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SHOCK: HILLARY VOWS TO CLOSE HALF OF AMERICAN SCHOOLS! Clinton: ‘I Wouldn’t Keep Any School Open That Wasn’t Doing A Better Than Average Job.’

So this is either Hillary vowing to be not just the most uncompromising wartime President in United States history, but America’s most uncompromising education president as well — or far more likely, it’s her turn to imitate Chevy Chase’s classic “It was my understanding that there would be no math” moment from the earlier, funnier days of Saturday Night Live.

AS ED NOTES, Roger Simon wasn’t impressed with the Democrats’ debate.

There was a time when I made joking references to Hillary Clinton as the most uncompromising wartime president in U.S. history. But that was before I saw this photo.

hillarypottybreak

To be fair, she was uncompromising about the length of her bathroom break, schedules be damned.

ROLL CALL: Could National Security Make 2016 Tougher for Women Candidates?

As national security becomes a bigger issue in the wake of the attacks in Paris, some Democratic strategists worry the issue could cause troubles for their Senate candidates in 2016 — and women candidates in particular.

Polling shows voters generally view Republicans stronger on national security issues than Democrats. But some Democratic strategists and pollsters add the issue is especially challenging for women, who do better at the ballot box when the economy and social issues are at the top of voters’ minds.

“Voters do look at gender,” said Celinda Lake, a prominent Democratic pollster. “Women do better when people are focused on domestic issues [rather] than foreign policy, on policies that require empathy and being in touch rather than toughness. So terrorism is tough for women and tough for Democrats.”

More than a half-dozen Democratic Senate candidates this cycle are women, some of whom are considered the top recruit in their respective race. And these female candidates’ successes will be essential to whether Democrats can net the five seats necessary to take control of the Senate.

I can see Carly as a war leader just fine. On the other hand, the days when it was possible to imagine Hillary as the most uncompromising wartime President in United States history are gone, trumped by her miserable performance when confronted with crises.

RALPH NADER: Hillary Tried to ‘Overcompensate’ for Gender with ‘Shocking’ Militarism.

So does that mean she might be the most uncompromising wartime President in American history?

WHERE THE BOSTON GLOBE SEES Hillary Strangelove, I see someone who just might be the most uncompromising wartime President in U.S. history. And the L.A. Times wonders if the Globe really means it: “If Clinton ends up the Democratic nominee, will the leading journalistic voice in one of the nation’s most liberal states endorse Republican John McCain?” That’s looking more possible, so let’s keep an eye on this question. It’ll certainly be awkward for them . . . .

I’VE OFTEN ECHOED THE PREDICTION that Hillary Clinton would make the most uncompromising wartime President in United States history, but here’s some evidence that it just might be true:

Hillary: If Iran Attacked Israel With Nukes ‘We Would Be Able to Totally Obliterate Them’

If the Iranians are smart, they’ll believe her. I think she’d kinda like obliterating somebody.

UPDATE: “I like Hillary best when she shows her hawkishness.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Alex Knapp disagrees.

DAVID BROOKS says that the adults are in charge in the Democratic Party now.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan: “If Clinton is that comfortable with a permanent occupation of Iraq at this point in the election cycle, how comfortable do you think she’s going to be next year? You think a politician so obsessed with gaining and wielding power is happy to relinquish any in the Middle East? . . . Hillary is Bush’s ticket to posterity. On Iraq, she will be his legacy.”

Hey, maybe she will turn out to be “the most uncompromising wartime President in United States history” after all. Science fiction sometimes comes true . . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Can you say “inherent authority” to go to war? Hillary can.

“WE HAVE TO BE PREPARING TO FIGHT THE NEW WAR:” Here’s video of Hillary sounding martial. Would she really make an uncompromising wartime President? Maybe it’s not so fictional after all? . . .

I think what it really means is that she thinks she’s got Obama on the ropes and she can start positioning for the general election.

