Saturday, May 06, 2006

Taking a stand

I've been making some posts on the DailyKos diary previously mentioned. Many of these posts are along similar lines to the previous post.

In one such posting I said:

Markos points out clearly the biggest problem with Hillary: she doesn't stand for anything because standing for something requires you to defend it.

It is a cowardly form of campaigning and its now wonder that the American people have rejected it repeatedly in the last few years. Bush may offer some truly outrageous crap. But at least he stands for something and that results in his victory by default.

To which one person responded:

Why don't you learn something about where Hillary stands on the issues before you recite the GOP meme about Democrats?

She has the right stands on most of the issues: Health care, the environment, education.

She is dead wrong on Iraq of course. But you can't accuse her of not standing for the same position.

In thinking about how to respond to this it occurs to me that I really don't know enough about Hillary's record to dispute it or agree with it. But then, that's part of the problem.

It is not uncommon for politicians to respond to challenges like this by pointing out specific examples that refute the challenge. But what is interesting is that often you don't hear about those specific examples until the politician is challenged on their credentials.

My point? That it isn't enough to have a record to stand on when faced with criticism. You have to proactively push your stances so that people know about them already. The fact that there is this kind of criticism and that this kind of criticism is common (I hear it from a lot of people) is an indicator that Hillary Clinton isn't doing enough to promote her stands on these issues.

Which leads to the question of why? Is it because she is just shy? [Successful politicians are never shy] Is it because she can't get the attention of the press? [Oh yeah, the press just ignores Hillary] Or is it because they are listening to consultants who tell her that it isn't wise to draw to much attention to your record? [I think you can guess my answer]

It isn't enough for Hillary Clinton to have specific examples to point to to refute these kind of charges. She has to tout those examples enough that potential critics will already know about them. The key word here is "stand". It means more then just voting the right way on an issue or sponsoring a particular form of legislation. It means being out their and pushing the stance enough that it becomes ingrained in peoples subconscious.

Hillary has an image problem when it comes to the question of her commitment to liberal/progressive causes. A lot of people simply don't know where she stands on them. If she does have a strong record on these matters then why is it so hidden from so many people?

That's why I am uncomfortable with the prospects of her candidacy. I'm tired of supporting Democrats for whom I am required to do intense research before I can answer the question, "What does she stand for?" Even the most casual of Bush supporters can answer that question without hesitation. That is one reason he is such a formidable political opponent.

Is that so much to ask for?

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