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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Taking her pantsuit and going home

Of all the threats facing the middle east and the free world today, I think most people would rank Iran pretty high on the list.  How and/or when to deal with that threat - whether through diplomacy, sanctions or military intervention - remains a hotly debated topic.  But the fact of Iran as a clear and present danger to regional stability and world peace is a rare topic on which most sensible people agree.

Apparently the organizers of an anti-Iran rally in New York thought so too, and decided to invite both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin to participate.  And, in fact, both accepted the invitation and were slated to be present... until, that is, Hillary found out that Sarah would be there... and promptly canceled her appearance.

Suddenly party politics became more important than the rare topic on which pretty much everyone was supposed to be in agreement.

In reports of the move, Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines said, "[Gov. Palin's] attendance was news to us, and this was never billed to us as a partisan political event... Sen. Clinton will therefore not be attending."   

Um, newsflash to Hillary.  Having representatives of both major parities is supposed to make it NON-partisan! 

This is one of the many reasons you didn't get the nod from your party.  Iran is not a partisan issue.  Perhaps how to deal with Iran is a matter on which the various parties disagree... but the reality of the Iranian threat?  Non-partisan! 

Yet, the moment it became clear Hillary wouldn't have the spotlight all to herself, she decided to take her pantsuit and go home.  This is the sort of self-destructive partisan nonsense we would have been subjected to in a Hillary Clinton White House. [~shudder~]

I can live quite easily with the idea of either an Obama or McCain presidency... and even the possibility of a Biden or Palin presidency if (tfu, tfu, tfu) the need arose.  But I am relieved beyond words that Hillary Clinton has been sidelined by her own party (and now by her own stupidity).  Anyone who honestly thinks that Sarah Palin is a more immediate threat than Iran is not qualified to lead the free world.

Just my two cents.

Posted by David Bogner on September 17, 2008 | Permalink

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A reminder of why I'm no longer a Democrat--once again, Party politics and partisan interests outweigh the entire country's security and bipartisan interests.

Posted by: aliyah06 | Sep 17, 2008 1:27:51 PM

aliyah06 - I also don't consider myself a Democrat anymore. But I'm not convinced this is a party issue. After all, for all my doubts about Barack Obama, he still showed up at Ground Zero with John McCain on 9/11. If Hillary were the candidate, would she have done the same?

Posted by: psachya | Sep 17, 2008 3:50:58 PM

Point taken, psachya. Clearly its a character issue -- and this kind of behavior simply shows Hillary is lacking a bit in that area. A shame--I like to see strong women candidates who stand on their principles. Acting like the sandbox is only big enough for one Kitty is simply juvenile.

Posted by: aliyah06 | Sep 17, 2008 4:02:12 PM

well, no.
Gov Palin is a (VeeP) candidate, Senator Clinton isn't. NOt equal footing
Pshaya pointed out that Obama and McCain were at Ground Zero, both are prezzy candidates. Equal footing.
Despite that, it still seems like a bad move on Sen Clinton's part.

Posted by: asher | Sep 17, 2008 4:09:20 PM

Not a smart move on Hillary's part. It makes you wonder where her sympathies really lie vis-à-vis Iran, and it bespeaks a certain lack of grace.

But then again, she's not running. Any more. For now.

Posted by: Elisson | Sep 17, 2008 4:40:13 PM

Senator Obama has said that Iran is a tiny country. Hardly worth our time and certainly no threat to America. That is our democrat party in all its glory. If we just leave the rest of the world alone, then no one will hate us and the world will be at peace.

Posted by: David Bailey | Sep 17, 2008 5:30:06 PM

I don't think this is a comment on Democrats. You really think Republicans wouldn't do the same thing if the situation were reversed? I think it's just a lame political decision.

I need a Tylenol.

Posted by: Alice | Sep 17, 2008 5:39:31 PM

We created the hell that is Iran if you know history. Maybe we should have never overthrown Prime Minister Mosaddeq in 1953. Iran democratically elected Mosaddeq, yet the Democracy spreading U.K and America did not approve of this democratically elected leader who wanted to nationalize Iran's oil...... We wanted the oil, we wanted a trade friendly leader of Iran, we supported the Islamic extremist Shah. We created the problem that is Iran.

