Coming right on the heels of my blog post earlier today on Bill's offensive to make Hillary into a hawk, MSNBC continued the offensive.
Wednesday night's Hardball with Chrissy Spittle Boy Matthews had Jon Soltz and Buzz Patterson to answer the question of whether Hillary is a hawk or a dove. Fireworks ensued. Soltz is the anti-Iraq War activist, founder of Vote Vets and recently gained notoriety at the Yearly Kos Konvention. Buzz Patterson is Vice Chairman of Move America Forward and author of Dereliction of Duty.
Notable in this exchange, watch who started interrupting first. Also, Soltz seems to feel that because he is an Iraq war vet, he has some higher moral authority than Buzz.
Soltz makes his case that Hillary is the best choice for Commander in Chief, based on his private conversations with her and her understanding and grasp of the military and it's organization. He feels that she has the most sensible foreign policy and would draw down forces in Iraq to fight our real enemy, al Qaeda.
Soltz had first shot, answering this question from Matthews: "John, is Hillary the kind of candidate who we can trust to get us out of Iraq and not go to war with Iran?"
Who is Matthews speaking for? Himself, the Congressional democrats, Vote Vet, MoveOn, Code Pink, al Qaeda, Iran? Anyway, Soltz answered
I think Hillary is someone who has all of the strengths of a strong commander-in-chief. She understands how we fight. I mean, when you talk to her privately, she can tell you the difference between an old brigade combat team and a new unit of action and how we have, you know, combined our mechanized infantry and armor. It is absolutely fascinating to speak with her behind the scenes.First, Hillary has been in the Senate for six and a half years, not eight. Second, all that Soltz related means she's paying attention while she's in committee and is well briefed. Which is good, but that doesn't mean she should be Commander in Chief. And if Stolz actually thinks Hillary cares one fart about him having lead troops in combat, then he's a sucker. Hillary doesn't care.
Her last eight years in the Armed Services Committee she has learned from. And she understands why we fight. You know, I was at a large event with her several months ago and she pulled me aside and she asked me about staying in the Army or not staying in the Army. And I said, well, ma‘am, I do not know.
You know, I love the Army, and my greatest hour was ever—I ever had in my life was leading soldiers into war. And she says to me, you know, you are right, Jon. There is no greater honor than being in charge of our troops in a combat zone. And for her to understand that, like I said, she understands how we fight and why we fight. And she is somebody that.
Here, Matthews goes to Patterson and asks: "How do you see Hillary, hawk or dove?"
Hey, Chris. She is a dove in hawk‘s clothing. I mean, I know her personally, worked for her for two years, with her husband from 1996 to 1998, and she is anything but a hawk. I mean, she wants to pull us out of a Iraq. She voted for the war before she voted against the war, to coin a phrase from a previous candidate.And there is where Soltz starts interrupting, after Patterson had sat there and let Soltz have his say. Guess when you're the absolute moral authority you get to interrupt. After that, it was on.
She will say anything she has to say, Chris, to get elected president. See, she is a pathological liar. She does not understand the military. I can speak first and foremost personally, knowing her intimately. She is not a hawk. She is anything but. She is a Wellesley College, socialist, anti-military, anti-American.
The only thing Buzz might be wrong about is saying she does not understand the military. His interaction with her was almost ten years ago. She might not have known much then but she's had her years in the Senate to pick up a few things. If he means she doesn't understand what being in the military is all about, that I'll believe, despite Soltz's position to the contrary.
Soltz goes on defending Hillary as being a credible Commander in Chief. Patterson defends his position against Hillary based on his first hand experience with the Clintons.
SOLTZ: He is wrong. He‘s making the argument for us.
PATTERSON: John, I was there, pal. You were not.
SOLTZ: I was there.
PATTERSON: You weren‘t in the White House. By the way, let me tell you—
SOLTZ: Let me tell you something, you weren‘t in Kosovo when I was in Kosovo under Bill Clinton.
PATTERSON: I was in Bosnia.
Soltz continues, criticizing Bush and missile defense, which he claims has alienated our allies, and talking about how when he was in Kosovo he had up armored Humvees, but not when he went to Iraq.
They have dedication of super duper missile defense systems in the sky that have alienated our allies. And the Democrats have a position where we can take the fight to al Qaeda in Afghanistan. I was in Kosovo when we had—
Why did we have armor equipment under Bill Clinton in Kosovo, but when I was in Iraq, we didn‘t have it?
Bill Clinton was a better commander-in-chief than George W. Bush.
Oh no; lions and tigers and bears. How many troops did we have in Kosovo? A few thousand, peak maybe 8500. That's a far cry from having 150,000 in Iraq. I'd suspect it was much easier to scrape together enough up armored Humvees for a few thousand troops than it is to equip an invasion force of 150,000 troops.
In March 2003, we were operating on the second budget of the Bush administration. If there were not enough up armored Humvees when we went into Iraq, then that was a material short fall from the Clinton administration. Unless, of course, one can convince oneself that all the short comings of the Clinton military could be fixed in the first budget. Or that we should not have done anything until we had everything our military needed - even if it would take several years to get to that point.
Note also that Soltz seems to be against missile defense systems, which puts him right smack dab in the same camp as most Congressional democrats.
As I said, this seems to be an offensive to sell Hillary as a pro-military, foreign policy hawk. I suspect we'll hear more on this in the coming weeks.