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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Sunday, February 18, 2007


Personal attacks on Clinton: deja vu

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, February 18, 2007 permalink View blog reactions
Markos essentially declares Senator Hillary Clinton to be a nonstarter. I think he's wasting the netroots political capital; and that decision isn't his to make.

Kos argues,

I don't want her to apologize. I want her to say, "I made a mistake." Edwards did it. Just about every other Democrat who idiotically trusted this president and supported the war has done it. Had Hillary done this last year, the issue would be moot.

And does she really want to argue that her vote wasn't wrong?

The thing is, that by insisting that her vote was wrong, Kos is the one who is legitimizing the war, not Hillary.

Clinton's position - that she stands by her vote, but in retrospect realizes she was misled by the Administration - is reasonable. The context of the AUMF was that the Administration would try diplomacy, would consult with allies, would allow the inspectors to do their job, etc. That was the case that the Administration made to the Congress, using Colin Powell as their straight man.

In hindsight all that was bogus and Bush took the AUMF and ran. And we are supposed to blame Clinton for that?

I feel like the insistence that Clinton say her vote was wrong is in essence buying into the GOP frame that the AUMF was an immediate authorization for military aggression. It wasn't. Demand that Clinton apologize and you are essentially giving Bush political cover, and legitimizing the war!

Clinton's argument is essentially that the war was illegitimate because it was sold under false pretenses. We should be embracing her for it.

I should note that I do not support Clinton for the nomination, for other reasons, but on this matter, she's within her rights and Kos is out of line. There are far better critiques of substance to be made.

UPDATE: As Ron notes, what use is political capital if you don't spend it on matters of principle?

UPDATE 2: I find it rather disingenuous to suggest that Hillary is somehow back-tracking or being a hypocrite for calling for troop withdrawals now, given that she explains her vote for AUMF as being misled. In fact its perfectly consistent - and the same principled stand - to call for the war to end now that she knows she was misled. Too much backbone for your taste, Don?

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Clinton's position - that she stands by her vote, but in retrospect realizes she was misled by the Administration - is reasonable.

Uh, no--but nice try at whitewashing history. Everyone knew that the end result of the resolution would be removal of Saddam's government by whatever means. For that matter, regime change was official US government policy since the second Clinton administration.

The Democrats' claim of being "misled" is risible, and doesn't become more credible with repetition. That "Vote for us; we're gullible!" is taken seriously is a sad commentary on the current political scene.


Anyone who thinks that Hillary wasn't in favor of invasion should watch her CodePink meeting posted on YouTube. She states outright that she did not believe the international community would act, and that the United States in this instance, "like Kosovo, where my husband could not get Russia and other members of the security counsel to come along" would have to go it alone, in defense of vital national security interests -- in her judgment after careful review of the intelligence.

If you have Kos' stance on the war, he is absolutely right, Hillary is excluded from serious consideration.

It's funny that within hours of Kos' posting, Hillary announces a new "start leaving in 90 days" position. Pathetic. She seems scared to death.


I don't understand.

Are you saying our Senators were easily fooled by Bush on Iraq?

Clinton was outsmarted by Chimpy McBushitler?

Are you saying that Clinton as a Senator had flaws that led her to easily believe what a Republican was telling her?


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.