February 20, 2007
IF WE NEED THIS KIND OF REALPOLITIK IN THE WHITE HOUSE, I guess we'd better vote Democratic:
The first time I proposed a snatch, in 1993, the White House Counsel, Lloyd Cutler, demanded a meeting with the President to explain how it violated international law. Clinton had seemed to be siding with Cutler until Al Gore belatedly joined the meeting, having just flown overnight from South Africa. Clinton recapped the arguments on both sides for Gore: Lloyd says this. Dick says that. Gore laughed and said, "That's a no-brainer. Of course it's a violation of international law, that's why it's a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass."
Gore in 2008!
UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg observes:
Before Gore became a hyper-partisan anti-Bush scream machine, he was actually a reasonable guy on the issue of extraordinary rendition (and, let us not forget, on Iraq). Indeed, after reading that I was more favorably inclined toward Gore than I've been in years, albeit for about 30 seconds.
It does not speak well of the character of so many Democrats that they can turn on a dime like this — whatever their rationalizations may be — but that doesn't change the fact that Democrats won't ever fully support the war on terror until they're take some ownership of it. Again, I don't think the let-the- babies-have-their-bottle argument is persuasive (though a real Democratic hawk would look very attractive to me). But this is a real problem and I'd love to know how else to deal with it.