In life or politics, things we know have a way of being not what they first seemed.
For example, in late 2002 when it came time for the Senate to vote “for the Iraq war” we all “know” that Obama voted no and Hillary voted yes. That vote, many say, helped Obama secure the Democratic nomination.
End of story. Barack got it right, Hillary got it wrong (and she’s said so).
Except it’s not nearly that stark.
I recently came across a video that changed my understanding of that auspicious vote. The unedited single-camera twenty-minute video shows Senator Hillary Clinton of New York taking the podium in the Senate to lay out the intricate pros and cons as she saw them. She delivers a masterful speech that everyone who cares about history or politics should see. It’s not the Hillary you think you know.
The speech is one of deep intellect, nuance, inner struggle and firmness of purpose. She becomes the embodiment of quiet, determined leadership. The entire speech lasts twenty minutes and on YouTube it’s broken into two segments. You probably have neither the time nor inclination to watch it all, so please click here to watch just the last three minutes. Use the slider on the bottom to get to 6:00 minutes. (For political junkies, here’s Part 1.)
Remember that at the time the Bush administration had told us beyond any doubt that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. We now know there were no such weapons and that the Bush/Cheney team took the Senate vote and twisted its intent to provide cover for their own disastrous agenda.
After watching Hillary’s speech it’s clear she was voting for something significantly more restrained than “going to war.” Above all, notice the importance she places on bi-partisanship, on supporting our president and presenting a united front to Saddam and the world.
After you see it, try to imagine any of the leading Republican presidential candidates delivering such a quietly powerful speech. Trump? Carson? Rubio? Cruz? They never would, they never could. Not one of them.
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