Good News/Bad News

February 19th, 2007at 11:18pm Posted by Eli

The esteemed Mr. Krugman hones in on what makes John Edwards a superior candidate to Hillary Clinton… and also a weaker one:

For the last six years we have been ruled by men who are pathologically incapable of owning up to mistakes. And this pathology has had real, disastrous consequences. The situation in Iraq might not be quite so dire — and we might even have succeeded in stabilizing Afghanistan — if Mr. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney had been willing to admit early on that things weren’t going well or that their handpicked appointees weren’t the right people for the job.

The experience of Bush-style governance, together with revulsion at the way Karl Rove turned refusal to admit error into a political principle, is the main reason those now-famous three words from Mr. Edwards — “I was wrong” — matter so much to the Democratic base.

The base is remarkably forgiving toward Democrats who supported the war. But the base and, I believe, the country want someone in the White House who doesn’t sound like another George Bush. That is, they want someone who doesn’t suffer from an infallibility complex, who can admit mistakes and learn from them.

This is all true and good, but Edwards’ willingness to admit error may extend too far, as evidenced by his I-won’t-fire-them-but-that-bothered-me-too response to Bill Donohue and Michelle Malkin’s attacks on his new blogger staffers, and his unwillingness to speak up and defend them when the attacks devolved into a campaign of threatening hate mail against Amanda and Melissa.

In other words, Hillary won’t admit she was wrong when the Democratic base demands it, and Edwards won’t admit he was right when the Republican base demands it. In a general campaign, this translates into Hillary being unable to effectively campaign against the war, just like Edwards’ running mate in 2004; or into Edwards not countering Republican smears effectively or at all.

There was one other interesting tidbit in Krugman’s column:

Although [Hillary]’s smart and sensible, she’s very much the candidate of the Beltway establishment — an establishment that has yet to come to terms with its own failure of nerve and judgment over Iraq.

This is also true, but I wanted to remark on the irony of Hillary so willingly embracing the conventional wisdom of a pundit class that did everything it could to sabotage her husband’s presidency. I don’t think she needs any Vaffanculo lessons from Scalia, but she really needs to work on her aim.

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Iraq,Politics,War

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