Ed Driscoll

It's All About Them

John Podhoretz breaks down Hillary’s bizarre statement over the weekend that “The president has said [Iraq] is going to be left to his successor. I think it is the height of irresponsibility, and I really resent it.”

(Note the tacit assumption that she resents it because she assumes she’ll be that successor. Not to mention the complete discard of the often-expressed concept that the GWOT will be a multi-generational war, much like the Cold War. (As Pappa Podhoretz has written.))

Podhoretz writes that Hillary resentment is “actually an interesting, even thought-provoking, formulation”:

It’s rare to hear questions about difficult policies discussed in terms of personal resentments, but perhaps this is one of the areas where Hillary Clinton will blaze a new presidential trail.

Imagine, for example, that President Bush had given a speech a few days after 9/11 declaring he really resented the fact that Bill Clinton didn’t kill Osama bin Laden before Bush became president.

Or that President Bill Clinton, in the wake of the slaughter of 18 American servicemen in Somalia in 1993, informed Americans about his real resentment of George Bush the Elder, who sent those servicemen into Somalia at the tail end of his administration.

Really Resenting doesn’t have to begin and end with foreign policy and military matters. President George Bush the Elder could have made public his profound resentment at the consequences of the Reagan tax-reform bill on the real-estate market, whose crumbling value in the late 1980s led to the recession that helped do Bush the Elder in.

For that matter, Ronald Reagan could have spent 1982 expressing resentment at the recession caused by the necessity of choking off the stagflation of the Carter years. And on it goes.

Now, of course, what Hillary means here is that since Iraq is “Bush’s war,” it’s not cricket of him to let it go on past the conclusion of his presidency. The war is supported by no one but him, its presumed failure is solely his fault and his responsibility – and he should get it off the next president’s plate.

Or as Steve Green noted a couple of days ago, Harry Truman must have really resented inheriting World War II from FDR, because in short order, he “nuked the crap out of Japan and brought our boys home already”.

Podhoretz notes that that latter element could have been a feature, not a bug, for the early days of the “the most uncompromising wartime President in the history of the United States”:

Strange. You might think that if the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq in 2009 is unnecessary, the new president might take great relish in being the person to bring them home immediately. Under those circumstances, Hillary could begin her presidency as a hero, at least to her own voters.

What’s more, if the war is going badly during the presidential campaign next year, with troops still in Iraq, the entire campaign will revolve around the question of how soon after Bush leaves office the big Bug Out can commence.

In any case, welcome back to the 1990s, where it’s always about Bill and/or Hillary.

(Via Betsy Newmark.)