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Rosa Parks, Hillary Clinton, and Iraq
Published on Friday, November 4, 2005 by the Progressive
Rosa Parks, Hillary Clinton, and Iraq
by Matthew Rothschild

When Hillary Clinton strode to the podium at Rosa Parks’s funeral, she was greeted as the Presidential heir apparent.

But she hasn’t earned that role, and she pales in any comparison between her and Rosa Parks.

On the pivotal issue of her day, Rosa Parks rose to the challenge.

On the pivotal issue of our day, Hillary Clinton has shrunk from it.

That issue, of course, is the Iraq War, which Hillary voted for in the first place. And unlike John Kerry and some other Senators who have since come to their senses, Hillary is still in favor of the Iraq War, 2,000 dead U.S. soldiers later,15,000 wounded U.S. soldiers later, and maybe 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians later.

How many lives is she willing to sacrifice on the altar of her ambition?

Unlike Rosa Parks, Hillary is not taking a courageous stand on principle. She is engaging in a narrow, opportunistic calculus of political advantage.

I think her math is off.

I believe a Democrat with guts to oppose this war can win in 2008.

But Hillary is under the sway of the same hypnotic triangulators who trained her husband.

These are the ideologues of the immoral middle.

New York Times Magazine writer Matt Bai lavished praise on Hillary in an October 2 cover story entitled “Mrs. Triangulation.” He hailed her in part because she “wants nothing to do with ideological crusades.”

Discussing that article three days later on radio with Tom Ashbrook, host of NPR’s “On Point,” Bai discarded his flimsy cloak of objectivity and offered his “third way” advice. He denounced the “old liberalism,” which he defined as “withdraw the troops now, we don’t fight for freedom, we protect our borders, and we make people love us around the world.”

Instead of that, he called for “a leader of the party” (are your listening, Hillary?) to confront the folks who “are talking about immediate withdrawal and to say, ‘Look, I have a plan, I have a notion, I have a sense of how the world is going to look and what we need to do as Democrats in the twenty-first century, but it’s not about withdrawing, it’s not about not taking risks to protect ourselves. Iraq may be the wrong war, and Iraq may have been prosecuted wrongly, but I’m not going to shy away from what is a titanic struggle.’ ”

Or take Noam Scheiber, a senior editor at The New Republic, who wrote in the October 24 issue that moderate Democrats not only need to call for “a larger military, but something dramatic to signify the shift—like a plan to strike an Iranian or North Korean nuclear facility if need be.”

Now that’s a swell idea for Democrats.

But I’m afraid it’s the kind of idea that Hillary—no saint or savior—might just adopt, after she messes Iraq up further.

In the eulogy Hillary Clinton delivered in Detroit, she said we all can have “a Rosa Parks moment.”

That moment, for Hillary, came and went in the lead-up to the Iraq War.

But it is here again, now.

Matthew Rothschild has been with The Progressive since 1983. He co-founded and directs the Progressive Media Project.

© 2005 The Progressive


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