Here’s to Eric Edelman for doing the impossible — turned me into a raving, passionate defender of Hillary Clinton.
My feelings about Hillary Clinton, in general, may kindly be described as nuanced. A less charitable description would be that they’re confused.
I don’t want Hillary to be the Democratic nominee for a lot of reasons: I want this election to be about Republican failures not a rematch over the whole “Clinton thing” of the 90s; I don’t like the idea of having a Bush, then a Clinton, then a Bush, then a Clinton be president, a pattern which to me is just a little too close to having a hereditary system of governance; I worry that Hillary tends to be too politically calculating in the positions she takes; there’s also her refusal to admit error in voting for the war and to state a strong antiwar position; her affiliation with the New Democrats makes me wonder whether she’s really prepared to fight for economic justice; and, finally, I’m not sure, given all her baggage, that she’s the strongest candidate we have to offer in a year when, as recent Supreme Court decisions make clear, we simply have to win.
But there’s always an “on the other hand” with Hillary. She’s razor sharp, maybe not the political genius her hubby is, but pretty impressive in her own right; her campaign, so far at least, has been flawless; my sense is she’s probably more liberal than her DLC credentials would imply; she’s a fighter when she does take a stand; and, last but not least, she appears to have the kind of administrative competence so badly needed given the ultra-mess the Bush crowd will be leaving behind.
But whatever I may say about Hillary, pro or con, one thing you’ll never here me say is that she makes me feel politically passionate. There’s just too much political calculation (yes, there’s that word again), too much triangulating and too much reliance on polls and focus groups for true passion to come into play.
So, again, I have to take my hat off to Eric Edelman, the Defense Department’s undersecretary for policy for doing something I would have thought impossible — turning me into a passionate defender of the former First Lady/Senator from New York.