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I want a President who is tough as nails and really knows her stuff!

I started the primary season as an Edwards supporter.  But when I realized Edwards wasn’t going to win, I started looking at Barack Obama.  That was when I discovered that Obama didn’t seem to have any ideology to speak of and wasn’t into sharing details about his proposed programs.  He was for “hope” and “change.”  Like a lot of other people, I wanted more information about what “change” Obama was offering and how he would accomplish it.  Very few of his supporters seemed to be able to verbalize what this “change” would be either.  It also made me angry that Hillary was being attacked in such sexist ways by the Obama Campaign, the big bloggers, the media.  Being a contrarian at heart, I took a closer look at Hillary Clinton.

I had watched all of the debates, and even while I still supported Edwards, I had developed a lot of respect for Hillary’s intellect and her knowledge base.  I admired the way she had all the issues down.  She could talk extemporaneously about almost anything.  Each time I listened to Hillary, I was impressed with her fluidity of speech.  When she confronted an issue, the words just flowed out of her, confidently, clearly, and concisely, and directly to the point.  I knew this had to be the result of many hours of study and active engagement with the material.  I have seen this same fluidity of speech in the academic world.  When academics know their fields inside and out and are enthusiastic about their research, they sound just like that.  Riverdaughter wrote about how she and her colleagues at work look at this kind of wonkishness in a recent post, “Feminists and Geeks” here .

We spend our working days listening to our colleagues give us presentations on the work that they have done. Over the years, we develop a keen ear for detecting who has quality work and who has pretty presentations but is BS-ing their way through 20 minutes. Our support for Clinton has less to do with her being a female and more to do with the quality of her presentation. 

In December, Steve Clemons wrote about his experience of Hillary’s wonkitude  (via eriposte at the Left Coaster)

…one of the things that simply can’t be disputed is her work ethic. I’ve met her a number of times, usually at receptions — and each time I decided not to waste the moment with trivial banter but to throw an idea at her or mention a person or issue that would help me understand how real, how informed, or alternatively — how contrived — she was. Every single time she jumped on the issue I brought up and expressed two or three dimensions to the issue that showed she was deeply steeped in this or that policy. In my New America Foundation role, I helped build and support programs as diverse as debates about genetic scientific advancements to family work issues, health care, and wireless spectrum — not to mention my own core interests in foreign policy, national security/defense issues, and international economic policy. Hillary Clinton and I have had quick encounters that involved her sharing incredibly diverse and serious policy commentary.

The last time I had such a discussion with her was after she had won her last Senate race in New York, and she and Bill Clinton were a bit early to a UN Foundation reception honoring Muhammad Yunus. We had a really interesting discussion about what should be on a roster of 21st century threats and how our national security and foreign policy resources should be reorganized to deal with future challenges rather than keeping vested interests tied to old threats well funded. Her quick grasp of what I was trying to get at — and a detailed response that was serious and level-headed — really surprised me as I’m used to politicians who typically have to fake their way through detail. 

What it all boils down to is that Hillary knows her stuff and she’s into it.  She loves to think and talk about policy, just like her husband.  That must be one of the shared interests that have kept them together.

In addition to being a policy wonk and an excellent communicator and debater, Hillary is tough and unafraid.  Watching her performance in the debates this year, I was reminded of the many times I have seen Hillary on C-Span in various committee hearings.  One really great memory I have of Hillary in the Senate is the time in 2006 when she questioned Donald Rumsfeld about whether his views on the situation in Iraq were trustworthy.  She gave a long summary of the situation at the time and finished with this:

CLINTON:  A recent book, aptly titled Fiasco, describes in some detail the decision-making apparatus that has lead us to this situation. So Mr. Secretary, when our constituents ask for evidence that your policy in Iraq and Afghanistan will be successful, you don’t leave us with much to talk about. Yes, we hear a lot of happy talk and rosy scenarios, but because of the Administration’s strategic blunders, and frankly the record of incompetence in executing, you are presiding over a failed policy. Given your track record, Secretary Rumsfeld, why should we believe your assurances now?

