Sunday, 12 August 2007

Thoughts on Hillary Clinton

Since we all get to deal with however wins in 2008, I think I, a European without American citizenship, am entitled to comment. I won't rant, as I don't feel strongly enough about any of the candidates to do so. And it would be rude. I will try not to insult, but people will invariably disagree. At least I hope they do. I will approach this exercise from a classical liberal point of view: I like my free trade, market economics, democracy as well as the right to screw anybody above the age of 18 I damn well like.

I will not write on all the candidates, just the ones that I feel warrant a little attention. I have no thoughts on Kucinich and Gravel, so I won't write about them. In the end, I will probably endorse someone, with caveats: change your position and I will change mine. I could be wrong about a lot of things, feel free to tell me and I will correct them.

Right. Now on to the Queen of the Hill herself.

I never really liked her, to be honest, but I don't hate her. I think a presidential spouse should not be too political herself: after all, nobody elected her. Two-for-one is silly, I think, because she is not on the ballot. If you want that, at least go the whole Peron hog and make her VP.

I'm not really aware of the details of HillaryCare anymore but I get the impression her treatment of legislators eventually did her in. This is a potential problem, I think, even with what would probably be a Democratic Congress.

In my impression she is pretty conservative. She carries no disastrous policy baggage, which was the end of French presidential candidate Segolene Royal. I think that makes sense as she started life as a Republican and clearly wants to be the electable, centrist, experienced candidate. Here we hit a snag.

Does "being in the White House for eight years" count as experience? I would hope to think not. The idea of the First Lady actively making policy and turning the wheels of government is on some level disturbing. The only person who elected her is the pres.

So we are left with a shady bit of cv and 8 years in the senate. But the senate is no executive body. By all means, she comes across as articulate, well-briefed and well informed. Smart, and hard-working. Not too soft on foreign policy. But there seem to be no big ideas; where there should be passion and plans, there just seems to be ambition, cunning and planning. A lot of ambition.

Don't get me wrong, I think it would be good to have a female president. I get the impression a large part of America seems to agree with that. Angela Merkel in Germany does a good job; Margaret Thatcher was one of the 20th century's preeminent pols. I just have my doubts about this woman. What does she want to do in the White House? Her personal agenda seems likely to run out of steam in February 2008.

I could live with a Hillary (Rodham Clinton? Rodham? Clinton?) presidency. But she doesn't enthuse me, because she looks unlikely to be transforming, and really gay-friendly she is not.


Matt-CNS said...

Personally I am not to impressed by any of the candidates right now. I'm in the same boat, in that I'm not an American citizen, so while I have my opinions, it really is just an outsider looking in. Having seen some of the debates I think the Dems best debaters were Hillary and Joe Biden, but I'm still not liking any of them too much. On the republican side the only one I personally feel I could trust would be John McCain. I know his social policies are out of sync with my own, but I would definitely trust him before any of the others (in any party)

Pete said...

I used to be a McCain man myself, but he's a bit too close to the christianists for my tastes right now. An American friend and I are having huge discussions about this, but I guess he may be right about McCain, even though he is a social conservative himself.