RUSH: “Hillary Clinton says that she wouldn’t have voted for the Iraq war if she knew then what she knows now. As she continues to assess a possible presidential candidacy and the contours of a Democrat nomination fight, she has taken another step away from her 2002 vote authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq by saying that she wouldn’t have voted that way if she knew everything she knows now. Now, she’s been asked very often if she regrets her vote authorizing military action, and she unusually answers with an artful dodge.” This is, by the way, an ABC News report, “saying that she accepts responsibility for the vote and suggesting that if the Senate had all the information it has today, that there would never have been a vote on the Senate floor, but she’s never gone this far,” as to make an official flip-flop. Now, it’s one thing for a cheesy senator like Kerry to do it or Rockefeller or any of the others.
But somebody needs to teach this woman a lesson. It’s a lesson that she should have learned when she was sitting in the Oval Office sharing the place with her husband, Bill. The president of the United States doesn’t get 20/20 hindsight! It’s not something he has access to. The president of the United States cannot rewind the TiVo and go back to before. All presidents — I would include Clinton in this — do the best they can with the information they have at the time. Not everybody’s judgment’s perfect, and certainly that’s the case with presidents. It’s easy, it is easy as pie, for Mrs. Clinton to say now. Now, on the cusp of the campaign, as she’s going out there; she has to do something about this Obama fever that’s rocketing all over the place, and she is seeking the support of the madcap left –which is standard; you’ve gotta get that to get the nomination, and they’re still hog-tied on this war business, and they’re still flipped out.
Sean Penn got an award last night from the Creative Coalition, the first ever Christopher Reeve Award, and most of it — well, some of it — I can’t even read to you because it would get me an FCC fine. Well, not me, but the station that broadcast the program would be fined by the FCC. He calls for the impeachment of Cheney and Bush. He demands that Pelosi put it back on the table. That’s just the minor stuff. It’s that crowd that she’s making this move for. It’s easy for her to say it now because she has no real responsibility, and she has the luxury of looking years back to reflect, but that’s the thing. She is actually, with this move, trying to imply to people that this was her responsibility in some way and that she’s made a mistake and we’re back to that now.
“Oh, Mrs. Clinton, she’s admitted the error of her ways. Why couldn’t more people do this? Why couldn’t more people admit that they are wrong, and why can’t more people admit that they are sorry?” You know how people run around and ask you when they see you for the first time?
They say, “How you doing?”
They don’t really care, and if you tell them the truth then you’re stun them.
“How you doing?”
“It’s going horrible.”
“Oh, really? (grumbling) See you later!”
Well, it’s the same way with these kind of announcements on “changing my mind. I’m so sorry.” Can you imagine if everybody run around all day long, “I want to apology for what I did earlier today, or last night, or yesterday, or the week before. I feel so bad. I’m so sorry. I made such a mistake”? Can I give you a little what I think is wisdom? How many of you people — this is a little bit of departure here, but it’s more to the point of what I was just making. How many of you, living in the present, look back in your past and you see things and say, “Damn it. That was stupid, a wrong decision. I shouldn’t have done it. Why, I really screwed that up.” Now, we all do that, but it’s not very healthy. What it is, is a way of beating ourselves up.
What you have to do to put this in context is go back to the moment you made the decision. Did you purposely try to screw it up? Were you purposely trying to make a mistake? No! Most of us — at every moment of our lives when we have to make a decision big or small — we either follow our guts or we get advice or whatever. We do what we think is right at the time. Then years or months go by; we look back and some might say, “Well, I wish I hadn’t done that. That was a mistake.” Well, it was, but you didn’t try to commit the mistake. It wasn’t like you were trying to screw up. So this business of going back and, “I would have changed my mind if I had known what I know now,” it’s a cop-out, and it is cowardly, and presidents don’t get that chance. Presidents are not allowed to do that. Let me explain it to you this way.
Imagine there’s a headline in the paper tomorrow or on cable TV sometime today: “The president, in a thought provoking interview, declares: ‘If I knew then what I know now, I would be the have gone into Iraq.'” What would your reaction be? Would you be saying, “Ooooh, he’s so humble! Why, he’s admitting a mistake! He’s admitting that…” What’s he admitting? Is he admitting he got lied to? Is he admitting that he lied to us? Is he admitting that? What’s he admitting to? This is a luxury presidents don’t have, and if he did it, despite all these catcalls and demands the president “announce his mistakes and go public with them and say he’s sorry,” the reason the press wants him to do it is because they know it would be a death knell, precisely because they know it would be a death knell. But irrelevant senators like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton can run down all day because they are not responsible.
They can run around all day and say, “You know, I wish I hadn’t voted that way. I wish I hadn’t voted for welfare reform. I wish I hadn’t voted for this,” and if they all started doing that, what would be your reaction, ultimately? You’d realize you have a bunch of pandering, indecisive, unprincipled people who are willing to go with the flow rather than stand on what they believe in. Everybody that makes a decision at the moment — and there have to be exceptions to this — you may know it’s the wrong thing to do in some cases, if we’re talking about morality or that kind of thing. I’m throwing those out, because we all have weaknesses where it comes to morality, but when you’re making a life decision, when you make a career decision, whatever, nobody… I can’t say nobody, but the vast majority of people think they’re doing the right thing at the time.
