Tags: Joe | Klein | Wrong | About | Hillary | Clinton

Joe Klein Is Wrong About Hillary Clinton

Wednesday, 11 May 2005 12:00 AM

Well, that's for starters.

According to a Fox News Poll taken last December, 59 percent of all Americans already consider her qualified to be president.

I have worked for certain Democratic nominees who never got to that point.

So I was glad to see that when Time's most famous Clinton watcher, Joe Klein, aka Anonymous of "Primary Colors" fame, one of the people who wrote most favorably about her husband in 1992, weighed in on Hillary 2008, he emphasized her many positive strengths before tanking her.

He said that he "like[s] her," and that she is "smart and solid," and that she "easily masters difficult issues – her newfound grasp of military matters has impressed colleagues of both parties on the Armed Services Committee."

And he doesn't fall for some of the traditional arguments of Hillary Haters: He recognizes that she is not a hardcore liberal, "she is not even vaguely the left-wing harridan portrayed by the Precambrian right," but rather a "judicious hawk on foreign policy," who "has learned her lessons on domestic policy overreach."

He even quotes no less an unlikely admirer than Newt Gingrich as saying that "Hillary has become one of the very few people who know what to do about health care."

So what's wrong?

First, Hillary shouldn't run because it will bring out the haters. As if not bringing them out means that they don't exist, or as if giving in to them gives them less power. That's a really weak one. Hopefully, the right will stand up to its own haters. If they don't, the country will. Speaking in crass political terms, the haters help Hillary, they don't hurt her.

Second, Hillary shouldn't run because she's not a "brilliant" enough politician to create a "credible feminine presidential style, to deal with the 'toughness conundrum' any woman running for president will face. So far, Sen. Clinton hasn't shown the ease or creativity necessary to break the ultimate glass ceiling." So says Joe.

Actually, Hillary is in far better shape to deal with this "conundrum" than Joe gives her credit for – this is where all that respect for her Armed Services work, her deft handling of issues, her strong, even frosty demeanor, helps her seem "tough." While women candidates generally face a gap of as much as 10 points on leadership and decisiveness, the latest polls show Hillary scoring particularly strongly among New York voters on those measures.

Third, Hillary shouldn't run because her husband gets his picture in the tabloids. That one is hardly original. Good behavior is eating swordfish with a blonde. As if she can control that.

But the larger point is this: Every academic study of the 2000 election has come to the same conclusion, which is that Gore's critical mistake, which cost him on the order of 3 points, was his decision to disassociate himself from the Clinton administration, swordfish, tabloids, blondes and all. Far from handicapping him, it was the ticket he gave up. Far from not wanting to go back there, it was his refusal to go back there that made W. president.

Fourth, and this was the new one: Hillary shouldn't run because it's "dodgy." "Dodgy," I said, what could that mean? It means that she's trying to dodge the Constitution. Come again, you might be saying ... That's right. She's not really running for president. Get it? He is. It's a "slouch toward monarchial democracy."

George W. Bush can succeed, separated by two terms, George H.W. Bush, but that's OK. But enough already when it comes time for the first woman to enter the race as a front-runner, the first woman to be qualified in her own right, the first woman to stand a real chance of being elected president.

In one sentence, he's leading a separate life with another blonde. In the next, he's running the show. Do you know why we need a woman president? Do you think there is enough sexism out there?

Enough already, Joe.

COPYRIGHT 2005 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.

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Well, that's for starters. According to a Fox News Poll taken last December, 59 percent of all Americans already consider her qualified to be president. I have worked for certain Democratic nominees who never got to that point. So I was glad to see that when Time's...
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