Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dowd and Dirty

"Barack and Prejudice", from The Dowd Report, August 2008.
OK, so Dowd has now fully joined the Heighten-the-Contradictions Leninists for Trump brigade, or something like it, because Hillary Clinton is "The Perfect G.O.P. Nominee":

They already have a 1-percenter who will be totally fine in the Oval Office, someone they can trust to help Wall Street, boost the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cuddle with hedge funds, secure the trade deals beloved by corporate America, seek guidance from Henry Kissinger and hawk it up — unleashing hell on Syria and heaven knows where else.
The Republicans have their candidate: It’s Hillary.
Because nothing says "Republican" like adding a 4% income tax surcharge on incomes of $5 million and up, bringing the estate tax back up to 2009 levels, and implementing the Buffet rule (nobody can pay a lower tax rate than their secretary), and other measures to make the tax system more progressive than it's been for decades, or expanding disability rights, or restoring collective bargaining rights, or guaranteeing paid family and medical leave, or standing up for animal rights and wildlife, or using executive orders to install half a billion solar panels and reduce oil consumption by a third over the next four years.

No, that's not it. Ordinary Americans like Maureen Dowd are not concerned with such unpleasant details as combating economic inequality and global warming. What Ordinary Americans like Maureen Dowd (the ordinary Americans who sneer at nouveau-riche members of the one percent from the five-bedroom townhouses in Georgetown where young Senator John Kennedy used to live in the 1950s that they bought back in 1995 when the Clintons were still living in government housing) are concerned about is who is Hillary Clinton friends with, and is it true somebody saw her holding hands with Robert Kagan in the library when she was supposedly studying for the big algebra test and Bernie wants his ring back, if he ever gave it to her, which is anything but clear?

And by that standard she is self-evidently a Republican because has received a number of endorsements from the Republican foreign policy establishment (as Barack Obama did from Andrew Sullivan, Andrew Bacevich, Bruce Bartlett, Douglas Kmiec—who was literally denied Holy Communion for his heretical behavior—Colin Powell, Arne Carlson, Ken Adelman, and Charles Fried). And of course because she voted for the AUMF in 2002 (as did John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and any other Democratic senator who was contemplating running for president at the time):

You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving “aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda,” repeating the Bush administration’s phony case for war.
As a matter of fact in that speech, and indeed in that very sentence, Clinton explicitly questioned the Bush administration's phony case for war—
He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001
—although not questioning the general concept of Hussein as a "threat" that needed to be dealt with, as laid out by Secretary of State Colin Powell, whose deep personal honesty couldn't of course be doubted until it turned out he was lying too. She also made it clear that her vote was not a vote for military action but for diplomacy backed by the threat of force—
Even though the resolution before the Senate is not as strong as I would like in requiring the diplomatic route first and placing highest priority on a simple, clear requirement for unlimited inspections, I will take the President at his word that he will try hard to pass a UN resolution and will seek to avoid war, if at all possible.
—and issued a strong and prophetic warning of the consequences if Bush were to break his word and go to war without a UN resolution and as less than a last resort:
Some people favor attacking Saddam Hussein now, with any allies we can muster, in the belief that one more round of weapons inspections would not produce the required disarmament, and that deposing Saddam would be a positive good for the Iraqi people ....
However, this course is fraught with danger.... If we were to attack Iraq now, alone or with few allies, it would set a precedent that could come back to haunt us. In recent days, Russia has talked of an invasion of Georgia to attack Chechen rebels.
Which Bush indeed did, and whaddaya know, it's one of Vladimir Vladimirovich's favorite things to cite the Iraq invasion as a tu quoque precedent for whatever adventure he feels like embarking on, and he's not the only one.

Speaking of Clinton's Senate speeches, I kind of like this one from February 2007:
Nearly four years ago, our President rushed us into war in Iraq, a war now longer than American involvement in World War II, which next month will actually exceed the length of our own Civil War. For four years, members on both sides of the aisle have watched with shock and dismay as our President has made mistake, after misjudgment, after miscalculation.
Even before the invasion ended, the Administration rejected the voluminous plans drawn up by the State Department to deal with the chaotic aftermath. The successful examples of the U.S. experience in Bosnia and Kosovo during the 1990s [during the administration of the Senator's husband] were summarily rejected. State Department and other officials with experience in nation-building were blackballed in favor of inexperienced ideologues who were selected on the basis of political litmus tests, including answering questions about whether they were for or against Roe v. Wade and whether they had voted for George W. Bush.
Despite the urgent warnings of Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki and other senior military commanders, the necessary number of troops to ensure security and stability were not sent at the start of the conflict. Our men and women in uniform were ordered into harm's way without the necessary body armor or armored vehicles, a mortal error I have tried to correct time and again since I first learned of it. The strategic blunders now fill an entire library shelf of books, and they are certainly too numerous for me to list in the time allotted here.
Through these four years, there has also been another abdication of responsibility. That was the failure of this Congress to engage in its constitutional obligation of the majority's refusal to hold the Administration accountable....
That sound Republican to you, Maureen?

As Republican strategist Steve Schmidt noted on MSNBC, “the candidate in the race most like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a foreign policy perspective is in fact Hillary Clinton, not the Republican nominee.”
I'll give you that one. As long as you acknowledge that she's also the candidate in the race that sounds most like Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, most like John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and most like Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, for that matter most like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams; she's the candidate who sounds most like a normal human being who knows what she's talking about. Trump is vastly inferior on that score to Bush and Cheney, and to virtually everyone who has ever run in a major-party campaign for the presidency up to and including John Tyler and J. Danforth Quayle. Even Sarah Palin has more relevant experience and understanding of the issues than he has (though not vastly in that case).

It's no wonder people like Michael Hayden and John Negroponte and Robert Kagan have endorsed Clinton. It's not because they're in love with her policy agenda, including the foreign policy aspects. It's that they're just as frightened of a Trump presidency as we are, maybe more so, in the sense that these guys have very substantial portfolios whose value could collapse. Maureen Dowd has plenty of assets and she'd be frightened too, if she had any sense beyond the strange bitterness and envy that color every word she writes. 

No comments:

Post a Comment