Straight Molly, no chaser

Creators Syndicate
January 20, 2006

I Will Not Support Hillary Clinton for President

By Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas --- I'd like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic
Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president.

Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever
straddling, enough not offending anyone This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen.
Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and
that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri
Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just
contemptible little dodges.

The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long
time unlearning, so now I have to re-learn it. It's about political courage and
heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when
regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a
country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief.

If no one in conventional-wisdom politics has the courage to speak up and say
what needs to be said, then you go out and find some obscure junior senator from
Minnesota with the guts to do it. In 1968, Gene McCarthy was the little boy who
said out loud, "Look, the emperor isn't wearing any clothes." Bobby Kennedy --
rough, tough Bobby Kennedy -- didn't do it. Just this quiet man trained by
Benedictines who liked to quote poetry.

What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the
American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we
should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want
single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The
majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The
majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or
at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to
reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon
spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the
environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging
consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you

I listen to people like Rahm Emanuel superciliously explaining elementary
politics to us clueless naifs outside the Beltway ("First, you have to win
elections"). Can't you even read the damn polls?

Here's a prize example by someone named Barry Casselman, who writes, "There is
an invisible civil war in the Democratic Party, and it is between those who are
attempting to satisfy the defeatist and pacifist left base of the party and
those who are attempting to prepare the party for successful elections in 2006
and 2008."

This supposedly pits Howard Dean, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, emboldened by "a
string of bad news from the Middle East ... into calling for premature retreat
from Iraq," versus those pragmatic folk like Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emmanuel, Hillary
Clinton, Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman.

Oh come on, people -- get a grip on the concept of leadership. Look at this war
-- from the lies that led us into it, to the lies they continue to dump on us

You sit there in Washington so frightened of the big, bad Republican machine you
have no idea what people are thinking. I'm telling you right now, Tom DeLay is
going to lose in his district. If Democrats in Washington haven't got enough
sense to OWN the issue of political reform, I give up on them entirely.

Do it all, go long, go for public campaign financing for Congress. I'm serious
as a stroke about this -- that is the only reform that will work, and you know
it, as well as everyone else who's ever studied this. Do all the goo-goo stuff
everybody has made fun of all these years: embrace redistricting reform,
electoral reform, House rules changes, the whole package. Put up, or shut up.
Own this issue, or let Jack Abramoff politics continue to run your town.

Bush, Cheney and Co. will continue to play the patriotic bully card just as long
as you let them. I've said it before: War brings out the patriotic bullies. In
World War I, they went around kicking dachshunds on the grounds that dachshunds
were "German dogs." They did not, however, go around kicking German shepherds.
The MINUTE someone impugns your patriotism for opposing this war, turn on them
like a snarling dog and explain what loving your country really means. That, or
you could just piss on them elegantly, as Rep. John Murtha did. Or eviscerate
them with wit (look up Mark Twain on the war in the Philippines). Or point out
the latest in the endless "string of bad news."

Do not sit there cowering and pretending the only way to win is as
Republican-lite. If the Washington-based party can't get up and fight, we'll
find someone who can.