Hillary Clinton has got to stop trying to explain and rationalize her vote on authorizing the use of military force in Iraq and giving George W. Bush the green light to take us to war. I remember what it felt like at the time. I remember tears starting to flow as I paced around my house saying over and over, “Oh my God. No. We’re going to war with Iraq???!!!” I’ve heard Rachel Maddow say something similar. I have a male friend who used to be a History Professor, and he knew in that moment what her vote meant. Why did we know what her vote meant? How can she say she didn’t know what it meant?
I have listened to her over and over offer up rationalization and justification for a vote that anointed George W. Bush as The War President. Her great grandchildren will be paying for it. We will all be paying for it for generations. I know the political reason for the vote. She couldn’t afford to look weak as a potential Commander in Chief. It was cynical and not in the country’s best interest. And she was in a better position than almost anyone to know that.
Barbara Boxer knew it. Ted Kennedy knew it. So did twenty seven other Democrats and one Republican. What information did they have that you did not Senator Clinton? Did they actually take the time to read the intelligence reports? Did they put principle above ambition? There were other Democrats who voted yea and later apologized to us, admitted that it was the wrong vote. A mistake. And they have moved on to vote against the blank check, the lack of oversight or accountability. Senator Clinton has also given the same kind of justification and rationalization for not supporting the Levin Amendment. It will not do to continue this awkward distortion of her real reason for what’s beginning to seem mere stubbornness. It is now too late to say, “I was wrong.” It is not politically expedient, at this point, to start telling the truth about that vote. Sadly it’s the only way she can redeem her reputation as a person of principal. It’s time to gracefully withdraw and throw all her energy into the campaign for Barack Obama. It’s time for real change.