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July 15, 2008

Big Picture
Posted by Michael Cohen

Today, Barack Obama gave a great foreign policy speech. He placed Iraq in the larger context of missed foreign policy opportunities over the past 8 years; and he presented a legitimate definition of what success could potentially look like in Iraq - a far cry from John McCain's call for undefined "victory."

Over at TPM, Greg Sargent had a nice round-up:

Now that Barack Obama has just wrapped up his big Iraq speech, it's worth noting how big a gamble he's taken at key moments during this race -- by insisting on elevating the discussion to a higher plane than the ordinary tit-for-tat of campaigns.

When Obama was under fire for Reverend Wright, Obama gave a speech in which he asked his audience to think bigger, to rise above the narrow, gaffe-driven debate about Wright and have a real and meaningful discussion about the larger social and historical forces at play.

Now Obama has again done something very similar on Iraq.

Obama did not back off his commitment to withdrawal one bit today. Rather, he doubled down on it. In a big, big way.

Greg nails this. So does Tim Fernholz at TAPPED. Same with Steve Benen over at Carpetbagger Report. It's moments like these that should allow us to put all the recent FISA silliness behind us. We have heard from various voices on the left that Barack Obama has betrayed progressives because he supported a compromise by nearly half the Democratic caucus and much of its leadership. As I've made clear repeatedly on DA, I disagree with this opinion.

But the back and forth on FISA risks clouding the enormous areas of agreement in the progressive community on Iraq - and Obama's steadfast support, through thick and thin, for what is basically an anti-war position. Barack Obama wants to end this war and bring the troops home. Even in the face of a general election campaign where national security issues generally favor Republicans; even in the face of security improvements in Iraq, Obama has maintained his overall strategy, which calls for us to begin drawing troops from Iraq (even if he is wisely giving himself some wiggle room on tactics). Not only is he not running away from that position; he's running for President on it.

Those who have criticized Obama on FISA should spend as much time praising his position on Iraq. He deserves it.


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Michael if you put too much salt on your dinner, can you fix it with pepper? The answer is no becuase they are different and not opposites.

The merits of arguments against Obama's vote on FISA yesterday as compared to today is no more or less compelling because of the merit of Obama's argument for ending the war. They are different: They are not opposite. It's wrong of you too be dismissive of the former due to the merit of the latter.

Please pass the salt.

Hell, it's moments like these that should allow us to put the whole damn constitution behind us. Onward Obama! Lead us to your plane.

Although I disagree with Obama on FISA, he is likely to appoint Supreme Court justices who will probably rule that FISA is unconstitutional while John McCain, on the other hand, will appoint conservative hardliners, that will uphold FISA, to the bench.

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