Bear with me, folks. I’m apt to ramble a bit here. And I’m more than a little angry at the war games that threaten to reduce the Democratic race to the primaries to, well, a pile of nuclear rubble. The last man standing may well have contracted such a case of radiation poisoning from the fall-out that we’re all in trouble. Or the last woman standing, in this case. Hillary seems to be the primary instigator here. Pardon the pun.
First terrorist strike in the Clinton war on Obama: His obvious (and dangerous) lack of experience, especially in the area of foreign policy. Only a dumb novice would think a policy of open negotiation is a good idea. “It’s the experience, stupid!”
Governor Bill Clinton, running for the presidency:
“I believe experience counts, but it’s not everything. Values, judgment and [your] record…also should count for something…we have to change this country…insanity [is] just doing the same old thing over and over again and expecting a different result…We need a new approach. The same old experience is not relevant…And you can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience…”
Senator Clinton, what’s good for the goose… You can’t have it both ways for the sake of political expedience.
I hate this, Hillary. Really I do. I love the notion of a lofty campaign, a battle of new ideas and ideals waged (fairly) by refreshingly intelligent candidates. No more good ole boy gaffes, no more Bush-Rovian tactics like the smearing of McCain in South Carolina when you can’t beat him any other way. But it appears the Bush-Rovian Method is afoot again and this time it’s one of our own taking the scorched earth nuclear option. I watched the AFL-CIO Forum the other night. The Bush-Rovian Method tainted it for me. I listened carefully to what you had to say. Here’s what I heard–and what I heard:
“I’m here because I think we need to change America. And it’s not to get in fights with Democrats [even when I twist their words, question their intelligence and intent and call them scary names like irresponsible, naive, inexperienced]. I want the Democrats to win [just not that Obama guy who keeps stealing my thunder and is the only real threat to my sure-thing nomination with all his anti-lobbyist, common sense, civility and negotiation hoo-hah]. And I want a united Democratic Party that will stand against the Republicans [sort of like I didn’t stand against Dubya and his cronies in the run-up to this disastrous war in Iraq, going along and authorizing the wrong war in the wrong country against the wrong people because, suddenly and inexplicably, I TRUSTED the President…not that I made a mistake, mind you…]. …So, if you want a winner who knows how to take them on [you’ll just have to trust me on this], I’m your girl.”
Then, Hillary, you took another shot at Senator Obama for his clarity on foreign policy and terrorism:
“So, you can think big, but remember you shouldn’t always say everything you think if you’re running for president [sort of like nobody knows what the hell I was thinking when I voted to authorize Dubya’s war or when I said ‘Yes, we really are safer now’ a few weeks ago or when I said ‘Lobbyists are people, too’ so I can take all that dirty, sexy money and still keep my virginity. Just trust me. I think big–but, like ole George W., I don’t have to tell you what I think. Or what I’ll do. I like to think of it as my pre-Executive Executive Privilege since we all know I’m the only candidate ready to lead from day one. It’s national security if I say it is, ya know].
I didn’t feel optimistic about the future during the Labor Forum. Hillary, you gave me nothing much to feel better about. And when Biden and Dodd piled on, doing your dirty work for you, I felt even worse. It looked suspiciously like the Old Guard, the establishment that bowed, again and again, to Dubya’s will, had become their own little cabal. It hurts when some uppity new guy like Obama comes along and has the unmitigated audacity to say your record on Iraq is clearly not such an admirable thing. Especially when he had the foresight to speak out against that war in 2002, very clearly predicting a bad situation going worse and our being stuck in the middle of it at an inconceivably high cost and with no way out. A bloody, costly quagmire. Pretty naive and irresponsible, eh? So, you pile on. You attack him for his willingness to negotiate, for his taking a tough stance on the real terrorist threat and for saying No to nukes against terrorist targets. It seems you want to both radicalize and marginalize him.
Senator Obama’s foreign policy plan is neither naive nor some radical new notion. It’s common sense. There is no country called “Terrorism.” It is not a single nation. It’s a criminal mindset; an intent. All terrorists are not of the same nationality. All terrorists do not live in, train in or operate from a single country. We all know–when we’re not being scared senseless–that there are terrorist cells everywhere. All over the Middle East, Asia, Africa, in Europe and right here. Do we nuke at will, everywhere? What’s the criteria when terrorists are the minority in every region? You must be both terrorists and dark-skinned? You must be terrorists sitting on land rich with oil–or some other natural resource we want so badly it’s worth dying for?
Terrorists are criminals, not vast, state-sponsored armies. We need the military equivalent to beefed-up SWAT teams on gang-controlled turf, not “mushroom clouds.” Obama would use the limited incursion, limited strikes, against identified, active cells which are a clear and present danger when the country in which they are operating cannot or will not do the job. This is not irreseponsible. It’s been done before. Limited strikes mean limited casualties. Nuclear strikes are another thing altogether.
Campaign wars are a nasty business when we choose the unfair fight. They are seldom fought by the rules or on the designated field of battle. They’re guerilla warfare. Sniper tactics, combined with lethal doses of propaganda–those dirty little under-the-table stink bombs designed to foul up the room so reasonable people won’t hear what’s really being said or see what’s really going on. They’re outta there, fleeing from the stench.
When we don’t fight the primary wars with some level of honesty and sound judgment which serves the best interest of the country rather than personal ambition, then we won’t do any better job of waging the “war on terrorism” than the debacle we’re mired down in now. And that really stinks.
All we can do, in defense of reason over rabid rhetoric, is hold our noses and stay in the fight until common sense–and common decency–win the day.