08/05/06 — The race is on: Sen. Clinton sets sights on getting ready for campaign

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The race is on: Sen. Clinton sets sights on getting ready for campaign

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is an easy and convenient target for those who are looking for someone on whom to pin the recent escalation of violence in Iraq.

He’s the boss and he is a strong personality — both those descriptions are lightning rods for those who disagree with the policies of the Bush Administration.

So, it really shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that Democratic Sen. and all-but-announced presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton took a potshot at Rumsfeld during Senate briefings on the war in Iraq this week.

That’s what you do when you want to prove to your Democratic base that all that stuff you said about supporting not setting a deadline for pulling troops out of Iraq does not mean that you support the action itself.

And that’s what you do when you are getting ready to campaign, and you will need that base’s support to win the nomination. You spin.

Sen. Clinton allegedly called for Rumsfeld’s resignation because of his stewardship of a failed policy in Iraq — as evidenced by discussions from military officials this week that sectarian violence is heating up there.

She accused Rumsfeld and others of painting a rosy picture of the situation in Iraq, without giving the country a true picture of the potential for a longterm battle.

There might be reasons to criticize some of Rumsfeld’s decisions and Sen. Clinton is within her rights to do so.

But the determination of what our next step should be in Iraq should be made with resolve and impartiality, not through the fog of politics — or a potential presidential bid on either side.

Sen. Clinton and others should pick a position, and then stick to it. That is how you make a decision that is best for the country, not just for your campaign.

Published in Editorials on August 5, 2006 10:56 PM