Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Trashing of Hillary? Give Me A Break...

Ellen Goodman in the Boston Globe writes:
IT IS MY fervent belief that anyone who writes about the 2008 presidential election before 2006 should be subject to immediate intervention and shipped off to rehab.
Well, if the shoe fits...but on my way to the clinic, a few words on the supposed 'trashing' of Hillary Ellen speaks of.

Let's get the easy cheap shot out of the way first. In a discussion of the polarized electorate (she did get that right), Goodman dismisses the notion that Hillary's run will be spoiled by the 'polarizing' factor with the following query:
Need I remind you that John Kerry was picked as a moderate and got demonized anyway?
It says volumes about the sorry state of today's Democratic party that the vain, arrogant, junior Senator from Massachusets (shown to have the most liberal voting record in the upper chamber) is considered a moderate by so many. On the other hand, when the head of the DNC is Howard Dean...

On the more substantive points, Goodman maintains Hillary's run would be hampered by Bill (it will) and the fact that she's a woman (it won't). For crying out loud, if the oh-so-tolerant Left can't bring itself to vote for a woman in the year 2005...I promise you most Republicans won't have that problem if Condi is in the running.

Goodman's proof that the Right is trashing Hillary seems to rest on the fact that we consider her liberal (she did try to nationalize health care in an unappointed, unelected post, Ellen), less than honest in her recent pandering on religion (oh, Maureen, where's the outrage? Where's the quick condemnation of her kowtowing to current sensibilities?), and 'the darling of the Hollywood left'.

Taking the last point first, the Clintons' ties with Hollywood are quite real and very extensive, and anyone who cares to verify that can do so quite quickly with the help of Google. As for Hillary's recent religious proclamations, I prefer not to play the game of gauging the 'genuineness' of a person's religious commitment. If Hillary claims to be deeply influenced by religion, I'll take her word for it. More interesting is the liberal accusation, and I think a closer look at that aspect reveals how deeply flawed Goodman's argument is.

I submit that far from trashing Hillary, most political observers on the right are according her a good deal of respect. I certainly respect her far more than I ever did her husband. Hillary has shown a great deal of political astuteness after her health care debacle...leaving aside the question of her sincerity, her recent moves toward a reconciliation with 'values' voters and her reasonableness on most foreign policy questions reveal a smart politician who knows that she can't afford to carry the 'flaming liberal' burden into 2008.

This blog and many other commentators have acknowledged Hillary as a potent force to be dealt with in 2008. I continue to maintain that, one way or another, the road the Democratic nomination will go through Hillary. She may not get the nomination, but anyone who wants to move past her had better be prepared for a bruising fight. If that's 'trashing', sign me up for a taste of it...

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