In the last few weeks, two giants of center-left politics—Hillary Clinton in America and Gordon Brown in Britain—have seen their electoral chances reduced to near impossibility. Both have struggled as uncharismatic politicians in a media age. But for one columnist in London's Times, their trajectories have more important parallels: not least, their support for the war in Iraq, the unspoken element in both of their downfalls.
As Anatole Kaletsky writes, Iraq prevented Brown from incarnating a real break from Tony Blair just as it legitimized Barack Obama as a Clinton opponent. As times got worse, their "triangulation"—basically, hypocrisy—on the issue cost Clinton and Brown the support of the liberal intelligentsia and the media. And these days, writes Kaletsky, "a left-wing politician who loses the support of this liberal constituency is probably doomed."