Sunday, May 04, 2008

What Clinton Fights For

Hilzoy offers some lessons from the Great Gas Tax Pander:

Clinton is presently making a big deal about the fact that she is "a fighter". After this primary season, I don't think there can be any doubt about her willingness to fight. What Clinton's gas tax proposal tells me is what she's willing to fight for. She is not willing to fight for what she thinks is right in the face of public pressure. She's not even willing to restrict her compromises to cases in which public pressure to do something stupid already exists. She will sacrifice principle and the public good when it's expedient for her to do so.

Which is to say: she's a fighter, all right, but what she fights for is her own interest, not what she thinks is right...

If there's anything we should have learned from George W. Bush, it's that generalized combativeness is not a good thing in a President. We need not just someone who's willing to fight in general, but someone who's willing to fight for the right things. If you think that the right things just are the things that advance Hillary Clinton's political interests, then there's no problem. But if you want someone who is willing to fight for good policies that are in our national interest, that actually address serious problems, then it's worth recognizing that while she is more than willing to fight, she is not willing to fight for that.

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