In an apparent outbreak of good news for John Edwards, the Obama-Clinton spat seems to be escalating today rather than declining, with the Senator saying “First of all, what is irresponsible and naïve is to have authorized a war without asking how we were going to get out. And I think Senator Clinton still hasn’t fully answered that issue. The general principle is one that, I think, Senator Clinton is wrong on. And that is, if we are laying out preconditions that prevent us from speaking frankly to these folks, then we are continuing Bush-Cheney policies, and I am not interested in continuing that.”
One thing I’d note here is that the thing Clinton actually said during the debate struck me as fairly reasonable. Then again, so did what Obama said. Her campaign’s behavior since then — trying to make big political hay out of Obama’s alleged weakness, seeming to reverse her previous position on the direct talks issue, etc. — has been pretty problematic. And it’s worth saying that she actually did this before, attacking Obama after an earlier debate for having said that he would respond to a terrorist attack by first organizing emergency relief, and then second assessing intelligence to see who was responsible. According to Clinton’s campaign, the “correct” answer was to immediately call for war (against whom?)
What this says about Clinton’s actual foreign policy beliefs, I couldn’t it. It does, however, obviously reflect a certain set of beliefs about politics — specifically that more militarism is always better — which happen to be the exact same set of beliefs that helped drive so many Democratic elected officials to duck and cover during the initial drive for war. To get the foreign policy right, you need on some level to have someone willing to challenge the hawkish political box. Clinton isn’t just failing to do that, she’s going way out of her way to re-enforce it.