hillary clintonAfter the election, Pelosi’s hardball legislative tactics drew porcine squeals from the Republicans before she even took office as they felt the troughs yanked away. Vacuum up the graft while you can and get ready for the biggest, baddest race in town: the wide-open 2008 Pennsylvania 1600.

We will see if they have learned the cardinal rule of GOP success in this particular realm – pick your winner early in a back room with the big money boys, and brook no further challenge.

And if that means the frat boy’s goon squad has to start a whisper campaign in South Carolina about the war hero having a screw loose from those years in the VC tiger cages, which he compensates through miscegenation with black prostitutes… well, it ain’t pretty, but it’s politics.

Chances are they have learned this lesson and put it in the playbook. In that case, the smart money has to be on Hillary. No doubt this is why she has graced my poor little backwater state of New Hampshire with her presence recently. Those smelly voters still have to go through the motions, after all.

Watching Hillary stroll gracefully toward coronation is a foul prospect. She ceased years ago to be human in any meaningful sense of the word. She has been so dissected and re-assembled by the consultants, pollsters, focus group wizards, and the blow-drier brigade that she has become a lumbering, bug-eyed Frankenstein of vacuous comments, empty slogans and inanely irrelevant policies.

Proposing amendments against flag-burning is a dangerous diversion while Alberto “Torture Boy” Gonzales is busy burning the Bill of Rights and Magna Carta. Joining forces with Joe “Kiss Me George, I’m a Democrat” Lieberman to clamp down on Grand Theft Auto while Grand Theft Iraq is costing taxpayers $100,000 a minute is a luxury we can ill afford.

{loadposition content_adsensecontent}

I am as liberal as they come. I have gone down proudly with several ships and will doubtless go down with many more. But Kerry 2004 was one I almost couldn’t bring myself to board. Voting for him was a vast mistake that gnaws my soul, one I swore I would not repeat. And that’s why we must drive a stake through the heart of this vile Clintonian beast slouching toward Washington before it goes one step further.

It’s not Kerry or Clinton per se, or even the hideous compromises they must make to get themselves elected, that bother me. Certainly either would be infinitely better than the Boy Blunder of a Decider currently skittering around the White House with his hellish pantheon of enablers. But I will never cast a vote for either of them as long as I live.

The reason is Iraq. Both voted in 2002 to give Boy Blunder authorisation to go out and play war with the other kids from the neighbourhood, then acted surprised when somebody lost an eye. Kerry’s purported flip-flopping was a Rovian scam, but he still got what he deserved after that vote.

Hillary is now trying to execute flip-flop redux when no one is looking. In 2004 and 2005 she was pursing her lips and saying “she did not regret” her vote, but regretted that Bush had not exhausted the possibilities of diplomacy before trashing Iraq, and that Rumsfeld et al had mucked things up in turning the smouldering wreckage into a peaceful, oil-pumping colony. But while you were shopping for Christmas gifts, she was on the “Today Show” changing her story. She now claims she “wouldn’t have voted that way” if she had known everything she knows now.

Exactly what did you not know then, Senator? That Bush was going to war no matter what Hans Blix found or didn’t find? That was patently obvious, and Cheney said so directly to Blix beforehand. That Iraq had no nuclear capacity and no prospect of achieving it? I figured that out by casually reading the Washington Post two or three times a week, as did the millions of people around the world who protested before the start of the war. One might expect a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to be at least as well informed.

Iraq was attacked not because it threatened the United States, but because it was so weak it could not hope to defend itself. Colin Powell’s UN address was about as believable as OJ’s reward for finding his wife’s “real killer”. Clinton knew this, unless she is either a brainless dolt or criminally lax in her senatorial duties. Nor is this 20/ 20 hindsight, contrary to what the pundits claim. The record shows that the facts were out in the open long before her vote, and the results of this insane venture were both predictable and predicted.

Her vote was a crass and squalid political calculation by a would-be Commander in Chief who was afraid to look weak in comparison to a draft-dodging frat boy. The consultants decided it was going to be Gulf War I all over again, done and forgotten within a year. So vote for it and build up your street cred, Hillary, you’ll need it later. Thus did she help consign hundreds of thousands of people to hideous injuries and wretched, meaningless deaths in the sands of Iraq. She brought us into a futile war which has already cost more than Vietnam and killed more innocent Iraqis than Saddam Hussein ever did.

What are we to think of an iconic figure of thoughtful, 1960s liberal intellectualism who whores every conceivable principle of decency in the pursuit of ultimate political power? Of members of a generation who achieved political consciousness in the crucible of Vietnam, only to use their newfound power to embroil the next generation in an equally absurd and bloody fiasco?

The standard for initiating military action must be supremely high. Congress holds no power more dreadful and solemn than that of authorising war and sending young men and women to their deaths. Finger-pointing at the childish and clumsy obfuscation of the Bush administration during the run-up to the Iraq war is no excuse for this decision. Senator Clinton’s behaviour is beyond negligence.

She voted for a war she knew to be terribly wrong in the interests of crass political expediency. There can be no more damning indictment of her fitness to be President. If she cannot be trusted to follow the most basic dictates of her conscience in matters of war and peace, she certainly cannot be trusted to govern. Let us end this repulsive charade before it begins.

Colin Shea is a writer and media industry analyst living in Prague, Czech Republic, and a long time contributor to Think.