Four More of the Same?


Ask Democrats if they would like four more years of George W. Bush, and you risk bodily injury. But according to polls, the candidate most similar to Bush in leadership style and attitude could win the Democratic primary.

Policy content aside, the style, transparency, and decision-making process of an administration are vital. Poor process and an adversarial relationship with observers led the Bush administration into misguided and dishonest decisions with depressing regularity. Yet Americans seem to believe that no Democrat could ever make the same misjudgments. Enter Hillary Clinton.

The paranoid attitude of the Hillary campaign is well documented. The latest indictment is from Howard Kurtz in WaPo:
Such is life spent trailing the Clinton juggernaut, where reporters can generally get close enough to watch but no further, as if separated from the candidate by an invisible sheet of glass.
Michael Crowley writes in the New Republic:
It's enough to make you suspect that breeding fear and paranoia within the press corps is itself part of the Clinton campaign's strategy. And, if that sounds familiar, it may be because the Clinton machine, say reporters and pro-Hillary Democrats, is emulating nothing less than the model of the Bush White House, which has treated the press with thinly veiled contempt and minimal cooperation. "The Bush administration changed the rules," as one scribe puts it--and the Clintonites like the way they look.
The most repeated anecdote this season relates to Hillary killing a negative piece in GQ - which she accomplished by threatening to cut GQ's access to "cover boy" Bill Clinton. Ben Smith draws the same parallel:
The campaign’s transaction with GQ opens a curtain on the Clinton campaign’s hard-nosed media strategy, which is far closer in its unromantic view of the press to the campaigns of George W. Bush than to that of Bill Clinton’s free-wheeling 1992 campaign.
Stephen Braun, in a generally positive article, recalls Hillary's disastrous attempt at governing in 1993:
[H]er gates-drawn stance raised concerns that shadow her presidential bid today -- that she reacts with a siege mentality under pressure, retreating behind a restrictive wall of presidential and attorney privilege.
Former Governor and nominee Michael Dukakis used Hillary's failed health care push as a classroom example of poor political process. The secrecy, the unwillingness to get input, and the inflexibility all emanated from Her Eminence.

Hillary's campaign and her former positions of public trust indicate that she would run a cagy, uncompromising administration, willing to alienate constituencies and allies in order to achieve a policy goal. While she would make a great Inspector General, a presidency with Hillary at the helm could quickly become the worst of the 21st century. After all, for all the secrecy and mendacity of the Bush Administration, it has one great redeeming virtue: incompetence. You won't find much of that in a Hillary White House.

Bush is leaving office in 13 months, and Democrats can actively debate whether or not their nominee should run "against" Bush. But is there any question as to whether a Democratic nominee should run as Bush?

Posted by Chops at November 30, 2007 12:31 AM
Comments
Comment #239659

Chops, “Policy content aside…” ?

Policy content and intelligence are everything. There isn’t a single Democratic or Republican candidate for President that doesn’t leave GW Bush in the dust as far as intelligence goes.

And as for policies, differences between the R’s and D’s couldn’t be in starker contrast.

Many voters vote for looks. Many voters vote for style. Many voters vote for gender. Many voters vote for skin color. Many voters vote for selfish personal gain. A great many voters will vote for party regardless of the qualifications of the candidate (unfortunate, but true).

But, the election in 2008 will be carried by the Independent voters in America, and they are focused on both intelligence and policy content. And that’s the whole ball of wax.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 30, 2007 12:43 AM
Comment #239661

Right you are David. I believe that the majority of people are looking for leadership and are tired of the same slimy political attitudes. Policy content is everything and only matters when stated by someone with demonstrable integrity and the ability to communicate that integrity to the people.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at November 30, 2007 2:10 AM
Comment #239666

Yukon, thanks. I believe about half of the Independent voters will be voting for the integrity of the policy positions, as well as the integrity of the candidate. If the other half divide along D and R lines, it is the integrity of policy that will carry the election.

Though this month’s off year elections continued the Democratic 2006 trend in local elections around the country, it is policy that will keep the results of the 2008 presidential election in suspense until the votes are counted. Nearly all the polls to date on the Presidential election are aimed at registered Dems or Reps. Leaving the Independent voters the big question mark.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 30, 2007 3:25 AM
Comment #239669

Guys,

That’s exactly my point. Yukon said:

Policy content is everything and only matters when stated by someone with demonstrable integrity and the ability to communicate that integrity to the people.

