cross-posted on Huffington Post
Harold ruminates. The topic is right on, especially after Hillary hit New Hampshire.
… By 1972, seven years had elapsed since the United States had sent ground
forces to Vietnam, and Richard Nixon, through his invasion of Cambodia and
stepped-up bombing campaigns, had made clear that the road to de-escalation
would entail periodic escalations, at least as long as he was president. The
Democratic base was in no mood for temporizing on Vietnam.
Party voters wanted out, and they wanted a nominee who\’d been right on the
war (almost) from the start: McGovern. Sic transit gloria Muskie.
What Clinton and her strategists would do well to remember is that it was
Nixon — by his escalations of the war even as he was withdrawing U.S. ground
forces — who was chiefly responsible for driving Democrats toward the candidate
who most clearly repudiated the war. And that Nixon was a model of dovish
flexibility in Vietnam compared to Bush\’s unyielding determination to keep
U.S. soldiers in Iraq long past the point where anyone can articulate their
mission. Bush will drive the nation toward the Democrats, and the Democrats
toward their most credible champions of ending the U.S. occupation. Hillary
Clinton is not high on that list, and that, as Ed Muskie could attest, is
the chief obstacle to her winning her party\’s presidential nod.
New Hampshire Ghost
Can Hillary Clinton Avoid What Ed Muskie Couldn\’t?
As Clinton found out in New Hampshire, Democratic Party voters aren\’t listening
to all her other fine proposals. First she needs to come clean on the war and
why she voted for it. But if she\’s not going to do that there is another option.
The latest set of information released from her office
to push back on Obama\’s charges is packed with \”phased withdrawal\” statements.
There\’s only one problem. She won\’t set a date for the phased withdrawal. Anywhere. Exhibit A is below and I was there when it happened.
\”I do not think it is a smart strategy, either, for the president
to continue with his open-ended commitment, which I think does not put enough
pressure on the new Iraqi government,\” said Clinton, before turning to
the anti-war liberals\’ core beef with her.
\”Nor do I think it is smart strategy to set a date certain.
I do not agree that that is in the best interests,\” said Clinton, prompting
loud booing from some at the gathering.
Jeer Clinton Over Iraq Stance (6.13.06)
Here are two \”fact\” items from Hillary\’s push back list:
IN NOVEMBER 2005, HILLARY AND SEN. OBAMA VOTED FOR PHASED REDEPLOYMENT: \”A
campaign plan with estimated dates for the phased redeployment of the United
States Armed Forces from Iraq as each condition is met, with the understanding
that unexpected contingencies may arise.\” [Vote #322, To clarify and
recommend changes to the policy of the United States on Iraq and to require
reports on certain matters relating to Iraq, 11/15/05]
IN JUNE 2006, HILLARY AND SEN. OBAMA VOTED FOR PHASED REDEPLOYMENT: \”The
amendment calls for the beginning of a phased redeployment of U.S. forces
from Iraq by the end of the year. Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, and Ken
Salazar, D-CO, are cosponsors of the amendment.\” [Vote #182, To state
the sense of Congress on United States policy on Iraq, 6/22/06]
The first date is November, 2005. That\’s months before her statement above
in bold. The second statement just above this paragraph is on June 22, 2006,
just days after the booing Clinton received at Take Back America. See the problem?
You can talk all you want about some eventual, over the next horizon, it\’s
a good idea sometime \”phased withdrawal,\” but setting a date
is what separates the McGovern from the Muskie. Clinton wants a pass for her Iraq vote, which she still will not admit was a \”mistake,\” a word she will not utter. Never mind that her stubbornness is reminiscent of the man now living in the White House. But okay, let\’s say she gets a pass for her Iraq war vote, because of all her other statements that have been rolled out week after week over the months. Another issue still arises. Until Hillary sets forth a plan
with specific dates for troop withdrawal that includes a real plan
to get it done everything she says is just talk, no action.
A pre-thought out, consultant approved plan to get elected in the general is
a nice strategy to follow. But I\’d remind the senator from the great state of
New York that a candidate first has to become the nominee. She might want to remember Muskie, because she\’s seasoned and smart enough to understand that if you don\’t learn the lessons, history has a way of repeating itself.