“The Iraq vote aside,” Joe Scarborough asked Lincoln Chafee on Morning Joe today, “is Hillary … fit to be president of the United States?” Not at all, Chafee says, as “it was one of the colossally poor decisions made in 2002.” The rest of the panel tried to look at the future, but Chafee says, “I don’t want to put it in the rear view mirror”:
Yesterday, I called Chafee a candidate of the political past, but it’s worse than I imagined. Chafee wants to go back to the Cold War when it comes to Iran, and back to the “reset button” when it comes to Russia and Putin. On Iran, Chafee said that direct diplomacy and containment “worked with Gorbachev,” as if Gorbachev and Ali Khameini are at all analogous in temperament, ideology, or end goals. In fact, Chafee sounds here like the Barack Obama of 2007-8, who argued that Iran was a “tiny” country that presented no real threat to the US.
On Russia, Chafee’s even more incoherent. If he wants to suck up to Russia again, why not back Hillary Clinton? She’s the one who offered the “reset button” to Sergei Lavrov a few months after Russia invaded Georgia on the assumption that chilliness between Washington and Moscow was all the fault of George W. Bush. Bush, it should be recalled, started off embracing Putin as a friend, too. In both administrations, the US got caught with its pants down when Putin acted like every other Russian imperialist of the last few centuries. Chafee argues here that the issue is actually that we need to “get Russia on our side,” which means … what, exactly? Eugene Robinson asks Chafee about Ukraine, and his response is that the EU should invite Putin to join the European community.
I think that’s what Putin has in mind, actually. Just under an entirely different context.
Chafee’s barking up an old tree when it comes to the Iraq War vote. Hillary Clinton was hardly the only Democrat to back that vote, and besides, she’s done a lot worse since then. What about the decision to turn Libya into a failed state? How about the near-miss in Egypt, in which US foreign policy under her direction insisted on snap elections that put the Muslim Brotherhood in charge? Someone should offer Chafee a calendar and an almanac to bring him up to speed. Right now, he’s running a pretty good campaign to win the Democratic nomination for the 2004 general election.
Still, Chafee’s going after Hillary, which may force her to eventually respond. He’s also giving Republicans openings against Hillary …. or at least Republican historians.