Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: Richard Clarke

Why Hillary Lost to Barack Obama, or, “How did he beat her; let me count the ways..”

Barack Obama in Davenport, IowaBarack Obama seems to have (finally) clinched the Democratic nomination for President. The path to this Holy Grail has been long and arduous, no less on him than on the public! I think that most of the Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Green Party and all other fractions of parties are happy to see the campaign end before the campaign begins. I know I am. It’s been like the Bataan Death March, and I’m sure the candidates couldn’t agree more.

Now, the question has been posed: “Why did Hillary lose?’ There are many pundits weighing in on this weighty question, and I keep wanting to tell them to read the “Rolling Stone” article that brilliantly described Obama’s “bottom-up” campaign strategy, versus Hillary Clinton’s old-style “Top down” campaign strategy. Indeed, that article even went so far as to say that, if the Clinton’s much-vaunted political machine could lose to that upstart Obama, this will be the last time you will even see the “Top Down” model used in a national campaign.

I don’t want to bore readers with all the details of how Obama’s people got the cell phone numbers of transient populations like college students and turned them into votes, or how the voter registration drives have cranked up record number of eligible voters for the fall general election, or any of the nuts-and-bolts in that “Rolling Stone” article, but let’s just say, as someone invited to become an Obama Organizer and attend a two-day training session to learn all the above, the man’s organizational know-how was and is amazing.

And, while we’re at it, let’s look at some of the other factors being cited in the loss of one of the most well-known, (if not well-oiled), political machines that still exists, that of Billary (Bill and Hillary Clinton).

The reasons I have seen cited most prominently for Hillary’s loss of the nomination to Barack Obama are as follows:

1) She represents the “Old” school (and certainly this goes double for McCain). Obama represented “change.”

2) They were basically the same on the main issues.

3) Hillary Clinton (aka ‘Miss Frigidaire’) never had the likeability factor going for her, while Obama did, in a phenomenal way.

4) Did race trump gender as a reason to vote? Obama, after all, is the candidate who best represents how the world will look by 2050: multi-racial, polyglot, a white mother and a black father producing a child who grew up in many areas of the world and has ties to them and is intellectually aware.

5) Everyman versus Ms. Entitlement. Need I say more?

6) Bill. Need I say more?

7) Obama the phenomenon. (See Point 3 above)

8) Tactical Errors: (See my opening remarks and read up on those tactical errors in the Clinton campaign in the much longer and much more complete “Rolling Stone” issue.) I would add that there are those that feel Hillary thought she’d have it all wrapped up by Super Tuesday, and the campaign had not been too well thought out past that date. Thus, they were playing catch-up from the beginning, when things did not play out quite the way the Clinton people thought they would.

9) The 8 Years Under Bush, the Younger. Hillary voted for the war. Obama was against the war. Hillary, much more than Obama, is tied to the failed policies of George “W” Bush, even though she was of the opposition party while a Senator from New York. Is there anyone in this country at this time who wants 8 more years of Bush’s incompetence, corruption and mismanagement? If so, raise your hand, and we’ll send you somewhere to read a book on it.

You might start with “In Defense of Liberty” (Richard Clarke, former White House Security Chief under both Clinton and “W”), or you might move on to Clarke’s newest one, “Your Government Failed You.” I recommend Paul O’Neill’s (Former Secretary of the Treasury) “Against All Enemies” and, failing that, try Scott McClellan’s (former White House Press Secretary under “W”) “What Happened” now hitting the bookstores. There are just so many books out there that give you chapter and verse on an amazingly bad run of Republican government under George W. Bush that, hopefully, will soon give way to something better. (See point #1).

