Cold-Blooded: Hillary Threatens Funding for Protection of Iraqi Leaders [Video]
Here's Hillary's idea of diplomacy: bend to her will, or she'll put your life in danger. And that's how she treats our allies.
Yikes. In the spirit of bi-partisanship, let me try to send a message to Hillary's handlers: emergency personality makeover required! A couple more appearances as angry and unpleasant as this morning's on Today and Hillary's odds of winning the Dem nomination will be as slim as those she accorded to that of the surge succeeding.The strategy for Hillary's conversation with Matt Lauer was transparent. Because her substantive position on Iraq is not as anti-war as that of Obama or Edwards, Hillary sought to compensate, in appealing to Dem primary voters, by sounding angrier about our policy than either of her rivals. From that perspective, you might say: Mission Accomplished. This was Hillary, rhetorically speaking, packing an M-4, grenades slung, knife between teeth.
But at what cost to her likability? Don't voters have to be able to warm up to a candidate? Yet Hillary hovered barely above absolute zero.
Beyond her tone, her message was about as cold-blooded as you can get. Twice she suggested threatening to cut off funding for the personal security of Iraq's leaders. As Hillary put it: "I don't think we should continue to fund the protection for the Iraqi government leaders or for the training and equipping of their army unless they meet certain conditions."
This was no idle threat. It was clearly a key element of Hillary's plan, one she repeated later:
"I [suggest] putting leverage on them and saying 'you know what, we provide security for the members of this government, we're cutting funding for that.'"
That is not merely cold. That is dipomatic-incident causing cold.
Back to tone: Hillary's snapped in anger in describing the letter she sent to Defense Secretary Gates, telling him not to take away a battalion from the east of Iraq. Part of that anger seemed directed at Matt himself for his temerity in trying to get a word in edgewise. Play the video clip above and just listen to the anger as Hillary says "and don't take away a battalion", etc. This is q-rating love-minus zero, no limit.
View edited video clip of Hillary's stone-cold highlights here.Let me close with some more well-intentioned advice for the Hillary camp. Your candidate has already established more foreign policy/national security credentials than any of her rivals. Appealing to Dem primary voters by out-angrying Obama and Edwards won't work. It will only convince those voters of her unelectability in the general election. Don't forget the lesson of '04: Dean won the 'angry' sweepstakes, but lost the nomination because Dem primary voters concluded he couldn't beat Pres. Bush.
Hillary, try to appear like a calm and reasonable potential presidential. Threatening the personal security of our allies in Baghdad makes you sound like a Mafia don, not a Commander-in-Chief!
Early Show Update: Chatting with Harry Smith, Hillary repeated her offer that the Iraqi leadership couldn't refuse: "I'm for conditioning any further funding for . . . the protection of the leaders . . . on their fulfulling the political goals that we have expected of them."
Hillary also had fun with Harry showing off her Commander-in-Chief credentials, ordering troop movements around Afghanistan like someone caught up in a manic game of Risk: "This spring is a make or break time. I would strongly urge and Senator Bayh who went on this trip with me, we're sending a letter to Secretary Gates today. I spoke to the White House yesterday. They need two additional infantry battalions in the south in order to take on this Taliban offensive. And they certainly should not be moving an infantry battalion out of the east to Iraq." Aye-aye, sir!Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org