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 Friday, May 23, 2008

Hillary Clinton: A Convenient Truth


Chris Suellentrop

Read here in New York Times

Hillary Clinton’s invocation Wednesday of abolitionism, women’s suffrage and the 2000 Florida recount (in relation to her desire to see the Michigan and Florida delegations seated without penalty at the Democratic National Convention this summer) hasn’t gone over well in some corners of liberal blogland

She is proving herself temperamentally unfit for the presidency,” writes Jonathan Chait at The Plank, the staff blog for The New Republic. Chait also writes:

I try not to make moralistic characterological judgments about politicians, because all politicians compromise their ideals in the pursuit of power. There are no angels in his business. Clinton’s gambit, however, truly is breathtaking.

If she’s consciously lying, it’s a shockingly cynical move. I don’t think she’s lying. I think she’s so convinced of her own morality and historical importance that she can whip herself into a moralistic fervor to support nearly any position that might benefit her, however crass and sleazy.

It’s not just that she’s convinced herself it’s okay to try to steal the nomination, she has also appropriated the most sacred legacies of liberalism for her effort to do so.

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo is similarly shocked by Clinton’s rhetoric. “She is embarking on a gambit that is uncertain in its result and simply breathtaking in its cynicism,” he writes. He later adds:

One of her most senior advisors, Harold Ickes, was on the DNC committee that voted to sanction Florida and Michigan by not including their delegates. Her campaign completely signed off on sanctions after that.

And there are actually numerous quotes from the Senator herself saying those primaries didn’t and wouldn’t count. Michigan and Florida were sanctioned because they ignored the rules the DNC had set down for running this year’s nomination process.

The evidence is simply overwhelming that Sen. Clinton didn’t think this was a problem at all — until it became a vehicle to provide a rationale for her continued campaign.

Now, that’s politics. One day you’re on one side of an issue, the next you’re on the other, all depending on the tactical necessities of the moment.

But that’s not what Clinton is doing. She’s elevating it to a level of principle — first principles — on par with the great voting rights struggles of history."

Marshall concludes:

“What she’s doing is not securing her the nomination.

Rather, she’s gunning up a lot of her supporters to believe that the nomination was stolen from her — a belief many won’t soon abandon.

And that on the basis of rationales and arguments there’s every reason to think she doesn’t even believe in.”

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