I suppose what irritates me the most is that the leading Democratic candidate for President in 2008 is a woman who is calling for a larger army. Now don't get me wrong, that she is a woman is not what irritates me, but it's that she is a woman who takes the positions she does on Iraq, the standing army, abortion, and immigration that irritates me so much.
On the military, she has just joined with Senator Joe Lieberman in calling for an increase by 80,000 troops in the standing army, all in the interest of our national security.
How can Bill Clinton's wife out-testosterone the Republicans? Call for a bigger army, especially when we are losing in Iraq and Afghanistan, and London has just been bombed, and especially when the big guns for the Republicans (Rumsfeld, Cheney) are saying we don't need more troops. Appeal to the right-wing of the Republican base? Be tougher than they are? Yeah, that's the ticket to a Democratic win if there ever was one.
The fact that Hillary continues to defend her vote on invading Iraq is a further irritant, and one which will haunt her in her future (and, I believe, ill-fated) race for the Presidency. She was misled about the reasons for the war, she was lied to by intelligence reports and by administration officials from the top down, and she still defends her vote. Her one criticism? She does wish that the administration had had a better post-war strategy. But that's it! She is steadfast in her support of the war and in her vote for it. And now she wants a bigger army.
At a time when polls are showing that the majority of the American people want out of Iraq, and believe that the administration misled the American people about going there in the first place, I can't think of a better way to alienate the Democratic base than to appeal to those guys in the pickup trucks with confederate flags on their bumpers.
By the time Hillary is a bona fide candidate for President in 2008, the American people will be so far ahead of her, they'll look back on her Iraq position and scoff.
What's worse is she is giving anti-choice forces comfort when she characterizes abortion as "a sad, even tragic choice." How sad and tragic will it be when Bush packs the Supreme Court with enough anti-choice justices to overturn Roe v Wade? How sad and tragic will it be when women are forced back into dark alleys and backrooms to commit crimes as co-conspirators with secretive physicians? How sad and tragic will it be when women begin dying because they can't afford to see a real physician, and they get unsafe abortions from underground,quack-run abortion mills? How sad and tragic will it be when women are again forced to give birth to babies they don't want, babies they can't afford, babies who are condemned to lives of poverty, babies who are the result of rape, babies who are horribly deformed?
Hillary's shuck-and-jive apologia feels like "flip-flop" to me. What pro-choice advocates need now more than ever is not apology, not mushy support, not moralisms about what-ifs, but steadfast support for Roe v Wade and the nightmare that would ensue if Bush gets his way.
And finally, on the issue of immigration, she has said simply, " People must stop hiring illegal immigrants." What people is she talking about? It seems she is talking about middle class and upper-middle class New York state suburbanites with homes that need lawn care and housecleaning, and small-scale contruction contractors who hire day labor. Here is what she said on John Gambling's ABC radio show in 2003: "I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants... People have to stop employing illegal immigrants... I mean, come up to Westchester, go to Suffolk and Nassau Counties, stand in the street corners in Brooklyn or the Bronx (and) you’re going to see loads of people waiting to get picked up to go do yard work and construction work and domestic work…" She has not backed off that statement. What does she think will happen to those people if no one hires them?
But when it comes to the millions of illegal immigrants who pick our produce for the large multinational corporations that own and run our agri-businesses, she has supported amnesty and college tuition relief. Isn't there something wrong with that picture?
Hillary is crafting her 2008 Presidential race on the framework of her 2006 Senate race. She has already raised $12.6 million so far. She will raise huge amounts more. But as hard as she tries, I believe that no matter how much money she raises, she is not going to successfully out-muscle the Republican right-wing on the issues of the military/national security, abortion and immigration.