In her upcoming book, Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton completely admits that she made a mistake by voting for the Iraq War in 2002.
“[M]any Senators came to wish they had voted against the resolution. I was one of them. As the war dragged on, with every letter I sent to a family in New York who had lost a son or daughter, a father or mother, my mistake become (sic) more painful.”
“I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”
Her admission that she got it wrong is a complete 180 from her defense of the vote during her previous presidential campaign in 2008.
In 2006, on the Today show, Clinton said, “Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote, and I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.”
While running for the Democratic nomination in 2008, she defended the vote on Meet The Press, “We can have this Jesuitical argument about what exactly was meant. But when Chuck Hagel, who helped to draft the resolution said, ‘It was not a vote for war,’ What I was told directly by the White House in response to my question, ‘If you are given this authority, will you put the inspectors in and permit them to finish their job,’ I was told that’s exactly what we intended to do. ”
On these previous occasions, Mrs. Clinton always avoided saying that her vote was wrong. She paid a heavy price with Democratic primary voters, because Barack Obama was a clear and constant critic of the war. The Iraq vote was one of the genuine differences between Clinton and Obama in 2008, and it looks like she isn’t going to let that vote be a problem in 2016.
Part of this is a likely fence mending with some primary voters who were turned off by her legalistic defense of her vote for war in 2008, but some of it is possibly insight gained from her time spent as Secretary of State. Over time, people’s positions can change and evolve. In fact, many of our best leaders who are people who have an open mind and are capable of growth.
In contrast, today’s Republican Party provides a perfect view of the consequences of inflexibility and resistance to change. The rigid ideology, and political failures of the Republican Party come from the fact that they are welded to a belief system that they refuse to deviate from.
The Democratic Party, along with the country, has moved to the left since 2008. Hillary Clinton is showing that she is willing to move along with her party.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association