What really scares the wingnuts is that Hillary Clinton is not only prepared, but she’s tough, determined, as well as able to deliver a shot when put on the spot, then pivot and smile with aplomb. What bothers progressives is more complex, though some are so averse to Clinton that reaching these people is impossible no matter what. Then there are those with an open mind who are troubled about a couple of things, especially her recent vote on the Lieberman-Kyl amendment. I’m with former Governor Cuomo on this one. But this week was a tipping point in the primary, so let’s begin to tackle some of the developments.
Iowa is very tight, especially if you look at the new Newsweek poll. (Chase Martyn from Iowa Independent will be posting later this morning on it.) But Obama just isn’t delivering in performances what his fans are in cash. Not voting on the Cornyn amendment or the Lieberman-Kyl legislation didn’t exactly show courage. I disagree strongly with Clinton’s vote, but at least she stood up and was counted. However, as the new Iowa poll suggests, Iowans are looking at him seriously. With
Edwards now accepting public financing, it’s clear his financing machine is in trouble, which if he’d win the nomination would also leave us in a very bad position come the general election. SEIU’s decision not to endorse anyone doesn’t help Edwards either. Of course,
the campaign is spinning the funding aspect like mad, but even Joe Trippi, a main Edwards advisor,
in previous statements lays out the reality.
While leading Howard Dean’s campaign for the Democratic nomination in 2003,
Trippi told The Washington Post that this “campaign believes that any
Democratic campaign that opted into the matching-funds system has given up
on the general election,” Trippi said. “There is absolutely no way
you can sustain the hits that are going to come from now until August with
a $45 million limit.” … ..
It didn’t help that neither Obama nor Edwards could articulate an Iraq
war strategy that separated them from Clinton this week. In fact, they joined
her circumspection that getting
out of Iraq will not be quick or easy by the time we hit 2009. Congress has procrastinated itself into a further disaster.
So even though the wingnuts are always ready to attack the Clintons, they’re
gearing up just in case, because she’s looking like she’s unstoppable. Cue up the VRWC. Um, but they’re going to need a lot more money.
Richard Collins, a wealthy Texas businessman and a leading organizer of Stop
Her Now, a political committee devoted to opposing Clinton’s White House
bid, told The Hill his group will spend $500,000 to $600,000 between now and
February targeting her candidacy.
“We expect we’ll be much more intense in our efforts between
now and Feb. 28,” said Collins.
Republican operative David Bossie, president of Citizens United, is producing
a critical film documentary about Clinton that conservative financial backers
hope will be as effective as the attacks of another group, Swift Boat Veterans
for Truth, against former Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.). …
However, even with “StopHerNow” (they link to me), Rush, Sean and a whole host of wingnuts, people have seen Clinton in action in forums and debates. She’s delivering, even when put on the spot (see video above), with people surprised by her performances.
A witch hunt will be harder to pull off this time around. What the attacks will do is galvanize women, who will be paying attention in record numbers, including Republican moderates who won’t like this stuff the second time around, any more than people like me, who were writing about it at the time, liked the Clinton smears the first time.
How’s a girl to be taken seriously among this bunch?
But given her frontrunner status, Clinton’s troubling vote on the Lieberman-Kyl amendment is all the more worth noting. Lieberman’s hyperbolic Iran war stance is legendary. The vote also harkens back to memories of how we got into the Iraq war in the first place and has made people like me nervous, while others think it’s the next step to war. Considering what’s transpired over the months and years, the reactions are justified. The vote still troubles me, but not just because of Clinton’s vote. It’s because Congress keeps abdicating their war powers authority to neocons who have pre-planned for regime change in Iran. But I am not one of those who believes Clinton is a warmonger; quite the contrary, actually. Clinton’s explanation of her vote on Lieberman-Kyl is important. The money quote for me follows:
“In February, after troubling reports about the possibility of military
action against Iran, I took to the Senate Floor to warn that President Bush
needs Congressional Authorization before attacking Iran. Specifically, I said
it would be a mistake of historical proportion if the Administration thought
that the 2002 resolution authorizing force against Iraq was a blank check
for the use of force against Iran without further and explicit Congressional
authorization. Nor should the President think that the 2001 resolution authorizing
force after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, in any way, authorizes force against
Iran. If the Administration believes that any use of force against Iran is
necessary, the President must come to Congress to seek that authority.
“Nothing in this resolution changes that.”
Clinton obviously is convinced that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards is a terrorist organization. The financial tenacles inside Iran and beyond are extensive. Some consider it a mafia type organization. Specifics and proof of the Iranian Guards actions inside Iraq are weak, because U.S. intel is weak on Iran in general. There’s also the reality that Iraq and Iran have had cross-border involvement for years.
Then there’s the obvious. Clinton is increasingly mounting a general election campaign in parallel motion with the primary. It’s obvious team Clinton is looking towards an eye of meeting up with ‘Mr. 9/11′, Rudy Giuliani. She’s not going to get caught in a position of looking weak on Iran.
Wesley Clark’s endorsement, among other things, bolsters my belief that Clinton does not want war with Iran. In addition, Clark has been a leading progressive voice against an Iran war, with his picture on a site declaring “StopIranWar.” I’d be interested to know what Joseph Wilson thinks about her vote, which is exactly what Steve Clemons asked recently. Clemons was on the same call I was when Wilson endorsed Clinton, and Steve asked Wilson then what he thought about Clinton regarding Iran. Wilson said Clinton is of the same mind as he is. Still, the Lieberman-Kyl vote is not what anyone wanted to see from any Democrat. But Clemons doesn’t believe Bush will bomb Iran, so it’s hard to figure how people are predicting that Clinton will. Bush has made everyone paranoid.
Oh, and Patrick Healy is at it again. More to follow, no doubt, because the race has moved into a new phase.