Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

A style I don't care for

Okay, let's enumerate:
  • From the very beginning, it was clear what you wanted. Oh, you played coy about it, but pretty much everyone knew for years that you were spoiling for this, and just waiting for your opportunity. You've never been good at subtlety.
  • You went in with full confidence of winning. After all, you were rich and powerful, and everyone *knew* that you were rich and powerful. So you went for a "shock and awe" approach, intended to win all the chips with a single hand. Fair enough as a first-choice strategy.
  • You expected the populace to simply lay down, acclaim you the victor, and follow you happily. You were badly wrong-footed when they didn't do so. Worse, it quickly became clear that you didn't have a Plan B ready for the possibility that they wouldn't.
  • You appointed advisors mainly on the basis of personal loyalty, sometimes to the point of sycophancy. This wound you up cocooned in a circle that didn't give you any real sense of how things were going, and encouraged more foolish misjudgements. It took much too long for you to fire them and start appointing people on the basis of competence instead.
  • You really never understood the insurgency and how it worked. You've consistently tried to keep fighting an old-fashioned war, and that has cost you dearly, because the other side was fighting with very different and sometimes more effective techniques -- more decentralized, harder to simply topple with overwhelming force.
  • You blew through money at a rate that astounded everyone. Starting with considerable financial assets, you wound up having to borrow heavily to keep going. This doesn't seem to have entered into your calculations as possibly a reason to step back and reflect.
  • Your sometimes ruthless and frequently ham-handed approach to dealing with the insurgency cost you considerable respect with the wider community. It took you far too long to realize that throwing constant hammer-blows wasn't a winning approach. You promoted an us-versus-them attitude that simply undermined the whole enterprise.
  • And when you *did* finally start to make some progress, you simply couldn't hear the growing chorus of voices saying, "Too little, too late". Your stubborn refusal to leave the battlefield looks increasingly desperate and pathetic, rather than strong.
Am I addressing Bush in Iraq, or Clinton on the campaign trail? I don't know, and *that* is the main reason I've become increasingly unhappy with the idea of her as President.

Yes, it's a somewhat unfair, extreme and selective analogy. But it's an informative one. The campaign trail is war writ small, and it tells us a lot about a candidate's style of governance. Clinton has made a remarkable number of the same *kinds* of mistakes that Bush is famous for, and that worries me enormously. And so I've gone from favoring her for President a year ago, to quite actively hoping that her current desperate attempt to strong-arm Obama into naming her as his running mate doesn't succeed. She's proven herself a fine legislator, and I suspect she's a decent administrator. But she hasn't shown the kind of judgement I want in a governor.

(This post brought to you by Terry McAuliffe's downright surreal "Of *course* we're going to win" appearance on The Daily Show last night, and Clinton's ridiculously unsubtle political maneuverings going on right now...)
Tags: politics

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