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Please view this 2 minute piece from last night's CNN Democratic candidates debate that contains Hillary's answer to why she voted for the Iraq Resolution. In her answer and in Obama's short followup can be found the reason why Barack Obama should be the party's nominee.
Hillary says that the "case that was outlined" leading up to the Resolution to Use Military Force in Iraq was a "credible case". This can only mean that she bought what the White House and the usual suspect neo-conservatives were selling back then. In fact, Hillary went on last night and said about Iraq that her husband had, "bombed them for days in 1998", that after Gulf War 1 it was found that Saddam, "had a lot of bad stuff". There were "legitimate concerns." She spoke not unlike a FOX commentator.
She continued like this, defending her vote for the Resolution with the use of neo-con wingnut talking points. "Knowing he (Saddam) was a megalomaniac. Knowing he wouldn't want to compete with Osama Bin Laden for attention....there were legitimate concerns about what he would do."
Her vote for the Resolution to Use Military Force in Iraq, she says, was a result of "reasoned judgment."
It's the same Clinton triangulation style of political communications. She voted for the Resolution, yes, but her vote was not for war despite the fact that what she voted on was a Resolution to Use Military Force.....and even if she did vote for war.....Saddam was dangerous, and used to have a lot of bad stuff, and we bombed them, and Saddam had an ego problem, and , and.....
This is the reasoning behind her "judgment" and her answer to why her vote wasn't a mistake.
Obama stripped the facade away in one or two sentences.
The "reasoned judgment" Hillary was actually using when she voted for the Iraq conflict, ironically, was about positioning herself for the very moment she faced last night. She thought the Iraq invasion would be nothing but memories by the time 2008 rolled around and she would be able to credibly leverage her pro-attack vote as evidence of her preparedness for the Commander in Chief role. She miscalculated.
If we were out of Iraq now, this "reasoned judgment" would have appeared strong and wise. But she didn't really know who she was dealing with in the White House, not really. Hillary said last night, "I was told personally by the White House...", in defense of her pro-attack vote. That's exactly the point. She trusted the White House when Obama clearly did not. A true leader, prepared to lead, would not have trusted this White House about Iraq.
Hillary Clinton says she used "reasoned judgment" in casting her pro-war vote. That's true. The problem is it was politically based "reasoned judgment." Obama's judgment as a leader was based on the evidence....the threat, the cost, the detraction factor, the aftermath, the sectarianism.....the facts. Obama's decision as a leader was not decided because of politics. It was EXTREMELY unpopular to be against attacking Iraq during the lead up to the 2003 invasion. It took guts to speak out against the coming war. Obama had the guts to speak out against it. Hillary voted for it.
Obama said, "it is important to be right on day one", cutting to the quick Hillary's talking point about experience making her ready to lead on day one. A politically based approach to "reasoned judgment" leadership might make Hillary ready for day one. A truth and evidence based approach to a "reasoned judgment" leadership style makes Obama right on day one.
This exchange last night between Hillary and Barack captured the old and new styles of presidential leadership. We can either stay the course of the Reagan/Bush/Rove/Clinton "reasoned judgment" leadership style where perception is everything, words mean anything you want them to mean, and all that matters is that you attain power,.....or we can decide to choose the new evidence and truth based "reasoned judgment" leadership style of Obama. A style that can unite us as one again.
America needs a strong uniting leader. A president who actually speaks the truth. Barack Obama is that person. He is the real thing. Not since Robert Kennedy have we seen such a candidate. I believe Obama has even greater strengths yet to be tapped. Obama engages. He doesn't play the stupid and embarassing political games. He doesn't have the shrillness of Bobby Kennedy. He is very intelligent on many levels and wise beyond his years. His oratory skills are exactly what a downtrodden-by-Bush-fatigue nation needs. His progressive mindset finds it's brain-data stream in the best of America's liberal tradition.
Most importantly is the fact that he attracts voters from every political compass point.
Ohio may yet be a pivotal primary state. Consider voting for Barack Obama.