Deal with it
Imperialism has created Islamic terrorism... Face the facts, deal with the sins of the Imperialism of U.K and America. Learn history, and understand we created the Middle East hell in our desire to tap nastions of their resources

Posted by: TruthTeller | Sep 17, 2008 5:52:28 PM

I'm with Alice.

Posted by: Val | Sep 17, 2008 5:57:19 PM

First, I want to Thank you for posting about this important matter..the rest of the Jewish Blogs are acting like it didn't happen...If the Clinton/Obama camp keep acting like this, are we to think that Clinton would rather have Ahmadinejab in the US...than Palin, or should we believe , "we already know that about Obama."..I am so upset about Clinton, I was really hoping she would win the nomination over Obama. Now that she has done this, I am losing hope in the Dems.

Posted by: Joan | Sep 17, 2008 6:02:17 PM

I think the organizers messed up on this one...they should not have invited one VP candidate and not the other.

It's a no-win for Hillary.

Posted by: cyberdov | Sep 17, 2008 6:11:08 PM

Joan.

The issue hasn't been ignored in the Jewish Blogs. Daled Amos and Life of Rubin have commented on it.

It is possible that a Republican would also have backed out. The reason stated for Hillary backing out, is that she was "blind sided." IOW, it's possible that had the organizers gone to Hillary first and said "We'd like to invite a prominent Republican too" she'd have gone along. It's never nice to find out about surprises from a third party. Still, it doesn't look good.

And I don't buy that the issue is that Clinton and Palin are on different "footing." Right now Hillary is part of the Obama campaign.

And David - having both a Democrat and a Republican make it a "bi-partisan" event, not a "non-partisan" event.

Posted by: soccer dad | Sep 17, 2008 6:13:00 PM

Moreover, I was at last year's rally. Very light attendance if you don't count all the day school students who are bussed in. I also fear that, inadvertently or not, it is a cover for the neocons who want to bomb Iran and drag us into another Iraq-like mess. Really, that's what 'Stop Iran Now' means.

Posted by: cyberdov | Sep 17, 2008 6:16:32 PM

You really think Republicans wouldn't do the same thing if the situation were reversed?

Well, Palin's still planning on attending, so... nope.

Posted by: Tanya | Sep 17, 2008 6:21:48 PM

They put Clinton in an awkward position. If she attends, and they're seated together and chatting, it looks like she's encouraging her followers to flock to Palin (which many of them are doing anyway). The only way to negate that would be to make a public announcement at the rally, that she's not supporting Palin -- which makes it into a partisan issue. Awkward, not to mention rude.

She could have cancelled in a more graceful way, though. Or arranged for separate appearances, so they weren't seen together.

Posted by: Tanya | Sep 17, 2008 6:27:18 PM

Shmuel Rosner grants that Sen. Clinton had reason to be bothered by being "blindsided" but argues that withdrawing was an excessive response.

Posted by: soccer dad | Sep 17, 2008 6:34:06 PM

We know that it is a well known fact that the dangers of a nuclear Iran is greater than party or Politics, that is, concerning Israel. I want to quote Micah Halpein, a Middle-East Expert and syndicated columnist said it is "Problematic" that Clinton has decided to back out. Halpein who is Jewish, called Clinton a far better candidate for Dems than Obama.

I truly believe Clinton's actions could backfire on the Dem's Ticket. Rather the Repub's would do the same thing if roles were reversed, doesn't matter, Clinton has already committed the hear and now.

Posted by: Joan | Sep 17, 2008 7:00:08 PM

"We created the hell that is Iran if you know history. Maybe we should have never overthrown Prime Minister Mosaddeq in 1953...Deal with it - Imperialism has created Islamic terrorism..."

Oh, pleeeaaase.....I wasn't even born in 1953. Am I responsible for African slavery, Chinese foot-binding, the decision to nuke Hiroshima and every other sad sack decision made by world leader's since time began?