WHY I’M CONSIDERING VOTING FOR HILLARY: Jay Nordlinger says it all:

I have a friend who, in a phone conversation last weekend, said the unsayable. Come to think of it, this friend makes a specialty of saying the unsayable. That is one reason he is invaluable.

He said, “The Democrats have to win in 2008 — I mean, the whole enchilada: House, Senate, and presidency.” You ought to know that my friend is a staunch conservative Republican. “Why?” I said. “Why do they have to win?” He answered, “Because that’s the only way they will be fully onboard the War on Terror. They won’t fully support it otherwise, because they will always be trying to trip up the Republicans. If you want the Democrats onboard the War on Terror, they have to be in charge. Period.”

It’s getting harder to argue with that. And hey, maybe Hillary really will turn out to be “the most uncompromising wartime President in the history of the United States.” Plus, Markos doesn’t like her.

IN THE MAIL: John O’Sullivan’s new book, The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World.

We could use some similar leadership again. But who would fill those roles today? At dinner the other night, Jack Balkin expressed the thought that Hillary could be America’s Margaret Thatcher. I’m not sure about that, though I have in the past suggested that she might really turn out to be the most uncompromising wartime President in United States history.

JOHN KERRY APOLOGIZES ON IMUS:

In an unscheduled call-in interview this morning, Senator John Kerry (D-Ma) spoke with Don Imus about his misstatements in a speech Monday. He said that he is “sorry for the botched joke,” and that “everybody knows I botched a joke.” He also says he is going back to Washington so that he is “not a distraction” to the campaigns.

Be sure to read the transcript. One thing this affair illustrates is just how badly the Democrats did to nominate Kerry in 2004. I’m reminded of what John Zogby wrote a year ago about a poll he had run:

In our new poll, every president since Carter defeats Bush. But Kerry still loses to Bush by one point. What am I missing here?

What he was missing was that Kerry was an extraordinarily weak candidate. Bush himself was a pretty weak candidate; he was just stronger than Kerry. I’d really like to see the Democrats run somebody decent next time around. Even Hillary! As I’ve noted before:

I still maintain hopes that she might turn out to be “the most uncompromising wartime President in United States history.” After all, she argued that President Bush had “inherent authority” to go to war against Saddam!

Plus, we might see the tough-talking Secretary of State Atrios!

You go, girl. Meanwhile, Tom Maguire offers some thoughts on how Kerry — and the Democrats — got themselves in this fix.

UPDATE: James Taranto observes:

Even if the statement was a “botched joke,” what on earth would possess Kerry to think that this excuses what he said? George Allen and Trent Lott didn’t get passes for “botched jokes”; indeed, here is what Kerry himself said about Lott, according to Salon . . . . “I simply do not believe the country can today afford to have someone who has made these statements again and again be the leader of the United States Senate.”

I thought that about Lott, too. And I think the same about Kerry, though happily he’s unlikely to ever have the opportunity to resign any office of greater consequence than Senator.

UPDATE: The Anchoress notes that the formerly uncompromising Hillary is now compromising her position on the war. Dang.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON really doesn’t like Hillary.

Neither, apparently, do Peter Daou’s friends.

I still maintain hopes that she might turn out to be “the most uncompromising wartime President in United States history.” After all, she argued that President Bush had “inherent authority” to go to war against Saddam!

Plus, we might see the tough-talking Secretary of State Atrios!

MARKOS IS DOWN ON HILLARY CLINTON:

Hillary Clinton has a few problems if she wants to secure the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. She is a leader who fails to lead. She does not appear “electable.” But most of all, Hillary has a Bill Clinton problem. . . . Hillary Clinton leads her Democratic rivals in the polls and in fundraising. Unfortunately, however, the New York senator is part of a failed Democratic Party establishment — led by her husband — that enabled the George W. Bush presidency and the Republican majorities.

Tim Blair figures that this means Hillary has the nomination all sewn up. But Kos is certainly right about this:

While Republicans spent the past four decades building a vast network of small-dollar donors to fund their operations, Democrats tossed aside their base and fed off million-dollar-plus donations. The disconnect was stark, and ultimately destructive.

Unlike Kos, however, I don’t see many signs that the Democratic party is moving in a more constructive direction, or that the influence of those big-money donors is waning. But I could be wrong.

And, as John Kerry’s continued fake-Jefferson-quoting demonstrates, we could do worse!

Me, I think that Hillary might just turn out to be “the most uncompromising wartime President in the history of the United States.” After all, she’s already argued that President Bush had “inherent authority” to go to war against Saddam without any new Congressional authorization.

If she promises to make Atrios Secretary of State she just might get my vote, but some people might be frightened by such a warlike approach.

“INHERENT AUTHORITY” TO USE FORCE against Saddam? Sounds like she just might turn out to be “the most uncompromising wartime President in the history of the United States.” Hillary 2008!

I FINISHED JOHN BIRMINGHAM’S DESIGNATED TARGETS last night. Very enjoyable alt-history, and he focuses interestingly on the differences (and similarities) between the Greatest Generation of 1942, and the generation of just-after-today. Birmingham also has a blog, where he notes that he’s gotten a lot of grief for making Hillary Clinton (in the first book of the series, Weapons of Choice) “the most uncompromising wartime President in the history of the United States.”

I thought that was quite funny, and not entirely implausible. (That they put her name on a George Bush-class aircraft carrier is funny, too.) There are lots of criticisms you can make about Hillary, but even her critics don’t accuse her of lacking backbone, or a killer instinct. Birmingham’s book is full of insider references, including several to the works of Steve Stirling and Eric Flint. You don’t have to get them to enjoy the book, but they’re fun.

53% OF AMERICANS say they’re likely to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2008?

Well, if she wins, I hope she lives up to her billing as “the most uncompromising wartime president in the history of the United States.”

More evidence of Hillary’s growing influence here.

A FEARLESS PREDICTION:

Oh, by the way. Hillary is running for president. Official announcement to follow in three years. Obama will be her veep pick. It will be a campaign with energy on the left beyond anything you might have thought you saw last year.

Well, this would be in accord with the prediction that she’ll be “the most uncompromising wartime president in the history of the United States!”

But although forecasts about 2008 are brave, Austin Bay has election predictions out to 2016.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH LIBERALISM, AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Peter Beinart says that liberals need to take a lesson from the 1940s:

By 1949, three years after Winston Churchill warned that an “iron curtain” had descended across Europe, Schlesinger could write in The Vital Center: “Mid-twentieth century liberalism, I believe, has thus been fundamentally reshaped … by the exposure of the Soviet Union, and by the deepening of our knowledge of man. The consequence of this historical re-education has been an unconditional rejection of totalitarianism.”

Today, three years after September 11 brought the United States face-to-face with a new totalitarian threat, liberalism has still not “been fundamentally reshaped” by the experience. On the right, a “historical re-education” has indeed occurred–replacing the isolationism of the Gingrich Congress with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s near-theological faith in the transformative capacity of U.S. military might. But American liberalism, as defined by its activist organizations, remains largely what it was in the 1990s–a collection of domestic interests and concerns. On health care, gay rights, and the environment, there is a positive vision, articulated with passion. But there is little liberal passion to win the struggle against Al Qaeda–even though totalitarian Islam has killed thousands of Americans and aims to kill millions; and even though, if it gained power, its efforts to force every aspect of life into conformity with a barbaric interpretation of Islam would reign terror upon women, religious minorities, and anyone in the Muslim world with a thirst for modernity or freedom.

When liberals talk about America’s new era, the discussion is largely negative–against the Iraq war, against restrictions on civil liberties, against America’s worsening reputation in the world. In sharp contrast to the first years of the cold war, post-September 11 liberalism has produced leaders and institutions–most notably Michael Moore and MoveOn–that do not put the struggle against America’s new totalitarian foe at the center of their hopes for a better world.

He’s right, and I think it’s why Kerry lost. This is a problem that Anne Applebaum identified in yesterday’s Washington Post:

At least a part of the Western left — or rather the Western far left — is now so anti-American, or so anti-Bush, that it actually prefers authoritarian or totalitarian leaders to any government that would be friendly to the United States. Many of the same people who found it hard to say anything bad about Saddam Hussein find it equally difficult to say anything nice about pro-democracy demonstrators in Ukraine. Many of the same people who would refuse to condemn a dictator who is anti-American cannot bring themselves to admire democrats who admire, or at least don’t hate, the United States. I certainly don’t believe, as President Bush sometimes simplistically says, that everyone who disagrees with American policies in Iraq or elsewhere “hates freedom.” That’s why it’s so shocking to discover that some of them do.

I used to be shocked by it, but I’m over that. The real question is whether there’s a figure in the Democratic establishment who’s willing to take on the Michael Moore / MoveOn aspects of the party — or whether those aspects have become, in some important ways, the soul of the party today. If the latter, then the Republicans will achieve the kind of decades-long dominance that Karl Rove seeks. And they’ll deserve it. As for the Left elsewhere in the world, well, Theo Van Gogh’s murder is just one of many wakeup calls that have left many still desperately hitting the snooze button.

UPDATE: Reader Chuck Fulner emails:

This particular passage from your blog resonates with my own thinking about the Democratic Party. I live in a Purple community (Louisville KY) in a Red State and run across a lot of elitist Democrats in my daily life. When they ask how I could possibly be a registered Republican, I generally respond by saying that I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me when Scoop Jackson died, Wendell Ford retired, the party dissed Bob Casey and then drove away Zell Miller. If any major Democrat tells Michael Moore, Move On, George Soros and the Holloywood elite that they have no place in the Democratic Party, then I might go back to my political roots.

Joe Lieberman has gone about as far as anyone has in telling the nut-wing elements that Anne Applebaum wrote about to kiss off and all it got him was an early exit in the last presidential primaries. He doesn’t have a loud enough voice.

Here is my nominee: Hillary Clinton. In fact, I think she will do it because it is the best way to become President in 2008. If she tells the coastal cultural elites that they are the ones who are out of step with the country, then tones down her socialistic one payer health insurance scheme from 1993-4 and repeats her husband’s line about abortion (safe, legal and rare) she could win in 2008.

I would not be happy with that outcome, because I wouldn’t believe her if she said those things, but it is a distinct possibility she could say them and win.

UPDATE: Well, some have predicted that she would be “the most uncompromising wartime president in the history of the United States!” It’s worth reading this column on future elections by Austin Bay, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Illustrative post here. Remind me never to get this guy mad at me.

AUSTIN BAY LOOKS AT THE ELECTIONS AND THE WAR ON TERROR: The elections of 2008, 2012, and 2016, that is. “As for the 2020 campaign—we should have a good feel for the War on Terror in that campaign by 2015 or so.”

He continues: “The re-election of George W. Bush bodes well for peace in 2020. A John Kerry victory would have cost us an additional two years of blood, toil, sweat, and tears -—the two years it would take the Kerry Administration to discover that the Bush Administration’s strategy in the War on Terror is the right one.”

Read the whole thing. I guess there’s still room for Hillary Clinton to become “the most uncompromising wartime president in the history of the United States.”

ON TRAVEL TODAY: Blogging is likely to be intermittent. I’m taking with me a copy of John Birmingham’s alternate-history novel Weapons of Choice, which I purchased solely because of this bit in the Amazon description: “At the start of Australian author Birmingham’s stellar debut novel, a United Nations battle group, clustered around the U.S.S. Hillary Clinton (named after “the most uncompromising wartime president in the history of the United States”), is tasked in the year 2021 with stopping ethnic cleansing by an Islamist regime in Indonesia.”

That’s plausible enough that it makes me wish Hillary were running this year . . .