Thursday, February 28, 2008

Why Not Hilary?

If you’d paid any attention to the media at all, you’ve probably heard that Hilary Clinton’s presidential ambitions will come to an end on Tuesday. Just like New Hampshire. They didn’t and her race continues, but this time things are different. She has lost eleven races in a row and Senator Obama has eaten away at her leads in the pivotal states of Texas and Ohio. She could still narrowly win those states – narrowly – and if she does she will trumpet it as a major victory and continue to the convention. If she doesn’t win, she may still continue. The Democrats apportion delegates according to votes and she could still win a lot of delegates either way.

As you probably already know, I am not one of her supporters. I would go as far as to say I am in the Anyone But Clinton camp. But why? The first reason is that it’s time for a change. Yep, it’s the Obama mantra, but it’s true. Bogged down in a stupid war, heavily, heavily in debt, and with an economy stinking steadily into recession America needs change. The hyper-partisan nature of the current political environment stands in the way of the work that needs to be done to set the nation back on the road to peace and prosperity. It would be easy to blame it all on the current administration, and it would be a mistake to not give them a very large portion of the blame, but the current environment goes back a lot further than eight years. Really, we are looking at the legacy of the Clinton-Bush years. Sixteen years of bitter partisanship have brought any hope for political progress to a halt.

The second and third reasons stem directly from Senator Clinton herself, her management style and her experience. A lot of ink has been spilt detailing how much she has spent on hotel rooms, banquets, etc. How she is trying to act like a president. Her management style has always been authoritative, hierarchical. She’s been in the public eye and, in the few times she has been in a position of leadership, she’s not shown herself to be a consensus builder. Her attitude and approach are very much a part of who she is and it could be argued that they either play into today’s bitter partisanship or they are a product of it, but however you look at it she hasn’t shown any capacity to change her approach, even when its clear that her party’s supporters want change.

And it’s an approach that played an important role in the failure of the 1993 attempt to bring about universal health care in the US. Instead of dealing with the many interests and trying to forge a public consensus, her Task Force operated in secret. You can read more about it here, or do some research yourself, but it was a top-down, my-way-or-the-highway approach that would not listen to outsiders, let alone critics. And this is the highlight of her experience. America’s could have had healthcare fifteen years ago, if it weren’t for this failure. Outside of this one program she was a meet and greet First Lady, who met foreign dignitaries and accepted flowers from children. All very nice, but hardy leadership experience. It’s really what you expect from a First Lady. Jimmy Carter’s wife, Rosalynn, was a valued policy advisor who routinely sat in on cabinet meetings. Not so Mrs. Clinton. Since coming to Congress she has established a perfectly respectable record for a junior senator, but no more so than her opponent Senator Obama; in spite of having two terms under her belt to his one. In all fairness, though, that’s not unusual for a presidential candidate. Historically, prominent national leaders have been more likely to fail in their attempts to win the White House. They tend to have accumulated too many enemies, as Senator McCain can attest. But she’s the one proclaiming her experience. What experience?

On Tuesday I hope Obama wins Ohio and Texas – and Rhode Island and Vermount! And I hope he wins by a wide enough margin to convince sufficient superdelegates to get off the fence and put her campaign out of everyone’s misery.

1 comment:

Westside Goth said...

my friend was over the other night and he related some weird end of the world conspiracy him and his brother were lsitening to XBOX live. can't remember the specifics but some how Obama being president factors in there somewhere. kind of gives me chills. but with 2012 on its way, i think i have some good reason for that.