By Ray Hanania — There’s something about Hillary Clinton that’s starting to bug me. As a very independent Democrat who originally leaned heavily towards Hillary Clinton against the tide of Illinois support for Barack Obama, her negative attacks against Obama and smug-sounding cockiness in winning the Pennsylvania primary – one state – is bugging me.I don’t know if this is a problem facing all women candidates, although having worked eight years in media relations out of 32 years covering regional Midwest politics, I recognize women come across much more harsh than their male counterparts.
This is a dilemma for the nation.
John McCain, the Republican candidate is not a choice for president and that leaves either Obama and Clinton.
McCain is little more than a third-term George W. Bush. Although McCain did throw softball criticism at Bush when the president lied about weapons of mass destruction and violated international human rights by ordering torture of guilty and innocent accused terrorist suspects, he is complicit in this country’s fast demise.
Our economy is in a shambles and it is not because of Sept. 11, 2001, it is because of Bush’s $500 billion war in Iraq.
Unemployment is rising. Oil prices are rising, despite the fact that the real reason for invading Iraq was to capture and control the world’s largest oil reserves there.
Terrorism is on the rise, our American soldiers are losing the long term fight in Iraq against al-Qaeda, and people in this country can’t even get health insurance, quality education for their children, or fight the drug dealers and killers on their streets.
While I often use McCain’s speeches to help put my son and I to sleep, the speeches of Obama and Clinton have been inspirational. In truth, Obama’s speeches are inspirational.
He delivers them from the heart. Last night watching him politely acknowledge Clinton’s victory in Pennsylvania, where the Democratic insiders and clout-heavy lobbyists came out to push her towards a decent victory, Obama spoke without referring to any notes.
Wow. A possible president who might be able to actually think on his feet? How refreshing.
Clinton, on the other hand, delivered her remarks from carefully crafted notes. Most annoyingly she had this large smirk on her face and she seemed like she was a candidate-scorned relishing the whooping she just gave Obama.
Now I liked the Clintons. Actually, I like the old Clintons. I don’t like today’s Clintons any more. I don’t like how Bill Clinton changed from being the Obama-like inspirational candidate and president he was into a selfish, self-serving person in the final year in office.
Clinton helped to destroy the Middle East peace process in his rush to impose a lopsided, unworkable settlement on Palestinians and Israelis in the months before he finished his presidential term, all because he needed a real “legacy” to fall back on rather than Monica Lewinsky’s blue jean dress.
His lying in the Lewinsky scandal was disturbing and his personal misconduct in office helped hand the White House to Bush, one of our nation’s most incompetent and inexperienced presidents we have ever had.
To now watch Clinton arrogantly engage in name-calling, attacks and slander against Obama is very disturbing.
I know how important it is for women to assert themselves in this male-dominated world. They have been discriminated against for years in the United States, denied jobs, denied equal rights and always forced to place second fiddle behind less competent men.
But so have African Americans. I don’t recall anyone lynching women on street corner trees as they did African Americans during much of the 20th Century.
Clearly, Clinton and Obama represent more than just the Democratic party and the hopes and dreams of Americans seeking to reverse the terrible policies imposed on us by Bush.
They also represent a potential opportunity for Americans to come together in a good way and deal with issues like continued discrimination against Blacks and women.
This is going to be tough.
Clinton’s turn towards such ugly, negative campaign attacks against Obama, and their obvious attacks against Obama through surrogates pretending to outside of Clinton’s influence, is disturbing and, long term, will damage this nation.
If Clinton has to use mudslinging and personal attacks to increase her voter and delegate count – she can’t overcome Obama’s lead – then her election will not be worth it.
If Clinton can’t win on the basis of being inspirational rather than irritating, failing to address real issues and doing her best to dirty-up Obama, this nation will be in for a serious problem.
And as all of the problems around us continue to increase – the faltering economy and recession, the unjustified outrageous increases in oil prices, the continuing and unending war in Iraq and rising death toll of our Americans soldiers, the collapsing home and mortgage market – then what Clinton promises is only more of the same.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and radio talk show host based in Chicago. He can be reached at www.hanania.com. Distributed by the Arab Americans Writers Group, www.ArabWritersGroup.com.)
Categories: Middle East Topics