February 20, 2007

The audacity of cynicism

Hillary Clinton is trying to frame the Iraq debate thusly:

If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or who has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from.

But I have a greater concern about her 2002 vote that is more expansive than Hitch's reductive sneer about "an activist base that essentially believes that you cannot really be a Democrat without being solidly anti-war," and that also rejects Clinton's current efforts to spin her refusal to repudiate her vote as a mark of integrity.

I came to this after re-reading her pre-vote speech, which now seems creepily calculated to have it every possible way all at once. Particularly galling is her claim that she cast her vote "Because bipartisan support for this resolution makes success in the United Nations more likely, and therefore, war less likely." Was there a person alive in October, 2002 — when bombing had begun and troops were already shipping out — who thought that this could possibly be the case? Besides, how does this square with her current claim that she wouldn't have cast the same vote if she'd known the intelligence was misleading? If all she was really voting for was UN inspections, why should knowing that those inspections would have revealed that Saddam had disarmed change anything? Wouldn't that, in fact, have justified her vote?

Her vote at the time angered me not just because it was in support of the war, but because she was pretending that it wasn't. Can you imagine if the war had gone well — would Clinton now be saying anything other than that she supported it from the beginning?

All politicians lie, of course, but Clinton's shamelessness is precisely the opposite of what we need after eight years of Bush/Cheney. It's not just the vote for the war, it's what it says about her character.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Reminds me of John Kerry, who informed us in 2004 that he didn't vote for the war -- he voted that Bush should have the authority to go to war.

The interesting thing about all this is not what it says about her bad judgement in the past, but that her "politics above all else," attitude continues to drive her every decision. Like Bush she just can't admit she made a mistake. It's really disgusting to see her squirm back and forth, trying to get on the anti-war platform without being seeing as a "flip-flopper." I just hope all the democrats that are planning on supporting her are watching this, because it's apparent she hasn't learned a thing from the whole experience. Edward's didn't have a problem admitting his vote was a mistake, and I don't think most voters hold it against him.

The local radio station here in Nor. Cal. held a informal poll and Edwards did quite well, but it's very progressive around here. I still have yet to meet a person who is enthusiastic about Hillary, everyone just thinks she's unstoppable because of the name and the money, but that seems like a sure fire way to loose in this day and age.

Who misses triangulation and gap dresses? I do!

Not really. But if you hurry up and get that book done, maybe you should try and get a deal to write one about why if there is any causation between triangulation and actual voter behavior. Cause I don't think there is. I think it's misplaced self-congratulatory pap because Clinton the elder has charisma by the truckload. Gore didn't, and still doesn't. Kerry doesn't, nor does Hillary. Obama does, and Edwards does. Hell, even Dean has more charisma than Hillary (albeit an old school trade unionist kind of charisma, in the same way that undergrads think Emma Goldman is hott until they see photos).

She's rerunning Bill the Playbook, except she's not Bill the Playboy. And nothing can help her. What you do when you have someone like Bill on your team is you get all the leftover action you can, but you don't dare kill the goose. Senator is a million times more leftover action than she ever deserved (which is why she let him fuck everything between here and Arkansas). Why she thinks she can get this is, well, mystifying.

Just more proof that reality teevee really warps the minds of the weak.

I was a Mollie Steimer man myself. Is this like the anarchists' version of Ginger or Mary Ann?

Was there a person alive in October, 2002 — when bombing had begun and troops were already shipping out — [who thought] that this could possibly be the case?

As a blue voter in a red state, I hope Hillary screws up early enough to lose any chance of the nomination. Even moderate Republicans in the red states actively despise her. She has absolutely zero chance to win back any red states. Period.

If history proves I'm wrong, I'll be the first to proclaim what a shortsighted idiot I was. Hillary would be better off doing the same. Or should I call her "The Hildebeast", as they refer to her in my neck of the woods? (I believe this is a Neal Boortz-ism.)

Thanks, Ped.

Even moderate Republicans in the red states actively despise her.

Exactly. The anti-Hillary forces are holding their fire for now not because they've rethought, as they claim, but because they desparately want her to be the nominee so they can destroy her.

