Senator Clinton, Supine
Why vote for a progressive candidate for president in 2008? Because if you don’t vote for someone whose politics are based in their ideals, you instead get a politician who bends with the wind, altering policy positions to suit the latest fashion. Then you get embarrassing statements like this regarding Iraq:
These were the words of the accusatory Senator Hillary Clinton in last week’s hearing regarding the confirmation of Lt. General David Petraeus to head up the military effort. Clinton intended this remark as an indictment of the Republican Party, but it applies just as well to herself. In the buildup to the Iraq war, she pursued the path of political least resistance at the time, declaring herself in support of the war in Iraq and failing to exercise her considerable power — a power that even a minority Senator has — to engage in oversight and demand accountability. She only came to critique the war in Iraq when a large majority of Americans had already arrived at a critical point of view themselves.
And even now that Senator Clinton has arrived at a somewhat critical stance regarding the war in Iraq, she continues to avoid the responsibility to engage in oversight and to demand accountability. As David Broder points out in his most recent column, Clinton failed to a single question of the man nominated to run the war to its conclusion. Not a single question. Instead, she informed the General of her feelings about Iraq based on a recent trip of hers.
Oversight would have involved asking General Petraeus to articulate strategy, and then asking follow-up questions based on the candor and good sense of his responses. Demanding accountability would have involved asking General Petraeus to make a set of commitments and to set standards by which his success could be measured in the future. But that was not politically expedient — so Senator Clinton made a speech instead.
Had Senator Clinton been “ideological” in her orientation — a dirty word these days meaning that one bases one’s actions on a set of coherent conceptual claims and standards — her conduct and her statements would at least have been consistent. But she’s failed to either remain firm in her ideas or even to identify why she might have changed her minds, leaving me to wonder which political winds will fill her sails next.
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Giveaways to Fatcats and Cuts for Teachers... the Republicans are At It Again!
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