October 7, 2010


What's killing Dems: Bam's foreign-policy 'betrayals' (MICHAEL BARONE, October 7, 2010, NY Post)

When Howard Dean's supporters were declaring that they wanted to "take our country back" in 2003 and 2004, they weren't talking about repealing the Bush tax cuts. They were talking about withdrawing US troops from Iraq and taking a more conciliatory stance to the leaders of Old Europe and Iran.

Similarly, Obama's refusal in 2007 and 2008 to admit that there was even a smidgen of success to George W. Bush's Iraq surge (even today he'll only hint it worked) cannot be chalked up to an intellectual incapacity to assimilate the facts.

It can only be explained as an unwillingness to rile the Democratic Party base, whose concerns, as we know from Bob Woodward's account of his conduct of deliberations over what to do in Afghanistan, are never far from his mind.

Nevertheless, he has left these Democrats disappointed.

They hoped to see an abject and abrupt withdrawal of US troops from Iraq within weeks of the Obama inauguration. They hoped to see a beginning of withdrawal from Afghanistan not in July 2011, but in the early months of 2009. They hoped to see the Guantanamo detention facility shuttered, and the detainees tried in civilian courts or freed to regale the media with tales of torture.

The uncomfortable truth is that many -- not most, but many -- Democratic politicians and voters saw political benefit in a US defeat in Iraq. Many, including Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, thronged to the Washington premiere of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11." They tried to give every appearance of agreeing with the "Bush-lied-people-died" crowd and with those who charged that high officials colluded in systematic torture.

It was a lot of fun while it lasted, up to Inauguration Day. But then Obama had to govern.

Given how smart the UR is supposed to be, it's at least strange that he learned nothing from FDR's '42 midterm disaster, Truman's inability to even seek a second term and LBJ's similarly forced retirement. And those three wars hadn't been pre-demonized on the Left.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 7, 2010 6:03 AM
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