I wholeheartedly agree.

As a conservative, I liked many of Bush’s policies, but I deplored his decision-making style and attitude. As liberals, those who support Hillary could get the same policies plus transparency and integrity from another candidate.

There is a secondary point implicit in my piece as well, which is that decision-making style and attitude ultimately shape policy, especially in the gray areas. Should we or should we not go to war? Well, unless you’re a pacifist, that’s a question that has to be decided on a case-by-case basis. In Bush’s White House, the decision-making process was so twisted that it made a terrible war decision. Ultimately, that wasn’t as much a matter of “policy” ex ante as it was of decision-making and attitude.

Posted by: Chops at November 30, 2007 8:55 AM
Comment #239671

Guys, is anyone here willing just to state that if you want honesty and integrity running away from any Clinton would be the first step in an intelligent policy?
Liberals love to call Bush stupid, which is why they have never been able to mount effective assaults on his policies when he stood his ground, but if one assumes he is stupid and somehow dishonest how much worse off would we be to have a president who is NOT stupid and is demonstrably dishonest?

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 30, 2007 9:20 AM
Comment #239684


Lee: The Democrats have never had the power to launch a successful assult on Bush policies within the government. For most of the Bush term, Republicans controlled the Congress. Democrats now have a one vote majority in the Senate except on the war issue where Republicans still have a majority. The Senate has the fillibuster and the Republicans use it quite effectively.

In the realm of public opinion, the Democrats launched successful assults on Bush policy. The assult on the Bush Social Security was so successful that the Republicans backed off faster that an eye can blink. On the war, Bush has defied both the Democrats in Congress and the American people. Even the Republicans, with cooperation from some Democrats, have launched a successful assult on the Bush amnesty for illigal immigrant bill.

Posted by: jlw at November 30, 2007 11:42 AM
Comment #239691

Chops,

It is pretty sad that conservatives are using THEIR OWN GUY as a negative example to bludgeon Democrats with. How the mighty GOP has fallen…

If the best you guys can do against Clinton is to compare her to your hero, you better get used to saying “President Clinton” again.

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 30, 2007 1:13 PM
Comment #239692

Bush is a corporatist. Policy decisions have been made to furthur the interest of large business interest instead of what is best for the country. They are NOT the same thing. There are handreds of large and small examples of this.As for the current crop of candidates all but a few are also corporatist also. From the Dems HC is the one candidate recieving the most corporate support in a bid to maintain their influence. To that extaent I agree with you. Her presidency would furthur some of the same policies. It would be differnt in several ways also. The NLRB would be less anti-union for example. There would likely be more anti-trust investigations and a more regulatory atmoshere but nothing drastic.
Both parties have potential candidates that promise to be less influenced by corporate aims and more attuned to the real needs of the country. McCain and Edwards. The primaries have not even started yet. It is too early to annoint a champion of either party.A good indicater is to not vote for any candidate does not stay within public financing guidlines,also to not vote for any candidate from NY.(ha,ha)

Posted by: BillS at November 30, 2007 1:19 PM
Comment #239693

Lee
As you can see above I am not HC fan in particular but please would you guys stop accusing her of illegal corruption.. You spent millions of taxpayer money already paying Ken Starr to find something,anything, to no avail. That dog won’t hunt,indeed its dead in the back of a pickup somewhere.

Posted by: Bills at November 30, 2007 1:38 PM
Comment #239694

Chops is comparing the two because he wants change which will help our country.
You guys ignore the comparisons because you want change that will help your party.

“But is there any question as to whether a Democratic nominee should run as Bush?”

As long as that nominee is a liberal Democrat, NOTHING else matters.

Four more of the same? Why the hell not, it will fit right in with the 16 years before them.
The cheerleaders will change and we will be paying alot higher taxes, but it will mostly be the same old crap, just a different party.

Posted by: kctim at November 30, 2007 1:48 PM
Comment #239703

Is Clinton the same as Bush? Ummm. No.


