Clinton turns her back on the troops

Michael Goodwin:

'The clatter of campaign promises being thrown out the window" was how the late Sen. Daniel Moynihan famously scolded a congressional witness 15 years ago. Fast-forward to the current campaign of Moynihan's successor, and one hears a different but no less disconcerting clatter. It is the sound of Sen. Hillary Clinton throwing away the chance to build support in the military she hopes to command.

With her refusal to denounce the far-left for its smear of our top commander in Iraq, Clinton has taken another big step away from the center of American politics. On the most important issue of our times - Iraq and the fight against Islamic terrorism - the Democratic presidential front-runner has thrown her lot in with the radicals, kooks and nuts that litter the wackadoo wing. And she has turned her back on our soldiers and their leaders during wartime.

This is not the first time she has gone AWOL on the military. Back in May, Clinton voted to cut off all funds for the war. That she was in a small minority then was an alarming indication of how far she was willing to go to placate the anti-war base of the party. It was not, we know now, an aberration.

In the May vote, she was one of only 14 senators to support cutting off funds. In last week's resolution that saluted Gen. David Petraeus and denounced MoveOn for calling him "General Betray Us," in a newspaper ad, Clinton's no vote was one of only 25, with 72 senators voting yes.

It is a sorry spectacle, and incomprehensible because her lurch is wrong in terms of policy and politically unnecessary. The far-left wing does not elect Presidents or usually even pick nominees. Ask Howard Dean.

And Clinton knows she is under additional scrutiny because she is the only woman ever to get this close to being elected President. Fairly or not, women, especially Democratic women who tilt left, are suspect on whether they will be social workers or commanders in chief in a security crunch. Now it will be much harder for her to convince skeptics.


After losing seven of the last 10 elections largely because of doubts about their security bona fides, Dems should understand that finessing those doubts won't work. Either you are viscerally comfortable with the people and the power necessary to defend our nation, or you are not. And with these two key votes, Clinton is showing not just discomfort, but hostility.

Clinton and the Democrats are setting themselves up for a McGovern like beating in 2008. While pollsters and many pundits are predicting a Democrat sweep, the sweep of history and overwhelm them with our continued success in Iraq. They are already on the defensive about the MoveOn ad and their attempts to legislate defeat this summer before even getting the report from Gen. Petraeus. The enemy has been beaten back in Iraq as never before and more importantly, the Iraqi people are responding to the surge with more confidence is standing up to al Qaeda and the militias. By the spring both the enemy and the Democrats will be staring defeat in the face.


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