Senator Hillary Clinton, Part 1: The Art of Political Expediency

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

What was Hillary Clinton doing during the Bush administration?  Looking at the tenure of Sen. Hillary Clinton is best done by looking at four tendencies in her psyche seen throughout this story of Spygate.  The first is political expediency.

In 1998, New York’s long-serving Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan announced that he was not running for reelection in 2000.  Several key Democrats urged Clinton to run for the open seat and the couple purchased a home in Chappaqua, New York in 1999.  Clinton faced Congressman Rick Lazio after Rudy Guiliani withdrew for personal reasons.  In the November election, she pulled in 55% of the vote.  Her campaign manager, Bill de Blasio, would go on to become the mayor of New York City.

New York has a unique voting system called “fusion voting” where candidates can run on the ticket of two parties.  While some have made hay over Clinton’s running on both the Democrat and Working Families Party, such is not unique to Clinton as other Democrats have done so in the past just as Republicans have also run on the GOP and Constitution Party tickets.  What did make Clinton unique was her closer-than-normal association with the WFP.  At their first-ever convention in 2000 in Albany, she appeared in what the People’s Weekly World– the propaganda newspaper of the Communist Party- called “a turning point in New York politics.”  Representatives of the Democratic Socialists of America were also present at that convention and met with candidate Clinton.  In the end, it is estimated that the WFP delivered over 103,000 votes to Clinton in the election.

As a first-term Senator, Clinton was confronted with the events of 9/11 and she stood with Bush the following day in condemning the attacks.  By May, 2002 she was giving speeches on the Senate floor alleging Bush “must have known” about the attacks before they occurred and did nothing to prevent them.  She voted in favor of the Iraq Resolution authorizing Bush to use military force to rid Iraq and Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction and gave a lengthy Senate speech in support of the effort.  Six months after US forces routed those of Iraq, Clinton proudly reiterated her support of the effort and even claimed that the military her husband bequeathed Bush was a major reason the United States was so decisive.  Yet later, in response to the insurgency, she changed course and accused Bush of lying to her, Congress and the American people about Iraq. 

This change in belief was not predicated on principle or fact, but on politics.  The DNC began a concerted effort to discredit Bush with the “Bush lied, people died” line of attack.  All 100 Senators had a copy of a National Intelligence Estimate outlining the proof that Hussein had chemical and biological weapons and was working to develop a nuclear weapon and a missile system.  Regarding weapons of mass destruction, there seems to be some confusion as most people view this exclusively as nuclear weapons ignorant of the fact that chemical and biological weaponry can also cause mass destruction.  There was ample proof that Hussein maintained a biological and chemical warfare stockpile.  Further, the NIE also laid out any doubts of the intelligence community about Hussein’s weapons or ties to terrorism.  Clinton never, when asked, answered clearly whether she read the NIE.

By 2007, the war had turned into a quagmire.  Based upon advice from David Patreaus, Bush suggested a surge of 21,500 troops to suppress the insurgency in Iraq.  While contemplating the move in 2006, Clinton went on record against it suggesting there was no military option.  Again, politics blinded Hillary Clinton.  She could not be perceived as being a hawk since it appeared her primary opponent for the Democrat nomination in 2008 would be Barack Obama, who was running on an anti-war platform.  Even in light of proof that the surge was working, Clinton lambasted Patreaus suggesting it was “a willing suspension of disbelief.”  And as late as April, 2008 she was still calling the surge a failure.

 Although most politicians often change their minds on previous stances, Clinton does so based on the political atmosphere at the time.  She will latch onto any stance at any given moment that suits her political ambitions. Robert Gates, who served as Defense Secretary under both Bush and Obama, wrote in 2014 that Clinton’s stances were based on politics, not principle.  In fact, Gates wrote in his memoir that she confided to him that her new public stance on the surge was attributable to the upcoming Iowa caucuses in 2008.  Even Obama saw through the charade and stated such.  

Political expediency is a hallmark of being a politician and in that Hillary Clinton is not unique.  What is unique is her almost immediate flip-flops on a variety of issues as illustrated by her views on the Iraq War and the surge.  What is troubling, however, is Hillary Clinton’s outright pandering and lying afterward whether it is with dairy farmers in upstate New York or the Russia reset nonsense. 

With the latter, despite the “reset” in relations, Clinton’s reset suddenly turned into utter contempt for their elected leader, Vladimir Putin.  Some of it could be attributable to intervening matters- actions in Georgia or the 2011 parliamentary elections in Russia that eventually swept Putin back into full power.  However, this illustrates some level of naivete on the part of any Secretary of State privy to intelligence information which clearly showed that Putin was acting and was going to act in what he thought was the best interests of Russia. 

He cared little about resets and Clinton, in her capacity, should have known that.  It was not as if the CIA failed to develop a rather accurate analysis and profile of Putin and what motivates him.  Perhaps if she had abandoned the entrenched “vast right wing conspiracy” mindset and read an article from a conservative-leaning organization like the Heritage Foundation, she would have known before being confirmed as Secretary of State Putin’s ultimate motivations for acting as he did.  Putin rose to power in 1999 and she became Secretary of State in 2009.  There was over a decade of research on Putin.  If anything, this shows her lack of knowledge for the job she took over.

Next: Hillary Clinton and her love of money