Krauthammer Endorses Hillary? Almost, But Not Quite

From Charles Krauthammer’s latest column,

I could never vote for her, but I (and others of my ideological ilk) could live with her — precisely because she is so liberated from principle. Her liberalism, like her husband’s — flexible, disciplined, calculated, triangulated — always leaves open the possibility that she would do the right thing for the blessedly wrong (i.e., self-interested, ambition-serving, politically expedient) reason.

I could never vote for her because the Clintons’ liberal internationalism on display in the 1990s — the pursuit of paper treaties and the reliance on international institutions — is naive in theory and feckless in practice. And her domestic policy sees state intervention and expansion as the answer to every human ill from mortgage default to the common cold. Nonetheless, if 2008 is going to be a Democratic year, as it very well could, Hillary would serve the country better than any of her Democratic rivals.

On Iraq, for example, she talks like someone who knows she may soon be commander in chief and will need room to maneuver in order to achieve whatever success might be possible. Clinton has emphatically refused to give assurances that she would get us out of Iraq during her first term. Unlike, for example, Bill Richardson, who advocates a rout so radical that we’d leave equipment behind, she has committed herself to little more than a drawdown of forces as conditions allow.

…Clinton rarely falters. Always careful, always calibrated, always leaving room for expediency over ideology. That’s Clintonism, of both marital flavors. Gender sensitivity prevents me from calling her the consummate needle-threader. Consider her instead Columbus’s match as the Great Navigator.

On the one hand, it’s tempting to thrash Krauthammer for writing this because you know, you just absolutely know, that if we have “President Hillary,” Charles Krauthammer will end up writing somewhere between 40-50 columns over the course of the year in 2009 disagreeing with her, her policies, or something she wants to do.

Along those same lines, it’s also worth noting that after being elected, Bill Clinton immediately veered off to the left and only after the Democratic Party was severely chastised by the voters in 1994, did he start moving back towards the center. If anything, Hillary is much further to the left than her husband and less politically adroit, which may very well mean that she will start on the left, stay on the left, and go much farther to the left than her husband ever did.

On the other hand, you almost have to wonder if Krauthammer was setting Hillary up here. If I were the Obama or Edwards campaign, I’d be sending this column out to everyone I could think of behind the scenes under the headline, “Conservative icon Charles Krauthammer endorses Hillary Clinton.” Maybe that had a little something to do with the column.

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