It is now widely expected that you will run for President in 2008, after successfully standing for reelection next year. By all accounts, you will enjoy the strong support of your party?s generally left-of-center primary voters. But to win the Oval Office, you will have to overcome a very different challenge ? persuading sufficient numbers of independents and perhaps even Republicans that you are the first Democrat in two generations who can safely be entrusted with the presidency in time of active, global hostilities.
Toward this end, you, your husband and other political advisors are reportedly assiduously working to demonstrate that Candidate Rodham Clinton will not be the sort of reflexively liberal partisan who would be unlikely to make such a sale. Your positions on such politically charged issues as the war in Iraq, defense spending and even immigration reform have lately been cast in terms that appear to be different from those of many of your party?s leftist standard-bearers in the Senate.
To be convincing, however, you are going to have start demonstrating leadership that genuinely sets you apart in the only way available to a sitting legislator: by casting actual votes in a manner that demonstrates your convictions.
Fortunately, this week you will likely have an opportunity to do just that by voting to help break the filibuster of John Bolton?s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. As you know, this appointment is currently being held up by such leaders of your party?s left-wing as Sens. Joe Biden, John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Barbara Boxer and Chuck Schumer.
If you truly wish not only to be seen as, but to be, centrist presidential timber, you could do worse than lead Democrats in rejecting the specious arguments your liberal colleagues are making to justify filibustering Mr. Bolton.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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