Hillary Clinton has done the last thing I expected, and she’ll regret it in the end.
In a previous column, I predicted that Senator Clinton would have a “Sister Souljah” moment. It would be similar to the politically defining moment that energized her husband’s first presidential campaign. In 1992, Bill Clinton attacked a young female rapper for her thoughtless and socially destructive comments.
This sent the message he was a moderate Southerner, not a creature of the far left. I thought Senator Clinton would create a similar episode and send the same message.
I was wrong. Last week was her perfect chance, and she couldn’t bring herself to do it.
MoveOn.org took out an ad that will go down in history as one of the most despicable and over-the-top ever. This full-page ad called General Petraeus, “General Betray Us.”
Both Rudy Giuliani and John McCain were out in front condemning the ad, with Mr. Giuliani even taking out his own ad to defend General Petraeus. Both men seized the opportunity to stand up for the decorated combat soldier now leading our troops in war.
Encouragingly, the condemnation from many Democrats was almost as strong as from Republicans. On the left, General Wesley Clark said that General Petraeus would never give a report he did not truly believe. Senator John Kerry, and even San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi, criticized the ad.
But Senator Clinton refused to condemn the ad. Instead, she said on camera to General Petraeus that his sworn testimony called for “the willing suspension of disbelief.”
That’s a theatrical term. When we go to a play or movie, we willingly suspend our disbelief. We allow ourselves to forget that it’s fiction, that it’s untrue, so we can enjoy it. So Senator Clinton told the general that the only way she could possibly believe his report was if she pretended it was movie entertainment.
In essence, she called our commanding general a liar to his face.
In his September 18 Washington Post column, Richard Cohen criticized Senator Clinton for missing her chance to be a moderate. He even said it revealed bad character on her part. It’s devastating when a liberal columnist like Mr. Cohen says that the biggest problem with Senator Clinton is whether she has “the character to be president.”
It also shows that Hillary is no Bill Clinton.
President Clinton was a master of the politics of triangulation. Designed in large part by his strategist Dick Morris, triangulation was all about resisting the right, but then finding a counterpoint on the left to push against, to appear moderate by being in the middle.