Specifically, her reaction to the port deal. (NYTimesSelect reg req.)
The Dubai ports deal — a politically unpopular measure that almost all experts agree was justified on the merits — was a test of character. John McCain and Chuck Hagel passed. Clinton, though, joined the ranks of the nakedly ambitious demagogues…
“The White House is trying to hand over U.S. ports,” Clinton charged.
“We cannot afford to surrender our port operations to foreign governments,” she roared.
“We cannot cede sovereignty over critical infrastructure like our ports,” she insisted.
All of these statements were deliberately misleading, since there was never any question of ceding sovereignty or security. They played to the rawest form of xenophobia…
This episode — which combines buckraking with pandering — brings back the Clinton years at their worst: the me-me-me selfishness, the occasional presumption that humanity exists to serve Team Clinton.
It also shows Clinton doesn’t understand her political weaknesses. First, nobody, not even among her friends, is totally sure she actually believes in anything, or whether she just coldly calculates political advantage. This episode reinforces that sense.
Second, Clinton is the only presidential candidate who does not offer a break from the current polarization and bitter partisanship. A McCain or Mark Warner presidency would shuffle the political deck. But if Clinton is elected, American politics over the next years will be as brutal and stagnant as now. The 1960’s Bush-Clinton psychodrama would go on and on.