Monday, January 29, 2007

A Different Hillary Problem: Probably Worse

I wrote this a year ago. It may be more true now.

I recall G Gordon Liddy in 1995 or 96 speculating that if Bill Clinton got re-elected, he would move so far to the left that it would make your head spin. That sounded plausible to me at the time, but it didn't turn out that way. Clinton could not stop running for office. He had to keep his poll numbers up, not for any practical reason, but because that's who he was (is). His second term was spent casting about somewhat randomly for a legacy issue, putting out scandals, and not doing anything unpopular.

I forgot, and so did Liddy, that people don't suddenly develop strength of character that late in the day. Bill Clinton did not want to be president in order to accomplish something; he wanted to be president. We already see that in Senator Clinton's attempt to move to the center. It is not that she is too calculating that is the problem. It's that she is only calculating.

A Hillary Clinton presidency would go bad in the same way. Once elected, she would immediately do a few favorite things, then start on something bigger. While she would likely aim lower than nationalized health care, she would nonetheless pick something that would spend most of her political capital. But the specter of re-election would immediately begin to haunt her. She would want a second term more than she would want anything else.

After an initial leftward lurch, a Hillary presidency would be characterized by the same narcissism and drift as her husband's. I think that would be worse than an attempt at focussed liberalism.


S.G. said...

Interesting take. But are you sure she's as shallow as Bill? I think Bill just wants to be loved; Hilary wants to control.

Anonymous said...

rabbi-philosopher: I have no idea if AVI thinks she is as shallow as Bill, but I sure do. I've watched her go to and fro on almost as many issues as John F(lipflop) Kerry has.

The Democrats seem to be moving away from her as well. Though I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

Most of Bill's scandals (aside from the ones that involved women) can be laid at Hillary's feet. Whitewater, options trading, FBI files, Travel Office firings, etc.

Yes, Bill has serious character flaws (the quintessential example of a man who grew up without a father, constantly trying to prove to himself that he is a man) but I really do not think that deep down Bill is bad or evil. Can we say the same about Hillary? I think not.

Whereas Bill just wanted to be loved, Hillary has shown that she just wants power. She does not at all appear to have any "love need" about her. Instead, she strikes me as an Evita Peron "keep your distance" type of person. Quite cold to the touch, with a frozen smile and an eerie almost daily changing of her appearance.

Although I cringe at a Hillary! presidency, it would almost be worth it to see how she performs under the 24/7/365/4 microscope.

King of Texas

Anonymous said...

Evita Peron?

Why not that other power behind her husband's throne, Elena Ceaucescu?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

"Don't Cry For Me Arkansas."

I imagine you didn't know when you offered Elena Ceausescu that my third and fourth sons are Romanian. John-Adrian's first memory is of a demonstration in Oradea in 1989 "Ceausescu jos! Iliescu sus!" which is Romanian for "Out of the frying pan and into the fire."

No, actually jos is down, sus is up.

But even a RW nutcase like me wouldn't put Hillary in Elena's league.

GraniteDad said...

Well, Jeanne Shaheen did something similar, and that turned out OK. She got lost in the blue ribbon panels and didn't do anything except spend some money. I'd rather spend money on existing useless programs than have new programs developed that will then continue to have money thrown at them.

DADvocate said...

Clinton did not want to be president in order to accomplish something; he wanted to be president.

Very true.

Anon. 1:09 makes a very good point about Hillary just wanting power. I read an interview of Hillary in a magazine when Bill was president. Hillary made a point of how much they had sacrificed to have the "power" they have. It really struck me how much she wanted power, that at the time she really had none, and that in a democracy, you rarely have any more power than the majority are willing to give you.

I found her desire for power scary. I've searched for this interview on the Web but never been able to find it.