Hillary- Accomplished Woman, or Just Bill’s Bitty

John Hawkins, in a piece today proving that anyone can write for Townhall, takes on the Clagina and asks the following:

If a CEO of a fortune 500 company were to retire, would anyone seriously consider his wife to be an adequate replacement simply because she was married to him when he ran the company? What about a Super Bowl winning football team? What do you think the reaction of their fans would be if their coach’s wife was being seriously discussed as his replacement?

It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet, Hillary Clinton has practically been anointed by the press and the punditocracy as our next President, despite the fact that her run at the presidency is almost entirely based on being Bill Clinton’s wife.

I am not going to say too much about this, because I am going to go out on a limb and bet this is one of the most widely cited stories by the end of the day. There is no need to point out Hillary’s long list of accomplishments, something I can acknowledge even though I really don’t like her much. I will, however, say this- Hawkins is on to something. If only more of us, a few years back, had asked the following:

“Just because someone is the President’s idiot son, does that mean he would make a good President?”

Clearly the answer is no.






80 replies
  1. 1
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    There is no need to point out Hillary’s long list of accomplishments

    Just to play Devil’s Advocate, let me ask what would those accomplishments be? And in my role as Devil’s Advocate, I have to point out that if you want to show that her accomplishments weren’t dependent on her husband you should only list those that took place before Bill was elected president.

  2. 2
    Dug Jay says:

    I don’t know about that conclusion. I have the impression that many historians feel that John Quincy Adams was a pretty good President.

  3. 3
    rachel says:

    …you should only list those that took place before Bill was elected president.

    You mean like actually having a job she earned herself and stuff?

  4. 4
    The Other Steve says:

    It is interesting. People who voted for Bush are hardly in a position to complain about anything.

    Given their history of poor judgement, why on earth should we listen to them?

  5. 5
    John Cole says:

    I have to point out that if you want to show that her accomplishments weren’t dependent on her husband you should only list those that took place before Bill was elected president.

    Why? Has she been sealed in ice since 1992? And doesn’t her work in the Senate amount to more practical national political experience than Bush had?

  6. 6
    ken says:

    From the Wikepedia entry on Hillary Clinton:

    “A native of Illinois, Hillary Rodham attracted national attention in 1969 when she delivered a controversial address as the first student to speak at commencement exercises for Wellesley College. She began her career as a lawyer after graduating from Yale Law School in 1973, moving to Arkansas and marrying Bill Clinton in 1975, following her career as a Congressional legal counsel; she was named the first female partner at Rose Law Firm in 1979 and was listed as one of the one hundred most influential lawyers in America in 1988 and 1991. She served as the First Lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992, was active in a number of organizations concerned with the welfare of children, and was on the board of Wal-Mart and several other corporate boards.

    As First Lady of the United States, she took a prominent position in policy matters. Her major initiative, the Clinton health care plan, failed to gain approval by the U.S. Congress in 1994, but in 1997 she helped establish the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Adoption and Safe Families Act. She became the first First Lady to be subpoenaed, testifying before a Federal grand jury as a consequence of the Whitewater scandal in 1996. She was never charged with any wrongdoing in this or several other investigations during her husband’s administration. The state of her marriage to Bill Clinton was the subject of considerable public discussion following the Lewinsky scandal in 1998.

    Moving to New York, Clinton was elected to the United States Senate in 2000, the first time a First Lady was elected to public office and the first female Senator from that state…”

  7. 7
    grumpy realist says:

    Umm….don’t have the time to look up the references now, but there are good sound historical examples of the wife taking over from the husband after he died. A lot of companies (both US and abroad), a lot of city-states in Renaissance Italy, plus we’ve got Sophia Gandhi taking over from Raviv in India….Didn’t quite a few queens get into positions of power by taking over after husbands died?

    This is also actually pretty common with closely-held companies run by a family by the way.

  8. 8
    The Other Steve says:

    In related news… Apparently Nancy Pelosi is responsible for high gas prices.

    :-)

  9. 9
    ken says:

    Hillary Clinton is an accomplished and classy lady. Here is some more information, from her official White House biography:

    “As an undergraduate at Wellesley College, Hillary mixed academic excellence with school government. Speaking at graduation, she said, “The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.”

    In 1969, Hillary entered Yale Law School, where she served on the Board of Editors of Yale Law Review and Social Action, interned with children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman, and met Bill Clinton. The President often recalls how they met in the library when she strode up to him and said, “If you’re going to keep staring at me, I might as well introduce myself.” The two were soon inseparable–partners in moot court, political campaigns, and matters of the heart.

    After graduation, Hillary advised the Children’s Defense Fund in Cambridge and joined the impeachment inquiry staff advising the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives. After completing those responsibilities, she “followed her heart to Arkansas,” where Bill had begun his political career.

    They married in 1975. She joined the faculty of the University of Arkansas Law School in 1975 and the Rose Law Firm in 1976. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the board of the Legal Services Corporation, and Bill Clinton became governor of Arkansas. Their daughter, Chelsea, was born in 1980.

    Hillary served as Arkansas’s First Lady for 12 years, balancing family, law, and public service. She chaired the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee, co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and served on the boards of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Legal Services, and the Children’s Defense Fund.

    As the nation’s First Lady, Hillary continued to balance public service with private life. Her active role began in 1993 when the President asked her to chair the Task Force on National Health Care Reform. She continued to be a leading advocate for expanding health insurance coverage, ensuring children are properly immunized, and raising public awareness of health issues. She wrote a weekly newspaper column entitled “Talking It Over,” which focused on her experiences as First Lady and her observations of women, children, and families she has met around the world. Her 1996 book It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us was a best seller, and she received a Grammy Award for her recording of it.