Besides, you over-simplify: Mossaddeq was no democrat either. He was happy to engage in voter fraud to secure his and his party's power; his "nationalizing" the oil fields was theft (yes, they are Iran's oil fields but all of the infrastructure and R&D was British, and there were contracts in place. "Nationalization" is just a fancy word for stealing); he abused emergency powers, exiled opponents, illegally disolved the Majlis, and like all dictators, he abolished the secret ballot---and hence reaped 99% of the ballots cast. He was already losing support among his urban supporters, and the rural and traditional poor hated him. The Shah only dismissed Mossadeq when Mossadeq tried to usurp the government and send the Shah into exile--instead the Shah appointed a military general as PM and the coup d'etat was on. British and American money and influence certainly played a huge role, but it's not like he was some naive reformer who was unjustly ousted from his saint's chair.

The conflict in Iran then was modernity v tradition. It still is. The Islamists, who later cried "foul!" at western meddling re: Mossadeq, were at that time some of his most virulent enemies and hated him.

The passionate revisionism inherent in complaints that this was "the crushing of Iran's first democratic government" (The Guardian) is, on its face, ridiculous since Mossadeq, upon being elected, turned into a dictator himself.

What this ultimately was, was a clash of two dictatorships: the Shah's, and Mossadeq's. The Shah won that round (and probably would have even without western backing) and lost to the Islamists in '79.

Reminds me of Hamas, calling itself "democratically elected" -- it's a great catch-phrase but you're not a democracy unless you can stay democratic AFTER you're elected.

Posted by: aliyah06 | Sep 17, 2008 8:07:32 PM

Tanya, I agree with your analysis of why Hillary won't go. As I said, if the situation were reversed and a Republican attending and chatting it up with the Dem would actually end up helping the Dem in the presidential race, I don't think they'd show up either. The stakes are too high for the party. It's too bad all of them can't put the American people and women ahead of party politics. As a feminist I would like to see Hillary there with Palin.

Posted by: Alice | Sep 17, 2008 9:17:27 PM

And David, no self respecting 1970s feminist would be caught dead without her pantsuit, mkay? She's kickin' it old school.

Posted by: Alice | Sep 17, 2008 9:25:01 PM

Aliyah06 - You are correct that Mossaddeq was no great democrat, however, the US meddled in Iran's government affairs in 1953. The CIA had a direct involvment in that 'regime change'. The Iranians didn't see it as America's business in which to meddle. I think a resentment of Amercian began to really take hold in Iran after that.

Posted by: Meira | Sep 17, 2008 9:58:07 PM

Three quick (okay, for me :-) points:

1). Dave Bailey follows what has become a new Republican campaign tactic- either just plain put words in Obama's mouth or take it out of context. Preceding his comment re: Iran being a "tiny country" Obama made the comparison to our then-enemy the Soviet Union. Who we talked to without preconditions all the time...

2). I agree about 75% with "Truth Teller." Subtracting the last sentnce opening with "imperialism." The fact remains that we took actions at various times that ended up creating unforeseeable reactions. Example: Whether you agree with the motive or not, our support of the Taliban against the Russians resulted in bin-Laden's becoming influential. Simple fact. Two excellent works of history are Stephen Coll's "Secret Wars" and Stephen Kinzer's "Overthrow."

3). Soooo, I guess Obama's not picking Hillary for the Veep spot wasn't as bad a decision as first feared. I agree, Hillary's no-show is a bad choice on her part, even if the organization putting on the event IS doing it for partisan political purposes...

Posted by: Michael Spengler | Sep 17, 2008 10:58:13 PM

I'm not really sure why Hillary would worry you more than Mr. Obama as President. Sure the Clinton's terrify me, but Barrack has as much (foreign policy and other) experience as a newspaper boy. Am I a big McCain supporter? - Nope. Not happy at all with my choices. But that's what you get in a two party system. If I were living in Israel, I would be horrified by a candidate that is more concerned about how France would view his actions than those in the US (and Israel).

Posted by: Andy McCarthy | Sep 18, 2008 2:33:47 AM

"however, the US meddled in Iran's government affairs in 1953. The CIA had a direct involvment in that 'regime change'. The Iranians didn't see it as America's business in which to meddle. "

I agree 100%--sorry if I didn't make that clearer. However, there is a school of thought that this "regime change" would've happened anyway because of Mossadeq's opposition to the Shah and the Shah's support by the army. The CIA/western involvement simply made the coup d'etat resolve more quickly.

