Sunday, November 04, 2007

The house of cards begins to collapse

Even a left-wing scumbag like Frank Rich understands that Mrs. Bill Clinton is a drag on her party:

But what happens if President Bush does not bomb Iran? That is good news for the world, but potentially terrible news for the Democrats. If we do go to war in Iran, the election will indeed be a referendum on the results, which the Republican Party will own no matter whom it nominates for president. But if we don’t, the Democratic standard-bearer will have to take a clear stand on the defining issue of the race. As we saw once again at Tuesday night’s debate, the front-runner, Hillary Clinton, does not have one.

[. . .]

There are signs that the steady invocation of new mushroom clouds is already having an impact as it did in 2002 and 2003. A Zogby poll last month found that a majority of Americans (52 percent) now supports a pre-emptive strike on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

In 2002 Senators Clinton, Biden, John Kerry, John Edwards and Chris Dodd all looked over their shoulders at such polls. They and the party’s Congressional leaders, Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt, voted for the Iraq war resolution out of the cynical calculation that it would inoculate them against charges of wussiness. Sure, they had their caveats at the time. They talked about wanting “to give diplomacy the best possible opportunity” (as Mr. Gephardt put it then). In her Oct. 10, 2002, speech of support for the Iraq resolution on the Senate floor, Mrs. Clinton hedged by saying, “A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war.”

We know how smart this strategic positioning turned out to be. Weeks later the Democrats lost the Senate.

This time around, with the exception of Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic candidates seem to be saying what they really believe rather than trying to play both sides against the middle. Only Mrs. Clinton voted for this fall’s nonbinding Kyl-Lieberman Senate resolution, designed by its hawk authors to validate Mr. Bush’s Iran policy. The House isn’t even going to bring up this malevolent bill because, as Nancy Pelosi has said, there has “never been a declaration by a Congress before in our history” that “declared a piece of a country’s army to be a terrorist organization.”

In 2002, the Iraq war resolution passed by 77 to 23. In 2007, Kyl-Lieberman passed by 76 to 22. No sooner did Mrs. Clinton cast her vote than she started taking heat in Iowa. Her response was to blur her stand. She abruptly signed on as the sole co- sponsor of a six-month-old (and languishing) bill introduced by the Virginia Democrat Jim Webb forbidding money for military operations in Iran without Congressional approval.

In Tuesday’s debate Mrs. Clinton tried to play down her vote for Kyl-Lieberman again by incessantly repeating her belief in “vigorous diplomacy” as well as the same sound bite she used after her Iraq vote five years ago. “I am not in favor of this rush for war,” she said, “but I’m also not in favor of doing nothing.”

Much like her now notorious effort to fudge her stand on Eliot Spitzer’s driver’s license program for illegal immigrants, this is a profile in vacillation. And this time Mrs. Clinton’s straddling stood out as it didn’t in 2002. That’s not because she was the only woman on stage but because she is the only Democratic candidate who has not said a firm no to Bush policy.

That leaves her in a no man’s — or woman’s — land. If Mr. Bush actually does make a strike against Iran, Mrs. Clinton will be the only leading Democrat to have played a cameo role in enabling it. If he doesn’t, she can no longer be arguing in the campaign crunch of fall 2008 that she is against rushing to war, because it would no longer be a rush. Her hand would be forced.

Mr. Biden got a well-deserved laugh Tuesday night when he said there are only three things in a Giuliani sentence: “a noun and a verb and 9/11.” But a year from now, after the public has been worn down by so many months more of effective White House propaganda, “America’s mayor” (or any of his similarly bellicose Republican rivals) will be offering voters the clearest possible choice, however perilous, about America’s future in the world.

Potentially facing that Republican may be a Democrat who is not in favor of rushing to war in Iran but, now as in 2002, may well be in favor of walking to war. In any event, she will not have been a leader in making the strenuous case for an alternative policy that defuses rather than escalates tensions with Tehran.

Noun + verb + 9/11 — also Mr. Bush’s strategy in 2004, lest we forget — would once again square off against a Democratic opponent who was for a pre-emptive war before being against it.

Mrs. Bill Clinton has spent her entire adult life having everything handed to her on a silver platter. The only thing she has done that could be considered "work" for anything she has is put up with her worthless cheating husband.

Ever since that worthless husband skated into the White House by having the good fortune to run against a Republican who had just spent the last four years proving that he wasn't a conservative Hillary has bungled every job she has attempted to do, except that of being a Senate candidate. And she only succeeded at that because her last name was Clinton.

She has spent her entire political life, from Arkansas to Washington to New York, without ever having to take responsibility for her actions. She has never been asked hard questions by a journalist or even by an opponent in a debate. Last week we saw why she has worked so hard for so long to avoid accountability. She can only function in an environment in which she is treated as an infallible sovereign.