    As First Lady, her public involvement with many activities sometimes led to controversy. Undeterred by critics, Hillary won many admirers for her staunch support for women around the world and her commitment to children’s issues.

    She was elected United States Senator from New York on November 7, 2000. She is the first First Lady elected to the United States Senate and the first woman elected statewide in New York.”

  10. 10
    RSA says:

    I have to point out that if you want to show that her accomplishments weren’t dependent on her husband you should only list those that took place before Bill was elected president.

    For equivalence, should we also ask for George W. Bush’s list of accomplishments before George H. W. Bush became President? (By my count: National Guard wastrel, failed candidate for Congress, and failed energy industry executive.) I’m not saying that this is fair, but just that you can’t evaluate accomplishments in isolation.

  11. 11
    jake says:

    Strange, I seem to remember the righty rabble got a huge knot in its collective adult diaper because Hilary wasn’t a quiet little First Lady but actually held and expressed strong opinions of her own. A real man would keep her in line; Bill should tell his woman to shut up and make some cookies, they huffed.

    Of course, they copy and pasted a lot of their crap from things their predecessors said about Elenore Roosevelt, because Original Thought : Right Wingers as Good Manners :: A wild boar.

    However, it seems the meme du jour is Hilary was and still is a puppet of the dreaded Clenis. Not that I expect them to note the contradiction. Not that I expect them to realize more people would be likely to vote for her if they were fairly certain B Clinton was calling the shots.

    I say that within four months they give up the pretense and start shrieking “But she’s a woman! She’s got girl parts and they make girl juices! She’ll break a nail and start World War III!!1!”

  12. 12
    RSA says:

    My favorite case of a wife taking over a deceased spouse’s office is Jean Carnahan, because of Mel’s posthumous defeat of John Ashcroft. (It’s funny how Ashcroft’s later reputation as AG has been salvaged; it says something about the standards that Gonzales set afterwards.)

  13. 13
    Rudi says:

    I won’t even touch the Clagina angle. But, what is really hillarious is the “right of succession” in the wingnut/neo-con world. It’s not like the Kristol’s, Podhoretz’s, Jonah(the whale) and their ilk aren’t born into privilege and then someone hands over NRO, Weekly Standard or some other RAG for them to run.

  14. 14

    If the Village Idiot would stick to air traffic control, at least we could just refuse to fly and not have to pay for his other mistakes. Well, until the planes falling out of the sky happen to land on you.

  15. 15
    ken says:

    But Bush was a cheerleader! That’s gotta count for something.

  16. 16

    Ack, wrong story. Doh.

    So I’ll make a topical comment here: As much as I hate to agree with anything on Townhall, there’s a point here. Hillary Clinton may be very accomplished on her own, but there are plenty of accomplished people who don’t get a chance to run for President because they weren’t the First Lady.

  17. 17

    The Clagina? That’s awesome.

  18. 18
    JWeidner says:

    No need to mention Mary Bono here…clearly that’s a different case since she was the wife of a Republican.

  19. 19
    Avedon says:

    How come no one ever talks about how Mitt Romney wouldn’t have a chance to run for president if his father hadn’t been a famous politician?

    And why would it be superior to have a shot at the presidency mainly because you served good food and got chummy with the press? (McCain and Bush)

    Or were an actor? (Reagan and Thompson)

    Or a million other things that have nothing to do with fulfilling the presidential oath?

  20. 20
    CaseyL says:

    there are plenty of accomplished people who don’t get a chance to run for President because they weren’t the First Lady.

    How about if they were counsel working for the Watergate Committee?

    How about if they were the first female partner at a major law firm?

    How about if they were considered one of the most influential lawyers in America for 3 years running?

    How about if they were a Senator from New York?

    And that’s just what she accomplished when Bill was not President. You also need to ignore everything she accomplished while he was – which includes getting many legislative initiatives through a very hostile Congress, by learning how to work effectively with people who hated her.

  21. 21

    I am not an HRC fan either, but stepping stones, are stepping stones, are stepping stones. Each person has their own path to the White House. I personally hope HRC does not end up with her paws on the helm of the ship of state, but that has more to do with her penchant for double-speak and secrecy than actual qualifications. However, as has been noted above, the former Cheerleader and his gang of War Criminals have pushed the bar so low it really is difficult to be too concerned about anyone–except the little man in search of a balcony–being President. Shame and Degradation hack away at the American Dream in early 21st Century America and Rudy is the only one who actually scares the shit out of me. If we have an equivalent to Elba we should ship his ass there–we just have to make sure he actually stays put. As a compromise, the government can give him a small stipend and Bernie Kerik–instead of prison time–could be employed to keep the rubber-neckers away. Damn! I miss the comb over.

  22. 22
    garyb50 says:

    So goose but for gander’s not good for the goose.

  23. 23
    keatssycamore says:

    How about if they were counsel working for the Watergate Committee?

    How about if they were the first female partner at a major law firm?

    How about if they were considered one of the most influential lawyers in America for 3 years running?

    How about if they were a Senator from New York?

    How about if they were a Goldwater Girl?

  24. 24

    @CaseyL:

    You’re still missing the point. We simply can’t evaluate her credentials in isolation, because the nature of the political system is such that she starts with this huge advantage that’s unrelated to her abilities.

    You can believe this alleged “inevitability” is totally unrelated to the family name if you want, that if thousands of Presidential hopeful each submitted a blind resume that Hillary Clinton would come out on top. You can believe that, but I don’t.

  25. 25

    You’re still missing the point. We simply can’t evaluate her credentials in isolation, because the nature of the political system is such that she starts with this huge advantage that’s unrelated to her abilities.

    But we don’t evaluate anyone’s credentials for the Presidency in isolation. Why should we expect any different from Clinton?

  26. 26
    OxyCon says:

    How much you wanna bet that Clownhall’s John Hawkins is a big Liddy Dole supporter?

