A dialogue about Hillary

Hello Mr. Warthen:

    Thank you for your reply. I posted to this effect in response to the blog entry in question, the one along the lines of "Watch Out, Hillary’s in Victim Mode." With all due respect, I feel it was totally unprofessional, snarky and uncalled for. Several others flamed you for it in the comments section, and you replied apologetically, to your credit, to one of them – "redd," I think it was.
    As I said in a second comment, in response to your apology of sorts, I know Mrs. Clinton. I had the pleasure of working on her campaign staff in 1992 on the Clinton-Gore ’92 campaign. She was kind, gracious, courteous and considerate to us several young ‘uns from around the country who had dropped everything to come help her and him. I have seen a side of her you most likely have not. She is not a two-dimensional cartoon villainess. She is a very bright, forceful, intense advocate for the causes in which she believes, and yes, she can be tough as nails. When was the last time that was a fault in a political leader.
    I could go on – but the notion that she is somehow evil and that Obama is pure as the driven snow is a bit much to take. Did you see where he turned his back on her last night, even as she had the good grace to extend a hand in friendship and good grace to Sen. Kennedy, who had just endorsed him? Do you forgive his campaign for fanning the flames of a race war so as to win South Carolina, based on Bill Clinton calling his claims of purity on the Iraq War a "fairy tale"?
    All I am saying is they’re both playing tough, at times dirty political hardball. Neither campaign is peopled with saints. They will, however, either of them, almost certainly do a better job than has Mr. Bush, given the opportunity. Be fair. That’s all. Personal invective of the sort you directed toward her should be beneath someone of your station.
    My two cents.

                            Christopher A. Stratton, Esq.
                            West Hartford, CT

From: Warthen, Brad – External Email
To: Christopher Stratton
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 1:00 PM
Subject: RE: Who’s the real victim?

    Thanks for going to the trouble to further share your thoughts (mind if I post them?).
    I think if you go back before this past week, you won’t find a whole lot of criticism of Sen. Clinton from me. The closest you’ll find will be my column openly worrying about the fact that a Clinton nomination would worsen polarization in the country. And if you can spot anything "snarky" in that — anything other than what I just said, an expression of concern (my distaste for our nation’s increasing partisan divisions is long-established).
    Over the past week, however, I’ve formed an increasingly negative impression. You can probably track it day by day on my blog. It really got started AFTER our editorial board meeting with Obama. I’ve just been more and more alarmed at the idea of her winning the nomination, and more and more glad we chose Obama.
    Maybe the things I’m reacting to were always there; or maybe it’s stepped up in the past week (which seems to be the conventional wisdom). Or maybe before last week, I was just trying so hard not to choose between them before our meetings that I let a lot of stuff slide. I don’t know. I do know that I’ve taken a different tone the past week, and that it reflects what I’ve been thinking…

