I've spoken before about the murderous misogyny of the A-List Blogger Boyz and their grad school mentality, as well as hinting at the ways in which the up is down, right is wrong, truthiness over truth feel of the current campaign cycle is something they encourage, but the spousal unit brought up an aspect of the "We Hate HER!" bash-fest that I had overlooked. Here it is.
It's all about Iraq and their own guilty consciences.
Josh Marshall, Matt Yglesias, Mark Kleiman, Kevin Drum, and any number of other high profile bloggers were all rah-rah war supporters when it first began. They had no real reason to support it besides wanting to kill people and get some revenge. They were reading the New York Times and Judith Miller and gulping the White House kool-aide as avidly as they gulp Obama's kool-aide today. C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, we gotta get Saddam! They swore by Colin Powell. If Powell said there was proof, well, by golly, that was good enough for them.
At the same time, Congress was actually having to make a decision about authorizing use of force. The weapons inspectors wanted back in, and Hans Blix approved of the maneuver to show Saddam Hussein the West meant business, that we weren't tied down in Afghanistan too much to give him trouble.
I didn't trust Bush a second on this, but I could also see that there were legitimate reasons to get inspectors into the country, not the least of which was to make Saddam look weak to his own population. There was also a principle about the balance of power between the Congress and the President - the President must ask for military powers and, when justified, the Congress will grant them. These are powers that a Democratic president is going to want as well. This was the power that Bill Clinton needed to intervene in the Balkans and would have needed for Rwanda. He asked. The Republicans in Congress told him to fuck off.
Part of Hillary's calculation to authorize the use of force (nor was she alone in this calculation) was forward looking to when Bush is not in power and when there is a Democratic Congress. The crude power grabs for imperial power we see from the Bush White House, fully backed by the Movement Conservative dominated Republican Party have illegitimately expanded presidential powers and in ways that cannot be ignored. The formal exercise of power must be defended; the bounding and limiting, but also structuring and supporting, insitutions of liberal democracy are refounded every day in the proper exercise thereof. You can't just make it up as you go along. (That's why "hope" and "audacity" are not governing principles, let alone an operational plan.) You have to insist on the rules, even when the other person is trying to cheat - or demolish the rules entirely.
The greatest weakness of the Democrats in Congress, in my opinion, is that they are not "working to rule" like any good union boss knows you should do.
Anyway, Hillary acts with others to authorize force if Saddam does not comply with the terms of the UN deal for reasons that have to do with politics, rule of law, and trying to put limits on Bush, as well as being under enormous public pressure to kill some towel heads as revenge for 9/11. Like pressure from the Blogger Boyz, who were slobbering and bouncing up and down in anticipation of a glorious little war, bitching about the UN's attempt to slow things down, and really wanting to go get Saddam. Bush thumbs his nose at the COngress and the UN and orders an invasion anyway. The boyz all cheer.
Then the war goes tits over teakettle and they realize that they are on the losing side of the argument. They are guilty as hell for having brought their considerable intellectual talents to bear on promoting an unjustified war and they want to blame someone else for their bad judgment. I know, Hillary made me do it! She should have been a better mommy and kept me from indulging in my murderous desires! Bad Mommy! Bad!
The fact that she will not join in their villification of her, refusing to be badgered into admitting that she made her decisions on the same basis as they did (reasons they project onto her), saying clearly that she made what she thought was the right decision at the time, drives them even more batshit insane. They want Mommy to kiss it and make it better and she said tough luck, kiddos, learn to live with your mistakes. They want someone else to take on their guilt, to relieve them of their sins against the body politic, and she is not going to let them off the hook. Their fanatical identification with Obama in no small part is because of their wishful thinking that if they glom onto someone who denounced the war when they were beating the war drums, this someway, somehow, will absolve them of their trangressions.
Um, no, it won't. I was opposed from the start, I know what you guys said and what a bunch of blood-thisty little bastards you were, and how your desire for war had no political or ethical foundations that could bear up under scrutiny. I know HRC made a bad decision for perfectly sound reasons, and I have heard enough from her to know that she herself is not going to do such a thing. Quit projecting your own moral relativity and temptation to use violence to get your way - well on display in your attacks on her and in the behavior of the campaign you are supporting - and face up to the fact that your judgment was fucked up then and it is fucked up now.
There is only one person responsible for invading Iraq and his name is George W. Bush.