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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Don’t let the Clinton bandwagon run you over

    Alyson Hill columnist
    Alyson Hill
    columnist

    Hillary Clinton may as well have her own section in the bookstore at this point: More than a dozen volumes about her will have been published just in 2007, including a coloring book and a voodoo kit (“”Stick it to her before she sticks it to you!””). Although a few of them take a sunny view of their subject, the majority are, as the title of John Podhoretz’s “”Can She Be Stopped?: Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next President of the United States Unless …”” may lead you to believe, a touch critical of New York’s junior senator.

    If Clinton’s critics are anything, they’re loud. They depict her (through carefully chosen photographs) as a screeching, saggy battle-axe. They discuss her campaign as though it’s the stuff of nightmares. One anti-Hillary Web site, www.stophernow.com, warns about her “”radical ideas”” – though the only radical thing about her is that she’s a woman. And the fact that a clever and opinionated woman would roll up her sleeves to battle with the big boys, to strategize and to actually try to win, is a terrifying thought to the anti-Hillary club.

    But their objections are little more than sensationalized, misogynistic blustering; the majority of right-wingers take it as a given that Clinton is undesirable, without ever really elaborating why. There are real criticisms to be made of Clinton, however – plenty of ’em – and they should be coming from her actual and potential supporters, not the peanut gallery.

    The most recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that 59 percent of Americans favor setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. On its Web site, Gallup added that “”Republicans overwhelmingly support the war; Democrats overwhelmingly oppose it.”” It’s safe to assume, then, that Democrats are going to want a candidate who also supports withdrawal – so why does Clinton have such a tremendous lead over Barack Obama, the second-most popular Democratic candidate? Her official Web site offers a vague and confusing description of how she will apparently “”end this war,”” but in last month’s debate Clinton was unwilling to commit to pulling the troops out even by 2013.

    A great deal of Clinton’s support ðcomes from women. So much so, in fact, that the Washington Post wrote in June that her lead over Obama is “”entirely attributable”” to it. Women likely assume that a female president will have their best interests at heart. I’d love to believe that, but it’s not necessarily true: In a 2005 speech on abortion and family planning, Clinton is quoted as having said “”Research shows that the primary reason that teenage girls abstain is because of their religious and moral values. We should embrace this – and support programs that reinforce the idea that abstinence at a young age is not just the smart thing to do, it is the right thing to do.””

    This sort of proposed enforcement of morality is something one might have expected to come out of the mouth of Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, not a woman habitually accused of feminism. While she may be pro-choice, as any Democratic hopeful would be – and to some extent, have to be – Clinton’s speech reveals that she is also in favor of depicting family planning as an entirely female concern and actively perpetuating the attitude that sexuality – especially female sexuality – is shameful.

    If you’re looking for a genuinely progressive Democratic candidate to vote for, Clinton’s not your (wo)man. Even where she’s not necessarily bad, she’s not any better than the other candidates: Clinton, John Edwards and Obama have all proposed universal health care plans so similar that you’d do just as well to draw a name out of a hat if you intend to weigh the candidates against one another on that issue.

    Then there was that moment back in August when Clinton said that she, unlike Obama, would not rule out the possible use of nuclear weapons in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Of course, Obama has also said that he would attack terrorists in Pakistan regardless of what the country’s president thinks about it.) And she’s distinctly less supportive of gay rights than both Edwards and Obama.

    Hillary Clinton may not be the cackling Wicked Witch of the Left that some critics think she is. She probably can’t shoot lasers out of her eyes. But don’t let her popularity fool you; if you want to support a Democrat in the primary, you ought to look elsewhere. Clinton’s got more in common with Rudy Giuliani than she does with either of her party’s more progressive frontrunners.

    Alyson Hill is a senior majoring in classics, German studies and history. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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