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Tuesday night ramblings

As per Scrubs57, I have to do penance for my absence, so here goes:

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Beyond politics: learning from Hillary Rodham Clinton

(crossposted from Heidi Li’s Potpourri)

Yes, I would feel better about the country and the world were Hillary Rodham Clinton about to be inaugurated our next President. Millions of primary voters shared my view. Meanwhile, I sincerely hope that President-elect Obama lives up to the highest hopes of his wisest supporters. Something larger even than the Presidency of the United States is at stake though, when one considers Hillary Rodham Clinton. What is at stake is the question of how to live a life.

I have learned from watching Senator Clinton pursue her career.  I have learned that she processes what might be a permanent setback for a different sort of person, and then looks at the options available to her, picks one, and puts her talent to work for her as she retrains her focus. Some of being able to do that is just having the temperament to keep on keeping on – but we can all work to be that kind of person. And we can look to Senator Clinton as an example of just what one person can accomplish when she does. Because I am a student of the Nixon years, I followed Senator Clinton’s career before she moved to Washington D.C. I knew of her post-law school involvement in the effort to prosecute Richard Nixon. I know that whatever Senator Clinton expected of herself or foresaw when she addressed her classmates at Wellesley or when she graduated from Yale Law School, most of what has happened in her life and career could not have been within her scope of vision at those junctures. Moving to Arkansas? Improving the schools for millions of Arkansans children?  Moving into the White House? Putting the idea of universal health care at the heart of public, political discourse? Addressing personal difficulties in the glare of the harshest public spotlight? Becoming a U.S. Senator? Winning more votes in a primary season than any other Democratic Presidential contender, yet having to deal with a party power structure that refused to even permit an open and honest convention roll call vote? Campaigning in the general election harder for a rival than any other politician has ever done? Choosing to give up the relative safety of her Senate seat to accept, if confirmed, the position of Secretary of State in that rival’s administration?

Most people’s lives turn out to include twists and turns that they could not have foreseen in their early twenties. But most people’s lives are not, for better or worse, lived out as publicly as Senator Clinton’s has been. And because her life has been so public it is easy to focus on a particular triumph or a particular setback. Today, as I listened to the confirmation hearings regarding the Secretary of State appointment, I realized that Senator Clinton’s life is one that supersedes politics. Whether you agree with her political positions or you do not, you can observe her powers of concentration, her tenacity, her buoyancy, her steadiness. These excellences see a person through the unforeseen circumstances, bad or good. Because Senator Clinton is public servant, we, her countrywomen and countrymen, will derive instrumental benefits from her competence. More importantly, though, because Senator Clinton is a public figure, we, her fellow members of humanity, can look to her life and the dignity and wisdom with which she conducts it. From Hillary Rodham Clinton, we can learn how to tackle the unforeseen in our own lives. That is a legacy that transcends politics. It is the legacy of true leader.

Senate Confirmation Hearing Wrap-up

The best and brightest

"Smart Power"

The last thread is full, keep going here

Senate Confirmation Hearing Live Blog III

This is what a leader looks like

This is what a leader looks like

Afternoon session – Hillary shows America what they could have had.

If you’re watching the hearings on television, post the play-by-play for those Conflucians who can’t watch.

Hillary Clinton’s Senate Confirmation Hearing Opening Statement


CLINTON: Thank you, Senator Schumer, for your generous introduction, and even more for your support and our partnership over so many years. You are a valued and trusted colleague, a friend, and a tribute to the people of New York whom you have served with such distinction throughout your career.

Mr. Chairman, I offer my congratulations as you take on this new role. You certainly have traveled quite a distance from that day in 1971 when you testified here as a young Vietnam veteran. You have never faltered in your care and concern for our nation, its foreign policy or its future, and America is in good hands with you leading this committee.

Continue reading

Senate Confirmation Hearing Live Blog II

The last thread was getting full.

If you’re watching the hearings on television, post the play-by-play for those Conflucians who can’t watch

(NOTE:  Use “Hillary” not “HRC” cuz Spammy reacts to her initials)

Senate Confirmation Hearing Live Blog

If you’re watching the hearings on television, post the play-by-play for those Conflucians who can’t watch

(NOTE:  Use “Hillary” not “HRC” cuz Spammy reacts to her initials)

Tuesday: Hillary Clinton Meets the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

senator-hillary-clintonToday, Senator Hillary Clinton will go before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in order to prove herself worthy to be Secretary of State.

