Molly Ivins / AlterNet & Yitzhak Benhorin / YNet News – 2006-02-13 01:12:11
Why Hillary Won’t Save Us
Molly Ivins / AlterNet
(January 23, 2006) — I’d like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president.
Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone. This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges.
The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long time unlearning, so now I have to relearn it. It’s about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief.
If no one in conventional-wisdom politics has the courage to speak up and say what needs to be said, then you go out and find some obscure junior senator from Minnesota with the guts to do it. In 1968, Gene McCarthy was the little boy who said out loud, “Look, the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.” Bobby Kennedy — rough, tough Bobby Kennedy — didn’t do it. Just this quiet man trained by Benedictines, who liked to quote poetry.
What kind of courage does it take, for mercy’s sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush’s tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes. The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do “whatever it takes” to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. Who are you afraid of?
I listen to people like Rahm Emanuel superciliously explaining elementary politics to us clueless naifs outside the Beltway (“First, you have to win elections”). Can’t you even read the damn polls?
Here’s a prize example by someone named Barry Casselman, who writes, “There is an invisible civil war in the Democratic Party, and it is between those who are attempting to satisfy the defeatist and pacifist left base of the party and those who are attempting to prepare the party for successful elections in 2006 and 2008.”
This supposedly pits Howard Dean, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, emboldened by “a string of bad news from the Middle East into calling for premature retreat from Iraq,” versus those pragmatic folk like Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emmanuel, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman.
Oh come on, people — get a grip on the concept of leadership. Look at this war — from the lies that led us into it to the lies they continue to dump on us daily.
You sit there in Washington so frightened of the big, bad Republican machine that you have no idea what people are thinking. I’m telling you right now, Tom DeLay is going to lose in his district. If Democrats in Washington haven’t got enough sense to own the issue of political reform, I give up on them entirely.
Do it all, go long, go for public campaign financing for Congress. I’m serious as a stroke about this — that is the only reform that will work, and you know it, as well as everyone else who’s ever studied this. Do all the goo-goo stuff everybody has made fun of all these years: Embrace redistricting reform, electoral reform, House rules changes, the whole package. Put up, or shut up. Own this issue, or let Jack Abramoff politics continue to run your town.
Bush, Cheney and Co. will continue to play the patriotic bully card just as long as you let them. I’ve said it before: War brings out the patriotic bullies. In World War I, they went around kicking dachshunds on the grounds that dachshunds were “German dogs.” They did not, however, go around kicking German shepherds. The minute someone impugns your patriotism for opposing this war, turn on them like a snarling dog and explain what loving your country really means.
That, or you could just piss on them elegantly, as Rep. John Murtha did. Or eviscerate them with wit (look up Mark Twain on the war in the Philippines). Or point out the latest in the endless “string of bad news.” Do not sit there cowering and pretending the only way to win is as Republican-lite. If the Washington-based party can’t get up and fight, we’ll find someone who can.
Molly Ivins writes about politics, Texas and other bizarre happenings.
Hillary Clinton Rips Bush on Iran
Yitzhak Benhorin / YnetNews.com
Tough talk: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a scathing attack on the Bush Administration, charging the US government has wasted precious time in dealing with the looming Iranian nuclear threat.
“I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations,” Clinton said during a speech at Princeton University, referring to American willingness to allow European powers to handle talks with Teheran.
“We cannot and should not — must not — permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons,” Clinton added. “In order to prevent that from occurring, we must have more support vigorously and publicly expressed by China and Russia, and we must move as quickly as feasible for sanctions in the United Nations.”
During her speech, Clinton also made it clear military action against Iran to curb the nuclear threat was an option. “We cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran that they will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons,” Clinton said.
The senator and probable future presidential candidate also blasted Holocaust-denial remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, charging the Iranian leader “is moving to create his own nuclear reality in line with his despicable rewriting of history.”
Turning her attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Clinton said Israel’s right to exist honorably must not be questioned and urged the Palestinians to do away with excuses and demonstrate their commitment to a peaceful future.
Comment: from Ponderosa Pine
(January 22, 2006) — By a factor of ten or twelve it’s the most appalling speech ever made by a member of a major US political party. Several politicians have told more lies-per-minute than she here but no one ever has lied on so many different levels simultaneously.
Comment: from Graham Jukes
(January 22, 2006) — God forbid, we never hear her criticise Israel for the 600-odd nuclear bombs it has covertly developed, (along with all the other deadly new WMDS it has created) and which, according to an Israeli professor, Israel has pointed at European and American capitals!