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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Firewall Fairy Can Kik Rich In Teh Ballz And Dowd In Teh Ovariez?

Rich:

[W]hat happens if President Bush does not bomb Iran? That is good news for the world, but potentially terrible news for the Democrats.
...
There are signs that the steady invocation of new mushroom clouds is already having an impact as it did in 2002 and 2003. A Zogby poll last month found that a majority of Americans (52 percent) now supports a pre-emptive strike on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

In 2002 Senators Clinton, Biden, John Kerry, John Edwards and Chris Dodd all looked over their shoulders at such polls. They and the party’s Congressional leaders, Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt, voted for the Iraq war resolution out of the cynical calculation that it would inoculate them against charges of wussiness. Sure, they had their caveats at the time. They talked about wanting “to give diplomacy the best possible opportunity” (as Mr. Gephardt put it then). In her Oct. 10, 2002, speech of support for the Iraq resolution on the Senate floor, Mrs. Clinton hedged by saying, “A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war.”

We know how smart this strategic positioning turned out to be. Weeks later the Democrats lost the Senate.

This time around, with the exception of Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic candidates seem to be saying what they really believe rather than trying to play both sides against the middle. Only Mrs. Clinton voted for this fall’s nonbinding Kyl-Lieberman Senate resolution, designed by its hawk authors to validate Mr. Bush’s Iran policy.
...
That leaves her in a no man’s — or woman’s — land. If Mr. Bush actually does make a strike against Iran, Mrs. Clinton will be the only leading Democrat to have played a cameo role in enabling it. If he doesn’t, she can no longer be arguing in the campaign crunch of fall 2008 that she is against rushing to war, because it would no longer be a rush. Her hand would be forced.
...
Potentially facing that Republican may be a Democrat who is not in favor of rushing to war in Iran but, now as in 2002, may well be in favor of walking to war. In any event, she will not have been a leader in making the strenuous case for an alternative policy that defuses rather than escalates tensions with Tehran.

Noun + verb + 9/11 — also Mr. Bush’s strategy in 2004, lest we forget — would once again square off against a Democratic opponent who was for a pre-emptive war before being against it.

Dowd:

Girlfriend had a rough week...I must rush to a sister’s defense.

Women need to rally to support Hillary and send her money because there are men, men like Tim Russert, who have the temerity to ask her questions during a debate. If there are six male rivals on stage and two male moderators and heaven knows how many men manning lights and boom mikes, the one woman should have the right to have it two ways.

It’s simple math, really, an estrogen equation.

If she wants to run on her record as first lady while keeping the lid on her first lady record, that’s only fair for the fairer sex. And if she wants to have it both ways on illegal immigrants getting driver’s licenses, then she should, especially if those illegal immigrants are men, or if Lou Dobbs is ranting on the issue, because he’s not only a man, he’s a grumpy, cranky, border-crazed man.

She should certainly be allowed to play the gender card two ways, or even triangulate it.
...
[R]emember the time Hillville used a Washington Post story about a sighting of the senator’s cleavage in the Senate to spearhead a fund-raising drive with women? Dollars for décolletage. Genius!
...
We underestimate Hillary if we cast her as Eleanor Roosevelt. She’s really Alfonse D’Amato. Not just the Senator Pothole role, but the talent for playing the aggrieved victim.

D’Amato pulled off a dramatic upset in ’92 against Robert Abrams, the New York attorney general, by pouncing when Abrams slipped one night and called D’Amato a “fascist.” Though never a sensitive soul about insulting other ethnic groups, D’Amato quickly cast “fascist” as an insult to Italian-Americans, producing an ad with scenes of Mussolini.

“It was sheer gall,” Anthony Marsh, D’Amato’s media consultant, proudly told The Times’s Alessandra Stanley.

Like Alfonse, Hillary has the gift of gall. She can be righteous while playing brass-knuckle politics. She will cozy up to former enemies she can use, like Matt Drudge and David Brock, and back W.’s bellicosity if it helps banish her old image as antimilitary.

There is nowhere she won’t go, so long as it gets her where she wants to be.

That’s the beauty of Hillary.

