Clinton’s leftward march

In his editorial for the new issue of the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol considers “Hillary Rodham Kerry” and her vote opposing Senator Cornyn’s sense of the Senate resolution specifically condemning MoveOn.org’s “General Betray Us” advertisement. Bill notes that Senator Clinton first voted for a convoluted resolution condemning the ad together with a few other political advertisements of ages past before she voted to oppose Senator Cornyn’s resolution. He writes:

This isn’t the first time Hillary Clinton has voted for General Petraeus before voting against him. She voted to confirm him for his fourth star and his new position on January 26, 2007, knowing that he would be executing a counterinsurgency strategy backed up by a surge of troops. Less than two months later, as the new strategy was just beginning to show results, she supported a motion to reverse course, begin to pull out troops, and abandon the new strategy….If one took the charges in the ad seriously, one would have to be in favor of relieving Petraeus of command. But Clinton has not called for that. She is not being serious about the war; she is trying to win the Democratic nomination.

The editorial also draws on an observation John Hinderaker made in “More on the ugly alliance.” In “Now playing left field,” Michael Goodwin takes a look at the same evidence considered by Kristol. Goodwin asserts that Clinton’s opportunistic votes are “a sorry spectacle, and incomprehensible because her lurch is wrong in terms of policy and politically unnecessary.” I agree with Goodwin’s assessment, but Senator Clinton apparently reads the correlation of forces among Democrats differently. She does not want to get on the wrong side of MoveOn.org before she has to, and she does not have to yet. Indeed, it is the burden of Kristol’s editorial to make the case that she won’t have to unless Bush “do[es] what it takes to win the war.”
New York Times ombudsman Clark Hoyt also addresses the “General Betray Us” advertisement today. The ombudsman explains that the Times should not have run the ad at a discount. The Times somehow “made a mistake” in giving MoveOn.org its preferential standby rate. One should not rashly conclude that the Times will do what it takes to lose the war.
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