Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Give up already

We on the left have been pretty harsh on the media for not calling the Bush administration liars when they lie. No, we're told the White House "omits", "contradicts", "forgets", but they never lie.

Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Hillary Clinton and her team need to stop lying about their support, in 2003, of the Iraq War. They supported the war, so just give up on the obfuscation and own it. You've changed your mind as your perception of the war has changed? Excellent. I'd expect nothing less from the President. But stop treating us like idiots. Google exists, and your stated beliefs are matters of public record.

Tdraicer at Matt's goes way off base, though:
Hillary isn't a neocon, nor is Holbrook, or Albright (and I see in his list of people "around" Hillary's campaign Matt once again leaves out Wes Clark) and their foreign policy will not be markedly different from Obama's or Edwards.

If you don't support Hillary fine (I don't) but let's stop pretending a Hillary administration will be some sort of extension of the Bush years in foreign policy. That's rubbish.
There's two arguments being made here: one, that the Democratic candidates won't have "markedly different" foreign policies, and that Hillary's being accused of being a neocon.

The point is not that Senator Clinton is a neocon and will take her marching orders from the pages of the Weekly Standard, or even the New Republic. The point is that at every opportunity she and her team have portrayed her as the most willing to use military force of the current contenders. To say that Hillary is the most hawkish of the pack of candidates isn't a GOP talking point -- it's a Clinton talking point. I find this troubling in general -- Americans need to become less accustomed to the idea that they can bomb other countries with impunity, not more -- and in the particulars: the list of countries the US is primed to attack in the 2009-12 period is pretty short, and there's not a single one of those scenarios that would end well.

On another level, though, of course the general trend in US foreign policy will continue under any Democratic President. The US will continue to obsess over China, large corporations will continue to buy lopsidedly bad "free trade" deals with poor countries, and the rise of large developing economies will continue to challenge US incumbent players. There are plenty of areas where you can identify continuity between the Bush and Clinton presidencies. But that's really not the point anymore. The point is to replace people who like starting wars with people who don't, and replacing those who kind-of-don't with people who really-don't. Is Clinton better than Bush, and would I vote for her? Absolutely, on both counts. But so long as their are other options, I'll be looking elsewhere.

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