As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's The Foreign Policy, Stupid

I've come around to the fact that my choices for President were narrowed by the early states, and that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are really the only two left to deliver a meaningful vote. My heart is with John Edwards, and I know he has a delegate strategy to somehow play kingmaker at the convention, but that kind of falls apart upon scrutiny. I would imagine his superdelegates would go away at that point, and he simply won't have the pledged delegates he needs to play that role. So really, it's Hillary and Barack.

I think that the primary has played out with Obama to Hillary's right, slightly, on domestic policy, and Hillary to Obama's right, in a bigger way, on foreign policy. Given that when you get outside the rhetoric, Hillary proposed such sterling legislation as banning flag burning and violent video games, and given Obama sticking his neck out for unpopular but principled issues like driver's licenses for undocumented workers, which poll-tested Hillary-bots see as a problem, I think the overall liberal-meter goes over to Obama.

(Hillary Clinton has also taken to bashing immigrants on the campaign trail, and it's not her call for criminal aliens to be deported that is as worrying as her use of the term "with no legal process." That contempt for the rule of law is VERY disturbing, especially considering that immigration officials are doing this right now with American citizens, and relying on them to know the difference is unfair. Voiding legal rights should not be something a Democratic President uses as an applause line.)

But aside from that, the more disturbing part of this foreign policy split can be seen in Iraq policy. Yesterday Hillary Clinton apparently jumped up and applauded Bush's "the surge is working" dishonesty. And her foreign policy advisers and supporters include not only "surge is working" robots Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, but this rogue's gallery:

Barack Obama picked up the endorsement of Ted Kennedy today. Hillary Clinton got Alan Dershowitz and Paul Berman in the pages of The New Republic.
Need I say more?

Dershowitz has devoted his life in recent years to discrediting the careers and reputations of critics of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, slavishly defending Israel against any and all comers, no matter the validity of their point.

Berman (no relation) was the intellectual architect behind the liberal hawks case for war in Iraq, which he described as a "Lincolnian war, a war for the liberation of others."

Anyone who has the vote of Alan "torture warrants" Dershowitz is no friend of mine. And there's a familiar pattern of hawkish establishment types deriding Obama's support for Israel in a nasty whisper campaign, and this is part and parcel of that.

I will support whatever Democratic candidate emerges from the primary. But as a progressive who thinks there is no bigger display of judgment than support of the Iraq war, support which in the case of Clinton appears to be continuing, I don't think there's any need for hesitation in choosing between her and Senator Obama. Clearly we would have an actual change in foreign policy in an Obama Presidency. Otherwise, I'm not so sure.

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