Friday, March 14, 2008

A trip down Hillary lane -- 2007 edition, Part I

By Edward Copeland

The 2007 installment of my
Copeland Institute posts about Hillary is even fuller than that for 2006, so I'm dividing it up into at least two posts, if not three. This one only covers January through April 2007. If you missed the 2006 installment, click here.

JAN. 18, 2007

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) offered her harshest assessment to date of President Bush's Iraq war strategy yesterday, continuing her steady evolution from one of the war's staunchest supporters to one of the administration's most prominent critics.
Her long support for the war and past reluctance to break more significantly with the administration have left her at odds with many liberal activists, who will play an influential role in the Democratic nomination battle. Yesterday, she stopped short of embracing a timetable for withdrawing troops from the conflict, an idea many activists support.
Tom Matzzie, Washington director of, which has been pushing to block the new troop deployments, challenged Clinton to follow through. "A key test is how any senator puts words into action," he said in a statement.

JAN. 21, 2007

New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday launched a long-anticipated 2008 presidential campaign that could make her the first female president in the nation's history and the only former first lady to follow her husband in the White House.
In her video statement, Clinton made only a glancing reference to the war in Iraq. She has emerged as a vocal critic of the president and opposes his proposal to send more than 20,000 additional troops into the conflict. But she voted for the war in 2002 and angered some party antiwar activists by standing behind that vote until last month.
The size and experience of the Democratic field underscores the reality that, for all of her support, fundraising potential and political muscle, Clinton continues to face questions about whether she can win a general election.
But many Democrats say she will have to work to overcome skepticism about her candidacy inside the party. "Can they [voters] finally see the reality of Hillary Clinton, not the myth of Hillary Clinton?" said Mickey Kantor, who was commerce secretary in the Clinton administration and supports the senator's candidacy. "The money will be there. . . . The experienced people will be there. All those things she will have. But the image [is something] she will have to turn around in some parts of the country."

JAN. 29, 2007

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa ..."Competent and capable, but she's my fourth choice," said Dale Hedgecoth, a carpenter at a local high school.
But even those who want to see a woman elected to the White House worry that Clinton may not be able to win a general election, given her political baggage. "I think that it would be amazing to have her be our president," said Hollyanne Howe, a high school student. "I fear that if she is nominated, she won't be electable. I would love to see her get elected, but my biggest fear is that it won't happen and we'll get stuck with another President Bush or whomever else."
Most of those in the group strongly oppose the Iraq war, and Clinton's 2002 vote authorizing Bush to go to war rankles many. Several said they want to hear fuller explanations from her about why she voted the way she did and how she would try to end the war and bring the troops home.
"That's what concerns me," responded Roy Porterfield, an unemployed automotive manager. "Is there any single greater issue than the war? She better offer a solution to that real quick."

JAN. 31, 2007

"She uttered the most irritating and disingenuous nine words in politics: “If we had known then what we know now. ...”
Jim Webb knew. Barack Obama knew. Even I knew, for Pete’s sake. The administration’s trickery was clear in real time. Hillary didn’t have the nerve to oppose a popular president on a national security issue after 9/11, and she feared being cast as an antiwar hippie when she ran. Now she feels she can’t simply say she made a bad decision. And that makes her seem conniving — not a good mix with nurturing."
Maureen Dowd

FEB. 3, 2007

When is a Democrat not a Democrat? When she's Hillary Clinton
By Lila Garrett
Here's a riddle. When is a Democrat not a Democrat? Answer: When she's Hillary Clinton.
On January 27th 400,000 activists met in Washington to protest the funding of the war in Iraq. About 40 women from Code Pink went to Hillary Clinton's office with signs like IT TAKES AN INVASION TO RAZE A VILLAGE....They also had a letter for Hillary to sign pledging to stop the funding. Instead of accepting the letter, acknowledging this passion for peace, congratulating them on their well thought out demonstration, expressing sympathy with their desire to end the war in Iraq, ...which Hillary now claims to share, the chief of staff had them arrested. Six of these magnificent women were thrown in jail where they spent 8 uncomfortable hours.....for what? For having the audacity to oppose the war that Hillary Clinton had spent 4 years defending. Now she says she's against it. When challenged to put up or shut up what's her reaction? She has voters for peace thrown in jail
How can Hillary Clinton raise more than 150 million dollars? By encouraging special interests to fund her campaign. Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, right wing nightmare of the Media industry, threw her a huge fund raiser in which undisclosed millions were raised. She not only accepted his largess, she did so with pride.
Meanwhile campaign finance reform is at the heart of taking the election process out of the hands of the special interests, like the credit card companies, the insurance industry, big oil, the arms industry and giving it back to the people. It is no exaggeration to say, public funding of elections is the engine from which democracy springs.
Is that a priority of Mrs. Clinton? Apparently not. Now that she's declared a pox on public funding, other candidates are eager to jump on board. Mitt Romney quickly said "me too". John McCain is making noises like he's next. The fact that as co-author of campaign finance reform bill he has an obligation to follow its mandate doesn't break his stride for a minute. And Barack Obama isn't committing himself one way or the other. (We all know what that means.) Like a house of cards, once Hillary pulled out, the only genuine reform in our voting system started to collapse. We, the people, have lost another chance to make our vote count. But that's okay with Hillary. Her special interest donors couldn't be happier.

