Hillary Watching

Budget Buster. An angry Hillary attacked President Bush's war budget on the Senate floor, yelling that the Administration's plan to cut taxes while spending more on the armed forces "will not stand the test of time."

Hillary watchShe complained that "Under any objective assessment of where we stand in the world right now, this budget should be a nonstarter. It should be withdrawn from the floor." She continued her harangue by shouting, "Every one of us should be saying, 'My goodness, we have higher obligations. How can we keep faith with those young men and women who are on the front lines for us?'" Sen. Clinton also contended that defense spending and the war costs could burden the economy for generations to come: "We are in danger of being the first generation of Americans to leave our children worse off than we were. No generation of Americans has ever done that. We are about to do that." Hillary predicted: "We are about to load onto the backs of our children and those lucky enough to have grandchildren, the unknowable costs of military action that may be necessary to protect our freedom, the unknowable costs of ongoing security to protect us here at home." She also predicted that increased military spending would threaten social welfare programs, such as "quality affordable health care and quality education and decent transportation, to say nothing of keeping faith with Social Security and Medicare." She closed her tirade by saying that "this is a very solemn moment-and it's not only solemn because of what is happening in the Persian Gulf. It is solemn because of the extraordinary commitment of this Senate leadership to take action that will not stand the test of time."

Supporting the President. Hillary says that she would have preferred that President Bush had lined up more nations in his "coalition of the willing" against Iraq-but she's willing to give him the benefit of the doubt now that war has arrived. Although Hillary has opposed the President on nearly every single domestic issue, she felt compelled to defend herself for not attacking the President on his diplomatic efforts to rally UN backing for the war against Iraq. "I think everybody wishes we had more international support for this action," she said. However, "I don't think it's useful now to go back and Monday morning quarterback." Some Democratic insiders speculate that Sen. Clinton has kept relatively quiet to avoid the political pitfalls of criticizing a potentially successful war president. One sign Hillary is holding back her natural inclination to bash Bush came when she nodded in agreement when Rep. Charles Rangel (D.-N.Y.) told reporters that the President had failed in the UN. However, Hillary declined to say whether Rangel was right. "I'm going to look forward right now," she said.

Hill Supports Infanticide. Sen. Clinton played a prominent role in the recent debate over legislation to ban partial-birth abortions, a procedure her predecessor, the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, likened to infanticide. The ban had passed overwhelmingly several times during President Clinton's administration, but her husband had always vetoed it. President Bush has promised to sign the ban into law, and this raised the ire of the Senate's most pro-abortion advocate, Hillary. When she took her turn on the Senate floor to voice her opposition to the bill, she first slammed congressional Republicans for daring to even bring up the ban during this time of strife in the Middle East. "Of all the grave challenges facing our Nation at this moment in history, we want to work together to criminalize a private medical decision made by women and their physician. With so much at stake, and when our economic security, national security, and domestic security are at stake, I believe that is an unusual and, in my view, a misguided choice," she lectured. Then, perhaps suspecting a vast, right-wing conspiracy, she said that she found it "deeply ironic that it is taking place in the month of March, Women's History Month. Apparently, some people believe that the purpose of Women's History Month is to literally bring us back to a time in history when women had no choices." Then she compared the Administration and pro-lifers to totalitarian regimes in Romania and China that either force women to bear children or to abort them. She justified the comparison because those tyrannical governments, like Republicans, take womens' decisions "totally out of their hands." After a heated debate with the bills sponsor, Sen. Rick Santorum (R.Pa.), Hillary concluded by saying, "This bill is not only ill-advised, it is also unconstitutional. I understand what the other side wants to do. They are hoping to get somebody new on the Supreme Court and to turn the clock back completely, to overrule Roe v. Wade" Republicans, she said, want to "go back in this country to back-alley abortions, to women dying from botched, illegal procedures." The bill eventually passed with over sixty votes in favor.