Damaged Goods?

I was considering linking to this article about Hillary Clinton’s retrospective take on her Iraq vote and then firing up Google and Nexis to find all the many points of inconsistency between what she’s saying now and what she was saying throughout 2003. But why bother? The real question is whether we want to go through another election cycle dominated by the question of whether or not the Democratic nominee is a flip-flopper. As a flip-flopper myself, I can hardly maintain that flip-flopping on Iraq is the greatest sin in the world. But if you’re going to flip-flop then, I think, you’re better off just saying (à la John Edwards) that in light of events you’ve changed your mind.

Personally, exactly what people want to say about the retrospective issue isn’t the most important thing to me here — I’d rather here about forward-looking issues. Candidates, naturally, like to stay vague. I don’t take it as a good sign that she seems determined to position herself as the “most hawkish” of the major contenders in the race. A reflexive desire to appear tough was, pretty clearly, a major factor in the mistakes of the past . . . I’d like to see a president who’s over that.