And let’s not forget that while many Republicans were wrong, there were others who were also wrong, others with access to intelligence and the ability to ask critical questions from people in power. They also voted on the matter. Shouldn’t they be held to the same level accountability as whipping boy Bill Kristol? One of these individuals is the shameless Harry Reid, who, when he isn’t wasting our time blathering about the Redskins and Koch Brothers, had the temerity to offer this statement: “If there’s one thing this country does not need, is that we should be taking advice from Dick Cheney on wars. Being on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is being on the right side of history.”
If only things were that easy. Reid wasn’t simply a supporter of war, he argued for it. In an interview in 2002 with Judy Woodruff, as well as in other appearances, he reiterated that Saddam Hussein had “thumbed his nose at the world community” (the same formulation Bush used many times) and was in possession if WMDs and was confident there would be a good debate. The opposition party has a duty to challenge those in power. Did Reid do a good enough job? It was only later that Reid would call the Iraq war a “failure,” and when things seemed to have turned a corner post-surge he taking credit for pressuring Bush into deploy more troops — which hardly sounds like a person who’s sorry about his vote.
The same can be said for Joe Biden and John Kerry. Shouldn’t they all shut up, too? Another person who voted for the war will be running for president soon, Hillary Clinton. The most consequential vote she’s ever had, perhaps the only consequential vote she ever had … and now we hear that she “got it wrong. Plain and simple.” And that’s great. But is that all it takes to rejoin the discussion? Flowing with the current of public opinion means you can now participate in the conversation; failing to do so means you should zip it.