It’s interesting how Republicans in general have picked up on Bush’s strategy of attacking an opponent’s strength. Hillary has the experience and wherewithal to deal with and manage the media. She should - she’s been attacked enough, over and over and over again. The difference between Bush and Hillary’s media management is that Hillary is keeping the media focused on issues, and Bush kept them focused on anything but. Sorry, your analogy doesn’t play.

Posted by: Max at November 30, 2007 2:47 PM
Comment #239712

kctim said: “Chops is comparing the two because he wants change which will help our country.”

So, do all those more numerous Democratic and Independent voters want change which will help our country. And cookie cutter Republicans aren’t the answer for the vast majority of them. Democratic elections are disappointing for a minority view, every time. According to polls, Republicans have quite a shrinking minority to disappoint.

But, hang in there, in 30 years the next generation will have pretty much forgotten Republican misrule, and the GOP may have a chance to misrule again. Giving government control to the GOP is like giving the Exxon CEO position to a 13 year old who just knows they are right no matter what they do.

When the polls began showing the American people were increasingly seeing the Democrats as the only fiscally responsible choice, there was little left for the dead GOP to do by lie down in its political coffin.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 30, 2007 5:22 PM
Comment #239719

Read ALL that I said David.
I will give you that the majority of Independent voters want change which helps our country, but the majority of Dems only want change which helps their party. If that was not the case, hillary would not be the frontrunner. The only change we will get with her is party name.

IF, I thought Reps were the answer, I would not have said we might as well elect one of the current Dems, that way we can keep up the corruption and all that we have had over the last “16” years. Am I wrong in saying that a liberal or a Republican has been President during that time?

We will not have to wait 30 years for a new generation. As has been proven in recent past, the Dems in control will add taxes, take away rights again and piss off the people and they will vote them out. Again!

Giving govt control to the Dems will be no different than giving it to the Reps.
Sure, people like Max, Paul, Stephen, Jane etc… will ignore all their abuses and corruption, again, and think everything is freakin great no matter what. But, their willingness to ignore, excuse and defend crap their side does, will only contribute to the same mess we have been in for a while now.

Polls are a waste of time and can be made to say whatever you want. You can take stock in them, I do not.
I will not be until the voters begin showing the American govt they want change, before anything positive will change. And voting for any candidate in the current Dem or Rep fields will only give us “Four more of the same.”

Posted by: kctim at November 30, 2007 5:50 PM
Comment #239720

“When the polls began showing the American people were increasingly seeing the Democrats as the only fiscally responsible choice, there was little left for the dead GOP to do by lie down in its political coffin.”

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 30, 2007 05:22 PM

David, please share with all of us a few examples of the Democrats as fiscally responsible. Obviously you aren’t speaking about any of the Democrat Presidential candidates as they are outdoing themselves spending money we don’t have, aka Schips, baby bonds, free Ira’s, free medical care, etc. If you’re refering to the Democrat Congress, they are at the pig trough as often as Republicans. Open your nose and smell the pork roast. So, please explain. Just saying something doesn’t make it true. The latest public outrage was over closing our borders and stopping illegal immigration. Over 80% of the public wants English as our official language. Of the 35 senators voting against English as our official language, 33 were Dems, 1 Independent and 1 Repub. Now tell me again how the dems are following the public wishes. Thanks!

Posted by: Jim at November 30, 2007 5:56 PM
Comment #239729

Jim, pork barrel spending inclusions in the defense appropriations budget is down to 6.6 billion, from 10 billion under the previous Republican Congress’ budget.

PayGo has largely prevented adding new additional deficit spending measures. The 60 billion over 5 years additional spending for middle class recipient inclusion in SCHIP to be paid for by a 61 cent tax on tobacco sales, has failed, so far, to pass. But as the WSJ reports:

To comply with the [PayGo] rules while expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Democrats pared the amount of new spending in order to get Republican support.
PayGo at work.

I understand how ignorance of the data can lead to comments based on pure conjecture as in your comment, but, really, shouldn’t your comments provide a bit of evidence and data of their own to support your case?

“Open your nose and smell the pork roast.”, indeed! I suggest you open Google and research your opinions before you expose them for public critique with data and facts.

