Thursday, May 14, 2015

A change for the better

I take this week's Jeb Bush follies as a good sign about U.S. politics. For too long, not supporting a war, no matter how boneheaded and wrong it may be, was viewed as political suicide for a national candidate. It was taken as a given that Congressmen who opposed invading Iraq would pay a political price if they voted against the 2002 authorization for the use of military force, while voting for the measure would be relatively risk-free. That is why John Kerry and Hillary Clinton voted for it, even if they may have been against it privately.

That is precisely the opposite of how things should work, IMHO. If you are going to vote to kill people, at the very least, you should risk a political price if it does not turn out well. But that is not how American politics seemed to work.

At least not until recently. Maybe it started with the 2008 Presidential campaign--you can make a plausible argument that Hillary Clinton and not Barack Obama would be president right now if it weren't for Clinton's vote in favor of the Iraq War. But it is really refreshing to see the Iraq War debacle taking a political toll on the Republican side.

Someone named Bush facing the reality that his presidential prospects are threatened unless he admits that the Iraq War was a bad idea is a remarkable development.

RELATED: JMM calls Jeb's decision to characterize the Iraq War as a mistake "a watershed moment". I can't say i disagree. Back when I started this taco stand in 2003, it was hard to find a politician on the Democratic side who was willing to call the Iraq War a mistake. And on the Republican side, just hinting that it wasn't the greatest thing ever was liable to have you branded a traitor. Over the past few days all of Jeb's rivals for the Republican nomination have been quick to brand the war a mistake. That is a huge change.