Iran Resolution: Matthews Accuses Hillary of 'Wide Stance'

File this one under "Mental Images We Could Do Without."

Discussing her attempt to straddle the Iran issue, Chris Matthews has accused Hillary Clinton of a "wide stance." For some time, the "Hardball" host has been making the point that while Hillary now claims she voted for the 2002 Iraq resolution only for purposes of authorizing more diplomacy, at the time everyone and his uncle knew that it was a war authorization.

For example, interviewing Hillary advisor Howard Wolfson on "Hardball" back in July, Matthews stated: "Anybody who didn't think we were going to war in the months leading up to the war in Iraq wasn't paying attention."

Today, Matthews employed the infelicitous metaphor for purposes of accusing Hillary of pulling a similar stunt on Iran.

View video here.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Last week President Bush said a nuclear Iran would mean World War III. This week the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, is threatening Iran with serious consequences. So what does that mean for Hillary Clinton, who voted to label the Iran revolutionary guard a terrorist organization?

Well, word that the Iowa Democrats will punish her if the U.S. does attack Iran, Hillary has just sent a three-page letter to Iowa voters trying to distance herself from a possible lead-up to war with Iran. In the letter she defends what she calls a vote for stepped-up diplomacy, not military action. That's right: same thing she said about her vote the resolution authorizing the war with Iraq. Hillary wants hawks in the party to think she's the most hawkish of Democrats, and still make the cut with the doves. Talk about a wide stance.

Ugh. And can you imagine the MSM howls of protest, the allegations of invidious attack, homophobia and who-knows-what-else if a conservative pundit had selected the same simile?

Aside: I'm not in the habit of choosing unflattering screencaps, but did so here because it shows the very moment that Matthews mentioned the wide stance. Looks like Chris managed to gross himself out.

My take: I take issue with Chris's claim that Hillary adopted the straddle because she "wants hawks in the party to think she's the most hawkish of Democrats." At least when it comes to primary voters, there really ain't no hawkish Dems. Hillary's gambit is aimed at maintaining her foreign policy credentials for the general election, not the primaries.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.