It’s going to be a hilarious and a frighteningly twisted presidential campaign, judging by the Iowa “debate” moderated by George Stephanopoulos.
The former senior White House adviser (remember this newsmag cover from April ’94?) really set it up well in the show, which aired yesterday on ABC:
But let’s start with the two questions that have really been dominating this race so far. I think Democrats across the country are struggling with these questions. It comes up in the dialogue between your campaigns.
And the first one is: Is Barack Obama ready to be president, experienced enough to be president?
And can Senator Clinton, Hillary Clinton, in part because of your experience, bring the country together and bring about the kind of change that all of you say the country needs?
Heads I win, tails you lose.
You’d never guess that Stephanopoulos was Bill Clinton‘s former senior adviser, would you? The first question, about whether Obama is experienced enough, was legit — assuming you count Bill’s stint as Arkansas governor, while Hillary was Wal-Mart’s First Lady, as experience. The second question was ludicrous, nothing more than a slam at Obama — not to mention the bit about who can “bring the country together” — pap left over from Stephanopoulos’s long stint as a political operative.
His intro avoided the real questions about Hillary: For one thing, what is her experience? Has she done much during her years in the Senate? Other than vote in October 2002 for the Bush regime’s war, that is. The only thing she’s run is the health-care task force during the first Clinton administration, and she handled it in the same secretive and business-friendly way that Dick Cheney handled the energy task force during George W. Bush‘s first term.
The first thing Hillary did when Bill gave her health care to futz with was take the idea of national health care off the table and lock in the heavy, bureaucratized participation of the insurance industry.
So here’s another question: Is Hillary anything more than just the carefully groomed and handled representative of the right-of-center Democratic Party establishment?
As for “bringing the country together”: It’s a democracy. We’re not all supposed to agree. And as a republic, we’re supposed to hammer out solutions and deals. That’s supposed to be the beauty of it.
Stephanopoulos is still a political operative, and he’s still marketing the Clintons.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 20, 2007