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August 12, 2014

Is Hillary Clinton Repeating The Same Mistakes She Made In 2008?

Over the weekend news broke of an extraordinary interview Hillary Clinton gave to The Atlantic. The big take away from it was her sharp attacks on Barack Obama over Syria and "don't do stupid stuff".

“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton said.

...

This is what Clinton said about Obama’s slogan: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

She softened the blow by noting that Obama was “trying to communicate to the American people that he’s not going to do something crazy,” but she repeatedly suggested that the U.S. sometimes appears to be withdrawing from the world stage.

That's pretty interesting stuff coming from a woman who was Secretary of State until a year and a half ago.

Now with Obama polling in the low 40s it's natural for a veteran of his administration who wants to replace him to find ways to separate themselves from him but who is she targeting here?

It's certainly not Democratic primary voters. Does she or anyone think there's a sizable bloc in the Democratic party that wants a more activist foreign policy? Remember that one of things that opened up room for Obama in 2008 was Hillary's unwillingness to recant her Iraq vote. What is the upside to her reminding people that she's to the right of most Democrats on foreign policy?

This would also seem a dicey line of attack for Clinton. Remember the last time she was gung-ho about an intervention? Yeah, how did Libya work out? Right.

And the idea that there were massive numbers of moderate, every day Syrians that could be trained up and made to fight and beat Assad and the influx of foreign jihadis that came to make up ISIL seems...fanciful.

It would seem Hillary is already looking ahead to the general (and I'm not sure how super excited persuadable general election voters are about more foreign interventions).

Is there anyone who can challenge Hillary from the left? She doesn't seem to think so but it's worth remembering "inevitability" is a hell of thing right up until it isn't.


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posted by DrewM. at 11:34 AM

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