FEB. 11, 2007

CONCORD, N.H. -- Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton faced questions Saturday from New Hampshire voters skeptical about her stand on the Iraq war, including one who demanded that she repudiate her 2002 Senate vote to send U.S. troops into battle.
Her toughest question came in Berlin, a struggling mill town in northern New Hampshire.
Roger Tilton, 46, a financial adviser from Nashua, N.H., told Clinton that unless she recanted her vote, he was not in the mood to listen to her other policy ideas.
"I want to know if right here, right now, once and for all and without nuance, you can say that war authorization was a mistake," Tilton said. "I, and I think a lot of other primary voters - until we hear you say it, we're not going to hear all the other great things you are saying."
In response, Clinton repeated her assertion that "knowing what we know now, I would never have voted for it," and said voters would have to decide for themselves whether her position was acceptable.

FEB. 14, 2007

Yet another man has betrayed Hillary Clinton. This time it's George W. Bush, who not only deceived her about weapons of mass destruction but, when granted congressional authorization to go to war in Iraq, actually did so. This, apparently, came as a surprise to her, although in every hamlet and village in America, every resident who could either read or watch Fox News knew that Bush was going to take the country to war. Among other things, troops were already being dispatched.
Somehow, Bush's intentions were lost on Clinton, who then as now was a member of the United States Senate. This was the case even though she now rightly calls Bush's desire to topple Saddam Hussein an "obsession." "From almost the first day they got into office," Clinton said last weekend in New Hampshire, the Bush administration was "trying to figure out how to get rid of Saddam Hussein." If that was the case -- and indeed it was -- then how come she now says she did not think Bush, armed with a congressional resolution, would hurry to war?
So I do not condemn Clinton and other Democratic presidential candidates -- Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and John Edwards -- for voting for the war because I would have done the same. I fault them, though, for passing the blame to Bush as the guy who misled them. They all had sufficient knowledge to question the administration's arguments, and they did not do so. Not a single one of them, for instance, could possibly have believed the entirety of the administration's case or not have suspected that the reasons for war were being hyped. If they felt otherwise, they have no business running for president.
Too often when a candidate throws his hat into the ring, he tosses principle out the window. Yet this is precisely what we want in a president -- principles and the courage to stick to them. Instead of Clinton saying she had been misled by Bush and his merry band of fibbers, exaggerators and hallucinators, I'd like to hear an explanation of how she thinks she went wrong and what she learned from it. I don't want to know how Bush failed her. I want to know how she failed her country.

Today, Hillary Clinton seems almost uncannily positioned to become the Ed Muskie of 2008. She opposes the U.S. military presence in Iraq but not with the specificity, fervor or bona fides of her leading Democratic rivals. As Muskie did with Vietnam, she supported the legislation enabling the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and she has been slower and more inconstant than her party rivals in coming around to opposing the continued U.S. occupation.
Entering the race, Clinton has institutional advantages that Muskie could scarcely have dreamed of -- an unparalleled network of financial and political supporters, a universal level of public recognition. But, like Muskie, she is out of sync with her party's -- to some extent, her country's -- voters on the major issue of the day. In a Gallup Poll released Monday, the public favored, by 63 percent to 35 percent, Congress setting a timetable for withdrawing all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of next year. The public's position is thus aligned more closely with those of Barack Obama and John Edwards than with that of Clinton, who has yet to commit to a timetable for withdrawal.
Indeed, so strong is support for a withdrawal that Edwards and Obama would by no means face the general election wipeout that was McGovern's fate. (Besides, Nixon ran against the antiwar movement and the fomenters of social tumult. Today, while opposition to the war is widespread, there isn't really an antiwar movement -- not one resembling what emerged in the '60s, anyway -- for hawks or Republicans to run against.) And should Americans still be fighting and dying in Iraq when the next election rolls around, the Democrats probably could win with Dennis Kucinich as their nominee.
I can understand some of the political calculations behind Clinton's reticence on the war -- chiefly, that a female candidate must seem as ready to use force as her male counterparts. That leaves the whole Democratic presidential pack, however, freer to lash out at the bloody absurdity of President Bush's war than she. And it leaves Clinton locked into a reckless cautiousness at a time when the electorate is looking for a decisive change.

