Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hillary Milhous Rodham?

Hillary says she won't quit Iraq the day she's sworn in, or for the rest of 2009. Patrick Ruffini was astonished by this, as well as the fact that she's saying it now, four months before the first primary votes are cast.

Beats me why. Remember that any tactically sane withdrawal from Iraq would take between twelve and eighteen months. And notice that she said nothing about 2010.

At least, not until last night's latest Donk confab:
The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013.

"I think it's hard to project four years from now," said Senator Barack Obama of Illinois in the opening moments of a campaign debate in the nation's first primary state.

"It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting," added Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

"I cannot make that commitment," said former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.
Never mind Opie's and the Generalissimo's commission of the unforgiveable nutroot sin - call it "The Petraeus Effect" - as they're all playing Winger to Hillary's Hulka. What's of interest here is Medusa's triangulatory hedging - first off, that she was back to triangulating after having committed the mother of all gaffes by voting against last week's Cornyn amendment to the Defense appropriations bill condemning the ad in the New York Times smearing General Petraeus - for whose command and mission Mrs. Clinton voted eight months ago - as a "traitor". But more to the point, that refusing to commit to a firm withdrawal deadline is all she did.

The aforementioned Mr. Ruffini spends most of his post recommending that the GOP replay the avenue of attack George Bush successfully used against John Kerry in 2004, a strategy I think would fail miserably. Not just because of the old adage about generals always fighting the last war instead of the next one, but also because he seems to forget that it isn't just Hillary we'll be going up against, but the entire Clinton Machine, which proved itself well-nigh invincible throughout the 1990s.

But buried deep within is this key passage:
Fleshing this out further, you could easily argue that President Hillary’s middle ground approach would be just as dangerous as complete withdrawal. Under President Hillary, we’d have 75,000 troops in Iraq — not enough to get the job done and but still taking significant casualties. Iraq 2010 would look like Vietnam 1970 and you can call her Hillary Milhous Clinton. [emphasis added]
Ruffini thinks the Donk base will desert Hillary next November because of this bow to foreign policy "realism". I think he's nuts. Think about it: Leaving aside that the nutters would rather gargle jellied napalm than lose a third consecutive presidential election and see the war they detest continue to be vigorously pursued, if Senator Thunder Thighs is a "cautious trimmer" unwilling to take any PR chance by adapting a bold stand with the remotest possibility of being unpopular (the reason more than any other why Bill Clinton never "pre-empted" al Qaeda when he had repeated chances) yet wants to embrace defeat as much as the Kos-hacks and moveon.orgers do, what better way to have her cake and cover her ample ass than to screw our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan by putting them in an untenable, no-win position? Whatever public support for the war effort that remained would collapse, the momentum for another pell-mell retreat would rebuild, only this time with no steadfast Commander-in-Chief to resist it, and Mrs. Clinton could deliver the defeat and national humiliation her base has lusted after for all these years - and claim that she is simply "carrying out the will of the American people."

The nuclear 9/11 this disaster would precipitate would be a separate problem, and might complicate Chelsea's chances in 2016, but that would be a second term issue, and Hill wouldn't be running again anyway (one way or the other).

~ ~ ~

I know you're probably astonished that I didn't watch the Donk "debate" (mutual Hillary admiration society is more like it - none of them want to end up in the Alaska gulag, either), but I did skim the highlights.

Gotta give kudos to Tim Russert for actually asking some tough questions - including taking his life in his hands on this exchange with the former first lady:
Throughout the debate, Senator Clinton relied on her now-standard laugh/cackle when asked questions she didn’t like, which was most questions. But she wasn’t laughing when she learned that she had been hit with the gotcha question of the night, and perhaps of the campaign to this point.

“I want to move to another subject, and this involves a comment that a guest on Meet the Press made,” Russert said. “I want to read it, as follows: ‘Imagine the following scenario. We get lucky. We get the number three guy in al Qaeda. We know there’s a big bomb going off in America in three days and we know this guy knows where it is. Don’t we have the right and responsibility to beat it out of him? You could set up a law where the president could make a finding or could guarantee a pardon.’”

Russert asked the candidates to comment. Obama said he wouldn’t torture the prisoner under any circumstances. So did Sen. Joseph Biden. Then Russert turned to Senator Clinton. “Should there be a presidential exception to allow torture in that kind of situation?” he asked.

“You know, Tim, I agree with what Joe and Barack have said,” Clinton answered. “As a matter of policy it cannot be American policy, period….These hypotheticals are very dangerous because they open a great big hole in what should be an attitude that our country and our president takes toward the appropriate treatment of everyone. And I think it’s dangerous to go down this path.”

Russert then delivered the punch line. “The guest who laid out this scenario for me with that proposed solution was William Jefferson Clinton last year,” Russert said to Senator Clinton. “So he disagrees with you.”

“Well, he’s not standing here right now,” Clinton said.

“So there is a disagreement?”

“Well, I’ll talk to him later,” she answered.
Yeah, I'll just bet she'll "talk to him later." And when he gets out of surgery, and the swelling dies down, he might still make that December GQ gig. She might save some of those licks for herself, though; for somebody as ostensibly competent and polished and disciplined as Hillary is supposed to be, it's difficult to fathom how she, of all people, wouldn't have been aware of what Mr. Bill said on the "torture" topic not even a year ago. Which means her campaign staff is going to each get thirty-nine lashes in the very near future, after she's finished thrashing Bill.

Best analysis line came from Brother Meringoff:
[T]he highlight of the evening came when Biden warned that if Hillary is the candidate, a lot of unpleasant "stuff" from the Clinton administration will come back into play. As the camera showed Hillary's face going glacial, Biden added that he was referring to policy stuff. The glacier did not melt, but after a few moments a painted smile appeared on it.
I don't know about you, but picturing that phrase reminds me of those old claymation kid's shows like Davey & Goliath - and Mr. Bill, Sick Willie's namesake.

Lastly, the stakes were summed up well by Bill Kristol:
Here, judging from the debate, is what the 2008 Democratic nominee is likely to be for. Abroad: ensuring defeat in Iraq and permitting a nuclear Iran. At home: more illegal immigration, higher taxes, more government control of health care, and more aggressive prosecution of the war on smoking than of the war on terror.
And, of course, teaching second-graders that it's okay to sodomize each other with Pixie Stix. Kristol thinks that gives Mitt or Rudy or Fred a significant general election advantage. I think that constitutes the second time in under twenty years that the gullible American electorate won't see it coming until it's too late.

Only this time the consequences won't be eight and a half years in coming.

Not by a long shot.