As I listened to the analysis of the returns from “Super Tuesday,” I heard one Obama voter say “I like him because he did not vote for the war.”
It may sound like nitpicking, but of course he did not “vote for the war.” He was not a United States Senator, and any votes he cast in the privacy of his own home had no bearing on the outcome of the Resolution to Authorize Force, which took place on October 11, 2002. Senator Obama was sworn in on January 5, 2005. I know that in this instance, Senator Obama did not make that statement himself, but it got me thinking.
I was against the resolution, and I did not vote for it either. I don’t know if this will help my in my upcoming bid for Supreme Ruler of the Universe; that remains to be seen. I was not pleased that it passed so easily, and I take issue with the decision that many Democrats made at the time, including Senators Clinton, Kerry, Harkin, Feinstein, and Edwards, when they cast their “Yea” votes.
Only 23 senators voted “Nay,” in fact, and I was happy that both my elected officials, Senators Dayton and Wellstone, were among them.
I don’t know if anyone else remembers, but the legislation was timed in the hopes that it would derail the reelection efforts of senators such as Paul Wellstone, John Kerry, Tom Harkin, and Dick Durbin. It was thought that voting against the resolution would make democratic incumbents seem unpatriotic and soft on terrorism, and they would therefore lose their elections. If they voted for it and went against their perceived principles, it could hurt them as well.
It was a good plan, only a month after the one-year anniversary of September 11th. In the case of Paul Wellstone, I believe he put a lot of thought into the decision and in the end went with his principles, and it paid off. People respected him, even if they did not agree with him, and his polling numbers went up. He most likely would have won his election had he not been killed in a plane crash two weeks later.
It’s easy to say “I did not support this war” and to declare that you would not have voted for it, but it’s another thing to have been in the situation, experiencing the climate of the times and the pressures brought to bear. Ms. Clinton has not done the best job of explaining or justifying her decision, but I argue that there is almost nothing that she can say about it that will not anger many Democrats. She has stated that she regrets her decision and that it was the wrong decision. Mr. Obama has the luxury of not being in the Senate when the resolution came up for a vote, and it's easy to say what one would have done, were one there.