Jim said:

The latest public outrage was over closing our borders and stopping illegal immigration. Over 80% of the public wants English as our official language. Of the 35 senators voting against English as our official language, 33 were Dems, 1 Independent and 1 Repub. Now tell me again how the dems are following the public wishes.

What has any of this to do with my claim that Democrats are viewed as the more fiscally responsible party?

Feb. Poll: “38 percent said Democrats stand for fiscal responsibility while 35 percent said Republicans stand for fiscal responsibility. ”

Mar. Poll: “…poll that voters associate Democrats more than Republicans with “fiscal responsibility,” 44 percent to 36 percent.”

July 27-30 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll [pdf] that found that a higher percentage of respondents thought the Democratic Party “would do a better job” than the Republican Party on the issues of “reducing the federal deficit,” “controlling government spending,” and “dealing with taxes,”

More Americans view Democrats as the more fiscally responsible, as evidenced by the polls.

Facts and data Jim. Try em’. Unless they would undermine the shape of your comment’s perspectives, in which case, treat facts and data like the plague.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 30, 2007 7:20 PM
Comment #239730

kctim said: “but the majority of Dems only want change which helps their party.”

That is as obvious of the Republicans as the Dems, don’t you think? I find it a little absurd to indict one party for what both parties are party to. :-) Party Hardy, indict both parties like I do!

kctim said: “We will not have to wait 30 years for a new generation. As has been proven in recent past, the Dems in control will add taxes, take away rights again and piss off the people and they will vote them out.”

You may want to look a little further back than the recent past, to that wilderness in the 20th century to which Congressional Republicans spent most of their time.

Add taxes, kctim? As in pay for their spending instead of passing the debt on to our children? What a novel idea!

Take away rights again, kctim? As in Terry Schiavo’s husband’s and the state of Florida’s rights? As in rights to privacy from CIA and FBI snooping on American’s communications? As in the people’s right to expect their president to abide by the laws on the books like FISA?

kctim, what the recent past demonstrates is a rebuke toward the Democratic Party for decades of excesses, to be followed even graver excesses by the GOP. Given the choice, as polls have consistently indicated this year, the majority of the American people have decided Democrats are the lesser of the two evils. Which was the norm of the 20th century. The fact that registered Independent voters now outnumber Republican or Democratic, is the only underlying structural change in American politics that has occurred in the recent past. Which means the Democrats hold on the image of the populist party, is tentative. But, clearly, that image has been erased from the GOP pretty completely.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 30, 2007 8:08 PM
Comment #239760

David said:

“…pork barrel spending inclusions in the defense appropriations budget is down to 6.6 billion, from 10 billion under the previous Republican Congress’ budget.”

David… although what you said is true, and incredibly deplorable… don’t you think it was more a product of one-party rule than it was “Republicanism” per se’? Let’s not forget why the Reps were so overwhelmingly successful in ‘94 after two years of both a Dem Whitehouse AND congress… I just wonder why it took us 6 years to realize the same thing this time around?

The Dems are no better when it comes to fiscal management than the Reps… they may seem like it now, but if a Dem wins the presidency in ‘08 and they have a majority in Congress… well… let’s just wait and see.

In our duopoly, a prez is only ‘successful’ when he has a hostile congress and he learns to work with them. Carter had a Dem congress and how long did he last? Bush’s first 6 years in office were… well… we all know how that’s gone… Reagan and Clinton, their respective parties’ monotheistic pretty-boyz, both worked fairly well with a hostile congress. Maybe that’s the key…

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at December 1, 2007 3:17 AM
Comment #239761

Doug, as Forrest Gump’s mama used to say: “Republicanism” is as “Republicanism” does.

Facetiousness aside, politics is all about integrity. The Party that champions core principles in their rhetoric and then walks lock step to the person in the Congress and White House to circumvent and undermine those principles in their actions defines the GOP, no matter how you cut it.

We can talk about conservative principles as they remain relatively constant and I champion some of them. But Republicanism as manifest in the GOP these last 12 or so years, has shown itself inable to respond appropriately to the job of governing the nation’s future and the general welfare of the people, present and future, which is what conservative principles of governance are all about.