  27. 27
    jake says:

    Hillary Clinton may be very accomplished on her own, but there are plenty of accomplished people who don’t get a chance to run for President because they weren’t the First Lady.

    WTF? Did Patterico start a contest to come up with the lamest line of reasoning?

    Name two people who – Well, you can’t. A former first lady has never run for president before. But let’s give you a chance by making it broader. Name two people who didn’t get a chance to run for President because they didn’t have family ties to power.

  28. 28
    Ted says:

    (It’s funny how Ashcroft’s later reputation as AG has been salvaged; it says something about the standards that Gonzales set afterwards.)

    It really is. He was awful in his priorities, but he was still a lawyer who knew where the lines were and (mostly) didn’t cross them.

  29. 29
    Robert Johnston says:

    You don’t have the experience to be president unless you’ve scarred a man for life with a red hot branding iron or done something else to prove your torture bona fides. Which, given the right’s extreme, over the top paranoia about Clinton, means I would expect the Townhall wackaloons to pronounce her the most qualified and experienced candidate running.

  30. 30
    Silver Owl says:

    The constant focus on the crippling masculine insecurities that wingnuts suffer from is tedious. The public knows more about their insecurities than anyone should have to. I amazed these men can even get out of bed each morning.

  31. 31

    It is easy to define one’s ideas and philosophy by their Utopian ends – e.g. government “free healthcare”. However, this is as stupid as believing that Noah rode dinosaurs 6,000 years ago. Providing healthcare without using government force to confiscate wealth and to direct peaceful behavior (e.g. the huge number of required private resources: doctors, clinicians, high-technology equipment, buildings, etc.) and popping healthcare out of thin air with no cost would truly be “making what appears impossible, possible”.

  32. 32
    BARRASSO says:

    Politics is a popularity contest, you don’t have to be qualified you just need the votes. Arnold is governor of Cali for sweet christs sake, his qualification being he has big muscles, and the assholes at townhall would support him over “the Clunt” any day.

  33. 33
    jcricket says:

    You’re still missing the point. We simply can’t evaluate her credentials in isolation, because the nature of the political system is such that she starts with this huge advantage that’s unrelated to her abilities.

    Are the only candidates fit for presidency orphans who eked out an existence on the street from birth only to rise through the ranks?

    GW Bush is the son of a wealthy east-coast politician and president. His grandfather was a senator and also wealthy. Should we say “show me one thing GW has achieved that isn’t attributable to the massive headstart he got in life by being born rich and famous”? How far back do you go?

    I don’t think you can judge anyone in isolation, we’re all products of our environment and the opportunities afforded to us.

    But this line of reasoning is another silly game wingers are playing to pre-emptively assuage themselves when Hillary wins. Saying she doesn’t “deserve” to be President will make them feel that it’s not their own fault for losing (i.e. they don’t need to change their party, in any way).

    It’s like the whole “we would have won Vietnam/Iraq if not for the pesky liberals” line they’re already trotting out. Sully pointed this out yesterday – that there is nothing a Republican can ever do that’s wrong.

    This is a fundamental flaw in the current party. Inability to change course, admit wrongdoing, flaws, incorrect strategies or tactics will not lead to continued success unless you are actually right 100% of the time. And clearly the current Republicans are not right even 1% of the time. So keep at it guys.

  34. 34
    Jinchi says:

    Is Hawkins actually arguing that ownership of a company never passes from father to son or husband to wife?

  35. 35
    tBone says:

    And that’s just what she accomplished when Bill was not President. You also need to ignore everything she accomplished while he was – which includes getting many legislative initiatives through a very hostile Congress, by learning how to work effectively with people who hated her a series of torrid, coked-up lesbian affairs and the murder of Vince Foster and countless others.

    Fixed for truthiness.

    While I’m not a big fan of Hillary’s, her presidency would be a goldmine of awesome new paranoid fantasies from Wingnuttia.

  36. 36
    ThymeZone says:

    HRC is not anybody’s “bitty.” She is clearly her own person.

    I’m not really a fan, but she has earned my respect.

  37. 37
    Sirkowski says:

    You guys all seem to forget the essential. Hillary choked David Koresh with her bare hands!

  38. 38
    Primigeius says:

    Thank you, John. You’ve given me my first belly-laugh of the day. Fantastic.

  39. 39
    Brachiator says:

    I am not going to say too much about this, because I am going to go out on a limb and bet this is one of the most widely cited stories by the end of the day. There is no need to point out Hillary’s long list of accomplishments, something I can acknowledge even though I really don’t like her much. I will, however, say this- Hawkins is on to something. If only more of us, a few years back, had asked the following:

    John Hawkins has a point, albeit a minor one. Although I would vote for Hillary over any Republican candidate, I don’t think that her list of accomplishments is either long or distinguished, because none of it was achieved in any elective office. I have a strong bias against anyone who wants to become president whose past experience was primarily as a policy wonk or advisor (and I would probably never vote for someone for president who was previously any variety of clergy, but that’s another story).

    Hillary may be the beneficiary of a common sentiment that a married woman is often the “power behind the thrown,” and must magically be as competent as her husband. This, along with the name recognition that the wife of a political official has, is what has traditionally allowed relative non-entities like Mary Bono, Jo Ann Emerson, Lois Capps, and Doris Matsui to be elected to public office following the deaths of their husbands. But with Hillary, this is the first time that a variation of this tradition has been the foundation of an attempt by a spouse to succeed her living and vital husband to as high an office as the presidency.

    By the way, Nancy Pelosi worked her way up through the ranks of various Democratic Party jobs, but her Congressional career was jump-started when she became the hand-picked successor to Sala Burton, who ironically had been elected to Congress to succeed her husband, Phil Burton, who had died in 1983.

