Sunday, June 08, 2008

Political post mortems: where's the war?


This morning the New York Times managed to print a 4000 word dissection of how a freshman Senator from Illinois toppled the "inevitable" Clinton candidacy -- and never once mentions the Iraq war. Think perhaps "the newspaper of record" has something it its history it would like to forget? Perhaps a little "complicit enabling" in former Bush press flack Scott McClellan's phrase?

The Times also rounded up a roster of 13 bigwig former pols and current pundits: only one mentions Clinton's vote enabling the Iraq war. That one, Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, asserts that Clinton failed to explain her vote properly to the presumably brainwashed electorate who should have understood that she really didn't mean to sanction an amoral pre-emptive war of choice that proved disastrous to the country.

Malcolm Crowley, a luminary of another enabling institution, the New Republic, does point out the obvous in the Los Angeles Times.

Clinton backed the Senate's 2002 Iraq war resolution. At the time, Washington wisdom held that no future Democratic presidential candidate could afford to oppose using force against Saddam Hussein. ...Although there's some evidence that Clinton may have supported the war resolution on principle, there's little question that politics made the vote easier for her and that many voters saw her as having acted out of political calculation, which helped set up Clinton to be criticized as forever calculating.

That momentous vote on Oct. 11, 2002, would set the tone for the entire Democratic primary campaign. It was Obama's opposition to the war in the fall of 2002 that enabled him to mount a credible challenge against Clinton in the first place.

It's worth noting that Clinton herself did better than the commentators. Her concession speech included ending the Iraq war as part of a laundry list of Democratic objectives.

Campaigning out among the people can be educational for these people. If the peace movement remains insistent that working for Senator Obama means working for peace and promises to keep the pressure on reluctant Democrats, we might get the action over 60 percent of us demand.

1 comment:

Archibald said...

Great post - I noticed the same thing about the Times coverage. Blame Hillary's demise on anything but her Iraq vote.

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