HATING ON HILLARY....

HATING ON HILLARY. I'd take Matt's critique of Hillary Clinton a little further than he did. Liberal distaste for Clinton is not a mere reaction to her ceaseless triangulation and ideological timidity, but a frustration at her blithe unwillingness to make the most of her position on the public stage. She is that rarest of Democratic breeds: a superstar, a human starting gun. When she speaks, the media listens. When she holds a press conference, reporters attend. So progressives view Clinton as a walking opportunity cost; she occupies one of the few superstar spots a party can furnish, but has refused to use that power in service of party or liberalism. The anger isn't merely over what she has done, but what she hasn't done.

Now, so far as Hillary Clinton is concerned, using her position to benefit the party or the philosophy rather than her own personal ambitions doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But for the base, anger at her endless attempts to amass centrist capital for 2008 instead of using her visibility to strengthen progressivism in 2006 is perfectly reasonable. That was a thread Markos's op-ed should have expanded a bit more. The portions about Bill Clinton's largely negative impact on the Democratic Party came off more as a criticism of Bill and less as a concern over Hillary, but they're really about her: The fear is that she won't leave liberalism any better off than when she found it, and for a party searching for its own Ronald Reagan, that's a manifestly unattractive prospect.

--Ezra Klein

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