Yeesh, they just don't make Democratic hawks like they used to.
The truth is that Hillary Clinton got spanked last week and now she's changed
her tune. Period. There's just no other way to read it. Let's face it, she had
no other choice. When you're booed by your own, and we're not talking the blogosphere
insurgent class, you've simply got to move your position, especially if you've
got presidential ambitions, which after seeing her, I'm now convinced she has.
Of course, I'm sure her guru James Carville will say otherwise in public, but
Hillary just blinked. I'm glad she did, but….
The senators that got the attention last week, John Kerry and Russ Feingold,
who are now being joined by Barbara Boxer, are putting forth a resolution tomorrow
that says we redeploy from Iraq by July 2007. This is a change from Kerry's
other resolution that got squelched last week when Republicans offered up their
own version of Kerry's bill, which got pummeled. Kerry joining with Feingold
is the team of the moment to watch, I think. It's also the team with the most
Why Democrats are going to Bush begging is beyond me, but I'm satisfied that
we're actually moving our D.C. pols.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, criticized by some Democrats because of her
refusal to call for a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq, said Monday
that she favored setting a series of “benchmarks” for the Iraqi
government to meet if the U.S. is to maintain its military presence in the
Speaking to reporters on Long Island, Clinton, a likely 2008 presidential
contender, reiterated her contention that setting a deadline for troops to
leave Iraq “is not smart policy.”
But she said the Iraqi government must meet a series of requirements for
preserving American military support, such as securing Baghdad within a “reasonable”
time period and ridding the Iraqi army of sectarian militias and death squads.
“We have to set some benchmarks, have to put some requirements on the
Iraqi government, so they know they have to reach certain goals for us to
be supportive. And we have to redeploy our troops, as possible, so that we
don't add to the problems there,” Clinton said.
Clinton's comments came as Senate Democrats, led by Carl Levin of Michigan
and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, prepared to unveil a plan to begin a phased
withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and require the Bush Administration to
offer plans to continue redeployment next year. Levin and Reed were expected
to offer the plan as an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill.
Clinton said she'd been involved in crafting the Democratic plan but would
continue working with colleagues “to make sure what I think should be
in there is in there.”
No one should think that Hillary moving to “benchmarks” is a small
gambit on her part. It's as far as she can go without “flip flopping”
and seeming weak as a woman on national defense. I'm not saying I agree with
that position, but that's undoubtedly what her consultants are telling her and
this woman won't walk across the street without them. She just doesn't have
the courage to stand up and be different, be decisive and demand what's needed.
Taking pot shots at the president and his party is good, but she's just too
conservative to stick her neck out. I likely just helped Hillary with that pronouncement,
but it's true.
Clinton may not admit it, but she got ambushed by the boos last week; surprised
by the vehemence, which is something she's unlikely to forget. “Benchmarks”
isn't just a change in her Iraq stance, even though it isn't a timetable. It's
a milestone for anti-Iraq war activists. We got the madam to move, but this
battle is a long way from over.