Can the Democrats lose?

You bet they can. Hillary Clinton is turning out to be the GOP’s most-valuable asset. Fortunately, some observers are paying attention. A few examples in no particular order:

Bob Herbert, in the New York Times, quotes Clinton supporter Bob Kerrey:

I’ve watched the blogs try to say that you can’t trust [Barack Obama] because he spent a little bit of time in a secular madrassa. I feel quite the opposite.

ThinkProgress has a link to the CNN interview. As Herbert and others have said, “Mr. Obama never attended a madrassa, and that there is no such thing as a secular madrassa. A madrassa is a religious school. Beyond that, the idea is to not-so-slyly feed the current frenzy, on the Internet and elsewhere, that Senator Obama is a Muslim, and thus potentially (in the eyes of many voters) an enemy of the United States.”

Jonathan Chait writes in the Los Angeles Times:

The big turning point seems to be this week, when the Clintons slammed Obama for acknowledging that Ronald Reagan changed the country. Everyone knows Reagan changed the country. Bill and Hillary have said he changed the country. But they falsely claimed that Obama praised Reagan’s ideas, saying he was a better president than Clinton — something he didn’t say and surely does not believe.

This might have been the most egregious case, but it wasn’t the first. Before the New Hampshire primaries, Clinton supporters e-mailed pro-choice voters claiming that Obama was suspect on abortion rights because he had voted “present” instead of “no” on some votes. (In fact, the president of the Illinois chapter of Planned Parenthood said she had coordinated strategy with Obama and wanted him to vote “present.”) Recently, there have been waves of robocalls in South Carolina repeatedly attacking “Barack Hussein Obama.”

As Obama himself said this week, “When I was 20 points down, I was a fine young man. The Clintons couldn’t say enough nice things about me. Suddenly you win Iowa, and the knives come out. Ha, ha, ha, ha.”

What’s interesting about the progressive sphere is how many are coming out against Clinton without specifically endorsing Obama. From 2004’s ABB (Anyone But Bush) we’ve moved on to ABC (Anyone But Clinton). Personally, I think it’s naive to support the Democratic Party as an antidote to the Republicans. Clinton supporter Bob Kerrey was a member of the New Democrat Coalition, who self-define themselves thus:

Founded in 1997, The New Democrat Coalition (NDC) provides moderate, pro-growth Members of Congress with the opportunity to advance a common sense policy agenda to move our country in the right direction. New Democrats have built a reputation as the “go-to” group in Congress on the critical issues of economic growth, national security, personal responsibility, and technology development.

Note the red flag of “personal responsibility,” about which I have previously commented. While Bob Kerrey’s endorsement doesn’t prove anything about Hillary’s politics, it implies he believes she’s closer to his pro-business ideology. Hmmm, sounds more like a Republican than a Democrat to me, and certainly not a progressive Democrat. And I think Hillary hews closer to that line than many of her supporters suspect. I agree with Colbert I. King, with Hillary it’s all about Hillary.

Two more points about Hillary Clinton. One is her admitted failure to read the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, before voting to fund Bush’s war. Put yourself in her shoes. You’re offered a classified, 90-page document about a country the president wants to invade. Wouldn’t you want to know what it said? Wouldn’t simple curiosity force you to read it? Now read what she says about that fatal (to more than 4000 Americans and counting) mistake, on her own Website:

In October 2002, I voted for the resolution to authorize the Administration to use force in Iraq. I voted for it on the basis of the evidence presented by the Administration, assurances they gave that they would first seek to resolve the issue of weapons of mass destruction peacefully through United Nations sponsored inspections, and the argument that the resolution was needed because Saddam Hussein never did anything to comply with his obligations that he was not forced to do. [Emphasis added.]

But she never looked at the evidence!

More recently, Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, has been stumping for Hillary. A few weeks ago, Albright told the Today Show, “Well I think there is hope but we require a different approach. And we have to understand that while we are the strongest country in the world the issues that we have to deal with cannot be dealt with if we don’t understand what’s going on in other countries.”

Ah, you may understand what’s going on, Madeleine, but do you care? In 1996, while still Secretary of State, Albright was interviewed on 60 Minutes. Lesley Stahl asked Albright about Iraq sanctions: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Albright’s reply:

I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.

If you believe that getting elected is more important than being selective about the people with whom you associate (Albright has been photographed standing behind Hillary Clinton on stage at campaign appearances), you are even more cynical than me, and I’m pretty cynical about politics. What must be emphasized is that there is nothing progressive about Hillary Clinton. With her campaign it’s politics as usual. Who voiced these sentiments in 2000?

When these problems aren’t confronted, it builds a wall within our nation. On one side are wealth and technology, education and ambition. On the other side of the wall are poverty and prison, addiction and despair.

I don’t have enemies to fight. And I have no stake in the bitter arguments of the last few years. I want to change the tone of Washington to one of civility and respect.

Yes, it was George W. Bush, accepting the GOP nomination. Hillary might not be as bad as Bush, but I don’t hold with voting for the least-unlikable candidate. Voting for a third-party candidate with truly progressive ideas is not “throwing away your vote.” It is going on record as not being one of the sheep, who placidly votes for one of the pre-approved, corporate-financed machine politicians. There is more to “winning” an election than seeing your favorite party’s candidate in office.

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