Here’s a little story that, if accurate, I find to be quite telling in its own way.
As she ran for Senate as a sitting first lady in 2000, Hillary Rodham Clinton was facing an obstacle that her advisers found a bit awkward to discuss in her presence.
Her husband’s impeachment and the sexual affair that precipitated it were still recent memories. Now, that scandal was causing a headwind for the candidate as she found her own values questioned by a key segment of New York voters. This was the delicate subject on the table one evening at a White House strategy meeting, several participants recalled. The president gazed intently at poll data and then turned to his wife. “Women,” he announced, “want to know why you stayed with me.”
There was an awkward pause. But Hillary Clinton did not seem embarrassed. Instead, a half-smile crossed her face. “Yes,” she responded, “I’ve been wondering that myself.”
Jabbing the air for emphasis, Bill Clinton gave his answer: “Because you’re a sticker! That’s what people need to know — you’re a sticker. You stick at the things you care about.”
I suppose different people will have different reactions to that account, but one thing I’m sure of…that’s not normal. Of course, normal isn’t necessarily good, perhaps especially in those that would lead us. But still…
And I got to thinkin’ and rememberin’
Yeah, that little book came out in January of 2000. It was an early Valentine’s Day present for the president explaining why good, decent people stick with their friends even when they really, really screw up. And I think you know what Carville advises doing to your enemies.
Democratic strategist James Carville says his party should dump Howard Dean as chairman of the Democratic Party because of incompetence.
Carville, during coffee and rolls with political reporters today, said Democrats could have picked up as many as 50 House seats, instead of the nearly 30 they have so far.
The reason they didn’t, he said, is the Democratic National Committee did not spend some $6 million it could have put into so-called “third tier” House races against vulnerable Republicans.
Carville said the other Democratic campaign committees had borrowed to the hilt.
He said he tried to meet with Dean to argue for additional spending for Democrats in the final days of the campaign, but Dean declined and gave no reason why.
Asked by a reporter whether Dean should be dumped, Carville replied, “In a word, do I think? Yes.”
He added, “I think he should be held accountable.” He added, “I would describe his leadership as Rumsfeldian in its competence.”
Of course, Paul Begala felt the same way about Dean’s 50-state strategy:
BEGALA: He — yes, he’s in trouble, in that campaign managers, candidates, are really angry with him. He has raised $74 million and spent $64 million. He says it’s a long-term strategy. But what he has spent it on, apparently, is just hiring a bunch of staff people to wander around Utah and Mississippi and pick their nose. That’s not how you build a party. You win elections. That’s how you build a party.
Begala privately went much further:
“Look,” [Begala] said, “When we started there were only about 15 competitive races, but Rahm made the field over 35 by the end and that had nothing to do with the 50-state strategy.” I told him we never would have had so many competitive districts if not for the DNC investing staffers and resources into those states early on and expanding the playing field. “So you have people out there, what are they doing there though?” he questioned. ” I told him they were building a long term infrastructure for the Democratic Party, and we had people all over America knocking on doors and spreading the Democratic message. “So what do they say when they knock on the doors then?” he asked me. I told him they had a succinct 6 point plan for a “new direction” that they were discussing, a cohesive message that we haven’t had in the past. “Anyway,” Begala continued… “I don’t need some a**hole from Vermont telling me what to do.”
After that our conversation was interrupted and I walked away, but I couldn’t leave before stopping by one more time. “He brought a lot of new people into this Party, ” I told Begala as I passed by. He didn’t reply, so I said it again, “Paul I know your view on him, but he brought a lot of new people into this Party.” “Excellent, excellent,” he said. Shortly after that I left the ballroom.
Iraq, however, is the grand strategic prize. If we succeed in helping Iraq’s moderate majority establish a stable, decent, representative government in Baghdad, the ripple effects throughout the region will be enormous. A precipitous withdrawal, on the heels of Spain’s craven pull-out following the Madrid attacks, would be a strategic windfall for bin Ladenism. It would confirm the extremist claim that America lacks the stomach and stamina to fight against jihadists who, in al Qaeda’s famous boast, “love death more than you love life.” Bringing home the troops before our mission is done in Iraq would save lives in the short run, but only invite bolder attacks down the road.
I’m pretty sure these people are not on our side.