Wednesday, November 28, 2007

bill clinton's retroactive anti-war stance

politicians have always flip-flopped. but i find it really fascinating when they take a public stance at one point in time and then deny they ever believed such a thing at a later time. it's like they're completely unaware of the existence of such newfangled inventions as archived news articles, video and audio recording.

i'm not just talking about the entire mitt romney campaign. examples are everywhere. the latest is this, and for that matter this and this and this and this.

what's really puzzling about clinton attempt to rewrite history is what exactly he thinks i should make of it. i understand that being against the war from the beginning is popular now. it makes sense that he would want to jump on the i-was-against-it-all-along bandwagon. but there's just too many contrary statements out there to make it believable.

but it makes little sense for another reason too. for the sake of argument let's disregard his public statements and suppose his claim that he was secretly against the war in 2002 and 2003 is true. let's suppose he really did think it was a terrible idea back then and that he knew it would turn out badly. what does that make him?

it makes him a coward. if he really thought it was such a bad idea, he should have said so publicly. as a former president clinton had a large megaphone at his disposal and the anti-war movement could have used his help. plenty of people were against the war in early 2003, but they were marginalized and could have used a spokesperson like clinton. by keeping silent, clinton went the easier route, but also a route that led to what clinton now acknowledges was disastrous consequences for the nation.

so why is trying to rewrite history when, it seems to me, it makes him look worse, not better? if he wanted to appeal to anti-war types he could have done a john edwardseque mea culpa instead. edwards may not be able to claim he was always against the war, but at least his flip-flop is plausible because he admits his position changed. clinton's route just makes him look foolish.