Monday, May 21, 2007

More on Hillary Clinton as President

Phillip Mella, once again, has a good post riffing on the same Anna Quindlen piece I discussed earlier:
Yet it is estimated that a significant number of Americans have serious doubts about whether the vaunted "female style" of leadership with its connotations of canny insight and nuanced sensitivity would be able to make tough decisions in situations where one scenario would guarantee the loss of many lives for the possibility of reducing greater losses later.

For all the phychologizing about the unsubtle nature of male authority and the horrors of paternalism, throughout history great men have stood up to tyrants and despots and have not hesitated to aggressively prosecute wars, battles, and counter-strikes where innocents may be killed, but thoughtful people might question whether a woman has that level of callous disregard when the goal is a greater good.

Beyond that, those who have seen Clinton in action during her husband's eight years in office can be excused for questioning her ethical certitude. Indeed, from the Rose law firm billing records to the 900 FBI files on Republicans, this was an administration just teeming with corruption. However, unless the media miraculously grows a spine, much of that will be deemed ancient history.

Towards the end of her editorial, Quindlen notes that Clinton's "human traits are too seldom on display," yet it might just be the case that she is all too human. Indeed, she is a rare amalgam of Lady Macbeth and Richard III, which is to say a master of cunning, calculation, and studied prevarication, all without a scintilla of remorse that might inhibit future machinations.
One of the problems with Hillary Clinton as I see it, and perhaps as many other people see her, is not that she lacks the callousness to make the tough decisions, but that she has displayed a tendency to make those decisions only to further her own ambitions or when it suits her politically. For example, those examples Mella notes as well as her remaining with a well-documented philandering husband, all decision made with a desire to further her own ambtions.

This is not to say that her ambitions are necessarily bad, after all she wants to be president and lot of people are in that boat with her. But one does have to wonder, based on her past behavior whether or not the same cold and calculating decision making she applies to her personal power will extend to the country as a whole. Certainly she has teh capability to be callous, but can she be callous about the future of a country when it might mean her own power and prestige are at risk.

Say what you want about George W. Bush, he has never waivered from his belief that the near-term loss of military life and his own personal popularity are necessary for the long term safety and security of this country. Time will prove him right or wrong, but given the state of the world today, one has to wonder if Hillary Clinton has the same fortitude as the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Given her current position on the war, is it not unreasonable to say, No she won't show the same backbone.

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