Dick Cheney's Fondest Pipe Dream, Revisited
Ever since Hillary Clinton supported the reckless
But what none of the candidates challenging her have done, as far as I can tell, is use the most succinct and damning description of the vote's implications that's been expressed, when Senator James Webb called it "Dick Cheney's fondest pipe dream." "It could be read as tantamount to a declaration of war," Webb also concluded, and his descriptions go to the heart of the issue, with an eloquence likely to stick in the minds of the voters. But the other candidates have to publicly quote them, and so far they haven't.
Now Jim Webb's not always right, but he knows war, and has thought and written about what leads to it. He's not one to use words casually, so his judgment carries weight. When competing candidates say Hillary's made it easier for Bush and Cheney to even consider the insanity of an attack (or to encourage Israel to do so in their place), it's true and damning. But her supporters can still dismiss this as self-serving exaggeration. Quoting Webb makes her vote harder to dismiss. It goes to the key issue--that once again Hillary empowered a recklessly belligerent administration in their efforts to go to war. Now a
Reports out of Clinton's campaign suggest that her support for the resolution may actually reflect less a heart-felt political judgment, than a politics of triangulation, an approach where she's driven more by policies she thinks will help her win than those necessarily the best choice for America and the world. As the New York Times reported, "Part of the reason for Mrs. Clinton's vote some of her backers say privately, is that she has already shifted from primary mode, when she needs to guard against critics from the left, to general election mode, when she must guard against critics from the right…. Mrs. Clinton is also solidifying crucial support from the pro-Israel lobby."
Paul Rogat Loeb is the author of The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear, named the #3 political book of 2004 by the History Channel and the American Book Association. His previous books include Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time. See http://www.paulloeb.org/ To receive his articles directly email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: subscribe paulloeb-articles