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July 03, 2008

Must Be A Slow News Day
Posted by Michael Cohen

So apparently Barack Obama completely reversed his position on Iraq and is now calling for US troops to stay there for the next 100 years. Ok, I'm kidding; but considering the breathless news coverage of Obama's statement about Iraq in Fargo, North Dakota today one would think Obama said something akin to what I've written above. Here's what Obama actually did say:

When I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies.

Refine! Refine! After seven years of a President who refuses to ever budge on any long-standing policy position, one would think that refinement might be the kind of approach we would celebrate in our elected leaders.

Not surprisingly, the McCain campaign pounced on these comments:

"Today, Barack Obama reversed [his] position, proving once again that his words do not matter," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said in a statement.

I smell a rat here. Not that long ago the McCain folks were attacking Obama for sticking to a phased withdrawal and refusing to shift course based on the improved security situation in Iraq. So now he talks of refining his policy and they go nuts because he has "reversed" himself. Isn't that what they wanted him to do? So which one is it - do the McCain folks want Obama to switch course or don't they?

And considering that John McCain has "reversed" himself on the Bush tax cuts, offshore oil drilling, torture, campaign finance, immigration etc it is a bit rich to see him attacking Obama for speaking of "refining" his policy toward Iraq.

And just in case you think Obama really has "reversed" himself I think this quote that he delivered at a press conference should put that idea to bed:

Let me be as clear as I can be. I intend to end this war. My first day in office I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in, and I will give them a new mission, and that is to end this war — responsibly, deliberately, but decisively. And I have seen no information that contradicts the notion that we can bring our troops out safely at a pace of one to two brigades a month, and again, that pace translates into having our combat troops out in 16 months' time.


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Changing positions to accommodate changed conditions or new ideas. Some call it flip flopping. I think it's learning.
But if you support deciding to go to war based on faulty info, discovering the info is faulty but staying the course anyway at the cost of thousands of lives & trillions of $ I can see why this is a problem for you.
This learning thing can be hard. As 4,000 American families & countless Iraqis can testify, the alternative is harder.

Everyone is acting all surprised that he's tacking toward the center. Of course he is. The primaries are over!

I agree. While there have been a few recent statements from Obama that represent actual flip-flops, I don't believe this is one of them. This is just yet another case of Obama choosing to reassure centrists and conservatives by emphasizing the more centrist side of his previously articulated positions. Nevertheless, it has been a bad couple of weeks for Obama. He and his campaign have really gotten much too wrapped up in this business of reassuring the center, and he has lost track of his message. As a result, the store of supporters who are willing to rally vigorously and enthusiastically to his defense against media misrepresentations is wearing thinner, and he has sparked a totally unnecessary backlash.

I think he needs to do a better job reminding people about the totality of his political agenda, including the substantially more progressive elements of that agenda. He can't just assume that since it is out there in the public record somewhere he can take it for granted that everyone is going to remember all of it.

This is the candidate who has - smartly, in my view - declined public financing, because of his fund-raising and organizing prowess. He has ambitious plans to wage a campaign all across the country. The funds for this operation, and the large organized armies of foot-soldiers, are supposed to come from people who are presumably excited about his campaign. He can't neglect the job of keeping those people excited. I would submit that the election is not going to be won by keeping people like Michael and George Packer happy, but by firing up base Democrats and progressives.

Exactly what has the Obama message been over the past few weeks. It seems to me it's been

Barack Obama,

Not too black,
Not too innovative,
Not too bold,
Not too risky,
Not to different from what's come before.

Obama's old "change" message doesn't sit so well with his new "safe" message.

The FISA was a serious, tone-deaf misstep, because it was a very clear case of a rich and powerful industry successfully lobbying to buy itself immunity from possible wrongdoing, and from violations of the rights of ordinary, less powerful, less wealthy citizens. When Democrats talk about "hope" for the future, this illustration of the Money Talks Principle is precisely the opposite of what they have in mind. I understand that Obama was in a tough position since some powerful Congressional Democratic allies had helped forge the "compromise". But then as the man who is attempting to assume the mantle of his party's leadership, he should have worked harder before the fact to make sure that Pelosi et al. wouldn't saddle him with this bad and embarrassing legislation. And when it became clear that Bush was willing hold his precious War on Terror hostage to the interests of some corporate pals, Obama should have gotten all over the issue on the side of equal justice and anti-corruption, instead of allowing himself to be maneuvered into supporting this odious cave-in.

McCain is proof that selling your soul to the devil is not a one-time transaction but a lengthy, on-going negotiation to pawn away things you have for the object of greatest desire. He wants to power of the presidency so bad you can see him mortgaging away everything he has to get it. This nation should be very distrustful of such a man.

This nation should be very distrustful of such a man.

I was there to him, and I was going to be available should something something Air jordan retro something go wrong.

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