Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with her recently published remarks criticizing U.S. Mideast policy, has declared political war on her erstwhile boss, President Barack Obama, as she readies herself to succeed him, political strategist Dick Morris told Newsmax TV
Never mind the attempt at a walk-back
, or the lavish birthday party
that both are set to attend — Clinton's take-down of Obama in "The Atlantic"
magazine marked "the beginning of a war," Morris told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.
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"Today there's a kiss-and-make-up session at [Democratic fundraiser] Vernon Jordan's house in Martha's Vineyard, but that's just for the cameras," said Morris. "The fact is that Hillary has deliberately set about to differentiate herself from Obama in at least five different foreign policy regions."
Clinton used the magazine interview to criticize Obama's don't-be-stupid approach to foreign policy as the polar opposite of President George W. Bush's — disengagement versus Bush's aggressive interventionism— and just as wrong.
Clinton said she would have managed the crises in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Iran and Afghanistan differently from Obama.
"All things we never heard a peep about while she was secretary of state," said Morris. "But that really is an indication that she does not intend to run on her record as secretary, but against the administration's foreign policy."
Morris said that running against a president she served, and criticizing a foreign policy she helped shape, will be a "tightrope to walk." He said it's already had the dangerous effect of angering both the White House and the party's anti-war liberal base
"The left is now closing in on Hillary," said Morris. "Obama is firing back. Media Matters, the left-wing group funded by George Soros, published a lengthy editorial attacking Hillary for criticizing Obama and saying she should focus instead on Bush's decision to invade Iraq in the first place."
Morris predicted the backlash is just beginning.
"You're going to see a cascade now of negative stories about Hillary that'll come out of nowhere," he said. "They'll just appear in the media, but it'll be the Obama administration feeding it.
"Don't forget, they control the White House. They are the people who know the State Department. They can get into the details, the travel records, the appointments, the patronage, the policy positions, all of that stuff, and really you're going to see a lot of anti-Hillary dirt coming from the White House," said Morris.
Although Clinton hasn't said she will run, she is in effect campaigning, and Morris said Clinton "assumes she will have no Democratic primary."
"She assumes, as she did in '08, that she would waltz to the nomination," he said.
"But politics abhors a vacuum. You can't be this close to the vested corporate interests. You can't be this close to crony capitalism. You can't be this close to a conflict of interest where your State Department approves speeches your husband makes [and] that [income] goes into your pocketbook. And you can't be this hawkish on foreign policy without getting a Democratic Party opponent," said Morris.
"It doesn't have to be Superman; it could be a nebbish," said Morris. "It can be [U.S. Sen. Bernie] Sanders [of Vermont], it can be [Maryland Gov. Martin] O'Malley.
Whoever it is, "he'll draw an unexpectedly high share of the vote [in the early primaries], and that'll trigger the entrance of a real candidate like [U.S. Sen.] Elizabeth Warren, just as Eugene McCarthy triggered Bobby Kennedy's entrance against Lyndon Johnson in 1968," said Morris.
Meanwhile, Morris said the job Clinton wants is making the person who has it now miserable, judging by Obama's profane response
to his foreign-policy critics.
"Sometimes presidents are joyful and sometimes they're bitter," said Morris, "and I saw [President Bill] Clinton become bitter in his second term. And you're seeing Obama becoming bitter, and it makes for a very unattractive president and will hasten his decline in ratings. But he may take Hillary with him."
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