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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bad Decision Making in the Clinton Camp

Hillary Clinton’s decision to pull out of a rally because Sarah Palin was also scheduled to attend is bad choice on both politics and principles.

Hillary Clinton has pulled out of an appearance at a New York rally next week to protest Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, her aides say because she doesn’t want to be seen alongside Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in a “partisan” event.

Several American Jewish groups plan a major rally outside the United Nations on Sept. 22. Clinton had previously accepted the invitation to join, but her aides objected when they learned the Alaska governor will be part of the rally. Palin is also expected to meet with several foreign ministers during the U.N.’s opening General Assembly session.

“Her attendance was news to us, and this was never billed to us as a partisan political event,” Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines said Wednesday. “Sen. Clinton will therefore not be attending.”

Americans like to see politicians put aside politics for principle (which is why the Palin camp’s response, which you can read in the linked article) will go over far better than Hillary’s. While those photo op togetherness moments for our elected overlords itch at the cynical region of my brain, the truth is that most of us still end up thinking happier thoughts when politicians find common ground. Complaints about it being a “partisan” event aren’t going to make the situation better--especially since the organizers were obviously hoping for a bipartisan pair of politicians to support their cause.

While it’s a small thing, I also don’t imagine that it will help Obama or Hillary maintain the Democrat’s traditional advantage in wooing Jewish voters.

Halperin, who is Jewish and called Clinton “a far better candidate” for Democrats than Obama, suggested that her actions could backfire on the Democratic ticket.

“Jews traditionally vote Democratic, and if a major Democratic leader does not join in the fight against Iran, where are those voters going to go?” he asked. “It’s problematic from the very point of view that says you have a national poltical leader who fundamentally is choosing not to stand up against Ahmadenijad.

“It changes my view of (Clinton’s) wisdom, of her ability to take a situation, analyze it and come out on the right side, and that is deeply troubling to almost every voter in America, not just Jewish voters,” Halperin said, adding that Clinton’s move “is the kind of thing” that could tip voters toward McCain.

To me--a conservative Republican, admittedly, so not much Hillary’s target audience--this is a slap in the face to all of us who believe that Iran is a real and credible threat and that the survival of Israel, one of the United States’ very few friends in the region, trumps party politics every time.

To be fair, though, it isn’t as bad a decision as, say, contracting someone to write a new book in the late Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s series. Those books are so tied to his voice and to his skewed world view that it’s hard for me to imagine any other writer doing justice to the subject matter. Perhaps Terry Pratchett but even that seems a stretch.

Perhaps I’m being too pessimistic, but the Spider Robinson/Robert Heinlein abomination left me a little scarred.

Besides, who the hell is Eoin Colfer?

(Thanks, Jerry.)

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