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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

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About that war

Hillary's Iraq problem

Wed Feb 14, 2007 at 09:15:01 AM PST

Slot this in the "cry me a river" category:

Mrs. Clinton’s advisers do not relish the idea of someone bringing up her 2002 Senate vote at every campaign stop.

Clinton cast a vote that has led to one of the biggest foreign policy disasters in this nation's history -- a vote that even cursory skepticism would've counseled a vote against handing Bush "authority" to proceed.

Most of the presidential candidates have gotten the "I fracked up the vote" stuff last year. It's not the most compelling tack to take -- if their judgment was so poor as to vote for the darn thing, why should we promote them. We talk about DC being a place where people fail upward. Do we really want to encourage that within our own party?

But in any case, pro-war Dems who have unequivocally admitted their mistake don't have to offer tortured justifications for their war. They can honestly take Clinton pollster Mark Penn's advice:

It’s important for all Democrats to keep the word ‘mistake’ firmly on the Republicans and on President Bush. Senator Clinton has been very clear that we, as a party, should keep the focus on Bush — these were his mistakes. Ultimately that’s very important, not just for her, but for the entire Democratic party.

Too bad for Penn that just ain't gonna happen. I have no interest in giving a pass to those Democrats who aided and abetted Bush's mistakes, and I especially have no interest in giving a pass to those who demonstrate Bushian inability to offer self-reflection and admit that mistake. It's not a question of offering an "apology". I want acknowledgment of past mistakes.

Everyone serious in the field seems to have come to terms with that demand. These Democrats didn't just enable Bush's war, they sat by and let the Right Wing smear machine attack those of us who waged our lonely battles to end this thing. And while most have come around, Hillary remains the notable exception.

Those who have admitted their mistakes are now free to train their sights on the GOP. It doesn't absolve them from their terrible judgment, but it mitigates it. While it's best to not make a mistake in the first place, it's even worse to compound that mistake by refusing to come to terms with it.

Clinton doesn't have that. And what's worse, she has pretty much lost the window of opportunity to do so. After resisting for so long, she finds herself in the thick of the presidential primary (yes, even a year out) with no room to maneuver. If she suddenly reverses course and decides that yes, she'll take personal responsibility for her vote, it'll feed into the strongest anti-Hillary narrative -- that she's a panderer and will say what is most politically expedient at the moment.

It's a sad state of affairs, but Hillary has made her bed. And while her advisors may cringe that voters demand she account for Iraq at every campaign stop, I hope she continues to get grilled on it. She deserves nothing less.

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