Monday, November 05, 2007

Senator Clinton, why do you want to be our President?

Front paged at Booman Tribune. Recommended at Daily Kos

I mean that as a sincere question. And I know that there are those who will view this as a “hit piece”, but so be it. She is the frontrunner, yet she has offered few details of her vision for this country. Or to that, even an overarching theme for her campaign as to why she wants to be President of the United States. I said many months ago that we need someone that not only wants to be the President but also has a campaign whose purpose and direction can be easily understood, discussed and supported. We do not need, nor can we afford a candidate that wants to be called the President more than they want to BE the President

So far, she has largely skated by without really saying or doing much – not even as much as she can in her current role as United States Senator. Sure, she has been a more than capable Senator and has done some pretty damn good things for NY. And yes, her voting record is largely progressive-ish, at least not much different from the other candidates when you take those “which candidate do I agree with most” tests.

But what does that all mean? Why exactly does Clinton want to be President? What is her overarching theme of the candidacy? And for those of us here in the netroots, why has she made such a conscious decision to not only not reach out to us – a very large and vocal and motivated (and smart) constituency – but to go out of her way to basically shun us. For that matter, what does that say about the influence we will have, or where we will fit in as far as our ideas, ideals and organizing power if and when she is elected President?

Tonight at 8PM Eastern, thereisnospoon and I will talk about this issue on a larger scale on our BlogTalkRadio show. When we started talking about this topic and issue, we ran down a number of campaigns on both the Democratic and republican side, including Dodd (restoring the Constitution), Romney (“moderate and pragmatic” who can get stuff done), Rudy (strength on national security, even if that is a farce), Edwards (middle class and other class issues), Huckabee (the “true conservative”), to name a few.

Yet when we came to Clinton – the presumed frontrunner and “inevitable” candidate, we were both at a loss. What is her campaign theme? Why is she running? What does she have to offer that other candidates don’t?

She talks about her experience, yet questions about her past experience are off limits. She talks about foreign policy issues, yet her vote on Kyl-Lieberman, her lack of leadership on Iraq and desire to not answer any questions or explain her vote on Iran based on “it being a hypothetical” run contrary to that as well. She has a keen interest in reforming the healthcare system, as evidence by her attempts during her husband’s administration, yet her plan is neither a radical change or all that different from other candidates’ plans. Not that it makes her plan bad by any stretch, it just isn’t all that different.

When the other candidates finally attack her positions, or lack thereof, she appears to get defensive about being ganged up on by a bunch of men as opposed to actually clarifying her positions. She is doing very well in head to head matchups with the republican counterparts, yet both Obama and Edwards are as well, so “being more electable” isn’t the issue – not to mention that it isn’t really a reason to run either.

Obviously, she is a much better candidate or option than any of the republican counterparts as well, but then again, even the worst Democratic candidate is better than the best republican candidate. But a campaign has to be much more than that. You need to have that “2 minute elevator speech”, as it is called in my business. What does she stand for that the others don’t? How is she a leader or how is she leading in areas that the other candidates aren’t?

How does she stand out from the other candidates? On what positions? And if it is based on her experience, then why is all talk, challenges and questions about that experience off limits?

I know why she wants to be called the President. But I don’t know why she actually wants to be President. And at this particular time in history, with all that is wrong in the United States, as well as around the world (much of which is directly related to our actions and need strong leadership to fix or change course), this is something that we deserve to know from our candidates, let alone the frontrunner.

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