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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Hillary Clinton is Just Like Joe Lieberman

Three and a half decades ago, Hillary Clinton managed Joe Lieberman's anti-war caucus campaign. If you follow the timeline, roughly halfway from then to now both candidates stopped fighting for what they believed and began moving to the right, triangulating, creating the DLC model that believes a GOP-lite approach is more important than leadership.

Joe Lieberman is going to get his on August 8th and then again in November.

Yet Hillary Clinton seems unable to realize that just like times changed between her days at Yale and the founding of the DLC, times have once again changed.

The DLC was successful because it was a reaction against what was then viewed as the main problems facing Democrats. Likewise, the new "inspiration and leadership" model is successful because it is a reaction against what is currently the biggest problem facing the Democratic Party.

Today's front page story in the Post is just the beginning of Clinton's 2008 problems and if she wants to see how it will play out she should keep her eyes on the Connecticut senate primary. Iraq is a major problem for both Lieberman and Clinton. Not just because of all of the lives and money wasted, but because it is a prism through which voters are drawing conclusions about the character of the politicians who are on the wrong side of the issue. Robert Scheer noted:

Less overt is the waffling of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., but her confusion is arguably more damaging to the Democrats, given her position as the party's front-running presidential aspirant. At least Lieberman stands exposed as a true believer in the Bush crusade, whereas Clinton continues to support a war that her confidants tell us she knows is wrong.

If Clinton does indeed know better than to support the war, let her say it out loud -- and clearly. Why is it so difficult for the Democrats to grasp that waffling doesn't work as a form of leadership? The public takes it as a sign of moral disarray. Does anyone doubt that John Kerry lost the 2004 presidential election when he whiffed on Bush's curveball question: Knowing what you know now, would you have supported the Iraq invasion? He should have instantly said, "Hell no, you lied to Congress and the American people and deserve to be defeated precisely for that betrayal of the public trust."

Lieberman is seen as a politician who will do anything to further his own career and it is going to cost him his career. If Clinton continues to do anything other than the right thing to further her career, it could cost her the nomination. This is not a winning strategy.

Yet both Lieberman and Clinton are acting like people who were once right, but have been in Washington for far, far too long.

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