Since her husband's time in the White House, Hillary Clinton has emerged as one of the Democrats' strongest and most opaque politicians. Here is some supplemental reading for those trying to penetrate the sometimes-inscrutable mind of Senator Clinton:
- • Hillary's October 10, 2002, Senate floor speech explaining her decision to support the Iraq war resolution. It's a contortionist's feat, filled with caveats and internal tensions, fueling suspicions that Hillary had her finger in the wind.
- • But Hillary was always more hawkish--more willing to use American military force--than many people realize. That's clear from a recording of an October 2000 address that Hillary, then a candidate for Senate, delivered at the Council on Foreign Relations arguing that America must be prepared for difficult foreign interventions, not just "splendid little wars."
- • One of the newest additions to Hillary's circle of advisors is Jeffrey Smith, a longtime member of Washington's intelligence and defense establishment. Smith has liberal views on certain issues like detainee policy and the use of torture, but has a more hawkish bent when it comes to the Armed Services. Smith's advice may be one reason why Hillary has been slower to tack left on Iraq than other Democrats. And here's Smith's Washington Post op-ed about Iraq, "We Must Be Willing to Pay the Costs"
- • Another suprising new addition to Hillaryland has been the retired four-star Army general--and co-architect of the Iraq "surge" plan--Jack Keane. A private 2003 conversation Hillary had with Keane convinced her to take her first trip to Iraq that November. Here's a bio of Keane , and here's an article he co-authored with Robert Kagan arguing for a large and sustained troop surge. Hillary doesn't support the surge plan, but she respects Keane enough to have privately debated it with him.
- • From the New York Times archives [$$], here's a 1994 Maureen Dowd article on Hillary's surprising and long-forgotten revelation that, in 1975, she inquired about joining the U.S. Marines. Hillary's motives are hazy, but the episode suggests that, unlike many of her fellow Baby Boomers, she did not harbor a loathing for the military after Vietnam.
- • Hillary had an unusually active role in foreign policy for a first lady. One reason was her deep kinship with Madeleine Albright, whose candidacy for secretary of state she played a critical role in promoting. This 1996 New York Times Magazine article described Albright's "audition" to be Secretary of State, and detailed the important bonding session she had while traveling with Hillary in Eastern Europe that year.
- • And, for your viewing pleasure, here's the zeitgeist-capturing "Saturday Night Live" gag in which "Hillary" explains to "Chris Matthews" that the American people "understand that my support for the war was always insincere."