Arguments in Play

On Iraq, and whatever broader set of issues one believes are implicated in the Iraq debate, I only ever hear one message coming from the Obama campaign, namely:

  1. Obama and Clinton disagree, and Obama is right and Clinton is wrong.

Team Hillary, by contrast, is always equivocating between two different ideas:

  1. Obama and Clinton disagree, and Clinton is right and Obama is wrong.
  2. Obama and Clinton actually agree, but Clinton is more experienced and more capable of implementing a sound agenda.

Clinton Argument Two can be made pretty persuasively. Plenty of anti-war folks are on Clinton's side, and Obama's never really spelled out what, exactly, on the level of doctrine he and Clinton disagree about. But the fact that Clinton Argument One does, in fact, get trotted out (especially when the intended audience isn't yours truly) seems to me to badly undercut Argument Two.

Meanwhile, and somewhat relatedly, I keep encountering people whose view of the race seems to be shaped by the assumption that it's not possible that good-faith disagreements exist about national security issues among Democrats. That, in essence, all Democrats have very lefty ideas about this stuff and all deviations from an ideal plane of leftiness are explained by political cowardice. I'm not really sure what evidence anyone would find convincing on this score, but perhaps part of the value of having an inside-the-beltway corrupt Villager on your list of blogs-I-read is that I can tell you that in my experience this is false. There are lots of strongly partisan Democrats who very much think Bush has taken the country in the wrong direction but who vigorously disagree among themselves about what national security policy ought to look like.