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Understanding Hillary

My copy of Game Change arrived last week and I have to say it reads very smooth and it’s a must read for political junkies like myself.  What makes the book good is that it’s recounting very recent history—the 2008 primary season was barely over two years ago. 

Almost into the fourth chapter, and I find myself almost feeling sorry for Hillary.  Almost.

But imagine this.  It’s 2006.  Hillary is coming to a decision on whether or not she wants to run for president.  Halperin and Heilemann are delving into the mindset of the Senatress of New York and what she can bring to the Democratic party in 2008. 

Then I read this:

Clinton’s prescription for both her and the party’s reformation was rooted in the lessons she drew from recent history, from the failures of 2004, 2000, and especially the nineties.  Although her husband had dragged Democrats kicking and screaming into the modern age substantively and ideologically, she considered his administration a tactical and operational disaster: soft, undisciplined, woolly minded, and leaky.

I understand that the Clinton years are a sense of pride for Democrats in mostly moderate and even some liberal circles. 

Yes, the Clinton administration ideologically “dragged” the party into its new reign of power, after 12 years away from the White House—healthcare reform, gays in the military, et al., were all on the agenda in that first year of 1993.  And all of it was radical for its time.  In fact, these were the impetus for the Republican tsunami awaiting the Democrats the following year.  

And it was the Republicans taking control of Congress which kept the otherwise radical Clinton agenda (with Hillary in the sidecar) in check. 

But is that really how Hillary looks back at the Clinton administration? As a disaster? 

Unless I’m reading this wrong, the implication in this excerpt is that she didn’t like the moderation of the administration, a moderation which probably won Clinton a second term. 

Did she really believe that Bill didn’t pull hard enough to the Left?  Did she really think that she needed to forge ahead on her disastrous push for healthcare reform that resulted in massive fail?  Does she still think this way now?

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