    Then there is also the weird semi-feminist incantation that a “strong, powerful woman” can and should be allowed to do anything, without regard to her actual abilities for a particular job. Ms Clinton has shown some good stuff as the senator from New York, but I think she lacks her husband’s political instincts, and certainly lacks his charisma, qualities which helped Bill outmaneuver his political adversaries time and again, and actually do some good for the country. She may well be smarter than Bill Clinton, but running for president of the United States is not an IQ contest. Ask Adlai “Egghead” Stevenson.

    Of course, some are hoping that a Hillary victory would see the return of Bill as a senior council or, gasp, even Vice President. I put my money on a Supreme Court appointment. This would really make the wingnuts’ heads spin.

    That said, Hillary clearly has a stronger record than some of the GOP candidates, especially single-term Governor Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani (being mayor of New York does not make you an International Man of Mystery).

    And conservatives conveniently forget that they tried to get around Dubya’s appalling ignorance of, well, just about everything, by suggesting that he had either absorbed political acumen by sitting on his daddy’s knee, been granted kingly wisdom by baby Jesus, had been personally tutored by Condi Rice, or didn’t really need to know nuthin’ cause he would be surrounded by really smart people like Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld.

  40. 40
    SpotWeld says:

    Conversely, if you wanted to find someone with the most formidable list of personal accomplishments as a possible president… well I guess that would be Al Gore?

  41. 41
    Cuzco says:

    Just to play Devil’s Advocate, let me ask what would those accomplishments be? And in my role as Devil’s Advocate, I have to point out that if you want to show that her accomplishments weren’t dependent on her husband you should only list those that took place before Bill was elected president.

    Hillary is undoubtedly benefiting from her marriage to Bill, but the question could easily be inverted. Would Bill Clinton ever have become president without Hillary’s help?

    My impression of their relationship is that they have always been true equals in terms if intelligence, drive and accomplishment. They have never been examples of the “traditional marriage” where wifey stays home baking cookies and pumping out babies while hubby goes off and conquers the world.

    Bill is a very skilled politician, to be sure, but how much of that skill was honed on the sharp mind of his wife? I think Hillary played a major role in Bill’s success. If, instead of marrying Hillary, he had opted for someone less intelligent and less challenging, he may never have become governor, much less president.

    I’m sort of luke warm on Hillary, primarily because of her excruciatingly careful responses to questions. But I realize she kind of has to be. She’s the firsy woman in our country’s history who has a serious shot at the presidency and that brings with it an enormous amount of pressure/ingrained sexual biases that simply don’t exist for male candidates.

    Things change when you become the the boss though and I think a lot of that hedging will get tossed in the trash if she is elected. I have no doubt that she will hit the ground running.

    As a voter, her marriage to Bill though is actually a huge plus for me. I can think of no other person more qualified to serve as America’s roving ambassador, traveling the world repairing all the damage caused by W and his merry band of imbeciles.

  42. 42
    r€nato says:

    well, this thread reminds me of a story I’ve told before – perhaps (hopefully) not here.

    Back in 1998, during the height of the epidemic of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, my ex-father, his girlfriend and I were at dinner. Ex-father pops off with the following comment:

    “You know what I can’t stand about Clinton? He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had everything handed to him.”

    Barely able to suppress hysterical laughter, I told him that actually Bill Clinton was born poor white trash and had pulled himself up by his own bootstraps.

    Well, ex-father never believes a word that I say (because I’m usually right and that grates on him tremendously), so he was ready to contemptuously dismiss what I had said until his girlfriend piped in and affirmed that it was true.

    Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to remind him of what he said about Clinton, when George W. Bush became a candidate for the presidency.

  43. 43
    John Cole says:

    One major selling point for Hillary for me (and I still have not made up my mind yet, but I have to deal with the idea of Hillary as the Democratic candidate), and I will probably post about this in more depth at a later date, is that this country needs someone who hates Republicans in the White House. And I mean really hates ’em.

    Any other year, I would very seriously consider the genial Fred Thompson, or even think about Romney or Paul as possible candidates. But not now.

    After the past 8 years, this country and our political institutions need a domestic de-Ba’athification. We need to get rid of the neo-con sleeper cells at State, CIA, the Pentagon, and in the judiciary. We need to get the Liberty U. grads out of FDA, NASA, and government. We need a purge of the corrosive influences that Bush and his minions have thrown into all aspects of our current government.

    I don’t like the idea of Hillary as president. I don’t like the idea of her wielding all the new executive powers Bush and company have created/discovered. At the same time, I can’t think of anyone more suited to the job of seeking out and destroying the Bush remnants and dead-enders in government come 2009. I want Waxman up the GOP’s ass with a baseball bat, flashlight, and a handful of suppoenas. I want Kennedy and Leahy to have freee reign to look into and prosecute past abuses. I want someone who aggressively hates the GOP in there.

    Hillary is that person. Obama can bring us all together in 2016.

  44. 44
    jake says:

    By the way, Nancy Pelosi worked her way up through the ranks of various Democratic Party jobs, but her Congressional career was jump-started when she became the hand-picked successor to Sala Burton, who ironically had been elected to Congress to succeed her husband, Phil Burton, who had died in 1983.

    You could (if you wanted to “think” like Hawkins) argue that the fact her dad was a congressman, and later Mayor of Bal’more, gave her an unfair advantage.

  45. 45
    jcricket says:

    “You know what I can’t stand about Clinton? He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had everything handed to him.”

    Like your conclusion states, this assertion (often pointed at liberals) is never applies to conservatives, who have equal if not greater dynastic/wealth pedigrees.

    I’ll never get how the Republicans, who revere wealth, investments, status, etc. manage to stay so “teflon” when it comes to their own phony images as “men of the people”.

