If you walk along the quaint, cobblestoned streets of Georgetown, in
Washington, D.C., you can see ads for newly renovated townhomes “starting at
$3.945 million.” That’s not surprising for this famously liberal enclave.
Something else jumps at you, the number of bumper stickers on Mercedes and Audi
automobiles that say: “I’m ready for Hillary.” These are surely head-scratchers.
Are they simply folks who backed the former Sec. of State in `08 who defiantly
maintained their allegiance? Or, are they among the glitterati like Barbara
Walters, who are crestfallen at President Obama’s failure to be their new
If the latter, then it’s an extraordinary thing to see liberal political
activists confessing to dissatisfaction with the most leftwing president in U.S.
history. And so early in his second term, too. After all, Mr. Obama has
delivered on the promises that Bill Clinton failed to keep. The health care
takeover is called ObamaCare, not HillaryCare. And from the war on coal, to
promoting abortion worldwide, to repealing the ban on recruiting homosexuals for
the military, to withdrawal from Iraq, it is Barack Obama who has achieved the
liberal wish list. Washington Post columnist Jennifer
Rubin’s “Right Turn” column cites the top ten disasters that
conservatives attribute to Hillary Clinton’s tenure at State. It is a
thoroughgoing indictment of what Rubin calls a legacy of mismanagement.
Still, voters in primaries on the Democratic side of the aisle are unlikely
to be much moved by what conservatives think of the Hillary Clinton record.
Although there is increasing division in the country, we have seen conservatives
and liberals come together in Congress and elsewhere on some issues of foreign
policy. For example, there was little enthusiasm on any side for a further
entanglement in Syria’s ongoing civil war.
Hillary Clinton has to worry much more about her record as U.S. Senator from
New York. This is the record that was so
devastatingly detailed in 2007 by New York Times writers Jeff Gerth
and Don Van Natta, Jr. This is a long, analytical piece that outlines Sen.
Clinton’s many dodges and weaves during the run-up to the Iraq war. She was for
it before she was against it. But her efforts to play the hawk and the dove are
a surprising echo of her husband’s own record in the White House. Bill Clinton
is on record onboth sides of the first Gulf War.
This article, appearing half a year before the Iowa Caucuses of 2008, can
give us a strong indication why Sen. Barack Obama bested Sen. Clinton in that
first match-up for liberal activists. And it shows why many of the party’s most
committed rejected her as a standard-bearer that year.
“Hillary’s War,” the
Gerth-Van Natta article, is readily accessible to anyone who can google it with
“New York Times.”
At this festive time of year, we are reminded of Charles Dickens’ famous
Christmas Carol. And the Hollywood version of the classic George C.
Scott Scrooge gives us a scene worthy of remembering. Many a child had
nightmares after watching the entrance of Marley’s Ghost into Ebenezer Scrooge’s
Conservatives need to remember that it is not conservatives who dominate the
primaries and caucuses that select the next Democratic nominee. And for all the
hoopla about being “Ready for Hillary,” she will have to defend not just her
record as Barack Obama’s Sec. of State, but her “long and winding road” on the
Iraq war. It shows a wily but unprincipled character, eager to get on the right
side of the polls. For the invasion when seeming tough is the order of the day.
Against the occupation when Iraq’s endless sectarian strife makes Operation
Iraqi Freedom a bitter joke.
Her record will follow her around, just like those chains and cashboxes that
Jacob Marley’s Ghost had to drag with him into Scrooge’s dark and freezing
bedchamber. That record should provide plenty of fodder in a general election
match-up to any careful analysis.
But it will be most interesting to how enterprising young liberals take on
the supposedly invincible former Secretary of State. Her entire record will be
laid out in detail. Surely, Barack Obama is not the only intelligent leader on
the left who sees a weakness to be exploited. Many of those liberal
activists—the ones who actually decide these things-- will conclude that at 3
a.m., they want someone else to answer that red telephone in the White House.
And Hillary may yet find out that her record—the entirety of it--makes a
great deal of difference.