To sum up: Rich, who was part of the rush to bomb Iraq now says that not bombing Iran will be bad for Hillary, and when she's savaged for having an ambitious vajayjay by the likes of MoDo she's not allowed to point that out.  I'm not supporting her during primary season, but this is pretty fucking ridiculous tripe, even for the Grey Vajayjay's Vaunted Bullshit Artists.

ntodd

November 4, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Noun + Verb + 9/11 + Iran = Democrats’ Defeat?
By FRANK RICH

WHEN President Bush started making noises about World War III, he only confirmed what has been a Democratic article of faith all year: Between now and Election Day he and Dick Cheney, cheered on by the mob of neocon dead-enders, are going to bomb Iran.

But what happens if President Bush does not bomb Iran? That is good news for the world, but potentially terrible news for the Democrats. If we do go to war in Iran, the election will indeed be a referendum on the results, which the Republican Party will own no matter whom it nominates for president. But if we don’t, the Democratic standard-bearer will have to take a clear stand on the defining issue of the race. As we saw once again at Tuesday night’s debate, the front-runner, Hillary Clinton, does not have one.

The reason so many Democrats believe war with Iran is inevitable, of course, is that the administration is so flagrantly rerunning the sales campaign that gave us Iraq. The same old scare tactic — a Middle East Hitler plotting a nuclear holocaust — has been recycled with a fresh arsenal of hyped, loosey-goosey intelligence and outright falsehoods that are sometimes regurgitated without corroboration by the press.

Mr. Bush has gone so far as to accuse Iran of shipping arms to its Sunni antagonists in the Taliban, a stretch Newsweek finally slapped down last week. Back in the reality-based community, it is Mr. Bush who has most conspicuously enabled the Taliban’s resurgence by dropping the ball as it regrouped in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Administration policy also opened the door to Iran’s lethal involvement in Iraq. The Iraqi “unity government” that our troops are dying to prop up has more allies in its Shiite counterpart in Tehran than it does in Washington.

Yet 2002 history may not literally repeat itself. Mr. Cheney doesn’t necessarily rule in the post-Rumsfeld second Bush term. There are saner military minds afoot now: the defense secretary Robert Gates, the Joint Chiefs chairman Mike Mullen, the Central Command chief William Fallon. They know that a clean, surgical military strike at Iran could precipitate even more blowback than our “cakewalk” in Iraq. The Economist tallied up the risks of a potential Shock and Awe II this summer: “Iran could fire hundreds of missiles at Israel, attack American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, organize terrorist attacks in the West or choke off tanker traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s oil windpipe.”

Then there’s the really bad news. Much as Iraq distracted America from the war against Al Qaeda, so a strike on Iran could ignite Pakistan, Al Qaeda’s thriving base and the actual central front of the war on terror. As Joe Biden said Tuesday night, if we attack Iran to stop it from obtaining a few kilograms of highly enriched uranium, we risk facilitating the fall of the teetering Musharraf government and the unleashing of Pakistan’s already good-to-go nuclear arsenal on Israel and India.

A full-scale regional war, chaos in the oil market, an overstretched American military pushed past the brink — all to take down a little thug like Ahmadinejad (who isn’t even Iran’s primary leader) and a state, however truculent, whose defense budget is less than 1 percent of America’s? Call me a Pollyanna, but I don’t think even the Bush administration can be this crazy.

Yet there is nonetheless a method to all the mad threats of war coming out of the White House. While the saber- rattling is reckless as foreign policy, it’s a proven winner as election-year Republican campaign strategy. The real point may be less to intimidate Iranians than to frighten Americans. Fear, the only remaining card this administration still knows how to play, may once more give a seemingly spent G.O.P. a crack at the White House in 2008.

Whatever happens in or to Iran, the American public will be carpet-bombed by apocalyptic propaganda for the 12 months to come. Mr. Bush has nothing to lose by once again using the specter of war to pillory the Democrats as soft on national security. The question for the Democrats is whether they’ll walk once more into this trap.

You’d think the same tired tactics wouldn’t work again after Iraq, a debacle now soundly rejected by a lopsided majority of voters. But even a lame-duck president can effectively wield the power of the bully pulpit. From Mr. Bush’s surge speech in January to Gen. David Petraeus’s Congressional testimony in September, the pivot toward Iran has been relentless.

