Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Hillary in Stride

As reported by The Nation, Hillary Clinton makes a formidable run down the center-left at a re-election fundraiser in upstate New York, in front of a crowd of "rural, moderate Democrats--small-town schoolteachers, librarians, general-store owners."

"What I see happening in Washington," Clinton continued, "is a concerted effort by the Administration and the leadership in Congress to really create absolute power. They want to control the judiciary so they can have all three branches of government. I really don't care what party you are--that's not in the American tradition.... Right now young men and women are putting their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting for the America we revere. And that is a country where nobody has all the answers--and nobody should have all the power.... We all need to stand up for what made America great--what created a wonderful set of values that we revere, that we exported and tried to really inculcate in people around the world!"

That's impressive; that looks like a winning message to me. The audience apparently loved it, and even The Nation was seduced.

Wild applause rolled over Clinton now, although it was unclear whether the crowd had appreciated the political subtleties of what they'd witnessed. She had offered a critique of the GOP sharp enough for any progressive--even as she'd given an approving nod to American exceptionalism and a paean to US troops defending our "values" abroad. She'd stoked the partisan passions of her audience--even as she'd sounded an above-partisanship note of concern about the state of the Republic. Indeed, she'd managed to pull off what many Democrats struggle to do these days: She'd weaved her criticisms into a larger narrative about America's past and future, criticizing the GOP leadership without sounding as if she wanted America to fail--when she said she was "worried" about America, you believed her.

It's a good piece, even if you have to hold your nose to read The Nation. The bit about dealing with the Democrats' "military problem" is worth your time, whether you're open to a President Hillary or dead-set against it.