Julia Roberts recently opened on Broadway to poor critical reviews in the New York newspapers. Now Julia Roberts is a great film star -- we all know and love that marvelous incandescent smile and have enjoyed her glowing movie performances. Forgive the film flack praise -- but how else can you describe her? On film she shines a megawatt glow, on stage she proved to be a very dim lamp. This did not mean that Ms. Roberts was a bad actress, merely that she was a fish out of water (albeit a lovely fish) on Broadway, lacking the theatrical training and equipment to meet the demands of a serious stage play, but still a great film star. Her attempting the stage was an act of courage. She failed, but the consequences did not affect the larger world, only her pride and her ambitions. Now on to Hillary Clinton. Let's say it early and say it often. Hillary should not be the next Democratic candidate for President. Like Ms Roberts, she has many commendable qualities, and like Ms. Roberts she will go down in defeat when she attempts to extend her range beyond her present capabilities. But unlike Ms. Roberts, she will take us down with her, and after four years of the Bush disaster, this matters mightily. We cannot afford another four years of a Republican President. Think Mitt Romney. Think John McCain. Think -- and shudder -- Rudy Giuliani.
I admire Ms. Clinton. As one of her constituents in New York I believe she has done an excellent job representing my state in the Senate, and I mean to vote for her reelection. She is intelligent, resourceful, hard-working, compassionate -- all qualities lacking in our current President. But like our current President her rise to power came from family connections and it is time to clear the field of all relatives, even talented ones. Hillary matched against a John McCain or the egregious Rudy Giuliani is dead meat, and we do not need either of those men occupying the White House, alienating the rest of the world and packing the courts with right-wing zealots simply because the Democrats offered a human female sacrifice in a self-destructive ritual that was financed by some wealthy power brokers. Anytime you read in the conservative press that Ms. Clinton will be a tough candidate to beat, be scared, be very scared. They want her out there as their most tempting target. I fear that it is not the men of this country who will vote against her in huge numbers, but the women, that unspoken backlash to feminism among women that has found in Hillary its poster child. She is (gasp) ambitious, serious, and living with a famously unfaithful husband. It may be unjust to her to disqualify her for some of her better qualities -- qualities we praise in men -- but that's the world as it is, not as it should be. And that's the world we will face in the presidential campaign of '08. If being unfair to Hillary is being fair to the country by cleaning out the conservative majority, so be it. She is a risk we cannot take. I feel for her. She draws nasty houseflies like Dick Morris and other professional Clinton bashers -- and she would be forced to keep swatting away at them, distracting the country from the big issues and the great problems that confront us.
Most of all, what disqualifies Hillary from heading the ticket was her unapologetic vote for the Iraq war. Now I have no inside information, I'm just a plain reader of the newspapers, yet I knew from the start that the war was based upon a lie, as did so many others. It was an embarrassingly transparent lie, told by our government, perpetuated by such newspapers as The New York Times, so eager were they to cozy up to power and march to the drumbeat, in this case the dumb-beat. Hillary voted for that war. If she believed in the government's lies about the WMDs she was too easily fooled to be our next President. If she did not believe those lies yet voted for the war it is far worse; it meant that she was too eager to show a martial spirit that would prop up her Presidential ambitions, and such expediency, at the expense of truth and the national welfare is not what we need after eight years of Bush-world lies. Either reason should disqualify her for the Presidency at this time. But there is an office I would like to see her inhabit, the right role for her to play -- that of the Vice President. It would be for her what the movies are for Ms. Roberts -- the proper place for her to shine. And what an antidote to Dick Cheney! Not a bad stick in the eye to those who have led this country to disaster for eight years. And since Al Gore has recovered his groove, and tells it as it is better than anyone else around, he should be the front runner at this time. In his recent speeches he has told the hard truths about the state of this world -- truths about the state of our country, and truths about the dolorous state of the environment. I think a Gore/Clinton ticket might make a winning combo. Women would approve of her in a supporting role, and she would be a great backup to a President Gore -- the man who was cheated of his Presidency by a partisan court. Clinton/Gore, no. Gore/Clinton, yes! Why not try it? It worked in the past, and has a winning sound to it.