Mr. Sodrel declined to say whether with the benefit of hindsight he would have supported the invasion of Iraq. "I don't think coulda-shoulda-woulda is very helpful right now," he said.i don't know if that argument really works anymore. actually, i'm not sure if it ever did. a little while ago, i suppose, you could argue that the decision to invade iraq was some kind of unique historical situation, a moment unlikely to be repeated again. thus the decision to authorize the use of force in 2002 has no bearing on any other judgments the candidate may be called to make in the future.
but that simply doesn't hold water anymore (assuming it ever did) in light of the bush administration's current run-up to a military strike against iran. in this situation, it's hard to argue that the iraq resolution was a unique moment. instead it seems rather plausible that the current crop of congressional candidates may be asked to vote on another force resolution some time in the future. the circumstances in which a candidate is inclined to vote for or against such a resolution is completely relevant, even critical, to the voters' decision whether this person really will represent their interest in washington.
i know very little about the particular congressional race mentioned in the times article, or much about mike sodrel or his district. the article mentions that baron hill, his democratic opponent, also voted for the force resolution (though he claims he was mislead by the bush administration). personally, i think that both candidate should state, point blank, whether in retrospect they would do their 2002 vote again. any "let by-gones be by-gones" answer is a simple dodge, equivalent to telling the voters they are simply not entitled to know the answer.