Senator Clinton can be pleasant, is certainly intelligent and is absolutely the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and perhaps even the favorite right now to succeed George W. Bush in the Oval Office.
But as the past three weeks have made abundantly clear, Hillary is no "liberal," or even a "progressive." She is a radical, and one far outside the mainstream of American politics. In the growing recognition of the true nature of her political ideology is the obvious strategy for whoever the GOP nominee is: Throw the light on what she believes and proposes and keep it there.
First, Hillary refused to denounce the MoveOn.org assault on General Petraeus' patriotism, and then doubled down by telling the general and the country that she had to suspend disbelief during his testimony --meaning of course that he ought not to be believed, meaning of course that he was lying. Such an accusation, no matter how calmly delivered, is not mainstream, but radical.
Then she announced co-sponsorship of James Webb's measure requiring the president receive Congressional approval before any use of force against Iran, indicating that she would not use force against Iran without Congressional approval, thus signaling to the mullahs that she will arrive with a fresh round of appeasement measures as her policy. She and her colleagues would rather inflict a political defeat on President Bush than join with him to send a crucial signal to the Iranian terrorist regime that the West --not just the Bush Administration, but America, along with France and Germany-- will not allow the mullahs to possess nukes. Such a view of presidential power, especially vis-a-vis an expansionist terrorist state is not "liberal" but radical.
Hillary has unveiled her far-reaching reworking of American health care, blowing right past the efforts at the state level to devise new solutions in favor of a one size fits all top-to-bottom restructuring and expansion of government mandates. This is not a "progressive" approach to problem solving, but a radical shift in authority and size of the federal role in health care.
And now her $5,000 bonus for every baby born --HillaryCradleCare, a boondoggle reminiscent of George McGovern's $1,000 per person pay-off from 1972.
This is not a liberal's targeted tax cut, but a massive expansion of federal spending --a new entitlement that no one had even previously thought to suggest!
And this look back over the past few weeks doesn't begin to review her record in the Senate or her pledge to end the war in January 2009 regardless of the situation in Iraq. Recall, this is the senator who stood on the floor of the Senate with a newspaper with the headline "Bush Knew."
Hillary is not mainstream. She's not even on the far left bank of the mainstream.
She is way, way out there --a genuine '60s girl, and the ideas and staff she would bring to the White House would represent a sharp break with all that has gone before in American politics.
With as many as six appointments to the Supreme Court in the next eight years (six Ruth Bader Ginsburgs!) a Hillary Court would be like a Hillary presidency--a radical Bench to back up a radical Administration.
That's the 2008 campaign in a nutshell.