Charles Krauthammer today noted how Hillary Clinton is reaching out to appeal to voters like me (and Krauthammer himself to an extent):
Leave it to Barack Obama’s own former secretary of state to acknowledge the fatal flaw of his foreign policy: a total absence of strategic thinking.
Yes, of course everything Hillary Clinton says is positioning. The last time she sought the nomination (2008), as she admitted before Defense Secretary Bob Gates, she opposed the Iraq surge for political reasons because she was facing antiwar Sen. Barack Obama in Iowa. Now, as she prepares for her next run (2016), she’s positioning herself to the right because, with no prospect of being denied the Democratic nomination, she has the luxury of running toward the center two years before Election Day.
All true, but sincere or not — with the Clintons how can you ever tell? — it doesn’t matter. She’s right…
Yes, she is right. And she deserves the respect she gets for it.
Meanwhile, Rand Paul has been getting a lot of respect over what he has said about Ferguson, Mo. The Fix says his op-ed on the subject in TIME makes him “the most interesting voice in the GOP right now.”
That’s because, when it comes to the behavior of the cops in Ferguson, there’s a consensus across the political spectrum, and that consensus in this case happens to be the libertarian position. That makes Paul look, momentarily, like a centrist.
This brings Rand Paul to the fore among voters who are more focused on domestic issues than on foreign policy. And among those people, Hillary Clinton has been criticized:
Hillary Clinton has had much to say of late about foreign policy, drawing a great deal of coverage for an interview in which she pointed out her differences with President Obama on how he has handled crises around the world.
Analysts suggest that she is signaling to a general election electorate where she disagrees with the currently unpopular Obama on issues important to them, should she decide to run for president in 2016.
Closer to home, however, Clinton has yet to say anything about the events in Ferguson, Mo., which has exploded into protests – both peaceful and violent – since the weekend shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African American…
Elizabeth Warren has something to say about Ferguson, but not Hillary Clinton:
This is America, not a war zone. The people of #Ferguson just want answers. We all want answers.
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) August 14, 2014
Which is one big reason why I prefer the Clinton view — either Bill’s or Hillary’s — to the Warren view, pretty much every time.
I’m one of these folks who believes the president’s chief job is dealing with foreign policy. That is, after all, what we have a federal government for.
I’m not one of those people who gets antsy waiting for the president — or someone who wants to be president — to opine about something that is clearly not part of the job. What’s happening in Missouri is clearly a state and local matter. The local folks weren’t handling it right, so the state stepped in. In a matter such as this, the role of the rest of us — including the president — is essentially that of a spectator (unless things deteriorate to the point that federal troops are sent in, which has yet to happen and seems unlikely to happen). We may have strong opinions about what we’re seeing (assuming that we’re watching it, instead of watching the deteriorating situations in Iraq and Ukraine), but we are not the ones expected or empowered to take action in that sphere.
This has been an important week, within the context of the 2016 presidential campaign. In each party, a leading contender (or in the case of Hillary Clinton, the contender) has stepped out to define a position that cements that contender status.
They did so in ways that don’t invite comparison — except in terms of noting how very separate their spheres of interest and focus are.