Sunday, September 2, 2007

Hillary the "Realist"

Hillary Clinton is taking an interesting approach to countering her optimistic enemies, Obama and Edwards. She is painting herself as a realist. Rather than Edwards' "Let's take away the power from special interests!" approach, she says, "I want to work within the system... You can’t pretend the system doesn’t exist." Rather than Obama's "outsider" approach, Hillary emphasizes that she knows her way around the (possibly wicked) ways of Washington. I think there is something to be said for this sort of frankness, but at the same time, it slightly worries me.

The President is certainly an extremely powerful individual, but I also think a lot of the President's power is symbolic, so to speak. The President is not merely the Chief Executive (or the Chief Legislator, for those who consider him that), but also the Chief Moralizer, if you will allow me that phrase. Don't get me wrong; I'm not defending the backwards morals of the Bush Administration, but part of the President's job is to have some vague notion of "good" that America can (hopefully) rally behind. In other words, "here is what I think is worth fighting for." Not "here is what we can settle for."

Sometimes we do have to settle for less, but that doesn't really seem like something a Presidential candidate should be saying in her stump speech. So, I'm torn. Is this a refreshing use of honesty (or realism) in a stump speech? Or is it a frightening willingness to settle for less?

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