Even staunch conservative Republican (and former Presidential candidate) Pat Buchanan said, in his column yesterday, that Bush, the Younger, while a better campaigner than his father, was not qualified to carry the old man’s loafers, in terms of governing. There are too many facts to support that statement, and some have even wondered if, in an amazing display of hubris, the younger Bush simply wanted to whale away at everything his father had stood for, as the CIA took hits under “W’, the “I’ll finish the war in Iraq, which you should have done” factor (Desert Storm vs. Operation Shock and Awe and Awesome Horribleness), and all the rest of those Bush 2 vs. Bush 1 comparisons. Books have been written about how George W. Bush viewed Reagan as his hero, and brushed aside his father’s accomplishments, because dear old dad was just playing second fiddle to the former film star. The result was “W’s” Churchillian attempt to make bold strokes, even if the bold strokes were all wrong. Don’t blame me for that analysis. Read the books.

Now, all we have to do is sit back and wait to see if Hillary Clinton is successful in lobbying for a spot on the ticket as the Vice President. If she gets that, and Obama is elected, she’d be “next in line” for the Presidency after he serves out his one or two terms, assuming election. That could be 16 to24 years of Clintons in or around the Oval Office, if Hillary is granted her wish. [You are either rejoicing or groaning as I write that.]

I am assuming election of Barack Obama. I have to. Otherwise, I have to give up all hope that we will get our troops out of Iraq safely and in a way that will both guarantee national security and save (national) face. It is impossible to occupy a country, long-term; the British proved that in India. We must leave. We must leave in a well-thought-out manner (which means that we don’t want Bush, Jr., organizing the withdrawal).

We must use the money being wasted on a senseless, useless war (Vietnam, anyone?) to build up our country here at home, and the new national leader of our country must turn his attention to “fixing” the many things that George W. Bush broke, both here and abroad. For openers, that individual needs to turn his or her attention to Al Gore’s pet issue, the environment and alternative energy sources, and, beyond that, it would be nice to have the tons of money wasted on this useless war to shore up our nation’s infrastructure, fix New Orleans, help make our schools better, get gas costs down or find a better solution to using gasoline to run our country, and a host of other worthy projects.

Lots of work to do. Let’s get cracking!

There are so many things that need fixing now that we almost need a new Department of What “W” Broke to figure out how to prioritize all the many mistakes. But it goes without saying that any “project” of George W. Bush’s that is costing thousands of American lives, snuffing out the lifeblood of our American youth (and our country’s future) and sending them home to inadequate V.A. facilities with horrific injuries from which they will (probably) never recover, is Number One on my list. And I suspect it is Number One on Obama’s list, as well.

Richard Clarke Says Your Government Failed You

Richard Clarke          Richard Clarke, the former White House Counter-terrorism Chief under Presidents Clinton and Bush, and the man on duty the day the terrorists struck on 9/11 is back with another book, following on the heels of the eminently readable and very excellent In Defense of Liberty.

    Clarke’s new book is entitled Your Government Failed You and is subtitled Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters.

     Clarke appeared on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” on June 2nd and the segment opened with Stewart noting, “This McClellan thing is everywhere,” commenting on another blockbuster hitting bookstores, written by Scott McClellan, former Press Secretary to “W,” who has written a tell-all book entitled What Happened.

     To open the interview, Stewart projected a large picture of McClellan against words he spoke on 3/22/04, while functioning as White House Press Secretary, in lambasting Clarke’s first book, the thriller In Defense of Liberty:

     McClellan quote:  “Well, why, all of a sudden, if he had all of these great concerns, did he not raise these sooner? This is one and one-half years after he left the administration. And now, all of a sudden, he’s raising these grave concerns he claims he had.  And I think you have to look at some of the facts. Number one, he is bringing this up in the heat of a Presidential campaign.  He has written a book, and he certainly wants to go out and promote that book.”

     McClellan, himself, who was George W. Bush’s chief spokesman for almost three years now says—as he is trying to sell his own book—“I think the president should have stood by his word, and that meant Karl should have left.” (This was in reference to the “outing” of Valerie Plame as an undercover agent, which an investigation showed they did participate in; Bush had vowed to “fire anyone” involved, but did nothing. Scooter Libby was found guilty in court; Bush commuted his sentence. Rove continued on the job until he voluntarily withdrew.)

