Sunday, September 30, 2007

NYT’s Rich and Dowd Both Slam Hillary Today

That makes it official. Hillary Clinton will be the Dem candidate in 2008. Frank Rich asks: “Is Hillary Clinton the New Old Al Gore?” And Maureen Dowd tackles the topic "The Nepotism Tango". Given my personal liking of Rich and loathing of Dowd, the former’s article seems reasoned and cogent and the latter’s is snarky and superficial. Rich foresees trouble for a Dem victory in the 2008 election because Hillary Clinton has already been anointed a shoo-in for Prez and the Dems always snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Which was the pattern in the 2000 election. Rich says, “Mrs. Clinton wouldn't repeat Mr. Gore's foolhardy mistake of running away from her popular husband and his record, even if she could. But almost every answer she gave last Sunday was a rambling and often tedious Gore-like filibuster. Like the former vice president, she often came across as a pontificator and an automaton — in contrast to the personable and humorous person she is known to be off-camera. And she seemed especially evasive when dealing with questions requiring human reflection instead of wonkery.” Rich signs off by saying, “Like today's G.O.P., the Democrats back then (1948-Truman vs. Dewey) were saddled with both an unloved incumbent president and open divisions in the party's ranks on both its left and right flanks. Surely, the thinking went, the beleaguered Democrats couldn't possibly vanquish a presidential candidate from New York known for his experience, competence, uncontroversial stands and above-the-fray demeanor... You don't want to push historical analogies too far, but it's hard not to add that the campaign slogan of that sure winner, Thomas Dewey, had a certain 2008 ring to it: ‘It's time for a change.’” Dowd says, “The town (Washington, DC) is divided into two camps: those who think that, after 16 years of Hillary pushing herself forward, the public will get worn out and reject her, and those who think that, after 16 years of Hillary pushing herself forward, the public will get worn down and give in to her.” Dowd quotes from Bill Sammon’s new book, “The Evangelical President”. One of the president’s aides told Sammon: “She’s (Clinton) going to be essentially saying, ‘Elect me president after I’ve spent the last 16 years in your face. And you didn’t like me much when I was there last. Give me eight more years so I can be a presence in your life for 24 years.’” Dowd says, “Others do not underestimate her relentlessness. As Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, once told me: ‘She’s never going to get out of our faces...She’s like some hellish housewife who has seen something that she really, really wants and won’t stop nagging you about it until finally you say, fine, take it, be the damn president, just leave me alone.’” Dowd continues, “That’s why Hillary is laughing a lot now, big belly laughs, in response to tough questions or comments, to soften her image as she confidently knocks her male opponents out of the way. From nag to wag.” You can’t blame Op/Ed columnists for writing about anything but the news when last week’s news was the same-old-same-old. George W. Bush made another gaffe in a speech, even though his speeches are scripted and his teleprompter gives him phonetic spellings of hard words like Iraq. At a made-for-TV event in front of fourth and fifth graders from New York’s P.S. 76, Bush urged Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind program. He said, “Childrens do learn.” Interestingly, even though the blunder was caught on tape and played and replayed hundreds of times, the official White House transcript reads that Bush said, “children do learn”. Also last week, the Bush administration defended to the skies its star Blackwater, USA mercenaries in Iraq who murder women, children, Iraqis and everyone who get in their way; Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked Congress to approve nearly $190 billion in 2008 for the Bush administration’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and Bush plans to veto the bill for health insurance for children. Same-old-same-old.

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