Monday, January 29, 2007

Hillary Plays to the Base

Looks like Hillary isn't going to let anyone get to her left again on chickening out in Iraq.

While others might say that she's being inconsistent with her earlier vote to authorize the war, that misses the point: she was just doing the politically expedient thing - then and now:

DAVENPORT, Iowa - Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that President Bush should withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq before he leaves office, asserting it would be "the height of irresponsibility" to pass the war along to the next commander in chief.

"This was his decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy," the Democratic senator from New York said her in initial presidential campaign swing through Iowa.

"We expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office" in January 2009, the former first lady said...

Clinton held a town hall-style forum attended by about 300 activists, giving a brief speech before taking questions for nearly an hour. Pressed to defend her vote to authorize force in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, Clinton responded by stepping up her criticism of Bush.

"I am going to level with you, the president has said this is going to be left to his successor," Clinton said. "I think it is the height of irresponsibility and I really resent it."

This is going to fuel more criticisms like this one, and justifiably so. The War on Terror cannot be conducted on some timetable. The troops should return from Iraq when the realities on the ground make clear that they should no longer be there. A good Commander in Chief knows that.

And Hillary by the way, was politically foolish not to incorporate that fact into this statement. It would have been easy for her to say something like 'the time is fast approaching when American troops will no longer be able to save the Iraqis from themselves,' and that they ought to come home no later than the end of 2008. It would have at least couched her opinion in terms that had some vague relation to national security goals. Instead, she comes across as petulant, and unprepared to lead the country in a dangerous world.

Is this something Margaret Thatcher would have said?

No comments: