All Options Are No Longer On the Table: Goodbye Senator Clinton

I’m not sure what the final straw was. Her shape shifting on Iraq. Her health care plan that is sure to enrich insurance companies and bankrupt the middle class. Her thinly veiled threat of war with Iran.

I wanted to go with the sure bet, for a change. No third-party Quixote, no fringe true believer. I wanted to go with the winner. But I can’t. I’m tired of market-based “solutions” to problems the market can’t solve. I’m tired of having my country run by foolish neo-colonnialists who pick and choose which dictators they prop up and which they overthrow. I’m tired of leaders who claim that torture brings freedom and secrecy promotes truth. I’m tired of watching my children’s future go up in smoke. I want to believe again, hope again, shake myself loose from this ennui, this malaise.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has become the Republican front-runner too. George Bush says she will be the nominee. Rudy Giuliani says he’s looking forward to running against her. Charles Krauthammer says he wouldn’t vote for her, but he “could live with her – precisely because she is so liberated from principle. Her liberalism, like her husband’s – flexible, disciplined, calculated, triangulated – always leaves open the possibility that she would do the right thing for the blessedly wrong (self-interested, ambition-serving, politically expedient) reason.” When the American Goebbels declares that he can live with Hillary, it’s time for everyone who longs for real change to head for the door.

Of course the cynical among us may say that the Republicans are just trying to fire up the base, which hates the Clintons for the “blessedly wrong” reason: they inserted 8 years of Democratic brackets into the Republican generation. Unlike the Republicans, I don’t hate Hillary Clinton. I’m just not going to vote for her in the primary, because I don’t think she is going to bring a change in direction for this nation.

She’s going to embrace the swaggering of the Bush imperialism, Reaganesque out-sourcing and Rovian power-grabbbing. She’s going to talk about after school programs and early childhood education and health care, all the while manuevering to expand the failed Iraq war into Iran. Don’t believe it? Here’s what she said in this month’s Foreign Affairs magazine:

Iran poses a long-term strategic challenge to the United States, our NATO allies, and Israel. It is the country that most practices state-sponsored terrorism, and it uses its surrogates to supply explosives that kill U.S. troops in Iraq. The Bush administration refuses to talk to Iran about its nuclear program, preferring to ignore bad behavior rather than challenge it. Meanwhile, Iran has enhanced its nuclear-enrichment capabilities, armed Iraqi Shiite militias, funneled arms to Hezbollah, and subsidized Hamas, even as the government continues to hurt its own citizens by mismanaging the economy and increasing political and social repression.

As a result, we have lost precious time. Iran must conform to its nonproliferation obligations and must not be permitted to build or acquire nuclear weapons. If Iran does not comply with its own commitments and the will of the international community, all options must remain on the table.

On the other hand, if Iran is in fact willing to end its nuclear weapons program, renounce sponsorship of terrorism, support Middle East peace, and play a constructive role in stabilizing Iraq, the United States should be prepared to offer Iran a carefully calibrated package of incentives. This will let the Iranian people know that our quarrel is not with them but with their government and show the world that the United States is prepared to pursue every diplomatic option.

Sound familiar? It’s nearly a dead-on quote from George Bush, circa 2002. Well, all options are not on the table. We can still stop this runaway train.

We can vote for Barak Obama. Now, I’ve got to figure out how to get the “H” sticker off my bumper.

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