The rank spectacle of ex-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton suddenly turning on her commander in chief and former boss to shiv him in the back over the burning ruins she helped make of the Middle East is staggering to behold.
The brassiness, dishonesty and shamelessness as she slides into yet another presidential campaign season is enough to choke that old Arkansas draft mule of a husband she hitched her career to. The scheming calculation of it all would make Lady Macbeth take to the bed for blushing.
How on earth did such a crafty street fighter get so completely trounced by such a naive rookie like Barack Obama in 2008?
That Mrs. Clinton would up and disavow President Obama’s policy of ceding the entire world to evil forces — a policy she embraced and enforced for four years as his top diplomat — is a little hard to accept now as genuine.
It is by far the most naked and self-serving political repositioning in American politics since, well, since the last time Hillary Rodham Clinton performed a bald and shameless U-turn on Middle East war policy.
In 2002, she represented the state hardest hit by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. As the junior senator from New York, she gave a rousing floor speech and vowed to pursue our enemies to the ends of the Earth. She voted “with conviction” to authorize the invasion of Iraq.
“It is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein: This is your last chance. Disarm or be disarmed.”
Well, by now we all well know what “conviction” means in Clinton World. It means: “As long as everybody likes me.” Or: “So long as it gets me what I want.” Or: “Until that next big-bosom gal with kiss-me pumps and Dolly Parton hair comes walking along.”
So, it took precisely one election cycle for Mrs. Clinton’s “conviction” over invading Iraq to fold up like the AstroTurf in the back of Bubba’s El Camino. (“It was a real sort of Southern deal,” the former president once explained. “I had AstroTurf in the back. You don’t want to know why, but I did.”)
As Mrs. Clinton’s war in Iraq ground on and on and nearer and nearer to the 2008 presidential election, she discovered that Democratic primary voters were vehemently opposed to the war she had voted to authorize. So, she sleazily calculated, she had to pivot and turn hotly against it.
In 2007, with victory of her war at stake and thousands of U.S. troops in desperate need of reinforcements, Mrs. Clinton abandoned her “conviction” and voted against the “surge.”
Mrs. Clinton was among a small group of Senate fiends who voted for the war only to later desert troops on the field. These charlatans placed their own dirty political careers ahead of the lives of the men and women who serve in our military protecting these villains’ very ability to carry out such villainy.
They are the worst of the worst drawn to politics. They should be hounded from public life, not recycled as next year’s washed-up presidential has-beens.
Their vote for war in 2002 was the single most important decision of their lives. And — by their own definition — each of them got it exactly 100 percent wrong. They didn’t even try to do their homework. They hadn’t even a grade-schooler’s understanding of the realities of war throughout history.
They sent more than 4,000 U.S. troops to die. Tens of thousands more to be gravely wounded. Many thousands more Iraqi men, women and children to be killed. All for a war that they didn’t really believe in. A war that — even from the gilded and polished safety of their Senate desks — they did not have the stomach for.
As devastating as all this says about Mrs. Clinton’s principles, integrity and judgment, there is actually someone for whom all of this amounts to an even greater indictment.
Mr. Obama picked Mrs. Clinton as his first secretary of state. He picked John Kerry as her successor. He picked Joe Biden as his vice president. And he picked Chuck Hagel as his second-term secretary of defense.
What do Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Biden and Mr. Hagel all have in common? They were each in the United States Senate, serving on crucial committees, during the Iraq War.
Each of them cavalierly voted to send our troops to war when it was politically popular. Each later abandoned our troops on the field, either voting against the surge or condemning the president over his plan to send in reinforcements.
Is it any wonder the world is on fire?
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @charleshurt.