CONCORD, N.H. -- ...(Monique) Cesna, 47, a nurse turned third-year law student, then bore down for the cross-examination: Candidate Clinton insists she wouldn't have taken the country to war in Iraq had she been president, yet Senator Clinton voted to authorize President Bush to go to war.
"How can you then explain the seeming contradiction?" she asked -- and again the crowd went wild.
Iraq was the throbbing toothache of Clinton's weekend visit here. The state she once took pains to avoid for fear of igniting presidential rumors -- she hadn't been here since 1996 -- will be key to her ambition to become the second President Clinton. But here and in Iowa, she faces a ferociously antiwar electorate unhappy with her positions, past and present, on Iraq.
For the moment, Democratic primary voters don't want Kerryesque parsing. "Let the conversation begin," Clinton's banners proclaim, but she's not saying what many of them want to hear -- words like "mistake" and "sorry."

FEB. 27, 2007

It slipped Sen. Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton's mind five times since 2001 to mention in Senate financial disclosure forms that she and her hubby have operated and been able to shield $5 million+ of their income while only disbursing about a quarter of the foundation's funds to actual charities.

MARCH 4, 2007

Hillary pretends to be a Southerner.

MARCH 10, 2007

Sen. Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton puts her finger back down after measuring which way the wind is blowing again and decides that now she does support a timetable for getting out of Iraq.

MARCH 20, 2007

No wonder Bush 41 and Bill have grown so close. Really, the similarities between the two families are frightening, especially between Hillary and Dubya. As I've said before, she's Dubya with a brain in women's clothing. Still running scared of Obamamania, now they are trying to spread lies about his record of opposition to the Iraq War to cover for her own refusal to say her vote was a mistake. (Why should she when she also says she plans to keep troops there when she's president at the same time she promises crowds she has withdrawal plans?)

MARCH 29, 2007

This is the tale of two women in politics: One worked hard, rose through the ranks of Congress and was elected the first female speaker of the House. She never said, "Pick me. I'm a woman." She earned her high office and though she's made mistakes along the way of her brief tenure, she's also shown brightly in standing up to an intransigent president and his disastrous invasion of Iraq. "Calm down with the threats. There is a new Congress in town," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a Capitol Hill news conference. "We respect your constitutional role. We want you to respect ours. ... This war without end has gone on far too long and we are here to end it." Pelosi continued, "So I just wish the president would take a deep breath, recognize again that we each have our constitutional role, and we should respect that in terms of each other."

The second woman rode her husband's coattails to a Senate seat and her eventual plan to win his former job as president of the United States. She declared her "feminist" credentials and
won the backing of the National Organization for Women as well as famed former tennis star Billie Jean King. She runs on a sense of entitlement, stressing that people should vote for her because she is a woman. There's no reason a woman shouldn't be president, but don't back someone who says she deserves your vote because of her genitalia. Barack Obama is not running saying he should win your vote because of his African heritage. Mitt Romney doesn't argue that he should win because a Mormon never has. John Edwards doesn't want a vote based on sympathy for his wife's cancer. Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton isn't against such base appeals, because she sure as hell won't win people over with her stances which blow with the wind. She tells some crowds she thinks troops should leave Iraq, tells others that she plans a permanent U.S. presence there if she's elected president. She never admits mistakes. She doesn't allow criticism. Remind you of anyone? Someday a woman will be president, but it shouldn't be this one. Candidates don't deserve votes based on race, religion or gender; they deserve votes based on what they plan to do and the confidence they inspire. Hillary inspires none of that.

APRIL 21, 2007

Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton gave her post-Imus speech at Rutgers, delayed several days by weather (I'm sure Virginia Tech had nothing to do with it), but columnist Colbert I. King takes her to task in The Washington Post for her hypocrisy for talking about hip hop's debasement of women while gladly pocketing cash from the same musical artists for her campaign.
Put me in the camp of those who implore Sen. Hillary Clinton to give it back -- "it" being the reported $800,000 that's sitting in her presidential campaign coffers thanks to a fundraiser hosted in her honor March 31 in the Pinecrest, Fla., home of a huge Clinton fan who refers to himself as Timbaland.
You would not be reading about Clinton or about Timbaland -- who entered this vale of tears 36 years ago in Norfolk under the name Timothy Mosley -- were it not for the fact that he is a well-heeled hip-hop producer and noted performer of the kind of misogynistic and denigrating lyrics that informed Don Imus's derogatory comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team.
Mrs. Clinton, you may recall, took umbrage at Imus's remarks, branding them "small-minded bigotry and coarse sexism." His words, she said in an e-mail to supporters, "showed a disregard for basic decency and were disrespectful and degrading to African Americans and women everywhere."
Good for her, I say, except it must be asked why she was down in Florida making nice to -- and pocketing big bucks from -- a rapper whose obscenity-laced lyrics praise violence, perpetuate racist stereotypes and demean black women.
This much I do know: If Hillary Clinton wasn't playing a hypocrite in the Don Imus episode and is, in fact, a leader who matches her lofty ideals with stand-up behavior, she should return the $800,000 Timbaland raised for her at his swank affair.

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