Maureen Dowd puts her finger on the “why-are-you-so-opposed-to-HRC?” question that bounces into my inbox multiple times a day from well-meaning Democratic friends of mine.
“It’s not that she’s too old,” Ms. Dowd writes in her column today, “It’s that she’s too old-think, thrusting herself forward as a hawk at a time when hawks — in the season of Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul — aren’t so cool.”
And it’s not just when it comes to foreign policy that HRC is too old-think. Her political strategies, her positions on social issues, her understanding of the New Social Fabric of social media and a dozen other aspects of her “thought” are all too old.
Just about the only thing she has going for her candidacy is her gender. American women are a force to be dealt with and they have a strong sense that their turn has come, that it the country can support and twice elect a man of color, then it is time a woman gained the highest office in the land. Just because she’s a woman.
But, as a feminist, I’d a lot rather see a truly progressive man at the head of the party’s ballot in 2016 than a stuck woman. Come to that, I could enthusiastically and easily support a truly progressive woman candidate (can you say Elizabeth Warren?), but I doubt that will happen. For a woman to oppose HRC in 2016 would be political suicide. It might well be for a man as well but anyone gutsy enough to force a split in the ranks of the females of the Party would find herself on the outside looking in if Ms. Clinton were to win the Presidency.
So I’ll say it again. If Hillary Clinton is the party’s nominee, she’ll get my vote. But not one stitch of additional support of any kind. Not my time. Not my enthusiasm. Not my money. And I’ll hope she wins because any Democrat — no matter how old his or her thinking — will be infinitely better than any Republican candidate on the current political horizon.
President Obama is reportedly sending about 300 troops into Iraq as “advisors” to help “retrain” Iraqi forces who have seemed from press reports to be increasingly out-fought and out-manned by insurgents in recent months. How in the world he expects 300 men to do what tens of thousands have already failed — quite recently — to do, is beyond me. As he withstands pressure to use airstrikes to help the increasingly beleaguered Baghdad government, this use of military advisers has the feel of appeasement.
But it is not perhaps imprudent to remember that the Vietnam War began in precisely this way. The early U.S. presence in Nam was called the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group Vietnam (MAAG-V).That was later shortened to Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV). Notice the word “assistance” as the focus of both names.
There have been reports — as well as a smaller number of weaker denials — that Iraqi military forces have abandoned their weapons and uniforms on the field of battle and melted into the civilian population rather than fight the ISIS forces. That, too, if true, would be eerily reminiscent of what we encountered fairly often during the first few years of the Vietnam War. In both cases what might be taken for cowardice might just be wisdom. Having been down this road before for many, many years, the futility of continuing to fight becomes a dominant meme.
Obama seems intent on alienating what little is left of his base by toying with the weapons and tactics of war. He has long since lost the support of those who, like me, falsely hoped for a progressive Presidency. Now he begins to shift to the right on military and foreign affairs and leaves behind the middle-left who have clung to their support of him because of his mediocre — but by contrast marvelous — work on social justice issues.
Such a waste, really. And perhaps a good, sound lesson. No politician can lead this nation in a progressive direction without deep roots in and understanding of the movement and the undeniable reasons for the necessity for it to begin to dominate our political scene. Behind that, if the best the Democrats can manage is a Clinton re-tread…well, then, hope for the nation is at best faint.
In this, the richest and most powerful country in the world, we can expose the symptoms and causes of poverty, just as Dr. King’s nonviolence “exposed the ugliness of racial injustice.”
In this, the richest and most powerful country in the world, we can come together to build an economy that works for all our children, just as Dr. King’s movement helped make “justice a reality for all God’s children.”
“In the final analysis,” Dr. King said, “the rich must not ignore the poor because both rich and poor are tied in a single garment of destiny. All life is interrelated, and all men are interdependent.”
Elizabeth Warren: A Nearly Lone Liberal Voice in the Wilderness
Those words are taken from an email I received this morning as a supporter of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). I have not found one thing for which this incredible leader stands with which I disagree. And her ability to articulate — not only brilliantly but clearly — the ideas she espouses is sometimes almost breathtaking. It’s no wonder that she has been referred to by many political observers as “Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare.”
She wrapped up her email on Dr. King’s birthday with this soaring challenge:
The struggle may be fierce, the climb uphill, the obstacles tall. But in a democracy, we, the people, get to choose our destiny, and we can choose a country that lives up to America’s founding promise and achieves Dr. King’s dreams.
I could get to like her on the national stage.