Frank Rich’s column today



That both Clintons are capable of fistfighting is beyond doubt, at least on their own behalf in a campaign. But Mrs. Clinton isn’t always a fistfighter when governing. There’s a reason why Robert Kennedy’s children buried the Iraq war in a single clause (and never used the word Iraq) deep in their endorsement. They know that their uncle Teddy, unlike Mrs. Clinton, raised his fists to lead the Senate fight against the Iraq misadventure at the start. They know too that less than six months after “Mission Accomplished,” Senator Kennedy called the war “a fraud” and voted against pouring more money into it. Senator Clinton raised a hand, not a fist, to vote aye.

In what she advertises as 35 years of fighting for Americans, Mrs. Clinton can point to some battles won. But many of them were political campaigns for Bill Clinton: seven even before his 1992 presidential run. The fistfighting required if she is president may also often be political. As Mrs. Clinton herself says, she has been in marathon combat against the Republican attack machine. Its antipathy will be increased exponentially by the co-president who would return to the White House with her on Day One.

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