Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Smearing a General

From Richard Cohen's article, "Hillary Missed Her MoveOn Moment" in today's Washington Post:

"It is an odd standard Clinton has when it comes to smears. When the entertainment mogul David Geffen, once a Clinton supporter, called both Bill and Hillary liars, Hillary not only decried the remark as a particularly vivid example of the "politics of personal destruction," but she demanded that Barack Obama do the same -- and return a $2,300 donation Geffen had given him. Yet when Clinton herself was asked to repudiate the abuse of Petraeus, she either saw no reason to do so or, much more likely, was afraid to alienate an important constituency, the 3.3 million members of MoveOn.org, who stand symbolically at the frontiers of New Hampshire and Iowa. She would, it seems, rather be president than right.

...The MoveOn.org ad was the moment for Clinton to rise above hackdom. It was a moment for her to insist that the business of politics, not to mention governing, is made even uglier and more difficult when people who merely differ with one another resort to insult. It was a moment for her to say that an Army general, under orders and attempting to fulfill a mission, should not be so casually trashed -- especially since she herself has been on the other side of the Iraq War issue and said things she must now regret. And it was a moment for her to trot out her favorite phrase and use it, not in her own defense for once, but in defense of someone else. That moment is gone now -- maybe because for Hillary Clinton it never arrived in the first place."

Instead, Mrs. Clinton told the highly decorated four-star general that his report on the surge required "a willing suspension of disbelief."