senate, but still vote the party line).

Posted by: ratbert at March 19, 2005 10:50 PM

When I see these apparent conversions that reek with political self-dealing, I try to look for that Road to Damascus moment that might justify it. There is none of significance for OJ's pal, Queasy Mfume, and there isn't any here with the Hildebeest.

When you spend the better part of two decades trumpeting to the whole world what a clever political maneuverer you are, you should not be surprised when people see your perceived position changes as simply clever political maneuvering.

Posted by: bart at March 20, 2005 6:40 AM

Yes, moving Right is a clever political manuever.

Posted by: oj at March 20, 2005 8:34 AM


Your variation on "dog bites man" is sublime.

Posted by: ghostcat at March 20, 2005 2:54 PM

So you agree that it is strictly for show and that she has not changed her scales, but remains the over-privileged self-dealing Bolshevik of dubious sexual orientation that she always has been.

Posted by: bart at March 20, 2005 3:12 PM

She's a politician. She'll govern where the country is and she recognizes that's well to the Right.

Posted by: oj at March 20, 2005 3:20 PM


If your position is that she never had any principles to begin with, that her earlier incarnation as the patron saint of tedious,over-privileged Ivy League leftist bimbettes was as fraudulent as her current posturing, and that she is merely as greedy as a short Welsh herding dog, that is certainly plausible.

Posted by: bart at March 20, 2005 3:49 PM

Worked for FDR.

Posted by: oj at March 20, 2005 4:07 PM

Fair enough. Except FDR did it for his ego, the Hildebeest is solely concerned about the Benjamins. FDR's descendants are noted for their small bankrolls.

Posted by: bart at March 20, 2005 5:16 PM

She's got more money than she'll ever spend.

Posted by: oj at March 20, 2005 5:23 PM

Don't know many rich people, do you? There's no such thing to many of these folks as 'enough money.'

Posted by: bart at March 21, 2005 6:54 AM

She's not a rich people.

Posted by: oj at March 21, 2005 7:18 AM


She started out in Park Ridge (moderately upper-middle class in the 60s) and has been chasing 'privilege' ever since. She has enough gumption to work hard and is not the gigantic fraud that Kerry is, but she wants the bucks just the same.

However, if a futures dealer offered her what she got in 1979, I suspect she would be smart enough today to say 'no'.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 21, 2005 9:52 AM

Power, not privilege.

Posted by: oj at March 21, 2005 10:38 AM

OJ, First you say that she's got more money than she'll ever spend and then you say that she's not rich. Which is it?

My understanding was that she ended up in one of Chicago's ritzier suburbs and went to New Trier-Winnetka, which is like Great Neck, LI or for that matter Chappaqua. There was also plenty of cash to send her to Wellesley and Yale and for her to have enough free time to spend her summers causing trouble rather than engaging in productive activity. I figured her family to have a mid-7 figure net worth in today's dollars.

Jim, she's smart enough to know that the kind of blatant payoffs she got away with in a one-party backwater full of inbred yokels like Arkansas won't fly in DC. Any scam she cooks up while in office now will be of at least a sophistication that would not embarass a Jersey City ward heeler.

Posted by: bart at March 21, 2005 11:36 AM

The two aren't mutually exclusive. She has enough without being rich. A few million is chump change these days, but you can get by on it.

Posted by: oj at March 21, 2005 11:40 AM