Hello Again, Mr. Warthen:
    I very much appreciate your kindly following up on my thoughts and comments, and I respect that your general bent appears to be more deliberative and thoughtful than the taunt against Sen. Clinton which was my introduction to you. And yes, of course, please feel free to post my remarks from the prior e-mail below.
    I think the difficulty here is the translation between the more private, extraordinarily decent Hillary I have seen up close on several occasions and the sometimes over-intense Hillary that comes across in public. I think she may not see herself as the world sees her (as is true for so many of us, but for so few of us does it matter so much as it does for her). She has certain natural tendencies which don’t come off super well before a broad audience. She is a very, very intense figure. She is brilliantly intelligent and passionately committed to her causes. And she has the courage and the confidence of her convictions. And because of the courage and confidence, she ordinarily trusts her natural reactions, which at times are, to put it bluntly, to kick fanny and take names – to vanquish her opponent via sheer intelligence and intensity, in the first instance, and by other means at times as well. This is a role that suited her well as the wife of a major political figure, a sort of enforcer for her husband and an intellectual heavyweight who could also simply outsmart and out-argue dadgum near any foe.
    Now, though, those tendencies can come off as over-intense and scary when she is gunning to be the top dog in our country – and in the world for that matter. I think she may be starting to see that, but she is having to feel her way through this minefield in front of the entire world and is not extraordinarily sure-footed about it, and this has somewhat shaken her confidence – she doesn’t know when to trust her instincts and when not to. Add to that that she is up against an opponent who, sheerly as a stump salesman and presence, has the agility and grace of a lead dancer in the New York City Ballet. (The problem I have with Mr. Obama, whom I admire greatly and sincerely, is not with his talent, it’s with his seasoning, his reliability, his depth of experience and understanding. For me, Hillary is money in the bank on policy, a deeply smart, sensible, practical hand. Oddly enough, it is a bit of a conservative, cautious streak in me that is part of why I am supporting her. Personal loyalty is part of the equation for me, but by no means all.)
    Speaking of personal loyalty, Mr. W, please note that it is no coincidence that so many people who work or have worked for Sen. Clinton are fiercely loyal, and it’s not due to some brainwashing regimen, to that I can personally attest. She is extraordinarily gracious, courteous, respectful, considerate and loyal. She is a very fine friend to have and is widely loved, not merely liked, by those who spend more than a little time in contact with her. I have heard it said many times that people who have known them both have a pronounced tendency to favor her over her husband, and – remember – it was he who long ago said, back when they were finishing law school, that she, not he, should be the one who ran someday for president. I think he was deeply wise on many levels in that insight. (I think he was a very fine president on policy, by and large, but I think his personal flaws and weaknesses – and not just the philandering business – greatly undermined what could have been a far more successful presidency than it was.)
    So, catching my breath here for a moment, if she does win election to the presidency, Mr. W, I think Ms. Clinton will diligently and energetically do the rather extensive clean-up job that our federal government needs. She, better than nearly anyone, knows the extent of the damage and the fixes and repairs that need to be put into place across the broad expanse of our federal government. She will pursue these improvements and repairs with great energy, consideration and intelligence. With utmost respect, I do not believe Senator Obama can match her in these regards. She is, in my considered opinion, on balance, the better choice, but that is not to say that others cannot reasonably disagree. (I would, though, so love to see a ticket headed by her with him as the VP and still and yet hold out hope that this can happen – remember Sen. Kerry rather disliked Sen. Edwards and JFK and LBJ were not exactly chums.)
    Lastly, what I have difficulty abiding is numerous supporters of Sen. Obama’s viewing this as a clear cut, obvious choice between good and evil. It is not, and that is foolish. There are too many people whose tempers are running too hot. I hope we can heal this rift in our party, to which both sides have contributed far too much. It is highly counterproductive.
    That’s my bit for tonight.


                            Christopher A. Stratton, Esq.
                            West Hartford, CT

23 thoughts on “A dialogue about Hillary

  1. dave faust

    “Fierce loyalty of Clintonistas not due to brainwashing…”
    This statement immediately calls Mr. Strattons’ judgement and objectivity into question, in my mind.
    Hmmm, I wonder if their loyalty might be due to fear? Like fear of having their employment files turned over to the press as the Pentagon did under Clinton. Or being demeaned, demonized and undergoing character destruction in the press. Or having their IRS files rifled and exploited. Or maybe (dare I say it?) fear of physical harm.
    There are almost certainly many reasons Clintonistas remain faithful, (or at minimum quiet). I don’t deny that one of those reasons might be heartfelt loyalty…but puh-leeze…let’s not pretend that these people don’t know the consequences for going off the Clinton reservation. Frankly, I don’t understand why Dick Morris has gotten away with his withering criticism of the Clintons like he has. I’d have thought he’d be a dim memory by now. David

  2. tammy

    Thanks for sharing that Brad. And thanks to Mr. Stratton. He said that very well. And I appreciate him taking his time to explain his point so well. We must put our Party first and stand together for the platform Democrats hold dear. Woohoo. Go Dems! 🙂

  3. Mike Cakora

    Michael Zeldin (former independent counsel and federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C, current volunteer for Barack Obama in the Democratic primary campaign) writes in today’s Wall Street Journal that:

    Mrs. Clinton has shown us with this one simple, baseless accusation why it will be hard for her candidacy to represent a change. She appears too comfortable with the politics of personal destruction if she can gain a political advantage.

    The “baseless accusation” refers to her charge during a debate that Obama represented “Tony Rezko in his slum landlord business in inner-city Chicago.”
    Zeldin offer an unusual perspective in that he was involved in the investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s role as a lawyer in the fraudulent land deal known as Castle Grande. He defended her at the time, arguing that her participation was minor. No charges were ever brought against her.
    He takes great issue with the charge she levied at Obama because the facts show that he spent five hours of due diligence on behalf of a non-profit urban redevelopment group, not Mr. Rezko. Having been improperly accused in the past, she should be careful about improperly accusing others, or that’s his take.
    People will make up their own minds on the character of the candidates.

  4. Richard L. Wolfe

    I am not usually in favor of Constitutional amendments but maybe we should have one that says neither a president or his or her spouse can run for a third term. It is interesting that when George Wallace got his wife elected the press was all over it but when Hillary runs no one seems to mind.