  46. 46
    jcricket says:

    You could (if you wanted to “think” like Hawkins) argue that the fact her dad was a congressman, and later Mayor of Bal’more, gave her an unfair advantage.

    How many other people see Republicans as the villians in a Scooby Doo cartoon that always say

    “And we would have won the presidency if not for you pesky voters/global warming/evolution/Iraq/the economy/lack of funding/too much funding/reality”

  47. 47
    r€nato says:

    I want Waxman up the GOP’s ass with a baseball bat, flashlight, and a handful of suppoenas. I want Kennedy and Leahy to have freee reign to look into and prosecute past abuses. I want someone who aggressively hates the GOP in there.

    John, I agree with everything you wrote… most especially the above… except your conclusion. Do you really think Hillary is more likely to seek and destroy Gooper moles and criminals… or is she more likely to do as her husband did, and keep cutting overly-pragmatic deals with Republicans?

    Something the GOP will never acknowledge, is that they never had it so good under an opposition presidency as they did with Bill in the WH.

  48. 48
    r€nato says:

    Any other year, I would very seriously consider the genial Fred Thompson, or even think about Romney or Paul as possible candidates. But not now.

    Fred Thompson? Seriously?

    You’ve come a long way, John… but still have some distance to go. I can’t understand why anyone would vote for Thompson under any circumstances. The guy is a dim bulb and all he has going for him is his geniality and faux ‘folksiness’. Plus, people like the characters he plays on teevee and so they think that’s who Fred Thompson is in real life.

    There’s no there, there. He has no intellectual heft. I can’t tell what he stands for, other than the quixotic wishes of Republicans for another Ronald Reagan to come along. And when it comes to comparing Thompson to Reagan, Thompson is very, very, very weak tea – a pale shadow of what Reagan was.

    (and no, I didn’t and don’t approve of Reagan’s presidency, but I am not so blinded by partisanship that I can’t see that the guy had beliefs, practical political experience and charisma)

  49. 49
    J. Lynne says:

    I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton; it has nothing to do with her gender and everything to do with her politics.

    I wanted to get back to the original idea in the post.

    If a CEO of a fortune 500 company were to retire, would anyone seriously consider his wife to be an adequate replacement simply because she was married to him when he ran the company? What about a Super Bowl winning football team? What do you think the reaction of their fans would be if their coach’s wife was being seriously discussed as his replacement?

    The fact is that Argentina just elected it’s first woman president who was the previous president’s First Lady. Plus there are plenty of examples of the wives of Congressmen taking over the positions of their husbands here in the U.S. and not just for the remainder of that term but to be re-elected time and time again. Plenty of wives take over their husband’s businesses too.

    I find the statement highly unenlightened. So what if these women only came into their positions because of their husbands? That only means that they were underestimated and undervalued for far too long and finally they have the chance to prove themselves and they are doing so successfully, sometimes far better than their husbands ever did. It’s a shame they had to lose their husbands to become liberated and accomplished.

    And honestly, most of those men wouldn’t be as successful in those positions without a woman supporting him.

  50. 50
    Andrew says:

    Hillary is that person. Obama can bring us all together in 2016.

    jesus. you are a moonbat leftard now.

    I say that as a lifelong democrat.

  51. 51
    liberal says:

    renato wrote,

    Do you really think Hillary is more likely to seek and destroy Gooper moles and criminals… or is she more likely to do as her husband did, and keep cutting overly-pragmatic deals with Republicans?

    That’s not my chief worry about whether Hillary’s willing to clean house.

    Mine is that she’s probably way too pro-Likud to truly go after the neocons.

  52. 52
    VidaLoca says:

    John,

    I agree with your premise on “de-Baathification”. If these people are not driven from public office and public life forever, the malignancy will persist. Those that can’t be convicted should at least be completely discredited (and still they’ll be back — it’ll just take longer).

    But where does your conclusion that Hillary is the person to lead such an effort come from? Through the span of her career as a lawyer, a policy wonk and a senator it seems to me that her central instinct and training has been as a compromiser — not a leader, not a combatant. Sure she’s got a lot of scores to settle but if you think that she’ll collect on a debt the way Tony Soprano would collect on a debt — I don’t see it.

  53. 53
    VidaLoca says:

    … and furthermore, what Renato said.

  54. 54
    jake says:

    Fred Thompson? Seriously?

    I believe this opinion piece by Mr. Thompson explains why.

  55. 55
    jcricket says:

    But where does your conclusion that Hillary is the person to lead such an effort come from?

    One, while I don’t think Hillary will lead the charge in terms of investigations, but Waxman, Leahy, et.al. will relish the chance to go after any and every bit of Republican malfeasance. If they’re smart they won’t listen to the Broderites and their faux concern about “criminalizing politics” (something Republicans seem not to understand they have done quite well).

    Second, to John’s other point, Hillary won’t appoint moronic no-talent unqualified religios nut-jobs to run the critical government agencies – that goes for everything from the CIA, FBI, NSA, NASA, FDA and so on. These agencies won’t suddenly be perfect.

    Third, any Democrat will restore some fiscal sanity (I’m being completely serious) by just supporting the notion that services cost money, and the government should collect taxes to cover those costs. Plus perhaps the priorities will shift to what they should (healthcare, science funding, eduction) not just “WARWARWARWARWARWARWAR”)

    Combine those three effects and pretty much any Democrat to the left of Specter will do a huge favor to this country.

    Hillary’s not some liberal savior, I have no illusions about that. But the idea that she’s just a “shade” different is poppycock.

  56. 56
    VidaLoca says:

    jcricket,

    All we’ve seen so far from

    Waxman, Leahy, et.al.

    has been have been press conferences and threatening letters. It may be that they don’t have their committees behind them, it may be that Reid and Pelosi have them on a short leash, it may be that they only want to appear to be doing something rather than actually doing it. No matter the reason, I have a hard time being confident that it will change just because the Democrats control the White House. If they aren’t interested in doing anything now, what’s going to make them get interested?