The moment she encounters any resistance her natural response is vicious rage bordering on psychotic violence as even Clinton loyalists like Dee Dee Myres relates:

As first lady, Hillary Clinton had a habit of raging at even senior White House aides, hurling personal insults designed to belittle and humiliate them in front of their colleagues, according to former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers.

Myers lifted the lid on Mrs. Clinton's long rumored nasty temper in an amazingly candid interview with, which gathered the accounts of several former White House staffers to commemorate the end of the Clinton administration.

One vivid example cited by Myers was the internal administration debate over how to handle Whitewater. Myers, George Stephanopoulos and several others in the meeting favored turning all documents from the Clintons' controversial land deal over to the Washington Post.

But when Mrs. Clinton entered the room and demanded to know what was going on, everybody "clammed up."

"Mrs. Clinton wanted to know what was going on and she looked at George," reports Myers. "And George began to make the argument that we'd all been making and nobody backed him up. Nobody backed him up. Everyone just sat there and let George take the beating, you know.

"And Mrs. Clinton got really angry," said Myers. "She attacked George, which everyone knew was coming, which is why I guess nobody was willing to ride in there to the rescue.... Here were twelve people in the room who all basically agreed and only one of them was willing to stand up and tell her what she had asked. And that took a lot of courage."

Myers told ABC that when anyone tried to disagree with Mrs. Clinton, her temper could be vicious and more deliberately hurtful than even her husband's notorious purple rages.

"Anybody that stood up and tried to say this was a bad idea was, you know, smashed down and belittled, very personally," the Clinton loyalist revealed. "And I mean where I said the president didn't really attack people personally, Mrs. Clinton sometimes did."

The one-time Clinton spokeswoman said that White House staffers lived in fear of the first lady because her attacks sometimes wouldn't end when her temper tantrums subsided.

"Not only would she sort of humiliate you in front of your colleagues or whoever happened to be around," Myers said, "Hillary tended to kind of campaign against people behind their back, and that was certainly my experience."

"She was not happy with me, but she never confronted me. She would go call (then-White House chief of staff) Leon (Panetta) in and yell at him and then he'd have to call me in and say, 'Mrs. Clinton is really upset about X. You said Y, and she disagrees with that, and you know, she wants you to fix it,' or whatever."

Myers is the first Clinton loyalist to go public with charges that Mrs. Clinton would brutalize White House aides with her rages.

Previous accounts of Clinton's notorious temper were generally dismissed by mainstream reporters as the grumblings of disgruntled former employees.

Nearly two years ago, Hillary biographer Barbara Olson reported that White House counsel Abner Mikva was so incensed over Mrs. Clinton's conduct that he resigned after one profanity-laced upbraiding by the first lady.

Another Clinton biographer, Gail Sheehy -- who has spent hours with the first lady since the 1992 campaign -- wrote that Clinton seemed to be "in a perpetual state of suspended anger."

Once Hillary even tried to kick an Arkansas state trooper bodyguard who got in her way, according to Clinton biographer Christopher Andersen.

And one-time White House FBI agent Gary Aldrich reported in 1996 that junior White House staffers were ordered not to make eye contact with the first lady lest they anger her.

This is what lies behind the bizarre "Hillary cackle". Her handlers understand that being asked a question that she does not wish to be asked will drive Hillary into a black rage but that she dare not express that fury openly where the public can see it. So in order to be able to express some kind of emotion they taught her to laugh rather than lash out with an obscene tirade. This worked in that she has so far avoided screaming curses at a reporter while threatening to have her Secret Service detail "bury his body so deep that even God won't be able to find it", but there has been a price.

The price has been the speculation about what might be wrong with her. When she was first lady she could retreat from public view and hide behind the fact that she was not an elected official. However as a Senator and presidential candidate hiding is not going to be an option. So far she has been able to depend upon partisan reporters who want her to win to throw softballs and back off when they hear the cackle. That has changed.

As someone who has had some experience dealing with mentally ill people I can tell you that they do not just wake up one morning and decide to change their behavior. Hillary Clinton will not be able to alter her personality in the time frame of the current presidential campaign. She will also not be able to continue to hide her true nature as she is forced more and more to live under the media microscope of a presidential campaign.

Hillary's inability to take a stand on issues like drivers licenses for illegals and Iran is a symptom of her inability to cope with resistance or disagreement. Opponents on the Republican right can be (or at least so far have been) demonized with paranoid theories about "vast right wing conspiracies". However too many of the issues which will matter in the upcoming election are things which cut deeply across party lines, like national security and illegal immigration.

As Hillary increasingly finds herself faced with the need to take firm stands she will face increasing resistance. That resistance will bring forth the dark rage which is always simmering just beneath the surface no matter how calm she seems on the outside. The internal tensions will only grow worse and the resulting meltdowns will only grow more severe.

Campaign 2008 is a long and bumpy road and Hillary is driving a truck loaded with nitroglycerin. The odds that she will make it to the finish line without a tremendous explosion are slim indeed.