Senate Iraq Survey: Clinton Does Not Regret Iraq Vote

The Politico has conducted an excellent, important survey of all 100 Senators (PDF) asking them the following four questions on Iraq:
  1. Did you vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq in 2002?. Sixty-two were "yes" votes, twenty were "no" votes, and eighteen members were not in either the House or the Senate at the time The eighteen members who were new to Congress since 2002 are split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

  2. If you voted yes, do you regret your vote? Of the sixty-two who voted yes, fourteen now say they regret their vote, ten offered no comment, and thirty-eight said they did not regret their vote. The Democrats who did not regret their "yes" vote are Schumer, both Nelsons, and Hillary Clinton. This honestly makes me sad to be a Democrat from New York--I thought us Upstaters were supposed to be the conservative ones. Four Democrats also gave no comment: Cantwell (WA), Dorgan (ND), Lincoln (AR), and Reid (NV). Lieberman, of course, regrets nothing, ever.

  3. Do you support the "surge?" Fifty-eight said no, thirty-six said yes, four gave no comment, and two were undecided. In the "yes" column, I am including the five Republicans who, in an attempt to have it both ways, wrote "conditionally." All five of them are real winguts anyway without a moderate bone in their bodies: Chambliss (SC), Coburn (OK), Grassley (IA), Roberts (KS) and Craig (WY). McCain, of course, wrote "yes," no matter how much his waffling comments might indicate otherwise.

  4. Do you support a timetable / fixed date for withdrawal? Sixty-seven said no, twenty-three said either yes or "immediate," eight gave no comment, and two were undecided. The only Repblicans who didn't say "no" were Alexander (TN) and Sununu (NH) who both said "no comment." An unfortunately wide range of Democrats--nineteen plus Lieberman, including some of the more progressive members of the caucus--said either "no,""undecided," or "no comment."
This is quite a survey. It means, among other things, that there are still at least forty-seven votes to authorize the war in Iraq, even now (the thirty-eight who don't regret their vote plus the nine Republicans new to Congress). It also means we are still nowhere near a majority for a timetable, with sixty-seven members opposing the idea (and, as I noted, many of the Democrats who oppose a timetable are from the progressive end of the spectrum).

The biggest news, however, is that Hillary Clinton has just stated, flat-out, that she does not regret her war vote. At the same time, she is still trying to campaign as though she is against the war, claiming that she wouldn't have started it, and that she would end it. Basically, it is the same thing we saw from Lieberman during the general election against Lamont: an absolute hawk trying to appear anti-war in order to pick up Democratic votes. Since most established news media outlets have basically become stenographers for campaign press releases, it might be very difficult to combat campaign rhetoric from someone who claims to be anti-war, but who doesn't regret her vote to authorize the war in Iraq. Clearly, it was difficult in Connecticut, at least in the general election. Low information voters just won't know the difference.

You can read the Politico article on the survey here.

Tags: Iraq, polls, President 2008, Senate 2008 (all tags)



Re: Senate Iraq Survey

Lincoln's up for re-election in a red state, Cantwell's one of the few who endorsed Liebermann, Dorgan and Reid are more conservative than we tend to think, the Nelsons are known conservatives, and HRC is trying to stake out unclaimed ground in the primary while Biden/Edwards/Obama/Dodd/Clark/Gravel/Ku cinich split more anti-war voters, so none of those answers suprise me - but Schumer's a big shock. Anyone have further explanation on him?

by Nathan Empsall 2007-02-06 12:38PM | 0 recs
Cantwell endorsed Lieberman?

do you have a link for that?

by lorax 2007-02-06 04:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Cantwell endorsed Lieberman?

