Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hillary Competing With McCain to See Who Can Get Caught in Reversals More Often

(Hat tip: Parisgnome)

Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, have been tripping over themselves in using John McCain's '100 years' comment against him. As I said before, to do so requires a very loose relationship with literacy.

McCain's backtracking is well-evidenced, and now it seems Clinton is not simply content to narrow the gap between them by adopting his proposals or threatening to 'obliterate' Iran. (Yes, Hillary, people that aren't Ahmadinejad live there, too. About 66 million of them.) No, she is also striving to pass him in the number of times someone can find contradictions in the public record.

Parisgnome at Daily Kos dug up this gem from a 2005 visit to Face the Nation on CBS:

SCHIEFFER: Well, what do you mean `long time'? Do you mean years?


Sen. CLINTON: Senator McCain made the point earlier today, which I agree with, and that is, it's not so much a question of time when it comes to American military presence for the average American; I include myself in this.

But it is a question of casualties. We don't want to see our young men and women dying and suffering these grievous injuries that so many of them have.

We've been in South Korea for 50-plus years. We've been in Europe for 50-plus. We're still in Okinawa with respect to protection there coming out of World War II. You know, we have been in places for very long periods of time.


But so is our understanding that if we were to artificially set a deadline of some sort, that would be like a green light to the terrorists, and we can't afford to do that.

Barack Obama's greatest weapon against Clinton has been her 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq War (easy for him since he wasn't there, of course.) In response, her campaign has held that it was a vote based on faulty intelligence and she shouldn't be held accountable, but as her visit with Bob Schieffer illustrates, she held McCain's outlook on the occupation well past when the intelligence aspect's ship had sailed.

The question, then, is which version is more true to her core beliefs. I tend to side with the 2005 incarnation, as I have always held that on foreign policy--obviously not domestic social issues--Clinton is right-leaning. The conservative outcry against her husband's interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Haiti and Iraq (and her subsequent adoption of his Presidency as her own) can't be forgotten. I don't know that Clinton could be painted as a dove (relative to center, not Lieberman and McCain), no matter how hard Sean Hannity might try. Her plan for withdrawal now--a duplicate of Obama's 16-month plan--is merely borne of the realization that no Democrat was going to win that party's nomination calling for sustaining the occupation.

Sam Stein asked for a response from the campaign, and Phil Singer responded: "As both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama have noted, the situation in Iraq has dramatically deteriorated since 2005 and now we are in the midst of sectarian violence."

This response is ludicrous in that it suggests that the insurgency began after her appearance, which is outright false. Consider the lead-in to her Face the Nation appearance:

SCHIEFFER: And we start this morning with Kimberly Dozier, who is in Baghdad, where there were some awful bombings yesterday, but today fairly quiet. What's the latest, Kimberly?

KIMBERLY DOZIER reporting: Fairly quiet, but people are still holding funerals from yesterday's attacks and Friday's. Almost 100 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in a series of suicide bombings targeting Shiite worshipers marking the annual holiday of Ashura. That is to mark the prophet Muhammad's grandson's death. Now there were worse attacks last year; almost 200 people died. This year there was greater security, but suicide bombers still managed to mingle in with the crowd and, as the religious leaders have been saying here, tried to make the attacks that would turn Shiites against Sunnis. Religious leaders are trying to keep that from happening. Bob.

SCHIEFFER: So Baghdad is still a very dangerous place.


Senator Clinton, it seems there's still more violence going on in Iraq. How do you sum up the situation now?

CLINTON: [...] The violence that preceded the election was about 50 to 60 incidents a day. Leading up to the election, it rose all the way to 300, and now it has subsided again to, unfortunately, about 50 or 60 a day.

Clearly, there is no way that her campaign can make the case that violence wasn't an issue at the time of her appearance. Their response can only be based on the presumption that no one would review the historical record, which is consistent with their campaign tactics thus far.

I already thought the '100 years' attacks of McCain were loosely based on what he said, but now it is even more clear that for Hillary to use the attack against him is the height of revisionism and hypocrisy.

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