    Meanwhile it goes without saying that the President appoints the AG, which is where the criminal chages come from. IOW, no enthusiasm for prosecution in the Executive Branch means that most prosecutions don’t take place.

  57. 57
    Delia says:

    I recall one rumor back in the distant days of the 2000 campaign, those days of yore when Georgie was a compassionate conservative. It held that the Wise Men of the GOP had actually wanted to anoint the Smarter Younger Brother (Jebby) as the Heir To The Throne, but that there was some concern that certain marital infidelities (possibly with the beauteous Katherine Harris) wouldn’t go over so well just after they’d done the whole big thing over the Blue Dress Scandal. Apparently way back then the Goopers had some residual sense of shame, now long forgotten.

  58. 58
    Jess says:

    In terms of practical experience vs. (or in conjunction with) her ties to the former president, I don’t see HRC’s position as all that different from that of former vice-presidents running for president. I get particularly annoyed at the “dynasty” argument being applied to HRC–she is not a Clinton in a dynastic sense; she is a Rodham, and only changed her name to appease the traditionalists.

    She should be judged on her experience, her accomplishments, and what she would bring to the White House. All of those criteria overlap with her marriage to Bill Clinton and therefore that should be considered a part of the package. Do we want someone with such close ties to Bill Clinton or not? Do we want someone who actively participated in the running of the country in the Clinton administration or not? Do we want someone with her particular brand of center-left pragmatic politics or not? It’s silly to be parsing the symbolism of her stint as First Lady–it’s a part of her resume and we should judge it as a part of what shaped her as a political leader. Just because we haven’t had to analyze a candidate in these terms before doesn’t mean we can’t figure out how to do it now.

  59. 59
    craigie says:

    I want someone who aggressively hates the GOP in there.

    Hillary is that person. Obama can bring us all together in 2016.

    Truly, spoken like a man who wants to see his country save itself from extinction.

  60. 60
    jcricket says:

    If they aren’t interested in doing anything now, what’s going to make them get interested?

    I’m for wall-to-wall investigations (along with legislation passing) – there’s tons of malfeasance and crime to uncover. And unlike then $75 million Whitewater and Ken Starr boondoggles, if Dems were to spend even $10 million investigating what Bush has done for the past 8 years would lead to hundreds of convictions/pleas and continued fallout for the Republicans for the next 5-10 years (if not longer). Just look at all the federal agencies he’s stuffed with cronies, the documentation he’s trying to hide, the collusion with industry on policy, “state secrets” on torture, etc.

    I think some of this stuff takes longer than we’d expect, and unfortunately, the American public has short attention spans. Also, if you investigate too much right away, they unfairly assume you’re just being vindictive (as opposed to it being indicative of their being a whole mess of crime). I expect that when the “levee” of information breaks against Bush, you’ll start seeing a virtual tidal wave of indictments

    My general point is, having Dems across the board will at least potentially embolden congressional Dems, and eliminate the threat of WH veto as an issue.

    Second, the WH has been withholding massive amounts of information, or perhaps attempting to destroy it (see those 5 million emails). Any Repub in the WH will continue that legacy, or at least attempt to bury anything Bush did. Whereas the opposite will be true with any Dem in the WH.

    Lastly, Having a Republican in office means that much more fighting to try and get anything passed, let alone attention on investigations.

  61. 61
    Splitting Image says:

    I’m not much of a Clinton fan, but if her husband hadn’t been President, I’d say she was not much different from Elizabeth Dole or Tipper Gore. I’d sooner vote for Hillary Clinton than either of those two.

    However, because Bill Clinton has been President, Hillary’s candidacy produces a problem no other woman has: the term limits. Clinton supporters tend to argue that the “office” of First Lady is actually an integral part of the Presidency (and therefore a good thing to have on her resume). This has probably always been true, and Clinton certainly expanded the role and made it more visible, but in this respect what she did was identical to what Dick Cheney did to the vice-presidency.

    Now in theory there is nothing wrong with using your influence as First Lady to achieve things you want done, but the term limits for the Presidency were put in place to limit the time that any one person could spend in the White House. Allowing the same couple to spend another eight years in office simply by switching roles seems to be a way to get around those limits. The more someone argues that the First Lady is an integral part of the government, the more I start to feel that someone who has served the full two terms in one office shouldn’t be allowed to run for the other.

    And to bring the point home, it isn’t really Clinton that makes me feel this way, it’s Dick Cheney. There has always been the idea that a Vice-President is entitled to run for the big job when his running mate leaves, but Cheney makes me wonder if that practise shouldn’t be outlawed. Officially, Cheney could run for President in 2008 and serve until 2016, but is there any doubt that despite his and Bush’s official titles, Dick Cheney has been the actual sitting President since 2000? If that’s the case, then the intent of the term limits is to stop him running again, and even though Hillary Clinton is a much less odious personality, I think the intent is to stop her getting back into the White House as well.

    To me, the only upside to Clinton’s candidacy is that it may bring these issues to a head and force the government to define the roles and limitations of both the Vice President and the First Lady. I have no problem with their roles being expanded if they are barred from running again after eight years, but if they are both going to be considered as stepping stones to the Presidency, then it has to be made clear that they are not equivalent to the Presidency itself.

    If this isn’t done, then the next Dick Cheney to come along will be angling for the office of First Lady rather than the Presidency itself, since the First Lady’s duties are even more nebulous and less restrained by the Constitution than those of the Vice-Presidency.

