The pillory of Hillary

 By ROB KEZELIS

“As a senator from New York, I lived through 9/11 and am still dealing with the aftereffects.”

With these words, Senator Hillary Clinton just changed her justification of supporting the IraqNami invasion. Presumably 9/11 also explains why each time the issue came up, she voted for hundreds of billions more in Iraq war funding.

Before this (January), Hillary admitted that mistakes were made. But she ruined it by qualifying it: “by Mr. Bush.”

Before this (late December), Hillary claimed that “Had I known then what I know now, I would not have voted for this war.”

Before this, (November), Hillary claimed that she was misled, and that everyone knew that WMD existed in Iraq.

Before this, (last September), Hillary touted her pro-war vote as showing how broadminded and effective she was as senator.

Before this, (midsummer) Hillary had her staff and presidential consultants and campaign advisors craft a long statement to be read to then SecDeaf Rumsfeld. Despite attacking Rummie’s war, and asking hard questions, Hillary ruined the effect by turning away and ignoring his very answers to her questions. Talking and joking with other people is no way to hold a serious conversation when the issue is 3000+ dead, a trillion in wasted money, and 600,000 dead Iraqis.

Her Rummie behavior was a symptom of something we need to consider in other posts. But, her pro-war stance (before reality set in November) is a fact that cannot be spun away, not even by the best campaign consultants. Admitting that Bush made mistakes is like saying the sun shines during the day. What really irks me is her comment about what she knew then compared to now. Misled? By WHOM?

How can we accept politicians who explain away their lack of curiosity, gullibility, and fear of being accused soft on terra by claiming that “the intelligence was deeply flawed” and that they would have acted differently had they known better?

First of all, Hillary, it was your job and your responsibility to know better. There are only 100 of you. You promised to uphold the constitution and protect it from enemies from without and within. At the very time that many smart, experienced and honest voices questioned Bush’s intel, you played it safe and hid in the crowd. Not exactly leadership qualities, eh?

What is worse is that the intel was not flawed, at least not how you want us to believe. The Department of State operated a tiny, underfunded and incredibly accurate intel department. In the run-up to our invasion, they repeatedly raised warning flags over IraqNam. Had you asked, they would have gladly educated you. Hell, they educated others (Feingold, Durbin, Obama and others) in your very chamber. Even the CIA had major problems with the Bush stance and many have said they would have gladly briefed individual senators, if asked. (I emphasize the last two words, Hillary.) They even secretly told Senators that they could not support at least 50% of Bush’s Iraq talking points.

Even your home newspaper, the New York Times (despite the presence of White House Stenographer Judy Miller) managed to get the truth out. We learned that Cheney/Libby created the Office of Special Projects to gather all raw intel and throw away everything that did not support their invasion plans. At that time, Intel officials were making their objections known publicly. (until Porter Goss kicked them out) Even in the backwaters of Chicago, we learned of this long before the first bombs were dropped on Baghdad.

So, what is this month’s excuse? Were you lazy? Incompetant? Afraid of taking a tough stance that might impact your presidential aspirations? Or did your PR team and horde of political consultants recommend that you swing to the right to defang the rabid right, while proving yourself to be conservative on security? I guess that explains your position on flag burning amendments, prayer in school stances and other interesting positions.

What is most scary is her position on any other hot topic. To state it plainly, there is no there there. Perhaps years ago, she had some independent thoughts and ideas. Perhaps, she was once able to think on her own and come up with a plan, good or bad. Perhaps, perhaps. But no longer. Every stance she takes has been weighed, parsed, polled, and edited by a group of so-called beltway consultants that measure and soften her message. They want to affront no one, and end up convincing everyone that it is all show, and no substance. Leadership by polling (and I am not talking about Monica) is what made people dislike Bill, but even he managed to follow his great intellect, instincts and most importantly, he knew when to be spontaneous, even if he was mistaken or in error.