Just to complicate matters further, and I'm working from memory here so I may be a bit inaccurate, one of the more interesting moments of the Iraq War followed the allegations that the administration had cooked the intelligence about Saddam seeking uranium in Africa. At the height of this, in the spring of 2003 as I recall, Bill Clinton appeared on Larry King Live and absolutely insisted that we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Saddam was trying to obtain uranium to build nuclear weapons. So how does this shake out? Even if you assert that the intelligence Bill Clinton had gotten during his time in office was inaccurate or bogus or whatever, you have Hillary insisting she was misled by Bush even though it's reasonable to assume her husband told her privately what he was willing to go on TV and state publicly. And if indeed Bill Clinton had ample reason to believe what he said was true, that Iraq was seeking nuclear weapons (and Bill Clinton has very rarely come to the defense of George Bush), it's deeply, deeply cynical of Hillary to then assert that the current administration had some crazy, unfounded obsession with Saddam and they should see a psychiatrist.
Her strategy here is to muddy the water as much as possible on this until the questions go away.

Forgive me if I missed a post on this, but what do you (and/or you all reading this) think about Bill Richardson? I heard him on the radio and he was the first candidate that sounded like a real human being and not a candidate-bot (to not coin a phrase).

Steve, did you read the Hitchens link? Though I disagree with much of his premise, he does soundly address, and confirm, what you said (not the Larry King part in particular, but that Hillary was trying to give credit for regime change to Bill back when that looked like a popular idea).

Kate, I think he's a candidate-bot, but I admit I'm not basing that on a whole lot.

Here's what I want to know:

If Hillary believes that she made the right decision based on the information that was available at the time, does she believe that her colleagues who voted against this war made a mistake?

People keep asking Hillary about HER war vote, but if I were at one of these campaign stops and I had the chance to grab that microphone, here's what I would ask. "What do you think about Ted Kennedy's vote on the war? Do you think he made a mistake, or do you think he made the right decision?"

I had read the Hitchens piece. I just think that Bill Clinton's assertions on Iraq and uranium, as I recall them, amplify his, and your, points. I mean, look at how profoundly the behavior of the two Clintons differs: Bill comes to the aid of the Bush administration (!) because he feels so strongly about Iraq seeking uranium; four years later, his wife feels that that same concern about Iraq is pathological, all in the service of political expediency. It's a much more striking reversal than saying, "Bush fooled me."

just read all the coverage about the Clinton/Obama feud over Geffin (or his comments at least). (I read it at "talking points memo") Leaves me with mixed emotions. On one side I'm more pissed than ever at HRC; her bullying and sense of entitlement are really offensive. She starting to seem pretty out of touch, acting like she has the giant constituency, when in fact I don't see any sold out crowds following her around. On the other hand, I did start to feel a little sorry for her. I mean all this next two years is going to mean is a close examination and smear of the Clinton legacy. Right now Bill is kind of a God among politicians, the whole impeachment thing was so ridiculous, the republicans made total fools of themselves. It's so easy right now to just remember the good things about the Clinton years, the economy, the slow progress on issues we care about, etc. But if David Geffin can lay the dirt so easily (and get her feathers so ruffled), what's going to be left of Bill's reputation after six months of swift boating Hillary?
If she really cared about the country, she could be content to be a very powerful senator and a kingmaker, but that seems impossible for her ego.
On the other hand, even though I'm really not a supporter, if Obama won the election it really could be an incredibly healing moment for the country, both in term of entering a post-racist society, and in breaking out of this sixteen year Clinton/Bush cycle we're stuck in.

bill richardson rocks. he's way experienced in foreign affairs and diplomacy. alas, he doesn't have a chance. (he's a spic.)

To be fair, Bill and Hillary Clinton are actually different people. Hitchens points out that Bill signed the Iraq Liberation Act. By some contortion of logic, he follows by saying that Hillary would be "re-ratting" if she changed her stance. But when that act was signed in 1998, she was the wife of the president, and signed nothing.

Hillary has made plenty of public statements on Iraq. Since holding office, she has voted on and spoken about Iraq. There's no need to try to infer her stance through her husband's public record.

Next you're gonna tell him that chicks can be funny too.

Hillary will be your next president.

Stuff will really hit the fan during her term, but the culture wars will pale in comparison to the problems we see in energy, economy and terrorism.

Hillary will either go down historically as a Lincoln-esque figure or, more likely, she will be taken out in some sort of coup d'etat.

You are laughing at this post right now but, Daniel, save it!

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