  5. JOHN


  6. Richard L. Wolfe

    Alright Brad, I reread what I wrote and you have a point. But, why the attitude? I have never called you names yet you have called me Bubba and Dude and accused me of getting information from Move On Dot org. who I despise. Why do you choose to disrespect me when I have never disrespected you? Be man enough to answer the question. Everyone on this blog loves this country. It is an opinion blog. People have different ideas and different ways or expressing those ideas yet you seem to want to pick on me and I want to know why.

  7. JimT

    And while we’re on the subject of Hillary, I posted this, although late in the discussion so it might have been overlooked, on the thread below about her not making a concession speech.
    Despite the fact that your link states she did not make a speech, I did see her make one. She had already gone to Tennessee, so it was mixed with at lot of talk about moving forward, etc., but she did make one.
    And about her celebrating her victory in FL, I don’t see what’s so bad about that. She never claimed that she won a primary, but she thanked the people of Florida for their “vote of confidence.” That was an appropriate choice of words. She did, after all, get more votes than John McCain did.

  8. Mattheus Mei

    Hmmm.. I’m sure you’ll have more on it later but after last nights debate, it’s my fervent hope that Obama if he does ‘lose’ to Hillary doesn’t opt to become her running mate. I’ve outlined why on my own blog page. Can’t wait to hear your response

  9. Richard L. Wolfe

    Mattheus, I can tell you why Barack would be an utter fool to accept the v.p. position with Hillary. If Hillary or McCain wins the nation is headed for a trainwreck and either will be a one term president. All Barack needs to do is wait four years and he wins in a landslide.

  10. bud

    I love watching conservatives converse in the fantasy world of right-wingonservative spin. With 7 years of Bush (5 with an ultraconservative GOP congress), the nation and world have gone backwards in every measurable category. Yet Richard L. Wolfe suggests with a pragmatic Democrat in the White House the nation is “headed for a trainwreck”. There appears to be no amount of evidence to convince the koolaid drinking right that conservative doctrine can only fail. It fails every time its tried. We have huge deficits and an increase in terrorism every time a GOP icon gets into the White House. It must be some type of mental defect that simply will not allow facts to filter through to the small brain of the conservative. But it does provide some amusement for those of us who live in the world of reality.

  11. Richard L. Wolfe

    ” Those of us who live in the world of reality. ” Say hello to ” Alice ” for us Bud. By the way is she going to be running the country or Bill?

  12. Lee Muller

    A lot of liberals don’t care how much trouble terrorists cause, as long as they don’t transfers for of wealth to themselves.
    They don’t care about 3,000 Americans killed because Clinton didn’t pursue Bin Laden. They don’t care that Clinton and the UN allowed corrupt Euro bankers to divert food and medical aid into re-arming Saddam Hussein, and starving 1,100,000 elderly and children to death.
    But let the military need some money to clean up Clinton’s mess, and they start jumping up and down, because they wanted that money for their welfare and graft programs.

  13. Gordon Hirsch

    Not so long ago, Hillary called this “the fun part” of campaigning. Apparently it’s not so fun when things don’t go her way. Once thing I can agree with Mr. Stratton on: there are no saints involved here.

  14. Randy Ewart

    Lee, “liberals don’t care about terrorism”? The Clintons are responsible for the military “mess”?
    You seem to be giving W a pass for his “war” of choice in which the military is stretched beyond reason and we may be committed to Iraq for decades. This red herring has distracted us from Pakistan and Afghanistan where terrorism was rampant. The notion that Iraq is the front line of terrorism is the same reasoning a gambler uses to bet more to make up for previous losses.

  15. Lee Muller

    How is the military “distracted from Pakistan and Afghanistan? We have troops all over there, keeping Al Qaeda on the run.
    Clinton didn’t send any troops there. Clinton refused to accept Bin Laden when offered by the Sudan, refused to bomb the hijacker training camps in Afghanistan and Iraq, … the list of his cowardice is endless.
    One minute Obama says he wants to sit down and negotiate with Al Qaeda. The next minute he plays tough, saying he will drop nuclear bombs on Pakistan. It’s all lies, intended for dummies.

  16. Lee Muller

    Karen, I have provided you with citations for several scary planks in the Obama and Clinton campaign platforms that you said just couldn’t be true. I have lots more.
    If you think something is too scary and stupid to be true, then it is probably the central plank of some Democrat’s campaign.

  17. Lee Muller

    Obama : plagarism
    Hillary : scripted sound bites
    Obama : feel good bromides to woo votes
    Hillary: detailed fantasy promises to buy votes
    Obama : payola real estate from slumlord
    Hillary: Whitewater, cattle futures, Lincoln Bedroom, Buddhist Temple, $20,000,000 from Norinco…
    Obama : no record of accomplishments
    Hillary : no record of accomplishments

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