You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Anti-war Cred, Cont'd

Noam: I hear what you and Matt are saying. But here's why I think Hillary sees profit in her jujitsu strategy of targeting Obama's anti-war bona fides: It's about tarnishing Obama's image as an "unconventional" politician. She'll never convince anyone that Obama is some closet war supporter. But she can depict him as someone who occasionally shades his positions to serve a political agenda.

Take Obama's argument that he hedged his criticism of the Iraq resolution in mid-2004 to avoid a public rift with John Kerry. It may be a reasonable position. But as the Clinton campaign argues, it doesn't entirely square with Obama's lofty vows to tell people not "what they want to hear but  what they need to hear." (The Clinton campaign, it should be noted, is saying it's more than that. On a conference call yesterday former State Department spokesman James Rubin argued that Obama had the luxury of opposing the war in 2002 because he had not been privy to classified intelligence reports strongly asserting that Saddam had chemical, biological, and possible nuclear weapons.)

In other words, this isn't an argument the Clintonites expect to "win" on substantive grounds. It's a way of eroding one of Obama's main strengths--his unconventionality--and bringing him down to political earth.

 --Michael Crowley