Showing posts with label bill clinton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bill clinton. Show all posts

Saturday, December 29, 2007

From: DailyKos
Hillary: The Wrong Choice on National Security
by The Bagof Health and Politics
Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 05:39:14 PM PST

Voters think that Hillary Clinton is the best choice on National Security Issues. They are Wrong. Here's why.

Benazir Bhutto, the leader of the Pakistani opposition, was assassinated at a rally today. Bhutto was no saint, but ended up being a martyr for her cause. Bhutto’s assassination leaves a power vacuum in Pakistani politics, and destabilizes the nuclear-armed nation. The aftermath of Bhutto’s death will be seen over the next few weeks. It has far reaching implications; implications that could influence the primary elections here in the United States.

Here in the US, a poll was released today. It validated emerging trends: that Barack Obama is trending upwards, and was on a path towards victory; and that Hillary Clinton is trending downwards and was on a path towards defeat. Politics—especially presidential politics—is about timing. Bhutto’s assassination raises the salience of national security issues in the week leading up to the first votes of the 2008 Presidential cycle.
Buried within the poll is an interesting item. According to the LA Times, "The poll shows that Democrats consider Clinton far-better equipped than her rivals to safeguard national security." Conventional wisdom on this is, as usual, wrong.

Hillary Clinton is saying that she will, in essence, follow her husband’s foreign policy. If Hillary wants to claim credit for the successes of Kosovo, then she should also share in the blame for the disasters of Clinton the First’s administration. Clinton the First faced a foreign policy challenge in his first months in office; after a single incident where 18 soldiers were killed, Clinton the First pulled US troops out of Somalia. That action sent a message to the vile element abroad: terrorism works.
Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The bombings occurred in 1998, just as Clinton was getting impeached by the US House for lying about an extramarital affair. A movie was out at the time. It was called Wag the Dog. Its central premise was that a President started a war to distract people from corruption at home. Clinton the First was worried about appearances. There was actionable intelligence on the location of Osama bin Laden—he was in the Sudan at the time. Clinton waited for hours before deciding to launch a missile strike. By the time the missiles were launched, bin Laden was elsewhere, and the missiles just hit innocent villagers.

Then there was the USS Cole bombing, which occurred late in Clinton the First’s term. The US Presidential election was approaching. Clinton took no action other than to impose sanctions. Meanwhile, the September 11th plot was in its nascent stages, terrorists were going on "dry runs," and nothing was being done.
The national security record of Clinton the First’s term is poor at best. There were some successes—peace in the Balkans, although whether that is lasting peace remains to be seen. But there were many failures too--failures that had disastrous consequences and led to the situation that we have today.

Even if you accept the premise that Hillary shouldn’t be held responsible for any actions in her husbands term (which is going against her message, which says she should get credit for everything that happened in the 1990s), there are still problems with Hillary’s record on national security issues. Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War; she says she decided to vote for the war after being counseled by Condi Rice, currently Bush’s Secretary of State. Hillary took Rice at her word; she didn’t bother to read the National Intelligence Estimate, and therefore voted to send this nation to war on incomplete information.

Hillary voted for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which would’ve led to a war with Iran if it weren’t for a few brave intelligence professionals that forced the administration to declassify the NIE, which showed this was the same old story (no nukes). The United States military is stressed to its capacity as it is; adding more troops and another occupation of Iran would only diminish our nation’s ability to respond to instability elsewhere in the nation. For instance, if Hillary Clinton’s vote had been followed to its logical conclusion, the United States would have no capacity to respond to instability in other nations, like Pakistan.
The issue of Pakistan itself brings up another area where Hillary Clinton has proven to have poor judgment. Earlier this year, Senator Barack Obama said that military action against Al Qaeda, which currently occupies a mountainous portion of Pakistan, within Pakistani borders should be an option for any US President. Clinton herself attacked Obama, and said it showed that he was "naïve" about foreign policy. Yet as instability rules the Pakistani landscape, The prospect of chaos and of nuclear weapons being within the grasp of Al Qaeda is now very real. Senator Obama surely isn’t naïve for saying that military action should always remain an option in this situation; in fact, it looks like he was pretty wise to say that.

It’s clear from her record of mistakes and her husband’s record of failures that Hillary Clinton is the wrong choice for those that care about national security. The right choice is clearly Bill Richardson, who served as this nation’s Ambassador to the United Nations, has engaged in negotiations with dozens of foreign leaders, and has a solid understanding of national security issues.

If it isn’t Richardson, then Obama—who opposed the war in Iraq from the start and didn’t vote for the Kyl-Lieberman Iran War Amendment—is the better choice.
The same old leadership leads to the same old problem—a world in chaos and instability throughout the globe. It’s time for a new approach. It’s time for somebody not named Bush or Clinton to be in the Oval Office.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

