Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Can Mommy Dearest protect me?

I arrived home last night about 10.45 p.m., late enough to miss my children's bedtimes, but early enough to sweat out the next four hours and fifteen minutes, waiting for the clock to hit 3 a.m. And when it did, who would protect me from foreign invaders, "sleeper cell" terrorists in our midst, the squirrels returning to my poorly-manicured grounds to start digging up their acorns, the Northwest winds that blow tree sap and algae onto the just-powerwashed side of my house and a good-natured but absolutely crazy 13 year-old kid whose parents just emailed to tell me that he "would be returning!" for the spring baseball season?

Hillary Rodham Clinton, that's who!

Yesterday was a pretty good day, too, as most Mondays are for me. I taught three classes I really like to students who I really like. Most of my second semester seniors were actually in class the Monday before the Monday of spring break. One who came late even apologized! After I taught my classes, I drove to La Ferme to play a great three hour gig, using nothing but brushes. Great practice, lots of fun -- and great food.

But then I came home, and, as I peaked in my daughter, tucked in with her latest Webkinz, oblivious to the world, the cold, hard reality of life without Hillary in office hit me: Who would protect my daughter (actually, it's my older son I'm worried about -- my daughter can handle herself) when the bad guys strike? Who, despite not having a security clearance during her husband's two terms as president, would protect my beautiful wife as she slumbered, dreaming of the spring shoe sale at Nordstrom? Who would protect the cute Girl Scouts down the street, who managed to pilfer $45 from me in sales for cookies I will never eat? Who has the energy to stay up until 3 a.m. every night, waiting for terrorists to strike? Who will protect my 24 year-old (and single and very smart and very cool) bass player, who is usually up doing God-know's-what at 3 a.m., should he fall asleep in his truck, which also doubles as his mobile office and home?

Who will protect Alex Ovechkin and that magic stick of his?

Who will protect the alter kachers in the men's locker room at the Rockville JCC as they compare their ailments and their investments?

Who will protect John Smoltz's right arm for one more season?

Who will protect Tiger Woods's swing as he prepares to mow down the field at the Masters next month?

Hillary Rodham Clinton, that's who!

After Hillary aired her "nuclear" ad in Texas -- a last ditch, and, quite frankly, pathetic effort to derail Barack Obama's candidacy -- John Dickerson of Slate asked her campaign team the following question:

"What foreign policy moment would you point to in Hillary's career where she's been tested by crisis?"

The answer: Hillary's been endorsed by more retired generals than Obama. You can hear the response for yourself here.

Hillary has said that her time as First Lady from 1992-2000 gave her the experience she needs to make the right call to prevent crazy people from killing my children. I wonder: did she give Bill the go ahead to launch air strikes in the Balkans, send cruise missiles to Afghanistan to let al-Qaeda know we were paying attention after it attacked the USS Cole? How did her "experience" lead her to vote for the disastrous Iraq war? If you are going to campaign as the candidate of "experience" and "judgment," you should be able to demonstrate some (a) experience and (b) examples of prescient judgment that separates you from your peers. Hillary has neither. Nor did Bill, but that didn't matter in 1992, when he was the candidate of "change."

And, no, this isn't a "But what about Obama?" moment. Obama has made his campaign about the future. Hillary has made this campaign about three things:

1. Herself.
2. 1992-2000, proof positive that she can fight and go negative better than anyone else (true).
3. Her superiority to me and every other moron too stupid to vote for her. Since I'm not capable of making an intelligent choice, I need someone to do it for me. How is telling me that I am nothing more than a lost camper from the Jim Jones cult going to inspire me to vote for her?

Yesterday, in a class I teach on landmark constitutional cases to a class of mostly second semester seniors, I tried to emphasize the importance of judgment, and how to hone that skill, in their post-undergraduate education. Many of them are going to law school, and, since they're all pretty damn smart (or at least smarter than me at that age), what will ultimately separate them from their classmates is not their ability to acquire and comprehend information, but to exercise good judgment with the information they have and to seek out those data points that will give them a little more insight into a problem before them. At a certain point, everyone is pretty smart. Every student I teach is smart -- there isn't a lemon in the bunch. My job, as I see it, is to give them the tools and the confidence to make independent decisions, even if they're not terribly popular or consistent with conventional wisdom. The students who leave college and make a mark in their graduate program and, later, their careers will do so because they have developed the confidence to make good decisions. And part of developing those skills is acknowledging and learning from mistakes. Trust me . . . made a million myself, but I try to learn from them.

Hillary can say what she wants about Barack Obama, that he's some modern day Barry White who can make the girls swoon and leave the boys wishing they were that cool. The reality is that their resumes are very similar. I'm not sure how a Harvard education, editorship of the the Harvard Law Review, time as a constitutional law professor, a record of accomplishment as a community organizer and success as a state legislator and U.S. Senator makes you an "empty suit." Is Hillary dumb, without genuine passion on some issues or incapable of navigating the rough waters of American politics? Not at all. I hope Obama has the good sense to appoint her as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

But would Hillary be a better president? No. For me, it's pretty simple. Hillary Clinton cannot inspire and lead, and she has never demonstrated the judgment necessary to separate her from other conventional politicians. Too many qualities that remind me too much of W -- a misplaced confidence in her own abilities, a refusal to acknowledge error and seek out smart people to tell her what she doesn't want to hear, inflexibility interrupted by awkward moments of pandering and, most importantly in the current moment, a firewall of appeal that turns potential supporters into enemies.

So it's all come down to this . . . Hillary asserting that only she possesses the ability to keep my family and Alex Ovechkin safe. This from a person who couldn't figure out why Domino's was making all those pizza deliveries to the West Wing back during the glorious years of Bill's presidency?

It's 1 O'Clock on Tuesday, March 4th. That means only 14 hours remain until 3 a.m. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

1 comment:

Carlos said...

Check this story out:

n a news conference Deanna Favre, wife of Brett Favre announced she will be the starting QB for the Packers this coming season. She claimed she is qualified to be starting QB because she has spent the past 16 years married to Brett while he played QB for the Packers. Because of this she understands how to pick up a corner blitz and knows the terminology of the Packers offense. A poll of Packers fans shows that 50% of those polled supported the move.

That's Hillary's logic, extrapolated.