     When Stewart mentioned to Clarke that the Swiftboating now aimed at McClellan sounded very familiar to that aimed at Clarke back in 2004, Clarke nodded assent and said, “Yes. Disgruntled former employee. Out-of-the-loop.” I think there’a little box in the White House that, if anyone escapes from the White House and tells the truth, they break this box and take out these talking points.”

     Stewart:  “My favorite thing is that they say, ‘That’s not the Scott we knew.  The Scott we knew lied like a M****F*****.  (Laughter)  What, in your mind, everything that we hear is a reinforcement of the same story, that the politics ruled the day.”

     Clarke:  “What I’m trying to do in the book is say, look, it’s not just 9/11, it’s global warming, it’s Iraq, it’s Katrina and it’s on and on.  Nothing works any more in National Security.”

     Stewart:  “But do you think that’s their point?  These guys went in saying, ‘Government’s not the answer,’ and now, clearly, they’re showing us, I guess, the answer clearly is, ‘Well, if you guys are running it, well, I guess it’s not.'”

     Clarke:  “John, if you beat up on government, if you make government a political punching bag, well, that’s fine, if you don’t want government to do anything, but there’s a little thing that government has to do, like protect us.  We should give that power over to the government, right? And then little children are licking Chinese toys that have lead paint.  Little things that you don’t regulate, like maybe the mortgage industry, will go a little crazy.”

     Stewart:  “But isn’t that an odd contradiction.  They advocate responsibility while usurping power?”

     Clarke:  “They want to be the government, so the government doesn’t do anything.”

     Stewart:  You believe, ‘cause I know they replaced all the Inspector Generals. That was one of their first moves.”

     Clarke:  “Absolutely.  They appointed people to all these regulatory agencies that were supposed to regulate things to protect us.  People who don’t want to regulate and people who aren’t regulating.”

     Stewart:  “But isn’t the Department of Homeland Security just another great regulatory bureaucracy that is not functioning, or have they created it in such a way that it can’t function?  Are they paying lip service? Not that the color-coded chart is not valuable! I’m not saying that! (Laughter)”

     Clarke:  “They’ve put more political appointees in the Homeland Security Department, which they created after 9/11 to protect us, more political appointees in that department than any other department in the government.  That’s the biggest percentage of their people.  Yeah, they created this huge bureaucracy, but they didn’t solve anything.”

     Stewart:  “The Bush Administration was about creating a political machine that could control all the levers of government and sort of push out…their idea was the bureaucrats were the guys who would march for us.”

     Clarke:  “And if you’re going to the doctor or lawyer or even an auto mechanic, you want to know that they were trained, have recently been retrained, and that they’re certified and the industry has standards and procedures of accountability.”

     Stewart:  “See, me, I want to know what their view is on gay marriage.  For me, if you’re a mechanic, I’m not letting you touch my carburetor unless you’re making sure that two men can’t love one another. Please…” (Laughter)

     Clarke:  “And that’s pretty much what they did with the people they sent to Iraq.  The people they sent to our Embassy in Iraq, after the invasion, he (Bush) asked them, ‘What are your views on abortion?’ Half the people they sent had never been out of the country before and had to apply for passports.  You want them to be able to speak Arabic—right?  These guys hadn’t even been out of the country before.”

     Stewart:  “Is there an opportunity for the country to reclaim the mantle of competence in government?”

     Clarke:  “That’s what this book is about. It’s, how do you get the government to work again?  And one way is to take the politics out of national security to the extent that you can.”

     Stewart:  “Isn’t, though, that cat out of that bag?  How do you….?”

     Clarke:  “You grab the cat and put it back in the bag.”

     Stewart:  “Have you ever had a cat?”

     Clarke:  “No.” (Laughter).

     Stewart:  “It’s a really nice, straightforward, common-sense approach to the whole thing, so I think that assures that it will not be followed.”

    Clarke:  “Probably not.”


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