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.
Here, as you’ve no doubt already read, is what he had to say:
The Pentagon told Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton that her questions about how the U.S. plans to eventually withdraw from Iraq boosts enemy propaganda.
In a stinging rebuke to a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman responded to questions Clinton raised in May in which she urged the Pentagon to start planning now for the withdrawal of American forces.
A copy of Edelman’s response, dated July 16, was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
“Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia,” Edelman wrote.
How fucking dare this little maggot attack the patriotism of someone whose only crime was to — pursuant to her oversight duties as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee — encourage planning for an eventuality every sane person knows is coming, an American withdrawal from Iraq. Not, of course, that this is anything new.
Unable to defend virtually anything this car wreck of a presidency has done in Iraq on the merits, the administration keeps falling back on the same tired old pattern of challenging the patriotism of anyone who dares oppose its failed policies.
Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret, Mr. Undersecretary Edelman: you’re going down with the ship in a losing cause. The lies have lost their power and the slander has lost its sting. The American people have seen the truth on Iraq, and nothing you say will change that. Your little con game is over. To quote that great (if fictional) American, George Bailey: Mr. Edelman, “In the whole vast configuration of things, I’d say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider.”
Go home, Mr. Edelman, and pray that history forgets you.