I'm not in favor of this kind of intervention; as an Israeli I deeply resent being manipulated by Big Power politics also. However, that said, I think the Iranians should get over it -- they've had their Islamic Revolution going on 30 years now; they have perpetrated massive injustices against women and minorities; they are a theocratic dictatorial oligarchy awash in corruption and political power struggles. Given that they have been a sovereign, non-colonial "republic" in their own right for over a generation, it's time to quit beating the dead horse of "western imperialism." The mess Iran is in right now is of its OWN making, not anyone else's.

Blaming the West for Iran today is akin to blaming the West for the Boxer Rebellion, for much the same reason. You don't hear China threatening to nuke the West for the Boxer Rebellion, do you? Iran's leadership is the problem--not CIA/M5 intervention two generations ago.

Posted by: aliyah06 | Sep 18, 2008 12:17:57 PM

re: Michael Spengler's post: You've got to be joking. The Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore. If Senator Obama said the Soviet Union or even present day Russia is a tiny country, as you believe you heard, then I would be even more concerned about Senator Obama's knowledge of the world. And no previous American administration talked with the Soviet Union without preconditions. Everyone on both sides of the table knew what was going to be discussed before any meeting ever took place. That is clearly a precondition of meeting. It is also why Senator Obama's idea of meeting any dictator "without" preconditions was so stunning to anyone who follows politics.

Posted by: David Bailey | Sep 18, 2008 6:14:33 PM

aliyah06: I completely agree with you that the current internal state of affairs in Iran is their own doing at this point. The Mossadeq affair and all the big power nations meddling in Iran's affairs helped (didn't cause, but helped) to drive the nation to events of 78-79. But from there on out the progression of conditions in Iran is all theirs to own. Unfortunately, it is now spilling out into the international arena and becoming our problem too.

Posted by: Meira | Sep 18, 2008 9:00:23 PM

We aided the Soviets, to help beat the Nazis.We aided the Islamists, to help beat the Soviets.
We offended Iranians by overthrowing their government, to help beat the Soviets.
We aided the secular Arab dictators, to help beat the Islamists.

Each time, we created a future problem, but eliminated a much bigger current problem. We should regret none of it.

Posted by: Shlomo | Sep 19, 2008 1:31:05 AM

Palin has now had her invitation to the rally rescinded. I wonder if Hillary would have been uninvited had palin declined to appear with her.

Posted by: Alan T. | Sep 19, 2008 1:39:54 AM

How could one not know that no cause is worthy enough to make a Clinton share the limelight?

Posted by: Bob | Sep 19, 2008 5:56:53 AM

Re: David Bailey- You miss the point. In its size and nuclear arsenal the then-existing Soviet Union was considered to be certainly a greater threat- especially considering a time in 1962 when it appeared that some of that nuclear arsenal would be all of 90 miles away from our shores.

And "talking WITH pre-conditions" is not necessarily both sides "knowing what will be discussed." In the case of Iran, of course both sides will "know what is going to be discussed." That's not the same as negotiating a resolution or a treaty...

Shlomo- I see the point of your first paragraph. Except that aiding the secular dictatorship of Saddam during the Iran-Iraq War did not eliminate "a much bigger problem" at the time. Where it did create a "future problem" was that Saddam later got mixed signals from us about what we would do if he invaded Kuwait.

Gordon/Trainor's "The Generals' War" strongly suggests that if Saddam had halted after grabbing some northern oil fields instead of occupying all of Kuwait, we might have done virtually nothing.

Apologies if I react strongly here, but your last sentence "we should regret none of it" is astounding to me as someone who lives in the NYC area. Almost as astounding as hearing on a return flight from a gig in Denver a year later (that passed over lower Manhattan on final approach) a woman several rows behind me exclaiming: "Ooooh! Look! It's Ground Zero!! How exciting!!!" I decided not to say anything- realizing that my words to her might have resulted in my needing to be forcibly restrained...

So, yes, damn right I regret the decision by then-CIA Chief William Casey to engage in what he saw as an alliance by religious Christians and religious Muslims against the "G-dless Communists"...

Posted by: Michael Spengler | Sep 19, 2008 6:09:44 AM

"Oooh! Look! It's Ground Zero!! How exciting!!!"

I think that's in Webster's, under "clueless".

Posted by: psachya | Sep 19, 2008 7:44:31 PM

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