On Wednesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton released a new guide for parents. The guide gives parents tips on how to keep their kids safe online, ensure the video games they play and the tv they watch are appropriate.
The fact that there's games, content and tv shows that are inappropriate for children is not in dispute. But to me, the timing of this report's release -- and the reasons she released this report -- should not be in dispute either.
That's because from her marriage to her support for the Iraq war to this latest do-goodism, Hillary has always been about political calculation.
I can envision the momentum for this report coming from a meeting between Hillary and her political consultants and pollsters. Pollsters who advised Hillary that she needed an issue to appeal to families with young children. A demographic, incidentally, that tilted rather noticeably toward the Republicans in 2004.
What better way to approach these folks than to tell them you have information that will keep their children away from all the shoot-em-up video games with explosions and blood, the tv shows that depict a male character's face in simulated ecstasy while with a woman who is not his wife, the fact that maybe you shouldn't indicate the name of your elementary school on MySpace?
It would be good for a parent to take these precautions. But Hillary feels compelled to as well. Is it altruism and sisterhood tips that came out of her experience raising a great daughter, or is it a calculation that well, if we can cut into the "marriage gap" by issuing family-friendly advisories, we can carry some states in 2008 that we haven't won in awhile? (Note: Tipper Gore tried something similar with the Parent's Music Resource Center, but somehow that didn't work for "family values" voters).
Then there's Hillary pretty much being on board with key aspects of how the Iraq War has been conducted. As Senator from the state hit hardest on 9/11, she can't really be blamed for the political calculus involved in supporting the invasion of Afghanistan? But Iraq? Honest feelings or a template for a shift to the middle to garner more independent voters?
For another example, I quote from one of Arianna's recent posts about Hillary's appearance before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
"There she was recently -- uptight, tentative, inauthentic -- trying to throw an off-handed bone to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by implying that young people are lazy and "think work is a four-letter word." And the minute there was some blowback, she turned around and apologized to the youthful voters whose fingers she'd slammed in the Chamber of Commerce door. And even used Chelsea as a crutch to explain her turnaround.
"As a result of the soul-sapping tyranny of trying to please and placate everybody, she's become more processed than Velveeta. You can almost see every word that comes out of her mouth first being marched through the different compartments of her brain -- analyzed, evaluated, and vetted by each of them. What will the consultants think of this? How will it poll? Will working women between 25-35 in eastern Ohio think it's okay? How about likely voters in northern Oklahoma?
Then, there's the whole matter of her marriage. True, the parameters of her marriage really is no one's business, but she had to have known, or at least sense, of the times Bill has cheated on her- if indeed all the cheating has ceased. I mean, the meth-taking biker broad with the tenth grade education can tell when her husband's been cheating. Did not Hillary know, but stick with Bill because early on she figured he was brilliant, and it was better to stick with him than be a divorcee running for office in Arkansas, Illinois, New York- or nationally?
Do you sense a pattern here?
This is not to say I would not vote for Hillary Clinton over any living Republican. Of course I would. But that would depend on whether or not this calculating politician wins her party's Presidential nomination in 2008.
A prospect I can't say I look forward to.