Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Clinton's Iraq Strategy: First Lie and Then Deflect Responsibility

Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, Debra Saunders takes a look at Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s record on Iraq. The two have sniped at each other over who is the most intensely against the war. But forget the details for a moment (I’ll get to those) and just read Saunders line of attack against Clinton:

Hold it against Obama if his rhetoric flagged, [Clinton] suggested, but don't hold it against her if she voted for a war resolution thinking it was something else.

I thought Clinton did the right thing voting for the war resolution, but then I was foolish enough to think that, having done so, she would do right by the troops who were tasked with carrying out the will of Washington.

Instead, she turned her back on the mission when the polls showed Americans had soured on the war. Cold to the plight of those who put their lives on the line, she proclaimed in February, "This is George W. Bush's war" -- as if she could toss it like a hot potato. She opposed the surge, which reduced U.S. casualties. She was too busy trying to win the White House to work to win the war.

You see, Clinton voted for the war resolution but now claims she believed the vote would merely lead to further inspections rather than all-out war. That’s clear bullshit. But it gets worse. Not only is she blatantly dissembling she’s abdicating responsibility for one of the most important decisions of her short political career.

John Edwards has apologized ad nauseam for his pro-war vote. Obama wasn’t in the Senate at the time of the vote but clearly opposed the war, even if his oppositional intensity has fluctuated over the years. And Clinton? She has taken a very Clintonian track – first lie and then deflect responsibility.

Does it really matter how competent Clinton is or how many good ideas she has when, at the end of the day, we know she’s going to dodge, weave and refuse responsibility whenever it’s politically expedient? Haven’t we had enough with presidents who treat us like we’re too stupid to know fact from fiction? Haven’t we had enough of presidents who view responsibility as nothing more than a minor annoyance? Haven’t we had enough of the politics of obfuscation and personal destruction?

The Democrats would do the nation a favor by picking Obama or Edwards and ensuring there will be no more continuation of the Bush/Clinton years.

UPDATE: The Clinton “lie then deflect responsibility” storyline must be in the zeitgeist today. Amba writes about it in the context of Hillary’s phony claim she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary. And Donklephant identifies the same pattern in one of Clinton’s closest supporters.

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