Senator Hillary Clinton: Triangulation and Institutionalization
When Hillary ran for the Senate in 2000 I attended a fundraiser for her at the home of a rich and prominent supporter in Chicago. When she asked for Q & A, I asked her a question that I thought she could honestly answer in this group of supporters. The question was: "Do your really believe in the death penalty as a deterrent?" The answer she gave me was the same that her husband gave when he was the governor of Arkansas in 1992.You might remember that Bill Clinton was responsible for the execution of a mentally retarded murderer. However, the DLC wanted to show that Democrats were not soft on crime and Bill Clinton chose the politically expedient approach in 1992. Perhaps Hillary and Bill Clinton believe in the death penalty as a deterrent, but I suspect that many of their political positions are based upon their perception of what may be politically expedient.
I strongly suspect that Hillary voted for the war in Iraq because of the same political expediency. She is smart enough to know that the war in Iraq was ill conceived. And as a Senator, there is an attitude of collegiality and civility that is sometimes contradictory to the best interests of the electorate. Many who are elected to the Senate lose their passion because of the so-called necessity to compromise with the opposition. But, how can you compromise with people who are stubborn and uninformed which represents the vast majority of Republicans in Congress? At some point, a politician needs to really fight the good fight. I suspect that Hillary has been so scarred by her experience as First Lady that she has decided to give up the good fight. Her last significant statement was her famous "right wing conspiracy" comment made in 1998. That statement was true. However, her husband's infidelity has left her with many scars that she is unwillingly to deal with. So she has become a Senator that works very hard at trying to make everyone happy. She has already served 6 years as a Senator. That legislative body in itself is enough to take the passion out of any normal person.
Remember John Kerry in the early 70's when he was so passionate about his anti-war position. Over 2 decades in the Senate took care of that. Perhaps that is why it is a rare occasion for a Senator to be elected President. Perhaps being a Senator for more than one term is a form of institutionalization. In the movie The Shaw Shank Redemption, one of my favorite quotes comes from a character called Red played by Morgan Freeman. "These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That's institutionalized." I believe that is the problem with being a Senator. That is why I think that Senator John Edwards was wise in not running for a second term as a Senator. Senator Barack Obama may have a decent chance to become the Democratic nominee for President because he has only served for 2 years and has for now appealed to many prospective voters based upon a perception of his honest principles and sincerity. Hillary may not be able to overcome the influence of pandering and compromise that has so impacted her political perspective over the last 14 years. It is a shame because she is a very capable person who has much potential.
Sheldon Drobny was the co-founder of Air America Radio. He is also the Chairman and Managing Director of Paradigm Group II, a venture capital firm specializing in socially responsible businesses. He has been the major force in developing Paradigm to the status it has achieved today. Mr. Drobny, a Certified Public Accountant and winner of the Elijah Watts Sells award for outstanding performance on the Uniform CPA Exam has practiced public accounting for over 30 years. Prior to entering public accounting, he had a number of years of taxation experience with the Internal Revenue Service. Mr. Drobny specializes in business and tax matters and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court as a non-attorney. Less than 200 non-attorneys have been admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court since its inception in 1942. Mr. Drobny received a Bachelor of Science Degree in accounting from Roosevelt University in Chicago and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, an honorary fraternity recognizing acadamic achievement in colleges of business administration.