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Hillary: I'm not apologizing, vote for somebody else

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UPDATE: Markos on Hillary. It isn't pretty. He's written her off, which is exactly what she told him to do. I fail to see how this helps her campaign, especially in the Democratic primary. It's one thing to make a calculated gamble to write off the "left wing of the party," but other than Joe Lieberman's, whose Democratic vote is she angling for?

This does not strike me as a wise course for Senator Clinton to take. From Sunday's NYT:

[Y]esterday morning Mrs. Clinton rolled out a new response to those demanding contrition: She said she was willing to lose support from voters rather than make an apology she did not believe in.

“If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from,” Mrs. Clinton told an audience in Dover, N.H., in a veiled reference to two rivals for the nomination, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.
The most important thing for sixty to seventy percent of the country is finding a new president who "gets it" with regards to Iraq. So, talking about as aspect of the Iraq debate as though it's not the most important thing is, I think, risky, though I get her overall point that this is just one sub-issue in the entire debate.
Several advisers, friends and donors said in interviews that they had urged her to call her vote a mistake in order to appease antiwar Democrats, who play a critical role in the nominating process. Yet Mrs. Clinton herself, backed by another faction, never wanted to apologize — even if she viewed the war as a mistake — arguing that an apology would be a gimmick.

In the end, she settled on language that was similar to Senator John Kerry’s when he was the Democratic nominee in 2004: that if she had known in 2002 what she knows now about Iraqi weaponry, she would never have voted for the Senate resolution authorizing force.
John Kerry. Seems like a nice man. Not the guy I turn to when I'm looking for "quotes that work."
“She is in a box now on her Iraq vote, but she doesn’t want to be in a different, even worse box — the vacillating, flip-flopping Democratic candidate that went to defeat in 2000 and ‘04,” said one adviser to Mrs. Clinton. “She wants to maintain a firmness, and I think a lot of people around her hope she maintains a firmness. That’s what people will want in 2008.”
True, but now you're taking a page from George Bush's playbook, wrong but firm. It worked for six years, but now people are seriously over the "I'm wrong, but resolute" personality type.

To her credit, it's not as though Hillary is saying all the wrong things on the war. Just today she called for the withdrawal from Iraq to begin in 90 days:
"Now it's time to say the redeployment should start in 90 days or the Congress will revoke authorization for this war," the New York senator said in a video on her campaign Web site, repeating a point included in a bill she introduced on Friday.
(There's more here about her new plan.) And notice the second half of that sentence again, the legislation she's proposing says that if the president doesn't begin withdrawing in 90 days, the authorization for the use of military force is revoked. That's good stuff.

It would be nice if we heard more of that talk out of the Clinton campaign and less of this position-of-the-week on the war vote.

One final point. Hillary may have chosen to take on the "anti-war left," but she must remember that that's who votes in Democratic primaries. The second issue she needs to keep in mind is that people like Joe and me aren't the anti-war left. We tend to be progressive, obviously, but I, at least, am not anti-war (I'm not sure what Joe's position is on the more general subject of "war," so I'll leave that to him). I'm anti- THIS WAR, and that's a big distinction. Nonetheless, the things I'm reading and hearing the past several weeks, like all this talk about Senator Clinton's war vote being influenced by her special experience of September 11 - you know, that day the rest of us apparently went on vacation - is starting to bug me. And I'm not someone who was bugged by Hillary at all in the past.

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