Hillary Pilloried.

The Saturday night New Hampshire debate made me gravitate back to Hillary. Her detailed and thoughtful answers to some very difficult questions—what to do about Pakistan, what a President should do in the event of a stateless terrorist nuclear attack on one of our cities (she laid out a doctrine that there is no such thing as truly stateless terrorism—any state that harbors the terrorists who attack us will suffer our massive retaliation, and a President needs to put the world on notice of that before the fact) demonstrated her qualifications for the job.

The pundits have pilloried her for her moment of “shrill anger” towards Obama (the clip below seems to encapsulate the moment they all had in mind), but I didn’t and don’t see shrillness; I see justified indignation. On the hot topic of “change,” she said, referring to her years of progressive work extending well back beyond her years as First Lady:

I want to make change, but I’ve already made change. I will continue to make change. I’m not just running on a promise of change, I’m running on 35 years of change.

In saying that, she’s differentiating herself exactly as she ought to. I find it compelling.

Here’s another quote from Hillary, very much on point, from later in the debate:

Words are not actions. As passionately felt as they are, they are not actions. We have to turn passion into action, and feeling into reality.

I think that sums it up. We need to decide between our hearts and our minds on this one. We have one candidate who appeals mightily to our hearts, and a different candidate whose appeal is more to our minds. It’s not an easy choice.

But there’s good news in that. I can’t remember the last time a Presidential primary race didn’t seem to come down to “the lesser of evils.” In this case, extraordinarily, we have two superb choices in the Democratic party—two candidates who (there’s every reason to feel and/or believe) would both make good Presidents. It’s a shame they both can’t be, but we are blessed with this choice.


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