By Bruce Walker
September 24, 2007
I absolutely concur with a recent article by Jed Babbin that the failure of Hillary Clinton to denounce the despicable MoveOn.org advertisement in the New York Times tagging General Petraeus as "General Betray Us" is as damningly revealing as Michael Dukakis in a tank with a ridiculous looking helmet (or, perhaps, John Kerry as a human sperm cell.)Â It is essential that all Republican candidates grab onto this predictably contemptible behavior by Hillary and not let go.
Now, during the Republican nomination, is the time for any Republican who wishes to be considered a Republican to do just what Mayor Giuliani did and hammer this theme into the American consciousness at every opportunity he can:Â Senator Clinton a few months ago voted to confirm Petraeus to be commander of our forces in Iraq; he is a decorated veteran who has served his country honorably for most of his life; he risks his life for our liberty; no one has ever questioned his integrity; and yet Hillary - who wishes to be commander-in-chief of our military forces - calls him a liar without even knowing what he will say and, worse, is too cowardly to condemn the most vile slander by a group of crazy, America-hating thugs.
Every time from this moment on in any Republican debate a question is asked about Iraq or the war on terrorism, every Republican should say something like this:Â "I want to call on Hillary Clinton to publicly apologize to General Petraeus for questioning his integrity and, most importantly, I demand that Hillary Clinton publicly and emphatically repudiate MoveOn.org, which ran the ghastly "General Betray Us" advertisement in the New York Times."
Let Republicans decide now, on this pivotal and telling vulnerability of Hillary, which is the best at nailing her hide to the wall.Â Forget competing with other Republicans:Â remind Americans over and over, in debates, in interviews, in stump speeches in primary states, in campaign ads, that this Republican candidate is firm and unwavering in his condemnation and disgust at Hillary's misbehavior and disingenuousness.
Will all Republicans be willing to make defeating Hillary the top priority of their campaigns?Â Here we run into an interesting question. Which Republican candidate has stood out most strikingly from the rest?Â All, of course, have tried to create some distance among themselves - that is how candidates win favor - but the main concern of nearly all Republicans is which candidate can defeat Hillary (which is the principal reason that Rudy has been doing so well among conservative Republicans.)
If this becomes not just the theme of Rudy - to his great credit in placing his ad in the New York Times - but the theme of every single Republican, then it could easily be the theme of the presidential campaign.Â Would America listen?Â Yes, if it was repeated often enough and by every Republican.
Every Republican?Â Yes, every Republican - and this is where it could get very interesting.Â Congressman Ron Paul has clearly set himself apart from other Republicans.Â He says, adamantly, that our war with Iraq was a terrible mistake and agrees with a lot of the MoveOn.org types that America should pull back to its borders.Â This has, to put it mildly, upset many conservative Republicans.Â I understand their chagrin.
But his independent stance has given him unique credibility among independent and even Democrat voters.Â Like it or not, his positions on the war have been consistent, principled and often lonely.Â So people that will not listen to Rudy, Fred or Mitt will listen to Ron.Â The question is: would Ron Paul be willing to ask Hillary to apologize to General Petraeus and insist that he disassociate herself from MoveOn.org?Â Of course he would!Â Congressman Ron Paul has an absolute reputation for personal integrity.Â He is deeply religious.Â He may disagree with General Petraeus, but Ron Paul is precisely the sort of American who respects honorable patriots who serve their nation with integrity.
So what if Ron Paul, consistently, said something like this:Â "Look, I opposed this war from the beginning and I oppose it now, but what Hillary Clinton did to General Petraeus is unconscionable and every day that passes without her apologizing to him and getting away from that vile MoveOn.org is another day in which she shows America just how little she cares about decency and honor."Â How would Leftists respond to that?Â Paul would be agreeing with their policies, but calling their means and tactics just what they are: despicable.
If all Republicans did this, right through the nomination and convention, then Republicans could make that the issue of the campaign and it is an issue that Hillary cannot win.Â Assume that the very first statement of the Republican nominee in the presidential debate with Hillary was "Every Republican, including those who opposed the war before you did, and many Democrats like Joe Lieberman, the vice presidential nominee of your party eight years ago, have asked you to apologize to General Petraeus and to disassociate yourself completely from that MoveOn.org 'General Betray Us' smear.Â I ask you today, before America, to do those two simple and decent deeds.Â Will you do it?" As soon as those words are spoken, Hillary will have lost the election.
Bruce Walker is a long-time conservative writer whose work is published regularly at popular conservative sites such as American Thinker.