Chris Matthews, the neo-conservative host of MSNBC's Hardball, takes a momentary break from suggesting Americans need a "little bit of fascism" and returns to his favorite past-time: Clinton-bashing. This week's distortion: Sen. Hillary Clinton's position on Iraq.
On the February 26 edition of Hardball, Matthews interviewed New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson—one of the second tier Democratic presidential candidates whose background and potential may push him to the A-list. Matthews took the opportunity to suggest Clinton favors the Bush Administration's troop escalation whose loudest cheerleader is Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT).
MATTHEWS: Well, don't you take umbrage at the fact that she's broad-brushing other Democrats, perhaps, to her left? I mean, it's easy to get to her left on the war in Iraq. She takes a somewhat -- well, it's a hard ambivalent position. It's very hard to tell whether she's with Lieberman or she's with the Democratic Party on the issue of the war.
Take a memo. In January, we reported Clinton's call to reduce troop numbers and start re-deployments. About two weeks ago, Sens. Biden, Clinton, Dodd and Obama voted with all of their Democratic colleagues and seven Republicans on a non-binding resolution against the escalation. Lieberman voted with the Republican majority.
Clinton was one of 77 senators who voted for the 2002 Iraq Resolution. As we have been saying for months, she should not apologize—no one voted for five years of civil war, suspension of habeas corpus, detainees at Guantanamo, manipulation of intelligence data and a conflict that has already cost more than Vietnam. The Democratic presidential candidate cannot apologize for authorizing the war because the new talking point would be "they were for it before they were against it." (A plus for Obama, he's always been against the war and wasn't in the Senate in 2002.) That cost Kerry the 2004 election and it's not going to sink the party in 2008.
Go ahead and lay into Hillary for parsing the word "authorization" or rationalizing her intentions behind the vote. Sens. Biden, Clinton, Dodd and Obama may disagree on how to resolve the massive and costly foreign policy fiasco created by the Bush Administration and the rubber-stamp Republican Congress. But there is no disagreement over the escalation.
Interesting how Chris Matthews vacillates between swooning over Giuliani and Romney ("He has the perfect chin, he looks like a Mountie.") to tearing down Hillary Clinton and analyzing her sex life. He's definitely a closet ... neo-conservative.
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