Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hillary's Reagan Moment?

Political lore has it that Ronald Reagan all but sealed the GOP nomination in 1980 when, about to have his microphone turned off by the moderator of a debate in Nashua, New Hampshire, he insisted on being heard. "I'm paying for this microphone, Mr. Breen." (The issue, incidentally, was the refusal of George H.W. Bush to participate in the debate if other candidates who had been invited by Reagan - Dole, Baker, Anderson and Crane - were allowed to participate.) The whole thing communicated decency, forcefulness and, at least subliminally, a message about property rights.

Hillary may have had her own such moment in this week's You Tube debate when she responded with incredulity and not a little disdain to Barak Obama's eager endorsement of the idea that, if elected, he should meet with the leaders of Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, etc. "without preconditions." We just can't have "our president" meet with such people, she said, without knowing the way forward. The moment communicates patriotism, toughness, and maturity.

Probably won't help her in the Democratic primaries.

I doubt that Obama really meant that he would rush off and meet with these tyrants without preconditions. In his rush to seem open and diplomatic, he left himself open to a devastating rejoinder.

Negotiated resolutions are not in and of themselves a good thing. Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler at Munich and the Missouri Compromise were negotiated solutions. There are interests that cannot be given up and, paradoxically, pretending that they might be actually impairs, rather than enhances, the prospects for compromise.

If, in fact, there is no possible agreement with Iran that does not include the verifiable dismantling of its nuclear program, then there is no point in eliminating that as a "precondition." It creates expectations on the other side that cannot possibly be fulfilled and there is no better way to ruin a negotiation.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course, it will help her -- as will her many good moves in the last week to ten days. This is not the blog to find her potential supporters. Probably not any of the blogs you see. But on the lib and Dem blogs, the shift to respect for her handling of several incidents lately (smackdown of Bill O'Lielly, etc.) is something to see.

The first woman ever taken seriously as a presidential candidate is a success unparalleled in this country's history already -- a success for her and for the country. No way I know yet how I will vote, but I'm glad I lived to see this day for the sake of all of our daughters . . . and our sons, who will not have to automatically caution their own brilliant daughters to scale back expectations.

Rick Esenberg said...

I am all for a woman president. But when I picture it, I see Condi Rice.

elliot said...

Amen, Rick.

But ain't gonna happen. ;)

Billiam said...

Didn't Hillary say, just some months back, that she'd meet with those bozo's? I seem to remeber her saying that. Now, something different. Oh wait, she's a politician. sorry. My bad...