HRH’s national party – all of whose elected members had the same access to the intelligence which led America to war in Iraq as did their political adversaries, and many of whom supported it at the time – read the tea leaves in 2004 and realized that domestic support for the GWOT was costing them what they viewed as their rightful inheritance: Majority ownership of both Houses of Congress. Oh, presidents of differing parties may come and presidents may go, but Congress is government, it’s where “bills become law,” and if it’s true that a bedrock principle of conservatism is limited government, it’s fair to say that for progressives, the notion is something rather other: A chance to do good while also doing well.
Aided and abetted – intentionally or otherwise – by a national press wedded to the “Another Grim Milestone” method of reportage, they realized their vulnerability and exhumed and then reanimated the moldering corpse of Vietnam in order to strike at the core strategic center of gravity for any democracy: Public opinion. “Hanoi” Jane Fonda’s reprise performance at a recent anti-war protest in Washington is only the symphonic crescendo: It is done, all else is denouement.
Hat’s off: It was a difficult challenge to convince majorities of American voters who once solidly supported the effort that the whole enterprise was a cocked hat belonging solely and entirely to George W. Bush and that it, like him, ought to be abandoned. After all, he’d led a unified national and coalition campaign which swiftly defeated the largest army in the Arab world, deposed a ruthless and dangerous tyranny, liberated 25 million minds, sponsored three national elections in a part of the world where such things had been thought impossible and enearthed the first tender seedlings of democratic institutions in a part of the world that more than anything else desperately requires enlightened government. No mean feat, either way.
All of this was done with what almost seemed to be the actual collusion of a Republican party that had so quickly and avidly become engorged with the corrupting privileges of empowerment as to have lost all reference to their philosophical compass and which is even now sprinting towards generational minority status through abandoning their only remaining political product differentiation – national security. After all, once you take the counsel of your fears and flee the battlefield all you’re left with is the distinction between “big government” and “big government lite. “We won’t raise your taxes as fast as the other guys,” is hardly an inspirational prescription for electoral success.
With her party having ridden the despair they helped engender to electoral success, HRH now asks the President to change the subject:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), toughening her tone during a second day of campaigning in Iowa, accused President Bush of trying to pass the problems in Iraq on to the next president and described his actions as “the height of irresponsibility.”
“The president has said this is going to be left to his successor. He has said that on more than one occasion,” Clinton said during a town hall meeting here Sunday morning. “I really resent it. This was his decision to go to war.”
Her comment quickly reverberated at the White House, where a spokesman issued a statement denouncing Clinton for a “partisan attack that sends the wrong message to our troops, our enemies and the Iraqi people.
Mr. Bush, who is not contesting any further elections, wants to win the war. Others will happily concede defeat in the field and a retreat from the world abroad in order to cement domestic political gains. To have someone from the latter group – especially someone who voted in favor of the war – label the former’s intent “the height of irresponsibility” is to turn the world upside-down.
You must at least concede this, if nothing else: The candidate has balls.
Update: Might as well be armed for the debate with this.
Update 2: Taranto is also a necessary read:
Let us think this through, shall we? If withdrawing from Iraq is in America’s interests, why doesn’t Mrs. Clinton–who by the way voted for the war–simply urge President Bush to do so on that ground, or promise to do so herself if elected?
Her demand for withdrawal by Jan. 20, 2009, has a logic to it, though, if she believes it isn’t in America’s interests. Even the Iraq Study Group acknowledged that premature U.S. withdrawal carries with it “the potential for catastrophe.” If Bush withdraws and catastrophe ensues, then President Clinton 44 will not bear any of the blame for it.
If Bush stands firm, the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq would present Clinton 44 with a choice between continuing an unpopular war or doing the politically expedient thing and withdrawing: between doing what is right and doing what is popular. If she does what is popular and catastrophe results, the public, fickle beast that it is, would blame her.
I really resent it, she says. “Height of irresponsibility” indeed.
Catch the Salamander, whose thoughts run in the same direction as do those of your humble scribe. Great minds that think alike, or fools that rarely differ?
We report, you decide.
Update 3: You know what the real difference between the Clinton 42 and 44 presidencies are going to be? We all knew that 42 was only in it for reasons too perilous to even try and psychoanalyze, we all knew that the power gig was satisfying some deep and dark inner need and that the rest of us were mere props upon the stage. But he had that way of biting his lip and shaking his head a little, and just the right tremor in his voice when he knew it would work and somehow, even knowing what you knew, you ended up feeling like the bad guy for doubting his sincerity. He had charisma, you have to give him that.
44? Not so much.