It's been ages since I blogged. I've been spending a lot of time writing my Gettysburg essay for my web site. I'm up past about 20,000 words and I'm only now starting the description of the actual battle (though, in actuality, the battle is easier to describe than the political and military maneuvers before the battle).
While watching TV I saw that Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama are dealing with the decision to go to war in different ways. Obama has it easy: he wasn't a senator at the time and he came out against the war early on. Clinton has the most to explain, as she voted for the resolution to go to war.
When asked about the war, she says that she knew then what she knows now she wouldn't have voted for it. Several other Democratic presidential hopefuls have apologized for voting for the war. Clinton hasn't, though she's come close.
This, in my estimation, is stupid. The Democratic response appears to be, "The war in Iraq was a huge mistake, we shouldn't have gone over there at all." This doesn't play well to those who think the Democrats would be soft on terror.
What Hillary should say is pretty simple: "I voted for the war in Iraq, based on what I knew at the time. I believed the president when he said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and when he said there was a connection between Iraq and Al Quaida. I believe voting for the war under those conditions was correct. If I had known there were no weapons of mass destruction, there was no connection to Al Quaida, and that the administration would do a terrible job of occupying the country after the purely military phase, I would not have voted for the war."
Such a position would allow her to brush off criticisms of her vote, and in fact show that she's not afraid to go to war if teh situation warrants it. It would let her stand equal to Obama with an opposite opinion.
Instead, she's waffling. She's close to apologizing for the vote, which gives the edge to Obama. She effectively agrees with him, but has to admit that she didn't see the situation with the clarity he did. If she stands by her vote she could debate Obama, asking him some tough questions, like under what circumstances would he go to war?
In case I'm misunderstood, I have no real opinion about the ability of any of the Democratic candidates. Not only is it way to early to make any kind of opinion, but I don't get to vote anyway. If anything, I don't like any of the front runners from either party.
What I'm commenting on is the tendency of politicians to play it safe. It reminds me of Bob Dole and Al Gore. Both men are known in private to have a good sense of humour. Neither of them showed this on the campaign trail. Dole, in particular, surprised me. I remember him being on Letterman the night after he lost to Bill Clinton. He came across as human, warm, and funny. None of that came out during the campaign.
Expect to see Hillary Clinton apologize for her vote. It's the safest thing to do, so it's also the likeliest thing she'll do...
4 Good Years
3 months ago