The closer we get to the primaries, the more Hillary will realize that she can't escape her Iraq dilemma.
One of the most important decisions that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton made about her bid for the presidency came late last year when she ended a debate in her camp over whether she should repudiate her 2002 vote authorizing military action in Iraq.
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.
I don't want her to apologize. I want her to say, "I made a mistake." Edwards did it. Just about every other Democrat who idiotically trusted this president and supported the war has done it. Had Hillary done this last year, the issue would be moot.
And does she really want to argue that her vote wasn't wrong?
[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.
Thank you, Hillary. I think I will.
With California moving up its primary, my vote will actually matter next year. And now I can officially narrow down my choices to Edwards, Obama, and Richardson. [Update: Clark as well, if he ever decides to run. Some of the others could be possibilities. Hillary joins only Kucinich and Biden on my "no way" list.]
Her campaign knows Hillary's stubborness means trouble, though they're trying to spin it best they can:
Her decision not to apologize is regarded so seriously within her campaign that some advisers believe it will be remembered as a turning point in the race: either ultimately galvanizing voters against her (if she loses the nomination), or highlighting her resolve and her willingness to buck Democratic conventional wisdom (if she wins).
Ha ha ha ha. No one truly believes she'll actually gain votes in a Democratic primary by saying she made the right call by voting for Bush's war. Like I said -- spin.
At the same time, the level of Democratic anger has surprised some of her allies and advisers, and her campaign is worried about how long it will last and how much damage it might cause her.
Not only is the Clinton campaign pig-headed, they are also remarkably out-of-touch. They are "surprised" at the anger this war is generating? Has she been living in a cave the last four years (yes, the Senate apparently is a cave). The last thing we need in the White House is another out-of-touch, tone-deaf Bush-style presidency, unable or unwilling to admit mistakes and change course as a result.
Hillary will now see her campaign events hijacked by anti-war protesters, with people demanding she defend her vote at every corner. Iraq will dominate coverage of her campaign, and she's on the wrong side of the issue. And by going this far without admitting her mistake, she has painted herself into a corner. Any attempt now to back off and apologize would be met with the proper scorn.
For Hillary, No amount of nuance will make this issue go away.
Today she lost my potential vote. I doubt I'm the only person in this position. Thankfully, as Hillary so helpfully pointed out, the rest of the field 1) didn't make the mistake to begin with, or 2) aren't afraid to admit their mistakes