The Black Kennedy
And he's a dark horse in more ways than one. Fortunately for him, he's got no record to speak of, having spent but three years in the Senate, so he can pretty much promise anything to anyone and nobody can call him on it. In the plus column, he was against the Iraq War, which is both good and bad. Going in and getting Sadaam was good. Trying to transform Iraqi Arabs into Jeffersonian Democrats was pure lunacy. So he got the war, a very complicated situation, half-right, but politics makes no room for positions that can't be compressed into a jingle, and so it's "I was against the war from the start."
Advantages: He thinks before he speaks, and you get the sense in listening to him that he is saying what he thinks.
Disadvantages: He's promising free everything to everyone, and has nothing specific. But they all do that.
On Israel: A reporter from the Islamist publication Electronic Intifada, bemoaning Obama's gradual mainstreaming into an acceptable candidate, "Over the years since I first saw Obama speak I met him about half a dozen times, often at Palestinian and Arab-American community events in Chicago including a May 1998 community fund raiser at which Edward Said was the keynote speaker." That's the same Edward Said who invented the concept of "Palestinian Nationalism," justified all terror against Jewish civilians, and later fabricated his own autobiography to have him born in Jerusalem, not his native Cairo, to latch his invented personal story onto his invented cause.
It was just a dinner, and it was so long ago. But since candidates immediately start covering up their positions as soon as they realize that they might run for higher office, it's cause for concern that this may be where his true sympathies lay.
The Hippie ChickIt's the Clintons again! As if eight years weren't enough.
Advantages: She's claiming experience, but all she's really got is six years in the Senate. She is the MASTER of the carefully crafted message, focus-grouped and pollsterized to death.
Disadvantages: Okay, I'll admit it, this lady kinda creeps me out. And it's not because she's a girl, okay. I liked Margaret Thatcher. It's just that, well, there's no chemistry between us. You know, we tried to make it work, but there's something under the surface she's not telling us. The fact is that if you look at her policy initiatives, I think there's still a 60's radical hiding under that pant suit.
On Israel: There was one event in her career forever emblazoned on the minds of middle east news junkies, which you will probably hear more about if she gets the nomination, the "Clinton-Suha Blood Libel." On November 11, 1999, while her husband, then-president Bill Clinton, was on a state visit to Gaza, the First Lady of the United States attended a speech given by the First Lady of the Palestinian Authority, Suha Arafat. The speech then veered into antisemitism, Suha complaining that, "Our people have been subjected to the daily and extensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces, which has led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children." For Suha, it was just a repetition of the Nazi-esque rants broadcast 24-7 on Palestinian National Television, but after the speech, Hillary took of her earphones on which she had been listening to the translation, walked to the podium, and gave Suha a wet kiss on the cheek.
She can be forgiven the kiss to the cheek, as at the time even Israeli officials were publicly kissing Arafat himself on the cheek, but her lack of rebuke or condemnation was alarming. While she later claimed that the translation of that particular section of the speech was not broadcast, and that she disagrees with what Suha had to say, I personally find it very hard to believe that part of a speech at an important state event was simply left untranslated. There is a small chance she agreed with what Suha said. Certainly Hillary, like most of the left, feels a great measure of sympathy for the "Palestinian Plight," and misperceives their war against Jewish independence as a war for Palestinian freedom. But I think, more likely, she just wanted to avoid offending her hosts. In Arab culture, there is very little differentiation between a difference of personal opinion on a matter of politics and an outright personal insult (hence the preponderance of torture facilities throughout Arab countries for political dissidents.) However, a leader of a sovereign nation has to have resolve, principles, and courage, and in a moment when she was tested, she revealed her glaring lack of them.
Up next... the Republicans!