Oops. Turns out I was wrong; I apologize, my mistake. Mea culpa, she did endorse Lamont. es/stories/D8JD94VG1.html

What I remember is that she was one of two or three who was actually willing to talk to him in the Senate, and kept eating lunch with him every day. He was very appreciative of that, so I took it as an endorsement.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-02-06 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Iraq Survey

It voted for W twice, and Huckabee just wrapped things up. Yeah, it does have two Democratic Senators, but they're both moderate. (To be fair, there's a Dem Governor, but I don't know anything about him.)

by Nathan Empsall 2007-02-06 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Iraq Survey

And the Democrats just swept the state in 2006.  Every statewide elected office, I believe.  Arkansas went way blue in the midterm.  And it wasn't even very close.  Sure, its somewhat conservative, but it should be easily within reach for HRC, Obama, or Edwards, if one of them is the candidate.

by jallen 2007-02-06 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Iraq Survey

Okay, not easily within reach, but its reach-able.

by jallen 2007-02-06 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Iraq Survey

Wow. Hadn't heard that about the state offices. Thanks for the heads up, jallen. Suh-weet.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-02-06 04:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Iraq Survey

I'm shocked that at least Schumer and Clinton aren't in the no comment section. If you don't want to regret it, then at least do the next best thing. Arkansas has always been a Red State, the voters in Arknsas are very socially conservative and Republicans are more likely to win the state than Dems. in a presidential election year.

by bsavage 2007-02-06 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Iraq Survey: Clinton Does Not Regret Ir

From the results as published the only presidential candidates I see from the Senate who support the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, and ending the war, are Biden and Obama.  Of course we don't now where Edwards stands on this, do we?  Or do we.

Kind of narrows the field for progressive Democrats, doesn't it?

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-06 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Iraq Survey: Clinton Does Not Regret Ir

Hillary is obviously the leader of the prowar faction of the Dems.  We must just keep on pointing that out and work like hell to defeat her.  I believe that is possible.  In my local DP club I have seen her support visibly drop (out of 50 members) in the last 3 months.

What would be really useful is a site address where one could find the links to her more Hawkish statements.  I found her Princeton speech (dec,2005) a useful tool in scaring away her wavering supporters.

by syvanen 2007-02-06 01:01PM | 0 recs
Where have you been?

New Yorkers and their views have been willfilly unrepresented in the Senate when it comes to foreign policy for quite a while now - whether it's more due to triangulation or AIPAC, I'll let the reader decide.  

Why those on this site, among other, continue to rubberstamp Hilpac & Scummer, and refuse to even venture a word for Clinton and Schumer's anti-war Senate campaign opponents (Dem and Green) in the last couple of elections is beyond me.

by brooklyngreenie 2007-02-06 01:03PM | 0 recs
Hypothethical Hillary and Ilusionary Iraq

I think Hillary Clinton is opening herself up to devastating criticism with her posturing on Iraq. She says if she was President in 2003 we would not have gone to war with Iraq AND if she is President in 2009 she will end the Iraq War.

Those are hypothetical constructions. The REALITY is that Hillary Clinton IS a US Senator and has voted for the war, supported the war, and continues to support the war in Iraq. Her hypotheticals are going to look awful threadbare in a debate with Obama (or Gore). Edwards has come clean as well and I think 1/3 of America at least is in the Edwards camp - they were misled and switched camps.

I'd vote for Hypothetical Hillary if she were on the ballot. But it's the real Sen. Hillary Clinton that is on the ballot - the one with a real record of support for the Iraq War. So she won't get my vote - a vote I happily cast in her column when I lived in NY in 2000.

by joejoejoe 2007-02-06 01:10PM | 0 recs
Good...she has no reason too...

The 28 Yes votes among Democrats were doing their jobs...made a judgment, and voted accordingly. Some lame apology now only makes it seem they weren't taking their job seriously the first time...

I'm glad she hasn't knuckled to the apology now crowd...

by SaveElmer 2007-02-06 01:17PM | 0 recs

I accept that description.

Voters should ask themselves...

1) In hindsight was it a bad judgement to support the Iraq War in 2003?

2) Do you want the next President to have demonstrably good judgement?

If you answered 'YES' to the questions above please vote only for Obama, Gore, Clark or Kucinich. If you answered one 'YES' and one 'NO' then you have problems with logic and consistency but by all means vote for Edwards, Clinton, Dodd, or Biden. If you answered 'NO' twice then pull the lever for John McCain.

by joejoejoe 2007-02-06 01:41PM | 0 recs
Canididates and the AUMF

A few thoughts about being against the Iraq war...  

