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Opening Arguments

Hillary the hawk

Silly question of the day: Is Hillary Clinton too hawkish for the left?

However, the interview suggests she may lack another kind of humility—toward the Democratic primary voter. Yes, she’s probably invincible. There appears to be(emphasis added) no one out there who is like Obama was in 2008—someone, that is, who could knock her off. And if her hawkishness is the left’s concern, then Elizabeth Warren isn’t the answer, since foreign policy isn’t her portfolio. So it’s hard to picture Clinton not getting the nomination.

Still, she should remember that it was in large part her hawkishness—her pro-Iraq war vote—that cost her the nomination in 2008. She should be aware that U.S. public opinion, and certainly Democratic primary-voter opinion, while not exactly pro-Palestinian, is not as enthusiastically pro-Israel as it once was. And she should keep in mind that the foreign-policy establishment of Washington, D.C., whose favor she’s clearly currying in sections of this interview, consists of only a few thousand voters. To the millions who’ll vote in Democratic primaries, she’ll need to be considerably clearer about those differences between her and the neocons.


1. Mahatma Gandhi would be too hawkish for the left these days.

2. How can you attach a label like "hawk" or "neocon" or "muscular internationalist" (yes, they actually said that) to someone who apparently doesn't really stand for anything? She's from the "say whatever you have to at any given moment" school of politics; she has positions, not beliefs. I'm pretty much against everything Barack Obama stands for, but at least I know what he stands for.

3. "She's probably invincible" is a bit of a stretch. Certainly, there appears to be "no one out there who is like Obama was in 2008." But Obama wasn't exactly on everybody's radar, either, and Hillary's invincibility was supposed to be a fact back then, too. She'll be eight years years older and tireder and be no better politician (lousy then, lousy now, lousy in 2016).

But, hey. Republicans have a dismal record of losing by constantly giving the nomination to the old-timer whose turn has arrived. If Democrats want to go down that road, more power to 'em.