RUMSFELD:  My [pause] goodness[!]

Rumsfeld spoke these words in such a condescending way—as if he were stunned to be spoken to in that way by this woman.  How dare she!  It really was a smackdown.  You have to watch the video to get the full flavor of his reaction.   Hillary Clinton is tough as nails, and at that moment, Rumsfeld had to know it, despite his arrogant response.

Those are the qualities I want in a President.  I want my President to know policy inside out and have a facility for communicating ideas.  I want my President to be strong as steel and have the guts to stand up against all comers.  I have seen Hillary’s toughness and smarts during this primary campaign, and I am confident she can be such a president.

Matt Yglesias Spills the Beans

Ok, which one of you pointed me to this insightful piece by Matt Yglesias? Was it YOU, Lambert?
Anyway, I think somewhere about a month ago, I made a comment about how Obama wins by suppressing the Clinton vote, not by actually, you know, *winning*. And Matt Yglesias lays it all out before us as to why the big boyz are screaming for Hillary to get out because The Math is against her. Here it is in Matt’s own words:

I think if voters better-understood the situation, they’d be much more inclined to vote for their second-favorite Democrat in the race, much less eager to do volunteer work for Clinton, much less inclined to donate money to her campaign, etc. But people won’t understand the dynamic unless it’s explained to them by credible party leaders.

There it is in all its maggoty ugliness. They are trying to make Hillary supporters stop volunteering, donating money and voting for her. How delightfully nasty. Fess up! Some of you even let them get to you, didn’t you? You stumbled on this site after hearing this from the Kossacks and Talkingpointsmemo and Chris Bowers and thought, “What’s the use? Even if I work my ass off, we can’t win.” I *know* you did because I have the comments that prove it.

The evil geniuses who run Obama’s campaign and the @$$holes in The Gang of Four (Dean, Brazile, Pelosi and Kennedy) have learned a lot of disgusting little tricks from the Republicans. Like, if you make people believe that Hillary doesn’t have a chance and you do this relentlessly over the next 5 weeks, maybe the voters will give up on her just as we gave up on Gore after the 2000 election. Sweeeet!

Rove made it so easy. Just copy his game plan. Don’t like pesky voters who won’t support your anti-Clinton candidate? Just disenfranchise them. Hate those annoying primaries with their long hours and secret ballots? Flood the caucus and make it so rowdy that precinct captains are intimidated, sorta like a Brooks Brothers Riot. Anyway, those stupid, old shift workers will never show up to vote for your opponent. If you want to keep her voters home and passive, just propagate the meme that even if she wins all of the remaining primaries, which looks like a distinct possibility, it merely delays the inevitable. And don’t forget that no Republican campaign against a Democrat is complete unless you make the outcome against you look somehow illegitimate, so tell everyone that it is unfair if the superdelegates break the tie.

Yglesias is wrong if he thinks Obama is our second favorite. I’d rather write in Mike Gravel or Dennis Kucinich at this point. At least I’m fairly certain *they’re* Democrats. I don’t know what kind of construct Obama is. And Edwards better get off the fence and do something if he doesn’t want his policies to be trashed by this imposter.

The Gang of Four want a charismatic candidate without a legislative past. He doesn’t have to earn his coalitions; they are gifted to him. If he wins the nomination, he will be beholden to The Gang of Four and the legislators in the Bush Dog states. And they are putting him forth not for his own value but as the “anti-Clinton” candidate because she is a Democrat with a strong political personality and Obama is weak politically in comparison and easy to manipulate. That’s the whole story, guys. That’s what it all means. And all the pieces make sense.

I think the Clinton campaign knows what it has to do to combat this meme but it will take a lot of troops on the ground in PA to turn this around. Even the strongest among us succumbed to it. The average voter needs innoculation. I’m going to do my part in a couple of minutes with my sister so she can tell her friends not to listen to it.

Fight it any way you can. There *is* a choice left. Our votes *do* count and we *can* turn this around. In this game, it’s not how you begin but how you finish that counts and as Shakespeare said…

“All’s Well That Ends Well”

Sunday- Happy Easter!