I think at the top of the list should be Kucinich.  Not only was he in Congress, and yes, voted against the AUMF, but he actually organized and led the effort against the AUMF in the House.  He is the complete real deal against the Iraq war, and everyone else is just pale in comparison.  If you are looking for the one, true anti-AUMF candidate, Kucinich must be your candidate.    

Gore, of course, did not have a vote, and I honestly cannot recall just how supportive he was of Kucinich's efforts around the time of the AUMF debate. But, particularly in helping Dean, Gore certainly was a brave, strong, early voice against the war.

Obama gave an excellent speech, before he had to vote in the Senate, explaining why he did not believe war with Iraq was a good idea. It is one of the most interesting speeches I have read in some time.  It is eloquent, but also contains a lot of pragmatic, and yes, calculating, explanations about the wars that Obama WOULD support.  An anti-war speech with lots of pro-war content?  You won't hear that at too many peace rallies, and I have been to my share...

In essence, Obama wanted to set history straight. He is NOT against wars in general. He is NOT some idealistic peacenik or flower-child.  Instead, he is against THIS particular war. Interesting.  Pragmatic.

In his latest book, Obama had some interesting things to say about that speech. I don't have the book in front of me...will get it for a later comment...but my recollection is that he offered a very nuanced and somewhat unexpected perspective on that speech.  

Once Obama actually got into the Senate, his anti-war position really did not show itself very strongly.  He never voted against funding for the war (Edwards and Kerry actually did this in 2004), and he never offered any legislation to end the war.  He was briefly, verbally supportive of the brave Murtha, then made it clear that he was NOT supportive of withdrawal. He even voted against the Kerry/Feingold amendment calling for withdrawal.  In the last 3 months, Obama's anti-war position has re-emerged, and he has offered legislation.

Clark's position, and positions, on the war are the most complex and take a long time to explain, likely best left for a future diary.  (You can actually find his words on both sides, and of course, he never had to actually vote up, or down, on the day the AUMF was before the Senate.)  

As a matter of fact, a diary that fully details the timelines and evolutions of each of the candidates' positions and statements on the Iraq war would make for a very interesting diary.  With the exceptions of Kucinich and Gore, you are going to see a lot of ups and downs, a lot of sinusoidal properties.  :)

by Demo37 2007-02-06 04:16PM | 0 recs
Just Guessing

si·nus·oi·dal  [sahy-nuh-soid-l]  -  adjective

    1.    Politics: of or pertaining to being 'on the nose'.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-06 05:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Just Guessing

LOL.  I like your definition better than the actual waveform one.  (Or maybe "sinusoidal" means:  following your nose.)  :)

by Demo37 2007-02-06 08:25PM | 0 recs
Just for the Record

on the nose  -  coloquialism Aus. Slang

    1.    foul-smelling

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-06 09:14PM | 0 recs
With your observation you have just provided a way

for the other candidates to question Hillary's stance on Iraq:
I can picture this during a debate from ...... fill in the blank with any  candidate's name during a "ask your opponent a question period"

"She says if she was President in 2003 we would not have gone to war with Iraq AND if she is President in 2009 she will end the Iraq War.

Those are hypothetical constructions. The REALITY is that Hillary Clinton IS a US Senator and has voted for the war, supported the war, and continues to support the war in Iraq." Would you please respond, Senator Clinton, to THAT reality and tell us concretely what you are doing as a US Senator on a daily basis to stop this occupation as the majority of American citizens as currently polled, say they want?

I put your statements from your comment in quotations in the blockquote.

I can only dream

by merbex 2007-02-06 01:40PM | 0 recs
Mistake on Chambliss-

Saxby Chambliss is of Georgia, not South Carolina.

by jallen 2007-02-06 01:13PM | 0 recs
Clinton shouldn't make it to the General election

But man, does she make the DLC proud!

by Bob Brigham 2007-02-06 01:15PM | 0 recs
Hillary and the timetable issue

Hillary has said a few times that it would be stupid(paraphrasing her) to set a timetable.

However, she has frequently mentioned in recent campaign appearances that Bush must end the war by the end of his term or she will do it right away. IF THAT IS NOT A DEADLINE , WHAT ISN'T?
ANd it's even worse because in Hillary's case the deadline has nothing to do with ending the war quickly or setting a strategic time. She picked the fucking election as the deadline so she won't have to actually be directly resposible for the mess she was a part of creating.

by Pravin 2007-02-06 01:22PM | 0 recs
A Time Deadline, But No Time Deadline?

