Probably you’re not confused over why so many Democratic peace wimps cast those votes for war in Iraq which they now, as presidential candidates, so bitterly regret. (And if you think every man and woman jack of them didn’t know perfectly well that it was a vote for war, have I got a bridge for you…)
But there’s one element to this mass cowardice that you may have forgotten. This is from the February 25, 2007, New York Times Magazine:
[Georgia Democratic Senator Sam] Nunn considered running for president in 1988, and his name surfaced again after Michael Dukakis’s crushing defeat in November of that year, which further persuaded centrist Democrats that they needed a southern moderate as a candidate.
But that talk ground to a halt after Nunn opposed the first gulf war. He urged at the time that sanctions and diplomacy be given more time and, in January 1991, voted against the Senate’s war resolution.
A sign went up on a Georgia highway caling him “Saddam’s Best Friend,” and some suggested that he was cynically appealing to liberal Democratic primary voters. As it happened, however, opposing such a short and easy war probably ruined Nunn’s shot at the White House.
In Washington his vote was considered a colossal political blunder. “He got a lot of political flak,” says his friend Al From, the chairman of the moderate Democratic Leadership Council. “It probably hastened his decision to retire from politics.”
Nunn’s vote “profoundly infuenced the next generation of senators that confronted plans for the second invasion” 11 years later, says a former Clinton defense official who advises Congressional Democrats. White House officials even invoked Nunn’s “mistake” as they lobbied Congress to vote for war.