THE SUBSTANCE FACTOR. Prog blog king Markos Moulitsas had a Washington Post Style section article raising some doubts about Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations over the weekend. Ed Kilgore's penned a response that I think is effective on some scores. I feel like Markos' efforts at critique were somewhat hobbled by the way the activist blogger community has nominally committed itself to an ideology of non-ideological pragmatism.
One might as well state the obvious: The main reason liberals who have a problem with Clinton have a problem with Clinton is that she's not very liberal. On the important question of the Iraq War, she isn't liberal at all -- she's just wrong. On domestic policy issues, she hasn't had any really crucial acts of apostasy, but she hasn't compensated for her bad stance on the war with any kind of notably bold progressive leadership. Instead, insofar as she's distinguished herself from the pack, it's been by championing a few petty, illiberal causes like video game regulation and flag burning amendments. Then, yes, on top of all that she doesn't strike me as an especially pragmatic choice. But, fundamentally, the problems here are problems of substance. She continues to enjoy pretty strong support from Democratic base voters, but insofar as such voters decide they care about people's substantive views, either they're not going to vote for her or she's going to have to start doing something differently. But, then again, lots of people don't care about substance and she may do just fine in the primaries as a result.
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