Ok, we all know how this is going to go.  She is going to be clear, concise and direct and will include brief summaries to reinforce her main ideas.  Also, she will avoid the use of “ah” or “um” which convey a sense of hesitation to the listener.  In other words, she will prove herself to be the commanding, assertive, knowledgeable person who does her homework and consults with experts in the field so that she knows the political landscape better than anyone else in the country.  By the end of today, we are all going to be scratching our heads wondering why we didn’t elect her instead.  No, no, Obots, this is not a recent phenomenon or a fluke.  She’s *always* been this way.  You just couldn’t see it with all the smoke in your eyes.

In the meantime, the NYTimes has compiled a set of questions from foreign policy experts that they want Hillary to answer.  Some of them are openly hostile, especially from Fouad Ajami who asks:

1. In 1913, Woodrow Wilson appointed William Jennings Bryan secretary of state for solely domestic political reasons. He needed but distrusted him, and thus relied on other advisers to conduct diplomacy. Have you read up on Wilson’s relationship with Bryan, and will it be relevant to your own situation?  (excuse me?  Hillary reads up on EVERYTHNG, wanker)

2. In the past, you have taken different positions on Iraq. As secretary of state, which of these foreign policy positions are you likely to adopt? Will you be the hawk who voted to authorize the war, or the war critic who referred to reports of progress in Iraq as requiring a “willing suspension of disbelief?”  (depends on the methods we used to achieve “progress” and what the media has refused to report on during the election season, wouldn’t you say?)

3. You speak about the 1990s, President Bill Clinton’s era, as a time of peace and prosperity. Yet the ‘90s witnessed a steady trail of anti-American terrorism that emboldened Al Qaeda’s leaders. In the Clinton era, terrorism was generally viewed as a law enforcement problem. Did we really do so well in handling terrorism in the 1990s?  (Um, yes.  There were no 9/11’s or anthrax attacks during the Clinton admin.  The first attack on the WTC was not followed by a second one and law enforcement was all done in a lawful manner.  So what’s your point?)

Yep, no hostility there.  It’s still Bill Clinton’s fault as far as Fouad’s concerned.  But Wangari Matthai and Walter Russel Mead ask some pretty thoughtful questions like:

3. African leadership is seeking closer ties with the East, especially China, which is willing to do business without conditions like respect for human rights. How will the United States address Africans’ willingness to sacrifice some of the most important principles of democracy and good governance?


1. The chances of peace between Israel and Gaza seem more remote than ever. Many of the Palestinians in Gaza are impoverished refugees and the overcrowded Gaza Strip has few resources. The two-state solution offers little hope for these people; that is one reason Gaza has historically tended to support radical Palestinian parties like Hamas. How will you make the two-state solution popular among the people of Gaza?

Oddly enough, not one of them involve how many times a month she and the Big Dawg have conjugal visits.  We are grateful for small favors.

Personally, after all the vetting, when she shows definitively that she is the best man and woman for the job, I wish she would say, “On second thought, I’d like to stay in the Senate.  I think I’d do a better job than Caroline Kennedy and let’s face it, there’s no consolation prize for being swindled out of the presidency by your own party.  Yeah, being the foreign president would be a nice addition to my CV, but completely unnecessary.  Surely, SURELY, you can find someone to do this job as well as I can.”

Probably not but if Senator “I-went-to-elementary-school-in-Indonesia!” would like to switch places before the inauguration seals the fate of our country for the next four years, I’d like to hear how *he* would answer the questions the experts would put before him.

On second thought, forget it,  I’m sure my ears would bleed.


Many thanks to all of you who voted for us for Best Liberal Blog at the 2008 Weblog Awards.  You still have time to vote if you haven’t yet today.  Apologies to those blogs we recommended whose leads were squashed by the spiteful actions of The Blog That Must Not Be Named.  They sort of ruined the fun for the rest of us.  But as you can see, we rode the wave and we’re still here and not going away.  We’re not interested in caving in to the massive peer pressure tactics in order to be assimilated into the O-borg.  We really believe in our liberal values and will hold Obama and the Congress accountable if they refuse to wrest the country back from the hands of the Movement Conservatives.  No matter how turbulent it gets, we’re going to hang on and ride this baby out to the bitter end.