There's something that's been haunting me all week. There was a defining moment during the Democratic debate Sunday night I cannot shake. And it may have doomed Senator Clinton's chances of gaining my support.
Near the outset of the debate, during the discussion of Sen. Edwards' apt description of the "Global War on Terror" as a Bush/Rove political slogan, Hillary's response left me speechless.
Well, it's taken me this long to find my voice.
In my formative years, during the 1988 presidential campaign, Poppy Bush accused Dukakis of being a card-carrying member of the ACLU. It was meant as a negative. I was incredulous. How could this be a bad thing?
I was in college at the time - and my roommate shared my dismay. It soon became obvious the "card-carrying ACLU member" label was indeed an effective attack and that it was sticking. Apparently, "liberal" was a dirty word. My group of friends sadly realized we were outside the American political mainstream.
I vividly remember my roommate asking, "If we're not in the mainstream, what stream are we swimming in?"
The other night, Senator Clinton let me know she and I are swimming in different rivers when she said:
"I am a Senator from New York. I have lived with the aftermath of 9/11. And I have seen firsthand the terrible damage that can be inflicted on our country by a small band of terrorists who are intent upon foisting their way of life and using suicide bombers and suicidal people to carry out their agenda. And, I believe we are safer than we were. We are not yet safe enough."
Apparently, Hillary and Rudy are working from the same set of talking points. As a result, I'm not sure she will ever get me support.
Now, I understand Hillary is posturing for the general election. And her team of DC advisors is whispering in her ear that, as a female, she cannot risk looking soft in this "Global War on Terror." I get all that.
But does she honestly believe Americans are safer today than we were before 9/11?
In response to her statement I must ask, "What Bush 'Global War on Terror' policies have made us safer, Senator Clinton?"
Is it the invasion of Iraq and the creation of a terrorist breeding ground?
Is it the Patriot Act and warrantless surveillance of citizens?
Or is it the absolute rejection of diplomacy and negotiation that has left the United States isolated and diminished on the world stage?
Or is it that fence along the Mexican border?
Which is it?
Oh, and one more question.
If the disastrous policies of the last 6 years have made us safer than we were, just who do you think the Republicans are going to blame for the dangerous and unprotected situation we found ourselves in on that September morning?
From the Bushco/Faux News perspective, it's never been Georgie, Condi, Dick and the gang who were asleep at the wheel. Mrs. Clinton, they blame your husband - and don't for one second think that the Republicans will hesitate to use Sunday night's statement (or others like it) to reinforce that argument in November 2008.
Is that what Democrats want to be selling to America in the general election? Mrs. Clinton, the mainstream of the Democratic Party does not want our nominee spouting Republican talking points, despite what your advisors are telling you.