  62. 62
    Brachiator says:

    One major selling point for Hillary for me (and I still have not made up my mind yet, but I have to deal with the idea of Hillary as the Democratic candidate), and I will probably post about this in more depth at a later date, is that this country needs someone who hates Republicans in the White House. And I mean really hates ‘em…

    Is your vision of the future of this country really of Hillary Clinton as some kind of fembot Richard Nixon lumbering through the White House with an Enemies List, settling grudges?

    I think that our current neo-conservative nightmare was nurtured by lingering Clinton hatred, which expanded into the fetid notion that anything which could be labeled “Democrat” or “liberal” was both un-American and un-godly.

    Meanwhile the country has real problems and real enemies. The Republicans thought that they could sit back and remake the country at leisure, treating the rest of the world like a whipped dog awaiting our pleasure, a fatal blindness that contributed in part to what happened on 911.

    The world is not going to stand still while a newly-elected president does a Michael Corleone on the GOP. We need a president who will be able to deal with the damage that Bush as caused, not one who is just trying to get even.

  63. 63
    fishbane says:

    There’s a really great comment over there:

    The MacBeth Clintons are NOT “Married.” They are a revolutionary cadre, a dyadic cell whose
    purpose is to reverse the Reagan Revolution. We have a near military civil war in USA now. It is acted out in our politics. I disagree with John Hawkins’ basic premise: No, Hillary Rodham studied Marxist revolutionary tactics and strategy at Wellesley College under her tutor, Saul Alinksy, just as a cadet at West Point studies military strategy. This person is no less and no more than a radical communist revolutionary fighter like Che Guevara. Her opposing number is, say, Oliver North. The work that Bill Clinton and she are carrying out is a mission in service of the Marxist Revolution. Once this fact is accepted soberly then factors like their sexual behaviors become understandable from a revolutionary standpoint: The traditional family is to be replaced by what she calls her, “Village,” concept. His sexual predation, as well as her ambiguous persona, work to corrupt on purpose the collective sexual imagination of the American masses. This is done on purpose in the work of deconstruction of the received American culture. But what we have here regarding the use of sex for revolutionary politics is just one factor. We haven’t assessed the organization of a secret police intended to bully and intimidate reporters, victims, political opponents, and the Republican Party. No, this person, Hillary Rodham, is what she is, and what she is is a dangerous person, for whom the Marxist utopian ends justify the means, any means, and I mean, any means, is justified for these ends. Media and legal strategies exist to combat this cadre, but they must be used. Negotiation is impossible with the Clinton Revo Org just as it is impossible with Ayman Al Zawariri and Al Q.

    I really, really hope this is parody, but suspect it isn’t. It reads like a checklist from the entire 90’s, all condensed into one small post, assuming one will overlook the absence of Vince Foster. (Hey, he might have needed that bit of paper to take down a number of the local Builderburger Society, or something.)

    Or possibly, this person just leaked the long-fabled to exist Jonah Goldberg manuscript. Damn copyright infringers.

  64. 64
    rachel says:

    Wow, fishbane, that is some grade-A prime crazy you found there. I hope it’s a parody, too, but sadly there are some people (like my dad) who really believe this BS. I think in his case it’s partly oxygen deprivation due to heart disease, partly those cranks he hangs out with, and partly Fox News.

  65. 65
    Cuzco says:

    I don’t think GOP purges will be Hillary’s main focus. There is already a significant chunk of the public who thinks she’s a complete bitch and I very much doubt she wants to push more people into that camp.

    I see her appointing competant people to many high level positions but leaving any GOP “de ba’athification” up to her appointees’ discretion.

    This is a complete fantasy, but I think the single most effective thing Hillary (or any democratic president for that matter) could do to obliterate the GOP would be to issue a “presidential records” executive order mandating that all, presidential (and vice presidential) records, not directly related to clandestine intelligence operations, become public domain at the end of every 4 year term.

    Opening the doors on the Bush administration’s secrets would eliminate the need for Congress to waste it’s time with endless hearings. If the press, bloggers, historians and the public had access to the complete record of the Bush administration, it would be disgraced more quickly and more completely than Congress could ever do.

  66. 66
    Cuzco says:

    There’s a really great comment over there: …

    Yikes! That guy has really worked himself up into a lather. Sounds like “pre-assassination” talk. The FBI might want to keep an eye on that nut.

  67. 67

    We can therefore assume this numbnuts thinks Elizabeth Dole is a shitty senator, no?

  68. 68
    Beej says:

    When I was in law school (back in the dark ages) there was only one female law professor on the faculty. She was thoroughly disliked by a substantial majority of both male and female students who did, however, grudglingly admit that she “knew her stuff”. The most common complaints were that she was extremely demanding, abrasive, overly agressive, and arrogant.

    I, being somewhat older than most of my classmates, one day asked a young man who was loudly complaining about this female professor what he thought of one of the best-liked of all the male professors. He proceeded to tell me that this man was wonderful because he insisted on a student’s best efforts and would not settle for just okay, that the professor was passionate about the law and determined that students would feel the same passion even if he had to occasionally browbeat them into it (at this point my classmate laughed indulgently), and, best of all, the male professor was confident enough in his own intellectual abilities to let students see his occasional frustration with the legal and educational systems.

    My reply was to summarize what he had told me into this: So you’re saying he’s demanding, abrasive, agressive, and arrogant, right? My classmate thought about it for a minute and then admitted that was exactly what he was saying.

    Hillary Clinton is all of the above. Why is it great, good, and wonderful, perceived as strength and purpose when a man is all of those things and terrible, frightening, and deceptive, perceived as coldness and phoniness when a women is all of those things? Just asking.

  69. 69
    tBone says:

    Why is it great, good, and wonderful, perceived as strength and purpose when a man is all of those things and terrible, frightening, and deceptive, perceived as coldness and phoniness when a women is all of those things? Just asking.

