The More Things Change…

America’s greatest journalist, Radley Balko, has an excellent piece on why a Clinton II Presidency would differ very little from the Bush II Presidency.

For seven years, the left has been up in arms about President Bush’s aggressive foreign policy, his secrecy, his partisanship, and his expansive claims on executive power. It’s odd, then, that they’re prepared to nominate Hillary Clinton to carry the party into the 2008 elections.


Then there is Hillary Clinton on the issues. Cato Institute President Ed Crane recently wrote a piece for the Financial Times pointing out that when you strip away the partisan coating, Mrs. Clinton’s grandiose, big-government vision is really no different than that envisioned by the neoconservatives so loathed by the left. Clinton, remember, not only voted for the Iraq war, she still hasn’t conceded she was wrong to do so, and has made no promise to end it any time soon.


Hillary Clinton voted for both the Patriot Act and its reauthorization. She voted for building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border. She voted to loosen restrictions limiting the federal government’s ability to wiretap cell phones. In the past, she has supported a robust role for the federal government in enforcing “decency” standards in television and music. She teamed up with former Sen. Rick Santorum on a bill calling for the federal government to restrict the sale of violent video games.


What about secrecy and executive power? It’s difficult to see Hillary Clinton voluntarily handing back all of those extra-constitutional executive powers claimed by President Bush. Her husband’s administration, for example, copiously invoked dubious “executive privilege” claims to keep from complying with congressional subpoenas and open records requests—claims the left now (correctly, in my view) regularly criticizes the Bush administration for invoking.

Hillary Clinton herself went to court to keep meetings of her Health Care Task Force secret from the public, something conservatives were quick to point out when leftists criticize Vice President Cheney’s similar efforts to keep meetings of his Energy Task Force secret.

Read the whole thing.

Personally, my Election 2008 nightmare is one in which next November, the country is forced to choose between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. Both persons are, by personality and inclination, more authoritarian than just about anyone else in the field. Both are smart enough to take advantage of the past two decades of increasingly consolidated presidential authority to bolster their own power. Both seem to think that the threat of military force is the end-all be-all of American diplomacy. Both have little regard for individual liberty.

And both of them are the current frontrunners.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Congress, US Constitution, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. Beldar says:

    Perhaps I need emoticons to tell whether your description of Radley Balko is tongue-in-cheek.

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    Not tongue-in-cheek. Exaggerated, maybe, but I freely admit to being a Balko fanboy.

  3. my Election 2008 nightmare is one in which next November, the country is forced to choose between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.

    Mine, too–and for essentially the same reasons.

  4. Mark Jaquith says:

    my Election 2008 nightmare is one in which next November, the country is forced to choose between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.


  5. Jen Clark says:

    Whenever people ask me why I fear a Hilary Clinton presidency, I’ve had trouble verbalizing that fear. You have just fixed that problem for me.

    Thank you for telling me about this article. I’ll be linking your site to my blog.

    And, by the way, if it does come down to Hillary or Rudy, I’m leaving this country for good. I’ve never lived in a Fascist state. I don’t plan to either.