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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


It's the unspoken but never far from the surface issue among Democrats. Last night, Joe Biden said it, sort of.

"There is so much that has happened that people can see with their own eyes now that I believe that we finally have a consensus to do what we should do," she said. But Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware questioned whether she could get the job done, saying Republicans will be more reluctant to compromise with Clinton than with other Democrats.

"I'm not suggesting it's Hillary's fault," he said. "I think it's a reality that it's more difficult, because there's a lot of very good things that come with all the great things that President Clinton did, but there's also a lot of the old stuff that comes back. It's kind of hard."

Sensing some unease over what he had said, Biden quickly added, "When I say old stuff, I'm referring to policy -- policy."

It's the old two-for-one argument from 1992 turned on its head -- and it is the only thing stopping Hillary Clinton from sweeping to the White House.

I suffer from the problem to a certain extent, though I don't include myself among the Bashers of Bill. Yes, he did lie under oath, although I believe he was in many ways forced to give up his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and forced to lie about a "crime" millions of men commit.

But how many people have died for his mistakes, compared to those of his successor -- and for that matter his eponymous predecessor -- who had what can only be termed an obsession about Saddam Hussein?

Bush 41 chose not to go after Hussein (a decision I frankly thought was a mistake at the time, Dick Cheney notwithstanding). Bush 43 has chosen to squander our resources -- human and financial.

And the shame and dishonor he has brought upon the Oval Office because of his lies about weapons of mass destruction, his abandonment of New Orleans and the schisms he has widened in American society as a results of political strategies crafted by his "Boy Genius" far exceed anything perpetrated by Bill Clinton.

Hillary brings her own baggage -- independent-minded women are, sadly, still not considered "appropriate" in large swaths of the country. But that really comes down to the only argument against her.

Personally, I'm still undecided. Barack Obama offers a rhetorical vision that excites and I'm not hung up on the question of experience if it only applies to that gained in Washington. Hillary's claim of 15 years on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is a double-edged sword.

Yet I can't commit to Obama either. And there is something to be said for every Democrat, a real change from years past.

But back to the Hillary question. Dynasty -- 16 years of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton -- is simply a shorthand to raise Bubba's record. Let's be honest about it.

He triangulated his way to eight years of relative peace and definite prosperity -- although critics may say he didn't do enough to stop Osama bin Laden (still living in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of the failure of Bush 43 to follow through).

The economy was strong although the tech bubble burst at the end of his term, much as the housing bubble is bursting now.

American soldiers were in Bosnia on a national building mission for peace, after failing in the same effort in Somalia -- and ignoring Rwanda, much like today we are ignoring Darfur.

But the kicker for me -- Americans, for all our faults -- weer respected throughout the world. We stood for things (even if our President, like many of his European counterparts got a little on the side).

This President squandered all of the goodwill and sympathy the world directed toward us on Sept. 11, 2001. His condoning of torture, coming on top of his lies and economic policies designed to further enrich the super rich, have brought shame and dishonor and disrespect down on this nation.

It has emboldened petty tyrants like Kim Jung Il and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to thumb their noses at us -- knowing a large percentage of the world, particularly those of Muslim faith -- are cheering them on.

I admit my major concern about Hillary Clinton is winnability and the likelihood of the Great Republican Slime Machine to launch a fear and smear campaign which is their only true talent.

But I refuse to accept the notion that another four (or eight) years of Clinton will be bad for the nation because it creates another political dynasty.

If you compare Bill Clinton's accomplishments to George Bush there is no contest. Unfortunately, Biden didn't really misspeak, because the rest of the blather is how elections are won and lost in the United States these days.

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