It’s only when you look back on it that you think, “Oh, gosh, that was a mistake! Oh, I shouldn’t have done that. How stupid am I?” You start beating yourself up and that’s not healthy, and that’s not good, and then you start saying, “Well, what if I could change it?” and so forth. You can’t change what you did, but you can change what you do from the moment that you realized you thought you made the mistake. The point is, you didn’t make a mistake when you did it on purpose. You didn’t try to screw up. Nobody purposely tries to screw up! I’ll probably get calls from people, “Oh, yes. I purposely tried to screw up because it’s helped me do this…” There are exceptions to everything, but I think that this is a great illustration here of just who this woman is. These are the thoughts of someone running for president of the United States, for commander-in-chief, and commanders-in-chief do not get to think this way.
Because every decision they make has consequences, and you can’t pretend the consequences didn’t happen and just swipe them off and wipe the slate clean by running around and saying, “Gee, if I’d have known that, I wouldn’t have done this.” Believe me, it would be disastrous. Somebody better tell me Mrs. Clinton this if she doesn’t understand it because you can’t do this once you become president, and if you betray this kind of thinking, or portray this kind of thinking to people, they’re really not going to consider you in that rarefied air that necessity put presidential candidates in. Now, some people think that she may not have even meant it, that she may not have really, really meant it, that she’s too tough, she’s too combative, and too ambitious for all this nonsense. I think with whatever she says or does, it’s just like Barack Obama: she knows, she’s counting on, the Drive-By Media will give her a free pass for anything she says or does, and they tell themselves, “She only said that because her two main threats are Edwards and Obama who are against the war. We know why she’s doing it.” They won’t hold her to task. They will not properly analyze this, as they would, say if President Bush did it or another presidential candidate. Besides, in the end, follow the money. Her statement saying, “Gosh, if I’d have known then what I know now, I would have never voted for this,” is probably worth a few million dollars at the next fund-raiser.
Russ in San Angelo, Texas. I love San Angelo, Texas, because you gotta be going there to get there. You will never just run into this place by accident. Hello, sir.
CALLER: That’s so true. Mega dittos, Rush, and thank you for everything you do for our country and our military.
RUSH: You’re welcome, sir.
CALLER: Well, I’m a little exasperated by Senator Clinton’s comments, and I just hope the Republicans don’t concede the point or that conservatives don’t concede the point that it was a mistake to go. I would say if we could wind back the clock and we know everything we know today, I would still be calling my two senators, Cornyn and Hutchison, and begging them to vote for this war. Absolutely we are a safer country because we did this, and the brunt of the enemy’s attack is now being suffered upon our military where it belongs, instead of our civilians. We don’t want see our military suffer and die, but we have them so that we can defend our civilians, and I just cannot believe we cannot see that in this country.
RUSH: Well, because we haven’t had another attack here, and so the impact of 9/11 has deteriorated in people’s minds. Precisely, I think Iraq is one of the primary reasons why we haven’t had an attack here, to be quite honest with you. But I don’t like this exercise of turning back the clock, because it’s pointless. It literally is pointless. All you do is beat yourself up over things that you cannot change, and to me this is just obvious. But let’s play the game. Let’s turn it back, and let’s take everything we did know then. You can’t go back and say, “The things that we know now, had we known then.” The evidence back then, starting after the first Gulf War, all through 16 or 17 UN resolutions; UN inspectors being thrown out of Iraq; proof that Al-Qaeda had had operatives in Iraq, in the nineties. (No operational linkage to 9/11 was ever asserted or established. That was not the reason for going into Iraq.)
We know that Joe Wilson lied and missed it, that the Iraqis were attempting to get yellowcake from Niger, despite what you’ve heard. We had been attacked on 9/11. We had a guy who was thumbing his nose at the world, at the United Nations, refusing to open up to inspectors to check what he had for all of these years, all these inspections in terms of biological and chemical weapons — which we knew he had used on his own people, on the Kurds, for which he’s just been found guilty and will be hanged as a result. All of this in the context of just after 9/11, it would have been irresponsible not to deal with this in the way we dealt with it. How many of you…?
I can draw you some kind of an analogy. Look at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today. Pat Buchanan has a column. I read it at WorldNetDaily today. He thinks Ahmadinejad should have been the Man of the Year and TIME Magazine copped out. He’s got some interesting points in his piece. A year and a half ago, Ahmadinejad was the never-heard-of mayor of Tehran. Today, he dominates the world with words. He doesn’t fire a shot. He’s got proxies that do it. He has proxies in Lebanon, proxies in Syria, and he’s got proxies in Iraq. But he has totally dominated the news and the world. He has an army. If we decided to take care of Ahmadinejad militarily, there’s no way he could compete with us. He would lose a war inside of a month with the United States of America. He is saber rattling. He is threatening practically weekly to blow Israel off the map, to end the United States as we know it. What are we doing? We’re sitting around doing nothing! We’re practicing words. We’re trying to beat his words with our words in the form of diplomacy, but it isn’t working. He’s not intimidated; he’s not shutting up. But in a contest of actual warfare, I mean this guy couldn’t beat the Iraqis in eight years back in the 1980s! It would be no contest for us, and yet we’re sitting around and apparently doing nothing. Well, we’re not, actually, doing nothing. We’re beefing up the Navy in the Persian Gulf, if you haven’t heard that, in a response to his words, which is a helpful sign.