Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The WaPo’s Thomas Ricks says that, by and large, no matter who’s in the White House (well, Dennis Kucinich excepted), Iraq policy will look pretty much the same. The success of the surge seems to have taken big changes off the table.

So of course we won’t hear about Iraq in the general election, right?

Discussions - 9 Comments

I take a slightly more cynical view. The MSM and HRC have known all along that reality dictates a U.S. presence in Iraq for quite a few more years. Calling for an immediate withdrawal was simply a way to put pressure on Bush and create some buzz to drive dollars into campaign war chests.

But ... now that HRC's election to president is looking more likely, the MSM is doing some advance work. They're softening the ground out front of HRC's taking office so she won't be faced with the prospect of having to immediately withdraw. The MSM will have reset the expectations and HRC may then maintain status quo and be hailed as a brilliant commander in chief because of it.

Don in AZ - Too much Intelligent Design!

"well, Dennis Kucinich excepted"
Um ... err ... and Ron Paul.

If you think about it, this fact helps the Democrats. They'll be able to say they're stuck with dealing more or less responsibly with the endless, expensive, and bloody situation the Republican president incompetently created for us. If withdrawal is just impossible (and that makes sense), then the Republicans won't be able to campaign on the premise that the Democrats will act dishonorably and dangerously by withdrawing.

Peter is exactly right. This is perfect for Democrats. They can credit their pressure on the administration as well as the Iraqi government for making some positive changes. And now the Democrats can campaign on making the Iraqi government accountable rather than simply pulling up shop and leaving. Don is right, too, as the fact has always been that the longer we remain in Iraq the better the situation will become. It is a giant counter-insurgency, and one of the most important aspects of winning a counter insurgency is time (the other being controlling the population). I've always thought a Democrat would have much more leeway on the War on Terror, as they've demonstrated that they care about the opinion of the rest of the world and have empathy with our enemies/possible enemies, so when they take action against them it will necessarily seem like it was the last resort. A Republican, promising to vigorously execute the WoT, will seem hawkish whenever they take action.

Better add Mike Gravel and Ron Paul to the list of bug-out presidents.

Steve Thomas wrote, in response to my original post: "Too much Intelligent Design!"

Really? You think so? You think the MSM doesn't act with conscious intent to enable the election of a Democrat?

The MSM can't control the events on the ground in Iraq, of course. But they can exploit them -- whatever they may be -- to the advantage of the Democrat candidate of choice ... Clinton in this case.

As they note over on Powerline, the MSM is doing essentially the same thing with regard to Rush Limbaugh. And as Glenn Reynolds says over on InstaPundit, it's all about "Battlespace preparation."

But Andrew, your logic on Iraq is precisely the opposite of why LBJ's Democratic Party was the wrong one to either 1) fight or 2) not get into Vietnam. And I do not think the Democrats have enough advance work to make it seem like their critique prepared the way for the surge-success, such as it is, precisely because their "critique" has been little more than one long howl. There are NO national Dems I am aware of that have put Iraq-war "competence" or "strategy" on the front-broiler while treating the intitial decision to go, and the later determination to stick it out, as positions worthy of respect or, at least, a modicum of civil discourse. There may be some Intelligent Design out there in the cackling headquarters of the MSM, but Don, they're largely bit by the same political bugs the Democratic base is, with many of them capable of denying reality for extended periods.

Finally, good news of the "the policy favored by liberals was rejected" variety can always look like bad political news to conservatives. It seems in this thread I can imagine someone saying, "Boy, it sure sucks that we aren't abandoning the Iraqis to Shia-Sunni civil war this December, since HRC will get to look statesmanlike, and since we won't have the genocide pics and numbers to hound the Dems with after the fact!"

Just to clarify, the "good" news is, the very bad news that seemed likely to be around the corner even four months ago, no longer is. That is, the no-easy-choice REALITY that the Dems are finally allowing themselves to face is not good, but it is good news that many of them might actually face it.

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