There are many reasons why I support Senator Obama, and they are all very well documented here on But one of the less talked-about reasons for all my hard work, the thing that drives me to continue to get the word out about the Senator by any means necessary, has to do with the phenomenon that can best be described as "The Bill Factor". Not to be confused with "The Factor" or Fox News or even Bill O'Reilly. Just so you know.The "Bill Factor" of which I speak of course, is the Bill Clinton factor, and the presumption by most that Hillary Clinton has the black vote on lock because of Bill Clinton's popularity as former President. For sure, it would be naive of me to think anything other than that Senator Clinton's name and association to her wildy popular husband makes it very easy to roll over and go to sleep on the rest of the campaign if you're a black voter. No one could blame us at all if we simply chilled until election day and showed up at the polls to pull the lever for the woman who is the wife of the man affectionately known as the "First Black President (FBP)". Or could they?The fact of the matter is, I've never really appreciated the moniker as it has been used with Bill Clinton, I am painfully aware that Hillary Clinton is not her husband, and we are not living in the same times that we were when President Clinton was christened with that title.I mean it - even now, I'm still really not comfortable with hearing Bill Clinton referred to as the FBP. Please don't start lobbing grenades, Clinton-lovers. Yes - I am aware of the extra lengths to which the Clinton Administration went to be inclusive to blacks, and yes, I know that he grew up in the Deep South and played with black children, and yes, I can remember watching in amazement with the rest of the nation as he played the jazz saxaphone like an old Kansas City great on Aresenio Hall's late-night talk show. But still, there is something about referring to him as the FBP that just doesn't sit well with me. When I really stop to think about it, I think it's maybe that the idea of seeing Bill Clinton called the FBP back then, felt a little too much like we were admitting that he was as close as we'd ever get to one; as if hoping for an actual black president was just plain... out of the question.For sure, in a nation where there have only been a handful of black presidential candidates (and up until now, not a single one who could have ever been considered truly viable), it's easy for many Americans to believe that a President of any race other than the white race is somewhat of an impossibility. But there's a reason for that, and I'm certain it will be as hard for many to hear as it is for me to type. The reason we've never been close to running that truly feasible black candidate is because we've never had one who was interested in governing the entire nation, and not just championing the cause of blacks, and all of our socio-economic challenges. Until now. Let that sink in for a moment, then read on.I can remember as a younger woman, often asking myself why people like Shirley Chisolm, Carol Moseley-Braun and Al Sharpton insisted on wasting tax-payers dollars and their precious time by running a presidential race that they knew they had absolutely no chance of winning. It would take years for me to understand that any delusions they may have actually had of winning not withstanding, each of them also had as their goal, getting issues important to the black community into the national spotlight. That was it, pure and simple, especially in the case of Reverend Al Sharpton. Once I came to that realization, I understood the importance of what those candidates tried to do, and that right or wrong, effective or ineffective, it was an important continuation of the movement for equality for blacks in this country.The need to use a run for the White House as a political stage for affecting change for the black community has come with a price, however. Now, as a result of us never having a black candidate for President who understands the plight of black communities in the context of the complex political realities of our nation, we are in danger of missing out on a man who could truly be the first Black President, and potentially one of the most unifying and effective presidents our nation has seen in a long time.We as blacks have been sadly conditioned by the pseudo-campaigns of the black men and women who have made brave runs before, to believe that in order for us to throw our support behind any black candidate, he must be primarily a defender of the black community. I say sadly, because the harsh reality is that for us to do so is to relegate ourselves to a future with no chance of a black President, and that really is sad. As deep and enduring as many of our social problems are, electing a woman because of her marriage to a man who has nothing more than a superficial kinship with our community is a mistake. The problem with all this blind faith in Hillary is that it's really just a longing for the good 'ole days of Bill playing the saxaphone for us again. But Bill is not running for President.Please don't get me wrong. I admire Hillary Clinton, I really do - what's not to admire? She's been grooming herself for the presidency practically from the day she was born, and she's brilliant. Love her or hate her, you can't deny that, so as a woman who is constantly striving to break the glass ceiling in corporate America, I can't help but admire her. But want her to run our country? Uh, not so much.See, for me, it's all about timing. It's about what kind of leader we need now, for where we are as a nation right now. Here we are mired in a bloody, senseless war that we never should have waged in the first place, our reputation around the world has tanked, our most pressing domestic problems still plague us (healthcare, education, the AIDS crisis), and from a global perspective, we're economically at risk because of soaring trade deficits, our dependence on foreign oil, and the emminent shift of global economic might to Asia.Billary had their opportunity to bring about change, during a time when we were far less distracted by global issues. I recall that Bill Clinton put some very cool initiatives in place while in office, stuff like the "Community Technology Centers" which were part of the effort by his administration to bridge the digital divide, but Hillary's flip flopping, her "now I support it, now I don't" dance around her position on the war in Iraq just does not instill a lot of confidence in me.There's much more, of course - Hillary's failed attempt at reforming healthcare is legendary, and can be attributed to the Clintons' inability to build consensus across party lines. They made many mistakes in attempting to pass real reforms, like trying to tie the bill to a budget reconciliation plan, and refusing to compromise when moderate legislators suggested they should do so. A proven inability to see both sides of a debate and make tough decisions for the greater good of the nation is key in leading us out of our most serious problems. I believe Senator Obama has proven that he can and will lead justly, negotiate fairly, and perform effectively as President of the United States.I sense that there is a distinct hesitation among some to broach this subject with Black America, but the power of "The Bill Factor" cannot be overlooked. It's going to take everything we can muster to cut through the longing and the sense of nostalgia many feel for Bill Clinton. We can do it, but only if we're not afraid to confront those who argue passionately that what we need is another chance with Bill in order to make things right. We can do it if we can stand firm and point out the obvious differences in Senator Obama and Hillary Clinton, the least of which is the fact that she's simply too polarizing a figure to be an effective leader. The absence of political baggage, the wisdom, the integrity, and the vision to unite the nation all make Senator Obama the clear choice. And that would be true even if Bill Clinton were running.Read more at