Reinforcements are arriving daily. Dan Senor, the former flack for L. Paul Bremer in Baghdad, fronted a recent Fox News special, “Iran: The Ticking Bomb,” a perfect accompaniment to the Rudy Giuliani campaign that is ubiquitous on that Murdoch channel. The former Bush flack Ari Fleischer is a founder of Freedom’s Watch, a neocon fat-cat fund that has been spending $15 million for ads supporting the surge and is poised to up the ante for Iran war fever.

There are signs that the steady invocation of new mushroom clouds is already having an impact as it did in 2002 and 2003. A Zogby poll last month found that a majority of Americans (52 percent) now supports a pre-emptive strike on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

In 2002 Senators Clinton, Biden, John Kerry, John Edwards and Chris Dodd all looked over their shoulders at such polls. They and the party’s Congressional leaders, Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt, voted for the Iraq war resolution out of the cynical calculation that it would inoculate them against charges of wussiness. Sure, they had their caveats at the time. They talked about wanting “to give diplomacy the best possible opportunity” (as Mr. Gephardt put it then). In her Oct. 10, 2002, speech of support for the Iraq resolution on the Senate floor, Mrs. Clinton hedged by saying, “A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war.”

We know how smart this strategic positioning turned out to be. Weeks later the Democrats lost the Senate.

This time around, with the exception of Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic candidates seem to be saying what they really believe rather than trying to play both sides against the middle. Only Mrs. Clinton voted for this fall’s nonbinding Kyl-Lieberman Senate resolution, designed by its hawk authors to validate Mr. Bush’s Iran policy. The House isn’t even going to bring up this malevolent bill because, as Nancy Pelosi has said, there has “never been a declaration by a Congress before in our history” that “declared a piece of a country’s army to be a terrorist organization.”

In 2002, the Iraq war resolution passed by 77 to 23. In 2007, Kyl-Lieberman passed by 76 to 22. No sooner did Mrs. Clinton cast her vote than she started taking heat in Iowa. Her response was to blur her stand. She abruptly signed on as the sole co- sponsor of a six-month-old (and languishing) bill introduced by the Virginia Democrat Jim Webb forbidding money for military operations in Iran without Congressional approval.

In Tuesday’s debate Mrs. Clinton tried to play down her vote for Kyl-Lieberman again by incessantly repeating her belief in “vigorous diplomacy” as well as the same sound bite she used after her Iraq vote five years ago. “I am not in favor of this rush for war,” she said, “but I’m also not in favor of doing nothing.”

Much like her now notorious effort to fudge her stand on Eliot Spitzer’s driver’s license program for illegal immigrants, this is a profile in vacillation. And this time Mrs. Clinton’s straddling stood out as it didn’t in 2002. That’s not because she was the only woman on stage but because she is the only Democratic candidate who has not said a firm no to Bush policy.

That leaves her in a no man’s — or woman’s — land. If Mr. Bush actually does make a strike against Iran, Mrs. Clinton will be the only leading Democrat to have played a cameo role in enabling it. If he doesn’t, she can no longer be arguing in the campaign crunch of fall 2008 that she is against rushing to war, because it would no longer be a rush. Her hand would be forced.

Mr. Biden got a well-deserved laugh Tuesday night when he said there are only three things in a Giuliani sentence: “a noun and a verb and 9/11.” But a year from now, after the public has been worn down by so many months more of effective White House propaganda, “America’s mayor” (or any of his similarly bellicose Republican rivals) will be offering voters the clearest possible choice, however perilous, about America’s future in the world.

Potentially facing that Republican may be a Democrat who is not in favor of rushing to war in Iran but, now as in 2002, may well be in favor of walking to war. In any event, she will not have been a leader in making the strenuous case for an alternative policy that defuses rather than escalates tensions with Tehran.

Noun + verb + 9/11 — also Mr. Bush’s strategy in 2004, lest we forget — would once again square off against a Democratic opponent who was for a pre-emptive war before being against it.

-----

November 4, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Gift of Gall
By MAUREEN DOWD

WASHINGTON

Girlfriend had a rough week.

