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Netroots Nightmare: O'Hanlon Teams Up with HRC

7:05 AM, Oct 5, 2007 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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When Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution wrote in the New York TImes that the surge was working, they were widely criticized by the antiwar left, which went to great lengths to undercut their findings. The two scholars could do nothing to convince their liberal critics that things in Iraq have gotten better. But they may have convinced at least one Democrat, and she happens to be the party's prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination.

Hillary Clinton, you'll remember, has staked out a nuanced position on the surge. In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in late August, Clinton declared of the surge, "It's working." And now, O'Hanlon has been named as a foreign policy adviser to the Clinton campaign.

Clinton, of course, is no friend of the antiwar left, and at least one lefty blogger is calling on the Senator to "renounce O'Hanlon's support." But, despite her grandstanding during the Petraeus hearings, it isn't at all clear that the senator's position on the war is all that different from the president's. By putting O'Hanlon on her team, she's let the netroots know that she doesn't need their support, and more to the point, she doesn't want their support. How can she afford to be so dismissive of this powerful constituency? Maybe because they aren't as powerful as we'd thought.