Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The audacity of cynicism |

But I have a greater concern about her 2002 vote that is more expansive than Hitch's reductive sneer about "an activist base that essentially believes that you cannot really be a Democrat without being solidly anti-war," and that also rejects Clinton's current efforts to spin her refusal to repudiate her vote as a mark of integrity.

I came to this after re-reading her pre-vote speech, which now seems creepily calculated to have it every possible way all at once. Particularly galling is her claim that she cast her vote "Because bipartisan support for this resolution makes success in the United Nations more likely, and therefore, war less likely." Was there a person alive in October, 2002 — when bombing had begun and troops were already shipping out — who thought that this could possibly be the case? Besides, how does this square with her current claim that she wouldn't have cast the same vote if she'd known the intelligence was misleading? If all she was really voting for was UN inspections, why should knowing that those inspections would have revealed that Saddam had disarmed change anything? Wouldn't that, in fact, have justified her vote?

Her vote at the time angered me not just because it was in support of the war, but because she was pretending that it wasn't. Can you imagine if the war had gone well — would Clinton now be saying anything other than that she supported it from the beginning?

All politicians lie, of course, but Clinton's shamelessness is precisely the opposite of what we need after eight years of Bush/Cheney. It's not just the vote for the war, it's what it says about her character.