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Frank Rich: “Hillary Clinton, R.I.P.”

The NYT columnist’s ever-poised pen brewed up this opinion piece over a night at the movies:

When even an entertainment as impeccably pro-Clinton as “The American President” consigns Hillary to history’s dustheap, you can see just how deeply ambivalent this country has been and still is about our (formerly) activist First Lady.

The date: November 29, 1995.

At least you can say this for Frank Rich — he’s no flip-flopper.

SUNday, SUNday, SUNday!

Monster trucks and funny cars!

Whoops!

Ok, I am watching This Week With George S., and Wolfson is hammering Axlerod on Obama’s committee assignments in the Foreign Relations committee. Obama hasn’t held a single hearing on NATO and Afghanistan and Axlerod is tap-dancing all around the issue with, “But Hillary voted for the IWR! SHE voted for it! It’s her judgment.”

Jeez, David, is that all you’ve got? I mean, let’s think about this for a moment. Almost the entire appeal of Obama to the left blogosphere on DailyKos and OpenLeft and TalkingPointsMemo is this one vote. This one vote out of the entire 35 year history. Everything else about Hillary they’re pretty cool with but THIS vote and that meaningless Lieberman-Kyl resolution, gets their knickers in a twist. And let’s be absolutely clear about this, they were willing and able to overlook this in Senator Kerry in 2004. Yep, it was all ticketyboo for Kerry to have voted for it AND say that he would have voted for it again if he’d had a chance. Hillary at least regrets it and wishes she had a do-over. But Kerry had no coherent message about Iraq and was all over the place about his vote. And to our merry band of Kossacks, that was O. K.

The hypocrisy is really quite astonishing when you think about it. For Hillary Clinton, her entire body of accomplishments in public service is reduced to nothing because she did this one stupid vote. Maybe that’s how it should always be. If you are an accomplice to getting us into a war we have to spend years getting out of at a cost of thousands of young lives, you *should* be held accountable. But at least be consistent. And when it comes to Kerry vs Clinton, at least you can say that her constituents would have demanded it. They would have preferred to be safer than sorry. One other thing we didn’t consider is that Bill Clinton was a very responsible president when it came to foreign affairs. Maybe it was unthinkable to either Clinton that Bush would be so reckless with the military. I don’t know. I am not making excuses. I don’t know what was going on in her head. All I know is that she was in a tougher spot than Obama has EVER been in and her options, as a senator from the state of New York, were very limited.

Do I trust her to do the right thing in the White House as Commander in Chief? Absolutely. She knows that a broken military leaves us vulnerable in terms of national security. One of the first orders of business for her will be to stabilize what is left of our forces. We are overcommitted and depleted. We can’t stay in Iraq. We must address Afghanistan. Along with Generals Wesley Clark and Hugh Shelton, Madeline Albright and the Big Dawg himself, I feel confident that she will move quickly to halt the further disintegration of our foreign policy around the world. Obama, on the other hand, will spend his first couple of years just getting up to speed.

Maybe he can fit a meeting on NATO and Afghanistan into his schedule. That is, if he has time from the Recession. Good luck with that, Barry.

On other thing: Howard, with respect to the Rezko issue, don’t go there. Really. After Whitewater, we just really don’t need to encourage the media to dredge up that stuff and distract us. If we end up with Obama as our nominee, the media will just use it against him in order to promote McCain.

Nevermind. Pound the bastard.