You refuse to allow even the slightest bit of humanity into your quest for the presidency. And in your own way, you are digging your own political grave. It would be one thing to say, “My IraqNami vote was a mistake and I regret it.” It is another to pull a George Bushism and refuse to even consider that you were in error.

We are hungry for leaders, Hillary, and with every step you take, you appear more and more like a manufactured, distilled and patched together amalgam of strategists, planners, pollsters and professional consultants. That will be your kiss of death, for we don’t want nor need such leadership any more. The last six years have been bad enough.

Triangulation is like strangulation. It even rhymes. But remember, no how low you go and how much you pander, you will never convince the Religious Reich in this country. And the more you pander, the less that moderates and liberals will trust and support you. And the more you refuse to state the obvious about your IraqNam vote and record, you will end up with nothing but a large corporate-funded campaign chest and little or no support anywhere. Which, looking and your behavior, is probably a very good thing.

(Robert Kezelis is a lawyer, sculptor and writing curmudgeon based south of Chicago.)

17 Responses to "The pillory of Hillary"

  1. Sandy Price  February 15, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    Rob. Excellent article and I have indeed emailed it to some good folks. She apparently can out politico even Bush with her song and dance.

  2. JimZ  February 15, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Hillary.

    Fake Liberal. Fake Conservative. Fake Leader.

    Bu$h was “placed” for President when he was “placed” for Governor of Texas. He was the chosen suit.

    To reminisce, it’s no accident that the cartoonist Tom Tomorrow of “This Modern World” chose to use a caricature of a small cute dog for Bu$h in his cartoon strip during the 2000 election, and sometimes since. Small cute dog. Everyone loves a small cute dog. Just pet him on his chair and tell him how much you wuv him. Then “just put your paw print right HERE”…

  3. Joe Lawrence  February 15, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    I wouldn’t vote for Hillary in the primary, even if I were a Democrat, but I am becoming confused about exactly what “Voting for the War” meant, back in the day.

    I thought at the time that the vote was to show the world that our – ahem – president had the backing of the Congress, and that this was in order to strengthen his hand so that war might be avoided if possible. I suspected, at the time, that the Bushquest assertions were overblown, but, absent having my very own contacts in the (you should pardon the funny phrase) ‘intelligence community,’ was left to TRUST the administration.

    If I had been a senator at the time, would I have been worse for being stupid enough to TRUST the administration, or for just going with my gut to oppose the resolution? Hard to say now, with the benefit of hindsight.

    My hope is that Obama is what he seems, and that he is elected with some 80% of the vote….beyond the reach of tampering.

  4. Nigel  February 15, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    A better title might be “The Empress has No Cloths.”

    Pillory plays right into the “victim” card and makes one think of the Reich Wingers [great word] going after her.

    Hillary is a ouija board going which ever way she is guided. And a bubble gum machine.

  5. Kent Shaw  February 15, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    .

    I hope I get to ask Hillary how much Halliburton stock she owns.

    .

  6. skyguy  February 15, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    Puhleeeeze….’Hill’ has as much of a chance of becoming President-ette as I do. That woman is known far and wide for way too many negative (I could have said evil) things.

    Now, with that said, can we focus on something REALLY important – like poking and prodding this cowardly Congress into getting with the program and get the IMPEACHMENT show started???? before things become totally FUBAR!!

    WAKE UP! WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!!!

  7. Anomalocaris  February 16, 2007 at 1:48 am

    Whoa, where is all of this blame-Congress and blame-Clinton energy coming from?

    Let us remember where we were in the United States back then. On September 11, 2001, four American passenger jet airplanes were hijacked by terrorists, three of which landed in the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and one of which crashed in Pennsylvania. While there was never anything to link these attacks to the regime of Saddam Hussein, the White House orchestrated a campaign that successfully convinced about a third of the electorate that these events were linked to Iraq; right-wing media continually suggested as much, and nothing that any political leaders said made any impact on correcting this misunderstanding, which persists even to this day.