I am not going to church this am. No, the church I attend is in Princeton and I am not there. Today, I am surrounded by fundamentalist churches and let’s just say they’re not my cup of tea. But for those of you out there who are celebrating in style, complete with Hallelujah Chorus, let me just say, “He is risen indeed!”

In the meantime, while we drink our coffee and munch our cinnamon rolls (or marshmallow peeps, aged to a stale crustiness outside, stiff chewiness inside), let’s take a stroll around the web:

  • Kid Oakland tells us the REAL reason why so many people in their 30’s are so maniacal about Barack Obama in Bill and Hillary and the 22 Amendment. I thought it was over something like the profundity of his policies or his personal charisma. But no, it is none of these things. All it comes down to is this:

    Finally, Senator Clinton has not answered a legitimate question shared by many voters under 40 for whom, if she where the nominee, 2008 would be yet another Presidential year with a member of one of either of two immediate families on the ticket. (I’m 39, by the way, and I’ve never had a presidential race without a Clinton or Bush as one of the choices for president.)

    When asked about this in a debate Senator Clinton quipped, “It took a Clinton to clean up after the first President Bush, and it will take a Clinton to clean up after the second.”

    That’s not an answer. That’s not a rationale to support someone’s candidacy to be President.

    If you want a clear reason why so many young people are disenchanted with the Clinton campaign for the nomination, there you have it: Bush. Clinton. Clinton. Bush. Bush. Clinton?

    That’s it. They are holding their breaths because they don’t like the pattern. It has nothing to do with competence or qualifications or vision or experience. In fact, experience is just the *opposite* of what these children want. I used to babysit these brats. How did we let them grow up without insisting that they actually mature? This is *our country* we’re talking about not some new playground game where nobody loses so as to preserve their self-esteem. When people are dying in Iraq and families are losing their houses, health insurance and jobs we have to look beyond our lack of diversity in the choices we have and consider that among the candidates we have left, at least one of them is better than the others based on merit. I swear, I want to send them to their rooms without dessert. Grow up, already. And what’s with this Chairman Dean thing anyway? It’s creepy. Besides, he’s shown himself to be either completely incompetent or just the opposite of a Democratic leader when he allowed FL and MI to be disenfranchised. Stupid, stupid stupid. Anyone who still admires the man at this point in time should have his head examined.

  • A new study highlights the widening disparity in life expectancy in high and low income groups. The major declines happened after 1980, which roughly corresponds to the Republicans assuming dominance in our government either by leading the executive branch or by obstructing every good idea they Democrats ever had.
  • Alegre at MyDD points out what looks like a case of subliminal advertising on Obama’s website. To me, it’s vaguely reminiscent of the X-Files or Heaven’s Gate website. Hmmm, I almost expect to see “I Want To Believe” across the bottom of it. What do *you* read into it? (Ew, I thought I saw something vaguely anatomical in the presidential seal. The whole thing looks like a diagram of a human heart with the eagle on top resembling the aorta and veins. What *is* this? The Sacred Heart of Jesus?sacred heart)
  • NYCweboy is a movie critic! Who knew? He gives a very nicely written review of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. It sounds like just the thing to finish a pretty spring day, should you feel so inclined to see a movie this weekend.
  • One more thing: I think it’s time we acknowledged that of the two authors of Crashing the Gate, Jerome Armstrong turned out to be the more level headed and knowledgeable. Sometimes that doesn’t lead to the big bucks, fame and recognition. But Armstrong is growing on me. In a recent post, By the Numbers, he highlights something that I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks now. It’s not just a haka that the Obamaphiles are conducting against us when they demand that Hillary concede. It reminds me of the way that Gore was hustled to give up so early during the 2000 recount process. It is generating fear and anxiety in the Democratic party and then posits an early withdrawal by Clinton as the only resolution to the instability and projected loss in November. And the more I hear this crap from Obamaphiles, the LESS I like them and are willing to vote for them in November. Yes, they are slitting their own throats with this one. We know what’s going on and we don’t appreciate it. So knock it off.