Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Problem with Hillary: On Openness

I've been cursed with a lack of ability to "read" people. I'm always wondering, "How does she feel about me?", "Is he offended by that remark?", "Is there a subliminal meaning behind that?" Those are the good days, though. Many days I'm left to stare blankly and think (or say) "Whaaaaaaaaaaaatttt?" or "I don't get it ......." (both of these remarks made my CTY class t-shirt in 2003, mostly thanks to me).

However, when it comes to politics, I'm in the same boat as everybody else. One of the primary goals for a politician has become to prevent anybody from finding out anything about you.

Consider, for instance, the job of the president's press secretary. Initially, this position was to facilitate the dispersal of information from the presidency to the American people at large, as the president was too busy to be constantly interviewed.

Today, this job requires someone with the ability to give non-answers to every conceivable non-softball question.

Scott McClellan was the master of this. He was able to give extremely long-winded non-answers to every non-softball question, and this usually satisfied our current excuse for a White House press corps.

Of course, members of Bush's cabinet have done the same thing, dancing around or simply "not recalling" things. Alberto Gonzales did this to such an extent that even Arlen Specter was getting furious, although he remained too cowardly to actually support taking any action.

Senator Clinton has been doing the same thing at the last few debates. Consider her answer to the driver's license question at the October debate.

Or consider her inability to recall Ross Perot, who ran against her husband twice.

The American people are more fed up with Washington now than they were when Perot got nearly 20% of the vote [and would've gotten more if people hadn't figured that he had no chance] than they've ever been before.

As Bill Richardson has put it

"The Congress today is at an 11 percent approval rating. You know what's higher than the Congress? Dick Cheney," he said. "The only entity that is less popular than Democrats is Republicans in Congress and the president."

No matter how progressive Hillary may be, this is a serious problem.

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