I stand by my prediction: I think it's going to be a tough row to hoe for any 2008 Democratic presidential candidate who supported the war unless they--all right, I'll say it: unless she--does more than merely surf the latest polls and claim that the war is now a disaster, and instead goes the distance and admits that it was a mistake from the beginning.And here's what ABC News is reporting tonight:
As Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to assess a possible presidential candidacy and the contours of a Democratic nomination fight, she has taken another step away from her 2002 vote authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq by saying that she "wouldn't have voted that way" if she knew everything she knows now.Okay, let's do the arithmetic: I give her two days to get around to reading my post, a day to talk it over with the Big Dog, another day to work on it with her staff . . . and, lo and behold, her statement comes out today. Honestly--can you think of any other cause for her announcement?
Clinton has often been asked if she regrets her vote authorizing military action and she usually answers that question with an artful dodge, saying that she accepts responsibility for the vote and suggesting that if the Senate had all the information it has today (no WMD, troubled post-war military planning, etc. . .), there would never have been a vote on the Senate floor.
However, she has never gone as far as some of her potential rivals for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination -- who also voted for the war -- and called her vote a mistake or declared that she would have cast her vote differently with all the facts presently available to her -- until now.
Makes me wish I had one of those "blue light" gifs like the Drudge Report.
Of course the other blogs and pundits who will resent my growing influence are going to ask: Why is she not getting the same snide treatment that I gave Gordon Smith for obviously trying to save his political hide by cutting and running from Bush after the midterms?
A couple of reasons, really. First, although it will somewhat spoil the literary effect I'm trying to achieve here, the truth is I do think there's something more than a little calculating about this. Who doesn't? Hillary hears Obama's footsteps right behind her. Ironically enough, Smith's anguished cry from the Senate floor a week and a half ago might well have been the tipping point for Hillary: If Gordon Smith--of all people--can get to the left of her on the Iraq War, what kind of leverage will her position give to an antiwar darling like Obama? Time to close that gap, and close it fast.
Second, of course, while I'm not really a supporter of Hillary '08, I'm more than happy to see her keep her Senate seat, which is something I can't really say about Smith.
But Senator Clinton, if you really are reading this [stop laughing, you hosers!], you're not really going to be on the right side of the Iraq War issue until you've said those three little words.