Hillary Clinton, centrist uniter — who knew?

Hillary Clinton is gifted in some respects. One can even argue that, considering the political environment, we’re fortunate that we’ll have no worse president than Hillary come 2009. However, her claim in an interview with the Washington Post that she’s the ideal person to unify the nation around a centrist coalition is laughable. It’s conceivable that Clinton has genuine centrist tendencies when it comes to security issues. At least she seems finally to have figured out that the world is a dangerous place, and that therefore our foreign policy can’t consist (as her husband’s did) of making sham deals with totalitarian states, issuing a string of apologies on behalf of the U.S., and ignoring the threat of terrorism. But when it comes to domestic policy, Clinton appears essentially to be a socialist. Here, as her health care plan shows, Clinton’s evolution is largely cosmetic.
And a uniter? This is the woman who, not so long ago, declared her critics to be part of a vast right-wing conspiracy. Her self-pitying comments to the Post (“I’ve been through so much incoming fire all these years”) fail to demonstrate a change of outlook. Nor would it be reasonable to expect one. Clinton was vindictive and paranoid as she approached age 50. Who changes much at that age?
Here’s a thought experiment. Ask yourself what Clinton would do to Kenneth Starr if she faced no constraints. Then try to imagine any other major candidate for president this year doing something comparable to any American public figure.
Clinton provides this vision of her unity government:

You’ve got to demonstrate that you’re not going to be cowed or intimidated or deterred by it [presumably she means harsh criticism], and then you can reach out and bring people who are of good faith together.

Perhaps those who wish to have their “good faith” assessed by Hillary Clinton can find comfort in this vision. I find it slightly chilling.
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