Who’s She Fighting?

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I just read these very good points from Georgie Anne Geyer:

. . . [Hillary’s] mantra now is, ‘I am a fighter. I am a fighter.’ Very well, but what exactly does that mean?

Does that mean she is fighting the Republicans? It does not appear so, not when she says so unnervingly for her party that Republican candidate John McCain is eminently capable of being commander in chief, but that her fellow Democrat Barack Obama, supposedly for lack of her pugnacity and his purported “lack of experience,” is not.

She is a fighter against Democrats — men and women who essentially believe in the same precepts and principles as she does. So the fighter mantra comes down to merely a struggle to advance her own intense and often reckless ambition.

Obama made the point. ‘She had the view that what’s required is simply to fight,” he said, referring to her doomed healthcare plan of the ’90s. ‘And Sen. Clinton ended up fighting not just the insurance companies and the drug companies, but also members of her own party.’

Check out the rest of her article in its entirety:

LEADERSHIP IS OBAMA’S BEST QUALITY

By Georgie Anne GeyerMon Mar 10, 7:57 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Did I miss something? I thought we, the American people, wanted something different in a presidential candidate this time. Someone civil, decent, cultured. An intelligent moderate and not someone who swaggered around like a hound dog in heat. A man or woman who would do us proud on the world stage.

That was the way it was presented to us when the campaign started a year or so ago, but now that higher version of ourselves seems to be falling to vulgar bits. After initial defeats to the elegant Obama, the angry Hillary has bounded back with an almost savage energy, and we, the American people, were impressed enough with her “toughness” to give her three state primary victories in a row, not knowing what that quality would really represent in a president.

Obama was “unprepared” to be commander in chief of the United States, the tough and commanding Hillary declared. Obama was unprepared for the crisis of the nuclear call at 3 a.m., her ads did more than insinuate. Obama’s advisers even began publicly advising him to “change his tone” and to “fight back,” lest he lose the lower ground to which she had so deliberately carried the discussion.

He rightly answered: “The question is not about picking up the phone. The question is what kind of judgment will you make when you answer?” To which the always impressive Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, commented, “What matters most in the Oval Office is sound judgment and decisive action. It’s about getting it right on crucial national security questions the first time — and every time.”

But that is not what Hillary is talking about these unpleasant, unnecessary days. Her mantra now is, “I am a fighter. I am a fighter.” Very well, but what exactly does that mean?

Does that mean she is fighting the Republicans? It does not appear so, not when she says so unnervingly for her party that Republican candidate John McCain is eminently capable of being commander in chief, but that her fellow Democrat Barack Obama, supposedly for lack of her pugnacity and his purported “lack of experience,” is not.

She is a fighter against Democrats — men and women who essentially believe in the same precepts and principles as she does. So the fighter mantra comes down to merely a struggle to advance her own intense and often reckless ambition.

Obama made the point. “She had the view that what’s required is simply to fight,” he said, referring to her doomed healthcare plan of the ’90s. “And Sen. Clinton ended up fighting not just the insurance companies and the drug companies, but also members of her own party.”

What’s more, Hillary Clinton’s insinuations about Obama’s supposed inexperience are quite perversely amusing, when you come down to it (and if you have a sense of humor left). When you look back at Bill Clinton’s eight years, they were years of almost unmitigated disaster for foreign policy.

Under his commanding leadership, we helped Russia “democratize,” a series of disastrous interventions that led directly to the new anti-American autocracy today; the White House sent a directive to Somalia to go after the head chieftain there, ending in the tragic death of Americans and the end of the Somali mission. Bill Clinton sent a ship to Haiti to solve problems there, and had it turn around and leave when it saw hoodlums on the dock.

And, of course, it took years of disaster in the Balkans — the Balkans, THE totemic case study of the 1990s, remember — before Bill Clinton moved to take any action at all in 1995 with the Dayton Accords and 1999 with the bombing of Serbia and the freeing of Kosovo.

As for Hillary’s other big foreign policy question — should an American president speak to undesirable foreign leaders? — that one, too, is grossly unfair to Obama. He has said that, yes, he would personally negotiate, but so did Richard Nixon (and that Metternich of Metternichs, Henry Kissinger) with China, with extraordinary success.

The question in foreign policy is not to have a president who sets rigid parameters, but one who is a “universalist,” who understands the mentalities at work in the peoples and leaders of the world, realistically, and who thus knows what will work and what will not. Obama has that crucial capacity, one that escaped even the great FDR and Churchill in World War II: Their problems with Joseph Stalin began, historians have told me, when they misdiagnosed him as a malleable interlocutor instead of a vicious paranoid, when they began to call him “Uncle Joe.”

As the man I would choose as having these capacities above all others, former Secretary of State James Baker III, said, “There’s no such thing as presidential experience outside of the office itself.” The quality we ought to seek, he went on, “is leadership.”

That is a quality that Obama has, and one that he embellishes with his sometimes aloof style, but also with his refusal to get down and dirty with some of his less discerning opponents. Leadership is not fighting whatever gets in your precious way at any moment. It is exemplifying and embodying an entire set of profound American principles and beliefs and giving such expression to them on the international stage that other peoples will want to be more, and not less, like us.

Isn’t it strange that, as the campaign gets more unpleasant — and, Good Lord Almighty, save us, we’ve still got more than seven months of it left! — Hillary sounds, looks and acts more and more like a classic demagogue, in fact, more like the man she would replace. One can almost hear her replaying George W.’s attitude of anytime, anyplace, at any cost.

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08

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