Favorite

Is this new Hillary a stretch? 



Hillary Clinton has been doing some very noteworthy things lately as she gets ready to make a serious run at becoming the first woman president.

She’s showing a different side from the liberal child of the ‘60s who committed the health care debacle. The issue will be whether people see a credibly different side or a transparently hypocritical and self-serving transformation.

Actually, as one long inclined to see in her the latter, I’m beginning to think this may represent a credibly different side. I’m also beginning to think that maybe a few people are nearly ready for rejection of ideological and cultural stereotype in favor of consideration of nuance.

It’s already happened in upstate New York, where Republicans have come to like Hillary. It’s happened in the Senate, where Republican colleagues have remarked that she’s not at all the caricature they’d expected.

Here’s Hillary lately:

• She signed on with a Republican as a co-sponsor of a bill, not a constitutional amendment, to make burning an American flag a crime. She is trying to finesse free expression by saying the crime would be a disturbing-the-peace or intimidation kind of thing, like burning a cross.

• She signed on with Joe Lieberman to sponsor legislation to keep violent video games out of reach of children. She talks about getting the entertainment industry to change its marketing and packaging of those products to protect kids.

• She has agreed with her husband that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” But she’s gone further to say that she’s also sensitive to those who think abortion is a sin and even agrees to the extent that we must do everything we can to prevent unwanted pregnancies so that the horrible choice does not arise.

• She’s staying the course on Iraq, declining to disavow her vote in favor of the war and resisting any temptation to call for getting out by any sort of imminent and arbitrary timetable.

That’s not to say those aren’t political tactics. They plainly are. The question is whether they can be both generally tactical and specifically believable.

For sure, they’re straight from the playbook of the Democratic Leadership Council. That’s the centrist and corporate-friendly group that provided a national launching pad for Hillary’s husband and recently assigned her to head an effort to design new initiatives for 2008.

Al From, the head of the DLC, tells me that, in some ways, Hillary was an earlier and more committed “third way” politician than her husband — “third way” meaning neither tax-and-spend nor trickle-down, but committed to government solutions that demanded personal responsibility.

The DLC has been outspoken in asserting that Democrats must respond to their values-voter disaster of 2004 by showing new levels of sensitivity to those who hold different religious or cultural views, then by getting off the defensive to advocate a cultural values agenda of their own.

In other words, Democrats must begin to emphasize that they understand how conservative people feel about gun rights and gay rights and abortion, and that while they might disagree on those issues, maybe only on the margins in one or two cases, they have a few other fights for which they’d like to enlist the alliance of any and all voters concerned that the country is going to heck in a handbasket.

Those would include limiting the kinds of images kids can see all too readily on television and in videos, and doing all we can to prevent unwanted pregnancies to reduce the frequency of these horrible, if necessarily legal, abortions.

That Hillary Clinton might become the Democrat to put a face to this new message — well, the issue is how much of a stretch it will appear.

Actually, I always found Hillary on a personal level to be a tad stern, prudish and coldly judgmental. Maybe that will work for her and the Democrats in 2008.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by John Brummett

  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • Can we talk? Can we get anywhere?

    Dialogue is good. It would be even better if someone would venture off script every once in a while.
    • Sep 21, 2011
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

  • Friday's open line

    The daily video and an open line.
    • Mar 24, 2017
  • White flag waved on Trumpcare

    House Republicans pulled down the Trumpcare legislation this afternoon and walked out, depriving Democrats of some fun in pointing out all the anti-woman, anti-poor, pro-rich aspects of a bill too generous for hardcare Republicans and too mean for the few remaining moderates.
    • Mar 24, 2017
  • Jones Bar-B-Q of Marianna has a related outpost in Jacksonville

    The legendary Jones Bar-B-Q Diner of Marianna is about to have a kissing cousin — supposedly with the same key recipes — in Jacksonville.
    • Mar 24, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in John Brummett

  • Gone to the DoG

    We're now longer carrying John Brummett's column in this space.
    • Oct 12, 2011
  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Worse than N.C.'s bathroom bill

    SB 774 extends birth certificate requirement to bathrooms in all public facilities, and that's an original birth certificate, too.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: More on pits

    • Of course you don't care. If you cared, you might want to find a solution…

    • on March 24, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Enough! I don't care if it is the dog or the human factor. The end…

    • on March 24, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Well, news article require facts, something the Lyin's isn't too good about. As for opinion,…

    • on March 24, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation