From a reader:
[You write:]“The idea that Obama can be a “uniter” by putting one of the most divisive pols in modern American politics needs to be ridiculed loudly and preemptively.” Excuse me, but for the past few months I have seen everyone from Tony Blankley to Bill Kristol say this is a new Hillary and that they could live with her as president. Some of them said she would be preferable to McCain. Now she is going to back to being a far left boogeyman???
Me: I don’t believe I ever made that argument and I don’t see why I have to adhere to what Blankley and Kristol said. For just one example, here is what I wrote last December in NR:
There’s a common notion out there that members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy — or whatever you want to call us — are in it for the money. We conservatives must secretly know we’re wrong, because otherwise we wouldn’t be liars; and the only plausible motive for lying is that we’re getting checks from our paymasters to oppose the forces of Truth and Light.
Barely a week goes by where a left-wing reader doesn’t matter-of-factly inform me that he or she “knows” Halliburton pays me to say the minimum wage is bad, global warming doesn’t exist, and — most relevantly — Hillary Clinton is something less than a national savior.
I bring this up because it introduces the great irony of this election year. When fundraising for National Review, Rich Lowry likes to point out that NR’s commitment to capitalism is entirely notional, since we rely on the kindness of strangers — and friends — to keep us afloat. Something similar is at work when it comes to conservative efforts to stop Hillary. If we were motivated by filthy lucre, we might talk a big anti-Hillary game, but at night the editors of NR would be sitting on a couch in the publisher’s office eating nachos, drinking beer, and waving giant “Hillary’s #1” foam fingers at the Democratic debates while shouting, “You go, girl!”
In the 1990s, The Bill Clinton Show drove the numbers for conservative magazines, books, and radio programs through the roof. Under George W. Bush, however, The Nation’s circulation has skyrocketed, and Keith Olbermann’s ratings are high enough that MSNBC has decided to double down and become a left-wing version of Fox News.
My point is this: Whatever the fringe benefits may be of standing athwart Hillary, yelling Stop, it’s the right thing to do.
There is no reason to believe that Hillary would govern as a centrist. Her centrism since 2000 has been necessary for her to become president, and she will do whatever it takes to become president. She is her husband’s wife, after all. When Hillary did not have her eyes on the prize, her entire career was dedicated to pushing the leftmost position politically possible. She sided, as best she could, with the leftists within the Clinton administration on everything from health care to welfare reform. Her book It Takes a Village is close to soccer-mom socialism (if you disagree, read it). Prior to her stint as First Lady, she was nothing if not a committed left-wing activist.
And then of course there’s that book I wrote. Whatever its strengths or shortcomings, I think one thing even my critics will concede is that I don’t embrace Hillary Clinton as a centrist.