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Saturday, July 26, 2003

Clinton's Brilliant Political Ploy:

In case you didn't notice, last week, a former president declared his confidence in George W. Bush's handling of Iraq, and echoed the administration's belief that there were, indeed, weapons of mass destruction within the borders of Iraq, and in the hands of Saddam Hussein. What might have surprised you is that the ex-pres was none other than William Jefferson Clinton himself.

Clinton, sounding more hawkish than any Democrat these days, told Larry King via telephone that he believes that there was "biological and chemical material unaccounted for." Further, Clinton seemed to indicate that he would have done the same things as Bush (although in practice, Clinton certainly would have consulted every imaginable poll before proceeding).

This rhetoric from the ex-president surprised some Democrats, and even led some into flat out denial. Witness Charlie Rangel on Sean Hannity's radio show, as he emphatically stated that there was "no evidence to support" what Clinton said.

Lost in the Clinton commentary is this: he was, and is, a political genius. Nothing Clinton does is not calculated for gain. Clinton knows full well that (most of) the country is behind Bush's efforts in Iraq. Clinton also knows that a strong Bush in 2004 is more conducive to a new candidate in 2008, one that his wife, Hillary, will have a good chance of defeating in a presidential election. A hawkish candidate, like Joe Lieberman, would stand a better chance against Bush in 2004. An electable Democrat in 2004 would give Bush a run for his money, and, if victorious, would be difficult to overcome in 2008 as the Democratic nominee.

So, one might ask, would Clinton prefer dovish Howard Dean, or the stoic Lieberman as the next Democratic nominee? Well, to answer that, one should also ask, in what scenario would Hillary have the best chance of becoming president in 2008? I think all political observers know the answer. Clinton's positions on the Iraq invasion go against the populist grain of his party right now, but they are tactically brilliant. He wasn't twice elected with a plurality of the vote for nothing. You have to hand it to him.


.: posted by Dave 5:03 PM

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