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Obama Acting Presidential; Media Continues to Cover for Fumbling McCain

July 23rd, 2008

Obama is coming across as very presidential and right on all the important issues in Iraq; Bush is now courting Obama’s timeline while pretending not to, as Iraq’s leadership clearly shows preference for Obama’s withdrawal plans–and McCain is left to pretend to a gullible media that he knows better than the Iraqis what it is they want. McCain and Bush are shifting toward Obama’s long-held position that we should shift away from Iraq and toward Afghanistan.

And Obama does an excellent job stating that he is not “ignoring the generals” unless he does exactly what they say; the whole “following the generals” claptrap has always been Bush’s way of borrowing the brass’ credibility because he himself has none, as well as for passing the buck and shifting the blame. “I am following the generals’ advice” has always been an excuse and a dodge, not a virtue. Obama clarifies, saying that its the generals’ job to advise, but it’s the president’s job to see the greater scope of things and make the final decisions (you know, to be a “decider”)–and the generals then implement the strategy the president dictates. That’s how it’s actually supposed to work, not this “how dare you go against the generals” BS.

Meanwhile, McCain, in an interview with CBS News, made a much bigger gaffe than his previous statement suggesting that Iraq and Afghanistan Pakistan share a border. This time, he stated that the Surge™ was responsible for the “Anbar Awakening,” despite the fact that the Anbar Awakening happened four months before the Surge™ was even announced, and even longer before the troops started arriving. But McCain claims that the Anbar Awakening’s debt to the Surge™ is “just a matter of history.”

The cover-up: CBS broadcast the question, but edited out McCain’s gaffe reply (h/t to Tim), instead editing in a different answer to make it look like McCain wasn’t a blundering buffoon. What kind of news agency catches a presidential candidate in a huge, glaring gaffe and then edits it to make it look like he made no gaffe?? And this, the “liberal” CBS?

While we’re talking about the Surge™, let’s note one more time that the Surge’s™ “success” is accidental–they lucked out, big time, as not only the Anbar Awakening softened up the ground, but that the cease-fire called by al Sadr caused the resulting decrease in violence–and the Surge™ simply happened to start at a time when we could take advantage of these independent developments. It’s the classic “Homer” success–you make a move which by all rights should end in disaster, but then fate intervenes to bring you success. The Surge™ was not a success because of McCain’s brilliant planning, he just happened to luck out, big-time, as the confluence of events in Iraq made a bad decision into a good one purely by accident.

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  1. ykw
    July 24th, 2008 at 02:05 | #1

    I think the success in the last 15mths is due to a combination of efforts from:

    * Gen Petraeus
    * Ambassador Crocker
    * Jim Baker’s report (which encourages shift in focus)
    * Additional troops and money (i.e. surge)
    * Gates instead of Rumsfeld as SecDef

    The folks that ran the war previously were loony relative to this new group.

  2. stevetv
    July 24th, 2008 at 02:43 | #2

    “What kind of news agency catches a presidential candidate in a huge, glaring gaffe and then edits it to make it look like he made no gaffe??”

    Maybe they were trying to hide Couric’s failure to follow up on such a major blunder.

  3. Luis
    July 24th, 2008 at 03:58 | #3

    YKW: Not to include the al Sadr cease-fire there is a major oversight. True, better handling of the Iraqis has helped a certain amount, but (a) the Anbar Awakening was the Iraqis coming to a decision by themselves, and (b) the al Sadr cease-fire was a purely internal decision. The items you mentioned, like #4 (the Surge™), capitalized on these points, but they did not bring them about. Neither the Bush administration nor McCain deserve one iota of credit for *creating* the relative stability in Iraq.

    Plus, two caveats: (1) these stabilizing events are by their nature short-lived, and are either waiting for us to leave or for us to commit to a permanent presence before they come out of hibernation and explode again, and (2) everyone seems to have forgotten about all the other things that needed to happen for the Surge™ to be a success–reduced violence is only one of a large number of goals that need to be achieved, and for all the “success” we’ve seen (defining one dead US soldier a day plus the still-violent and -chaotic mess in Iraq today as “success” is indeed very relative), there would have to be ten or so other even more-miraculous “successes” in order for Iraq to become stable.

    In short, the “success” of the current caretakers in Iraq is illusory, to say the very, very least.

    SteveTV: Dang! Good one–I should have thought of that. However, I have to say that TV reporters let politicians today say just about *anything* these days without challenging them; it’s a seller’s market, and the news shows are in a buying frenzy for interview time. I think they know that if they highlighted a gaffe like that, they simply would never get another interview with McCain ever again.

  4. Rob Reiter
    July 24th, 2008 at 06:58 | #4

    “…made a much bigger gaffe than his previous statement suggesting that Iraq and Afghanistan share a border.”

    Actually, he suggested Iraq and Pakistan share border. But that’s OK, you’re not running for President.

  5. Luis
    July 24th, 2008 at 10:17 | #5

    Rob: Oops! Indeed, and corrected. Thank you, Joe Leiberman! Not to mention that I noted it was a lesser gaffe, but good point. I’ll make fun of the Iraqi-Pakistan border gaffe, but it was more along the lines of the Obama 57-state gaffe. His “Anbar Awakening” gaffe was not in the same class–it was a major misstatement of cause-and-effect, not a slip of the tongue (or, as it happens, a slip of the keyboard). Nevertheless, I think that’s my first gaffe on the topic, not the tenth.

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