First Hillary got brushed back by the boys in the debate. Then some women bemoaned Hillaryland’s “Don’t hit me, I’m a girl” strategy.

The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus deplored the “antifeminist subtext” of Hillary’s campaign playing the woman-as-victim card. “Using gender this way,” she said, “is a setback.”

I must rush to a sister’s defense.

Women need to rally to support Hillary and send her money because there are men, men like Tim Russert, who have the temerity to ask her questions during a debate. If there are six male rivals on stage and two male moderators and heaven knows how many men manning lights and boom mikes, the one woman should have the right to have it two ways.

It’s simple math, really, an estrogen equation.

If she wants to run on her record as first lady while keeping the lid on her first lady record, that’s only fair for the fairer sex. And if she wants to have it both ways on illegal immigrants getting driver’s licenses, then she should, especially if those illegal immigrants are men, or if Lou Dobbs is ranting on the issue, because he’s not only a man, he’s a grumpy, cranky, border-crazed man.

She should certainly be allowed to play the gender card two ways, or even triangulate it. As her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, said after the debate, she is “one strong woman,” who has dwarfed male rivals and shown she’s tough enough to deal with terrorism and play on the world stage. But she can break, just like a little girl, when male chauvinists are rude enough to catch her red-handed being slippery and opportunistic.

If the gender game worked when Rick Lazio muscled into her space, why shouldn’t it work when Obama and Edwards muster some mettle? If she could become a senator by playing the victim after Monica, surely she can become president by playing the victim now.

Sometimes when Hillary takes heat, she gets paranoid and controlling. But this time she took the heat by getting into the kitchen. After trying to have it both ways during the debate, she tried to have it both ways after the debate.

In New Hamphire on Friday, she stayed above the fray, saying that her male rivals are not “piling on” because she’s a woman but because she’s “winning.” Meanwhile, she let her aides below the fray stir up fem-outrage by putting a video on the campaign Web site called “The Politics of Pile On,” edited to highlight men ganging up on her to the tune of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro.”

Mark Penn presided over a conference call on Wednesday to rally supporters to the idea of a fem-backlash, during which one devoted Ellen Jamesian suggested that Tim Russert “should be shot.” The woman quickly repented, not the sentiment, but the fact that she shouldn’t have said it on a conference call. (NBC security remained on high alert.)

Nothing should be sacred when it comes to rousing the women’s vote, especially the working-class women Hillary needs to carry her back to the White House. That may be why she recently blew off a Vogue photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz at the last minute, according to Liz Smith: to show solidarity with supporters who can’t afford Vogue frocks.

And remember the time Hillville used a Washington Post story about a sighting of the senator’s cleavage in the Senate to spearhead a fund-raising drive with women? Dollars for décolletage. Genius!

When pundettes tut-tut that playing the victim is not what a feminist should do, they forget that Hillary is not a feminist. If she were merely some clichéd version of a women’s rights advocate, she never could have so effortlessly blown off Marian Wright Edelman and Lani Guinier when Bill first got in, or played the Fury with Bill’s cupcakes during the campaign.

She was always kind enough to let Bill hide behind her skirts when he got in trouble with women. Now she deserves to hide behind her own pantsuits when men cause her trouble.

We underestimate Hillary if we cast her as Eleanor Roosevelt. She’s really Alfonse D’Amato. Not just the Senator Pothole role, but the talent for playing the aggrieved victim.

D’Amato pulled off a dramatic upset in ’92 against Robert Abrams, the New York attorney general, by pouncing when Abrams slipped one night and called D’Amato a “fascist.” Though never a sensitive soul about insulting other ethnic groups, D’Amato quickly cast “fascist” as an insult to Italian-Americans, producing an ad with scenes of Mussolini.

“It was sheer gall,” Anthony Marsh, D’Amato’s media consultant, proudly told The Times’s Alessandra Stanley.

Like Alfonse, Hillary has the gift of gall. She can be righteous while playing brass-knuckle politics. She will cozy up to former enemies she can use, like Matt Drudge and David Brock, and back W.’s bellicosity if it helps banish her old image as antimilitary.

There is nowhere she won’t go, so long as it gets her where she wants to be.

That’s the beauty of Hillary.

November 3, 2007 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink

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