You are right.  I recently noticed that contradiction myself.  It makes no sense.  

by Demo37 2007-02-06 02:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary and the timetable issue

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you that a politician is being political.

by juano 2007-02-07 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Iraq Survey: Tester and Webb

I'm disappointed in their response.  They don't support a surge, but they also do not support a timeline for withdrawal.

by pioneer111 2007-02-06 01:28PM | 0 recs
Only those who voted 'No' will get my contribution

by saguaro 2007-02-06 01:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Iraq Survey

Excluding Bill Clinton (a favourite son) it hasn't voted Democrat in a presidential election since 1976. Sure, it may be more Democrat-friendly than other Southern states, but it's still a Southern state and Democrats there tend to differ from Democrats in the North-east or the Midwest.

by Englishlefty 2007-02-06 01:53PM | 0 recs

I think one way to look at recent history and Arkansas in presidential elections is...they will support a Democratic candidate from the South. They will NOT support a Democratic candidate from outside the South.

Thus, if the party nominates a Southern candidate, Arkansas is definitely in play, very winnable.  If you nominate someone from outside the South, history tells will not win Arkansas.  

by Demo37 2007-02-06 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Problem with pdf

I can't read the pdf file -- something's wrong with their website.

by Paul Hogarth 2007-02-06 01:56PM | 0 recs
Regret,'s pointless...

"It means, among other things, that there are still at least forty-seven votes to authorize the war in Iraq."

No it does not mean that at all.  That anyone would make that obviously wrong conclusion from Senators answers to a "gotcha" question calls into question their other conclusions.

Hillary, Schumer, Hagel will mostly vote against reauthorizing the war in Iraq (which is what the Senate should be working on).

I'm for Obama in part because he got the Iraq decision right from the beginning, demonstrating much better judgment on US foreign policy and national security questions.

At the same time, I doubt that Clinton, as President, would have pushed the US into an Iraq war.  

Edwards, who progressives love for some reason, has stated he would attack in Iran so, despite his politically motivated mea culpa on his voting for Iraq war, he still demonstrates he lacks the judgment to president by promoting war with Iran.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-06 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Arkansas

unless you believe that the country as a whole went for Gore in 2000

by lorax 2007-02-06 04:15PM | 0 recs
Clinton Does Not Regret Iraq Vote

Hillary's negatives re the Iraq vote are already factored into her polling numbers, especially her primary polling numbers.   She gains more traction with each new poll.  The concern for voters is how to fix the mess in Iraq and healthcare.  Nobody will be sitting around comparing who apologized or how much they regret the vote or when they said they regret their vote.  It ain't gonna happen. It's like beating a dead horse.  If that is bad news for y'all, I am sorry.  Hillary promised to end the war and I believe, based on what all these new polls tell me, that the country is going to give her the chance to do so.  

by marycontrary 2007-02-06 04:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton Does Not Regret Iraq Vote

Absolutely right. In addition, voting for the AUMF does NOT equate with being for the war. I doubt that anyone would vote for the AUMF today knowing what they know now (That GWB is an imbecile who abused the trust placed in him)

by juano 2007-02-07 06:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Iraq Survey: Clinton Does Not Regret Ir

I'm wondering about their methodology.

It says in the article:
"When senators or staff members did not respond to repeated requests for comment, Politico used public statements to attempt to establish the senator's position."

I wonder if Hillary gave a direct answer or not.

by JasonOWU 2007-02-06 04:30PM | 0 recs
Clinton Does Not Regret Iraq Vote
Hillary has never stopped dealing with the difficult situation in Iraq.  Her bases are more than covered.  Experience will matter on the issue of foreign policy.  Edwards and Obama do not have it.  And neither does Rudy.  McCain is toast. lsecurity/iraq/
by marycontrary 2007-02-06 04:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton Does Not Regret Iraq Vote

I agree!

by art3 2007-02-06 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton Does Not Regret Iraq Vote

You're right, Hillary has never stopped dealing with the difficult situation in Iraq, she's part of it!

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-06 05:45PM | 0 recs


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