I read in the New York Times this morning an interesting op-ed article (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/opinion/21dowd.html?ei=5087&em=&en=08b4e377efcbd515&ex=1195880400&pagewanted=print) from the always entertaining Maureen Dowd. In Dowd’s op-ed, “She’s No Morgenthau,” Dowd barbs Hillary Clinton because of her lack of foreign policy experience and suggests that she is where she is today because of her connections, as opposed to any identifiable experience or talent.
I may not be a die-hard Hillary Clinton supporter — or even a supporter for that matter (I lean towards Obama) — but Dowd’s editorial is the biggest piece of crap I’ve read in a long time. To be sure, she may not have the resume of a foreign policy guru, but then again, how many American presidents can you count that have such a resume before taking office? In the end, the capacity of making sound judgments is just as important as having identifiable accomplishments in the foreign policy field. Clearly, the voters will have to decide whether Hillary, or another candidate, is the type of person who can lead the United States, make sound judgments domestically and internationally, and have both the compassion and smarts to get the job done. Although Carville and Stephanopolous may have run a great “war room,” as Dowd suggests, they clearly are not “presidential material,” as running a great “war room” is not the end-all, be-all qualification of presidential worth.
But the thing that pisses me off the most about Dowd’s article is the idiotic suggestion that Hillary Clinton never accomplished anything professionally except for making the right connections. Sometimes I ask myself how Dowd became a coveted op-ed columnist in one of the greatest papers in the world. The fact is that Dowd has swallowed the line of the old boys network: that women get to where they are because they know the right people (i.e, they’ve slept with the right people). Gimme a damn break and wake up Maureen. This is the 21st century and regardless of what you may think of Hillary Clinton, she is an accomplished professional with demonstrated successes (and failures to boot) and has made the right connections. So sue her. Then when you’re done, sue every male president in the last century, because they, too, made the right connections.
The kicker is that everyone who has become president in the last 50 years has made the right connections. That’s what politics is all about. And Hillary is good at politics because she has made the right connections (hell, she married one). What does Dowd and her friends want, a presidential candidate who lives in a shoe and gets to where he/she is by ability alone? That’s a dream world. You have to know the right people to get your foot in the door, especially in politics, but that does not carry the day in the end. It is a candidates ability, judgment, and character.
Obviously, the voters will decide in good time whether it is just her connections that place her in the position she is in now or maybe, just maybe, the voters have the damn smarts to know that Hillary has the qualifications to be a damn good president even though she doesn’t have a penis.
Here’s a segment of Dowd’s op-ed (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/opinion/21dowd.html?ei=5087&em=&en=08b4e377efcbd515&ex=1195880400&pagewanted=print):
Her Democratic rivals had meekly gone along, accepting her self-portrait as a former co-president who gets to take credit for everything important Bill Clinton did in the ’90s. But she was not elected or appointed to a position that needed Senate confirmation. And the part of the Clinton administration that worked best — the economy, stupid — was run by Robert Rubin. Hillary did not show good judgment in her areas of influence — the legal fiefdom, health care and running oppo-campaigns against Bill’s galpals.
She went on some first lady jaunts and made a good speech at a U.N. women’s conference in Beijing. But she was certainly not, as her top Iowa supporter, former governor Tom Vilsack claimed yesterday on MSNBC, “the face of the administration in foreign affairs.”
She was a top adviser who had a Nixonian bent for secrecy and a knack for hard-core politicking. But if running a great war room qualified you for president, Carville and Stephanopoulos would be leading the pack.Obama’s one-liner evoked something that rubs some people the wrong way about Hillary. Getting ahead through connections is common in life. But Hillary cloaks her nepotism in feminism.
“She hasn’t accomplished anything on her own since getting admitted to Yale Law,” wrote Joan Di Cola, a Boston lawyer, in a letter to The Wall Street Journal this week, adding: “She isn’t Dianne Feinstein, who spent years as mayor of San Francisco before becoming a senator, or Nancy Pelosi, who became Madam Speaker on the strength of her political abilities. All Hillary is, is Mrs. Clinton. She became a partner at the Rose Law Firm because of that, senator of New York because of that, and (heaven help us) she could become president because of that.”