    If a guy is is “demanding, abrasive, aggressive and arrogant,” I don’t think it shows strength and purpose – I think it shows that he’s an asshole. If a woman is all of those things, I don’t think it makes her cold and phony – it makes her an asshole.

    So I would reframe your question as “Why do male assholes get more leeway for their shitty behavior than female assholes?” Unfortunately I don’t have a good answer for you.

  70. 70
    tBone says:

    Reading that back, the phrasing on that question is kind of unfortunate. I shouldn’t post this late at night.

  71. 71
    Jay says:

    I want someone who aggressively hates the GOP in there.

    Hillary is that person. Obama can bring us all together in 2016.

    Actually, John, my worry is that Hillary is too centrist to be much good here, although I concede that she might just be putting up a good front.

    For someone who will be scheduling firing squads against the White House wall come January 21, 2009, my money is on Edwards.

  72. 72
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    But where does your conclusion that Hillary is the person to lead such an effort come from?

    I second that. Is someone who tried to ban flag-burning and bought the neocon rationale for war hook, line, and sinker the person to weed out wingnut idiocy once they reach the White House?

    Obviously the right-wing hates Hillary, but does she hate them back? And does she welcome their hatred, like FDR did?

    For equivalence, should we also ask for George W. Bush’s list of accomplishments before George H. W. Bush became President?

    The answer to that, of course, is none. But are we saying that since things worked out so well under Bush, we should keep electing presidents who have little experience? (No, Hillary Clinton is not the “next” W)

    From the Wikepedia entry on Hillary Clinton:

    That’s pretty thin, right there. Remember: if you want to drive a stake into the heart of the “Hillary only got where she is because she was married to a president” line, you have to provide a long list of accomplishments that happened before her husband became president. And Hillary simply can not boast such a list. Maybe she could have if she hadn’t married Bill, but c’est la vie.

    I feel for people who think Hillary isn’t getting a fair shake because she’s a woman. But how does it advance women’s place in America to elect someone about whom it can legitimately be said she only got where she is because she married a future president?

    Hey, if someone likes Hillary, and wants to vote for her, go ahead (and if you want the US Army to stay in Iraq until 2013, then definitely vote for her). Just don’t claim that she has a “lot of accomplishments that have nothing to do with Bill” and is “highly qualified to be president”.

  73. 73
    jake says:

    Maybe the question should be: Which past presidents were qualified (as measured by accomplishments, if you like) before they got into office?

  74. 74
    ATS says:

    Bill’s Bitty or Betty Battenberg*? Your choice.

    * ER II

  75. 75
    jcricket says:

    I know it’s not really fair game to find the nutty commenters and hold them up as any kind of Party representation, but I had to address this:

    We haven’t assessed the organization of a secret police intended to bully and intimidate reporters, victims, political opponents, and the Republican Party.

  76. 76
    jcricket says:

    Crap, hit submit. What I meant to add/comment was:

    Do you like how this so neatly describes exactly what is happening right now, but just reverse the party.

    Well funded attack groups (Swift boat, etc), Malkin’s “crack investigation squad” being sic’ed on Graeme Frost and family, Bill O’Reilly pushing his “supporters” to protest Redacted, Rush attempting to smear Michael J Fox, Rove/Snow suggesting that lawyers not defend people in Gitmo.

    Then there’s the actual “secret police” torturing people in Gitmo, rendering people to prisons around the world, locking up American citizens (Padilla) forever and torturing them, then never charging them.

    It’s all projection, I tell you. And it increasingly worries me.

    It was one thing when the most virulent debate was about supply-side/trickle-down economics, or welfare recipients. Now the 75%nation is apparently all treasonous. While I’m not paranoid enough to think we’re in danger of actually being a police state, I think Republicans are moving farther towards authoritarianism with every passing day, not closer to their “old selves” (if they ever really were their old selves).

  77. 77
    Aaron says:

    Senator Clinton has been a fine and effective senator from new york garnering significant support from traditionally republican upstate new york for her work to invigorate the economy of the non-metro NYC area of the state.
    As a new yorker she’s been a fine senator, she just hasnt been a LEADER on the issues that I think are most important to me (constitutional issues, executive office malfeasance).

  78. 78
    Beej says:

    tBone,

    I would agree with you if that was my point, but it’s not. My point is that we see the exact same traits and behavior as being positive in men, but negative in women. If I were framing the description, I would have described both law professors as demanding of their students, able to be assertive and goading, and intellectually arrogant (in my experience, a trait which is shared by almost all law professors). Those traits have both positive and negative aspects, but I submit that we are more inclined to perceive the women who possesses such traits as exhibiting the negative while we are more likely to perceive the men as exhibiting the positive. And we are often unaware that our perception is skewed by gender.

  79. 79
    jenniebee says:

    She’s got all of the super-competency that makes us hate – just to pull a similarly-personalitied woman out of the hat – Martha Stewart. If Hillary had turned her attention to tea and cookies instead of law, she’d have created a tea and cookies empire stretching coast to coast, and possibly have major ownership of the Food channel. Instead, she’s all Watergate hearings and Opposing Counsel and scary shit like that. We forgive Martha (sort of)for being a super-competent woman because her public face is all homemade marshmallows and crocheted lace on bed linens. Men aren’t intimidated by women who spend hours on household trivia. Women are, but we’re supposed to be intimidated by basically everything, so that’s all right.

    Of course, if Hill was more of a Thatcher-style PowerChick – that is, if she was a conservative – her critics would not only mostly be looking the other way about everything they don’t like about her personality now, they’d be celebrating her to show just how “Big Tent” their party is.

  80. 80
    Circe says:

    well, since America is now following the third-world economic model, I think it makes sense. Countries like Argentina had Evita Peron and now Cristina Kirchner as First-Bitches-turned-Presidente and their economy still really sucks!

Comments are closed.