Sunday, February 18, 2007

On being resolute

BooMan has some interesting observations on HRC unwillingness to apologize for or repudiate her 2002 vote authorizing military action in Iraq.
This is what happens when you only listen to people like James 'Matalin' Carville, Paul Begala, and Donna Brazille. You piss off the base of the Democratic Party. Poor Hillary.

...antiwar anger has festered, and yesterday morning Mrs. Clinton rolled out a new response to those demanding contrition: She said she was willing to lose support from voters rather make an apology she did not believe in.

“If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to chose from,” Mrs. Clinton told an audience in Dover, N.H., a veiled reference to two rivals for the nomination, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.

Her decision not to apologize is regarded so seriously within her campaign that some advisers believe it will be remembered as a turning point in the race: either ultimately galvanizing voters against her (if she loses the nomination), or highlighting her resolve and her willingness to buck Democratic conventional wisdom (if she wins).

At the same time, the level of Democratic anger has surprised some of her allies and advisers, and her campaign is worried about how long it will last and how much damage it might cause her.

Apparently, Carville-Matalin have advised her that it is worse to be seen as a flip-flopper than to make virtually every anti-war activist into a personal enemy. And it isn't strictly anti-war democrats she has alienated, but the entire Howard Dean campaign from 2004 and anyone that has worked on the ground on Dean's 50 State Strategy.

[...]

That pretty much sums up how the Hillary campaign sees the party activists. Their entire worldview has been preserved in amber since January 19th, 2001. They've shown no vision. They've shown no leadership. They are 'surprised' at the level of anger people have over Hillary's vote on the war? Maybe they should have had Peter Daou read them any one of a hundred diaries at Daily Kos that appear each day.

“She is in a box now on her Iraq vote, but she doesn’t want to be in a different, even worse box — the vacillating, flip-flopping Democratic candidate that went to defeat in 2000 and ’04,” said one adviser to Mrs. Clinton. “She wants to maintain a firmness, and I think a lot of people around her hope she maintains a firmness. That’s what people will want in 2008.”...

...She has argued to associates in private discussions that Mr. Gore and Mr. Kerry lost, in part, because they could not convince enough Americans that they were resolute on national security, the associates said.

Keep up with the Maggie Thatcher crap...don't go all wobbly on us, Hillary. Actually...she's right. It's way too late. We've been watching her team piss all down our backs for years now and we don't believe it's raining. We won't believe it's sunny if she suddenly stops having them piss all over us. She should call for a draft and seven more divisions for Iraq. Then we'd know how resolute she is.

Kos weighs in...

Not only is the Clinton campaign pig-headed, they are also remarkably out-of-touch. They are "surprised" at the anger this war is generating? Has she been living in a cave the last four years (yes, the Senate apparently is a cave). The last thing we need in the White House is another out-of-touch, tone-deaf Bush-style presidency, unable or unwilling to admit mistakes and change course as a result.

Hillary will now see her campaign events hijacked by anti-war protesters, with people demanding she defend her vote at every corner. Iraq will dominate coverage of her campaign, and she's on the wrong side of the issue. And by going this far without admitting her mistake, she has painted herself into a corner. Any attempt now to back off and apologize would be met with the proper scorn.

For Hillary, No amount of nuance will make this issue go away.

Today she lost my potential vote. I doubt I'm the only person in this position. Thankfully, as Hillary so helpfully pointed out, the rest of the field 1) didn't make the mistake to begin with, or 2) aren't afraid to admit their mistakes.

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