Hillary hating 101

By Jon Monteith

If the Obamaniacs have their way through the rest of this election cycle, there’s a good chance most of you will end up joining the chorus of Americans cheering for Barack the underdog as he tries to put a dent in that callous bitch-machine otherwise known as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

This hurts my heart. Like any other serious presidential contender, Clinton should expect to be placed under the microscope.

And while the Hillary-haters deserve a place at the table, the national discussion of her candidacy must consist of more than character assassinations and sexist arguments, both latent and overt. When it comes to this debate, there are things that should fly and things that shouldn’t.

Unfair: She’s power-hungry and calculated. Is any viable candidate for president not these things? Rudy Giuliani pre-Sept. 11 leadership of New York City has been widely rebuked as Machiavellian, John “Maverick” McCain will hoist every last megachurch in America on his shoulders to avoid getting embarrassed a second time, and Mitt Romney is an opportunistic yuppie whose liberalism rivaled Ted Kennedy’s in their 1994 Senate matchup.

Her leading rivals for the Democratic primary are no exception, either. Obama’s promise to usher the yearning masses into a “new era of politics” is no less contrived than Bill Clinton’s campaign team blasting Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” in 1992. And it’s no coincidence that John Edwards talks a lot more about being the son of a mill worker and his quest to fight poverty in his “Two Americas” stump speech than he does about the millions in legal fees he collected as a trial lawyer. Wrap your minds around it: Not a single one of these candidates is unambitious or entirely straightforward when it comes to past and present policy positions.

Fair: Her position on the war in Iraq. Like most people, I couldn’t tell you what it is. It does appear to be stubborn and unclear, and she deserves to be criticized for it. Once a staunch advocate of the invasion, Clinton has awkwardly moved to the left as outspoken support becomes increasingly radioactive. Months ago, she attempted to toss a morsel to the anti-war crowd: Knowing what she knows now, she would not have voted for the resolution.

What Clinton still refuses to do is to join Edwards in saying that the vote itself was a mistake. So, in other words, her position is this: Now that we’ve seen years worth of horrific consequences and all but the most shameless of Bush sycophants oppose this war, I won’t say whether the actual vote in question was right or wrong, but I can definitively state that I wouldn’t vote that way now!

It’s frighteningly Kerry-esque to try to woo both hawks and doves by refusing to offend either directly, and we remember how that story ended.

Unfair: She didn’t leave Bill. What a married couple decides to do in the face of infidelity or any other serious threat to the stability of their relationship is an incredibly personal decision. Hillary Clinton made her choice, and we will never really know what private conversations or personal reflections on her marriage with Bill might have brought her to that decision. And that’s the way things work in this country.

It hasn’t impeded her ability to make sound policy judgments on behalf of the people of New York, and if you need any proof of that, look at the verdict of her constituents, 67 percent of whom voted for her in 2006. It won’t affect her ability to lead this country

Hillary Clinton is a political giant, and while countless people have tried to do so, she has yet to be brought down. She keeps fighting, and voters will be left to determine whether this makes her sub- or super-human.

Let’s at least keep the discussion fair.