I watched most of the Democratic Debate last night and I have to say, it wasn’t a good look for Hillary Clinton. You can tell that she’s starting to chafe at being challenged this hard by a 74-year-old socialist who wasn’t even a Democrat until late last year. To say that it’s pathetic that Ms. Clinton isn’t wiping the floor with him would be a massive understatement. I’m still on record as saying she will eventually triumph, but damn, this is an embarrassment for Hillary and the vaunted machine that her and Bill Clinton have built over the years. It’s slightly mind-boggling that she’s having this much trouble against someone who was supposed to be a vanity candidate.
One of the reasons that she’s having so many problems is that she constantly changes positions on issues. She even changes course on things that seem sort of trivial, like the recent suggestion by members of the military brass that women should have to sign up with the Selective Service when they come of age. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s the agency that handles a potential draft. In 2007, Clinton had this to say about such a scenario…
“Senator Clinton, do you think women should register for Selective Service?” Cooper asked at a South Carolina debate.
Clinton didn’t hesitate: “I do. I don’t support a draft. I think our all-volunteer military has performed superbly. But we’ve had women die in Iraq. We’ve had combat deaths of women in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I do think that women should register. I doubt very much that we’ll ever have to go back to a draft. But I think it is fair to call upon every young American.”
There was no equivocation there. She was strident with her answer. Compare that to what the former Secretary of State said on Wednesday in New Hampshire…
“I have to think about whether I think it’s necessary to go as far as our military officers are recommending,” Clinton responded.
“You know, from my perspective, the all-volunteer military has worked, and we should not do anything that undermines it because it has provided a solid core of people who are willing to serve our country. The idea of having everybody register concerns me a little bit, unless we have a better idea of where that’s going to come out.”
I have to think about whether I think? You didn’t have to think back in 2007. What changed, Hillary? I can only speculate, but we know that women are the key constituency backing Clinton’s candidacy. We also know that she has the support of Planned Parenthood, EMILY’s List, along with pretty much every other women’s organization on the Democratic side. Talking head feminists are united behind her as well. You know what they aren’t united behind, though? Women having to sign up for the draft. Clinton is in such a dogfight now that she doesn’t want to upset her backers in even the slightest way. So, flip-flopping on something like this had to be done, in her view.
She’s not an idiot, mind you. So it’s not like she forgot what her past position was. Clinton simply decided that it wasn’t worth sticking to it. This isn’t anything new for her and the poll-driven Clinton operation. They think this sort of thing is how you win elections, and in certain ways, it is. But when you change course so often that no one trusts you to ever stick to your principles, it ends up being an albatross. That’s why Bernie Sanders is doing so well right now. Love him or hate him, the guy is pretty solid when it comes to sticking to his record and past policy positions. Hillary isn’t. It likely won’t end up costing her the nomination, but it’s the main reason she’s might have a long and arduous battle against Sanders on her hands.