That by the way, is my definition of responsibility which I remind my daughter of at least weekly - the ability to respond appropriately to the demands and expectations of the situation. The job of American governance demands representing the interests and general welfare of all of the people in policy and action, meeting expectations of good conduct, abiding the laws and Constitution, and holding those who violate these principles responsible instead of pardoning them, promoting them, shuffling them from post to post, and commuting their sentences or letting them slip away to lucrative lobbying careers as reward for violations of good governance in the name of party loyalty.

There are some in the Congress who meet these criteria for good governance but far too few. Note that these criteria I outline do not include placing a higher priority on party concerns than the concerns of the people and the nation. This is why registered voters are changing their registrations from Democratic and Republican to Independent in growing numbers.

Their are now more registered Independent voters than either Democratic or Republican. When priority of Party supercedes the laws, the nation’s integrity, and the needs of the people and their children’s future, that party will lose registered voters and elections.

Doug said: “The Dems are no better when it comes to fiscal management than the Reps… they may seem like it now, but if a Dem wins the presidency in ‘08 and they have a majority in Congress… well… let’s just wait and see.”

The Dem’s have started out better than the Republicans. We can hope they have collectively taken the lesson of being removed from majority status to heart and will continue to hold to a higher standard. But, as you very correctly say, we’ll just have to wait and see.

The single greatest mistake the GOP made was selecting GW Bush as their “electable” candidate for President. The Parties are supposed to filter and screen out incompetent, inappropriate, and otherwise unsuitable persons seeking the Party’s backing before presenting that candidate to the general public for election.

The GOP failed that primary Party responsibility, causing their Party’s office holders, for years, to decide whether to oppose the incompetent President and Vice President and lose party integrity, or, back the President and VP and lose the confidence of the American people. How they decided is now plainly obvious.

Republicans have set the bar so low with moral scandals, legal scandals, an unpopular war rivaling Viet Nam in some respects, and an abject failure to prepare our economic future for the trials and demands ahead of it from the retirement of the boomers, that Democrats will actually have to exert effort and will to do worse.

That is a shame, if Democrats hold power by performing only slightly better. I and 10’s of millions of other independent-minded voters intend to make bloody sure they are held accountable to a much higher standard, or suffer the same fate as the GOP.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 1, 2007 4:27 AM
Comment #239782

David said…

“Democrats will actually have to exert effort and will to do worse.”

I wouldn’t put it past them… ;-)

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at December 1, 2007 12:50 PM
Comment #239784

KCTM et al
As ststed hc is likely to continue corporatist Bush/Rep policies in trde deals etc. but there are plenty of differences. She would not even occur to her to place anti-union schills on the NLRB. It would not even occur to her have a DOJ involved in court cases to prevent states from implementing their own more stringent enviormental laws. It would not even occur to her to try and cripple or destroy SS or push a drug plan without the ability to negotiate prices. It would not occur to her to appoint activist judges to undercut an idividuals right to make family planning decisions without government intrusion or push some bonehead amendment to prevent people from getting married. The list of differences is longer than the list of similarites and she will,although not my first choice,get my vote.

Posted by: BillS at December 1, 2007 1:00 PM
Comment #239791

BillS


“She would not even occur to her to place anti-union schills on the NLRB.”

no she would put union schills on them. whats the difference?

“It would not even occur to her have a DOJ involved in court cases to prevent states from implementing their own more stringent enviormental laws”

no she’d do just the opposite. we’d have so many different standards that the price of compliance by auto mfg, would send the price of a new car through the roof.

“It would not occur to her to appoint activist judges”

it’s all about ideaology. she’d appoint activist judges who’d take away other personal rights that she’d rather we didn’t have. be it personal property rights, or 2nd amndt. rights. look at the 9th circuit if you want to see the type of judges she’d appoint.


“to undercut an idividuals right to make family planning decisions without government intrusion or push some bonehead amendment to prevent people from getting married. The list of differences is longer than the list of similarites “

this country is strongly divided as to the direction they like to see it go, and to paint those on the right as activists, is to ignore the agenda on the left. sorry but in my book hillary is as crooked as a dogs hind leg, and i’m sure many will agree with me, although i know you’re not one of them.

Posted by: dbs at December 1, 2007 4:54 PM
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