Jewish World Review June 7, 2005 / 29 Iyar
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Memo to Hillary
Memorandum to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton:
It is now widely expected that you will run for President in 2008, after successfully standing for reelection next year. By all accounts, you will enjoy the strong support of your party's generally left-of-center primary voters. But to win the Oval Office, you will have to overcome a very different challenge persuading sufficient numbers of independents and perhaps even Republicans that you are the first Democrat in two generations who can safely be entrusted with the presidency in time of active, global hostilities.
Toward this end, you, your husband and other political advisors are reportedly assiduously working to demonstrate that Candidate Rodham Clinton will not be the sort of reflexively liberal partisan who would be unlikely to make such a sale. Your positions on such politically charged issues as the war in Iraq, defense spending and even immigration reform have lately been cast in terms that appear to be different from those of many of your party's leftist standard-bearers in the Senate.
To be convincing, however, you are going to have start demonstrating leadership that genuinely sets you apart in the only way available to a sitting legislator: by casting actual votes in a manner that demonstrates your convictions.
Fortunately, this week you will likely have an opportunity to do just that by voting to help break the filibuster of John Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. As you know, this appointment is currently being held up by such leaders of your party's left-wing as Sens. Joe Biden, John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Barbara Boxer and Chuck Schumer.
If you truly wish not only to be seen as, but to be, centrist presidential timber, you could do worse than lead Democrats in rejecting the specious arguments your liberal colleagues are making to justify filibustering Mr. Bolton.
Were you not only to break with your party's Left in allowing a vote on John Bolton's nomination but actually to support him in such a vote, you would also endear yourself to at least three constituencies that may be important to any general election strategy in 2008:
As a former staffer and life-long admirer of the late Senator Henry M. Jackson (D-WA), I am confident that, were "Scoop" alive and in the Senate today, he would be leading the fight among Democrats for John Bolton's confirmation. To the extent you wish to enjoy anything like a Scoop Jackson Democrat's credibility on defense and foreign policy matters as you prepare to seek higher office, it behooves you to do the same.
Alternatively, you can vote as you did last month for the Left's filibuster of the Bolton nomination. In that case, though, you may find the electorate in 2008 telling you, as they say in your adopted New York, "fuggedaboudit."
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