Markos Moulitsas, better known as Kos, has taken to the pages of the Washington Post to tell the world why Hillary Clinton is a dud of a presidential candidate. After reading his column, I have to say that I share an intense dislike of Hillary as a candidate and will not vote for her in any Democratic primary. However, I think Kos’ reasoning in dissing her is all wet.
He seems to have a bug up his tush on a few matters that seem mostly irrelevant to the matter at hand. Why in attacking Hillary is it necessary to attack Bill as well? I’m sorry but I don’t see his presidency as a failure (except for his sexual peccadilloes) and see no reason to fault him for not being liberal enough. I’m not one who believes that a Democratic president must be a dyed in the wool liberal.
One of Kos’ primary arguments against her seems to be that as a candidate she’s not Howard Dean. And why does Kos use Howard Dean as the benchmark of what a presidential campaign should be? At one point, he even makes this odd claim:
Had Kerry not lent himself millions to reach the Iowa caucuses, and had Dean not been so green a candidate, Dean probably would have been the nominee.
Wasn’t that the entire reason why his campaign imploded? It’s like saying: “If I’d only learned to drive I wouldn’t have had that terrible accident.” Sure, you would’ve gotten where you were going safely if you knew how to drive. But why were you driving in the first place?
Kos attacks Hillary for being dim about the potential of the internet to move political campaigns. Naturally, he’d take this as a personal affront since he sees himself as the doyenne of web politics. I too feel that candidates must absorb the lessons of Howard Dean in future electoral campaigns. But at this early date–to say that her lack of a sophisticated internet campaign is a crucial factor in evaluating how effective she’d be as a candidate–seems way premature.
He claims that two crucial features Clinton lacks are outsider status and leadership. I, for one, don’t feel that being an outsider gives any Democrat a leg up in the campaign. We have an outsider in the White House right now. Look how well he’s done. A Democratic insider could do quite well as a candidate and president as long as he or she maintained a fierce independent streak. And as for the issue of leadership, here I agree with Kos. Hillary’s leadership, such as it is, has led in the wrong direction. She’s an Iraq hawk, a xenophobic opponent of the Dubai ports deal, a hardline supporter of Israel who shows no concern or consideration for the Palestinians, and she’s shown no leadership around issues of civil liberties, spying and torture. That’s why I won’t support her.
And as if we didn’t need another reason to oppose her, she’s provided one more. MSNBC reports that Rupert Murdoch is hosting a big bash for her senate re-election campaign. The news site notes:
A poll from the [Murdoch’s New York] Post website during [her previous] campaign identified her as the sixth “most evil” person of the millennium, ahead of Benito Mussolini and Vlad the Impaler. Her husband ranked second.
I certainly believe it’s important for any Democratic candidate to reach out to those to our right. But shouldn’t this stick in Hilary’s craw a bit? Shouldn’t she be blushing a bit before she runs into the arms of someone like Rupert? I’m of two minds on this. Sure it’s only right as a candidate to accept money where you can find it. After all, what’s important is to win–not just to be pure and right. But what troubles me about the embrace of Murdoch is that it is part of a pattern of turning hard right in order to win this nomination.
The NY Times also covers the same story with some added background information.
Frankly, I just don’t see it as a strategy. How is it different from Joe Lieberman’s 2004 strategy? Look how well that went over. Who now looks to Joe Lieberman to provide any leadership or motivation for the party? Admittedly, a hawkish Hilary might appeal more in a general election in which she’d be fighting her former image as a lefty. But how’s she going to win the nomination first?
Hillary Clinton has had all the good intentions, but she is running as an organizer not as a leader. Please leave us Hillary and we can remain good friends.
I have sensed in Dean a man who could think. His views on Israel were refreshing.
His downfall was simple. He came under too many attacks, and had nobody around him who would defend him in a swift manner. Joe Trippi has rasied money for him and spent it even faster.
Bill Clinton had Carville, Stefanopoulos and Begala behind or even in front of him. , They deserve all the credit for keeping Bill Clinton alive in 1992.
I wish that Howard Dean would run again.