    During from the beginning of the Bush administration, Republicans controlled the House of Representatives, and they also controlled the Senate, except for June 6, 2001, to November 12, 2002. House and Senate Republicans were strongly united behind President Bush, who had very strong approval ratings in the polls at that time.

    There was a strong sentiment in America at that time that in a time of crisis, we must all unite behind our leader. It was politically very difficult to go against that trend. Democrats lost two Senate seats and seven House seats in November 2002, not for failing to challenge Bush but for failing to support the hawkish trend that existed in America at that time. That is where we were back in 2002 and 2003.

    Bush flat-out asserted untruthful statements that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear weapons program. This prospect was scary to anyone. We know now that this evidence was phony, bit at the time, it seemed real enough. Colin Powell and George Tenet, normally credible folks, backed it up. And the New York Times, the number one opinion leader in New York State, strongly supported the war and rarely ifever cast doubt on any of the evidence presented in support.

    In our three-branch system of government, it is the president and not Congress who has ready access to the intelligence agencies. And the minority party has almost no power to launch hearings and subpoena witnesses. When Republicans control Congress, it’s very hard for Democrats to do much more than yelp from time to time, because the Republicans set the agenda and the terms of the debate.

    So, yeah, it would be nice if Sen. Clinton had been more skeptical of the Bush administration all along. But given where America was at the time, and the lack of authority of the Democrats in the House and Senate to force anyone to testify, I think your criticisms of Sen. Clinton for her actions in 2003 should be accompanied by a little more acknowledgment of the toxic environment that we all lived under at the time.

  8. Cashel Boylo  February 16, 2007 at 5:56 am

    Remember that Hillary lied about “living through 9/11″ when she claimed that her daughter was almost killed in the street when the buildings were demolished.

    In fact, the daughter was 100% safe at home in bed and asleep at the time.

    An ex-staffer of hers says, “Bill lies about sex, Hillary lies about everything.”

  9. california rick  February 15, 2007 at 1:29 am

    Great article Robert! You’ve stated what a lot of people have been thinking…

  10. Robert  February 15, 2007 at 1:58 am

    It’s time the truth came out before it’s to late and she becomes president.

    Your right on the mark with both Billary and Hillary two misfits in the political world.

  11. Steve Wallerstein  February 15, 2007 at 2:09 am

    How about Bill Richardson?

  12. BC  February 15, 2007 at 2:26 am

    Excellent, Robert. Hill ain’t Bill. Hill simply wants to win the game…but she plays it poorly, dishonestly and transparently. Her selfish goal, her perceived entitlement, is more important than the duties she shirks. She has yet to demonstrate any leadership abilities.

  13. Ray  February 15, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Yes, right on Rob. Now if we can somehow guarantee an honest ballot count when election day comes. I still feel her attendence of Bilderberger this last meeting was the sign that she is the chosen one for 2008. That is a historic observation of past presidents and thier relationship with attendance.

    I mean how did a loser from Texas get in a position from which he could destroy the country and its constitution? Did he really fool the majority or was he placed as it would appear? I have to say he was placed, not elected, either time.

  14. Ronnie  February 15, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Whew!! FINALLY!!! A Straightforward picture of Hilary who is so calculating that she scares me. If I knew Bush was lying and I’m just someone out here in the great vast desert of US humanity in 2003 – they why didn’t SHE know it. Thanks so much Robert!!

  15. Carl Nemo  February 15, 2007 at 8:06 am

    Gee folks we shouldn’t be too hard on her. It’s her “turn”! Bush Sr.

  16. Carl Nemo  February 15, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Rob…a superb editorial and on-the-mark…!

  17. SEAL  February 15, 2007 at 9:25 am

    Rob – you are absolutrly correct in everything you say about her. The only problem is that, historically, those who take no definative stance on anything are the ones who get elected. That is why she behaves the way she does.

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