by Damozel | Is it really Obama who is running for Bush's third term? the Wall Street Journal sternly inquires. First Republicans called him the most liberal Senator ever --- which was never true --- and now they are trying to have it the other way. It turns out that Obama is deviously taking all McCain's positions before he can get round to it --- or something. Check out The Wall Street Journal if you want to laugh. Via Steve Benen at Crooks and Liars.
In fact, conservatives are so worried about it, the misguided ideologues at the Wall Street Journal editorial page have decided to make a novel argument: it’s Barack Obama, not McCain, who’s actually “running for … Bush’s third term.”
If I read this on a fringe, right-wing blog, it would be easier to dismiss as nonsense, but the Journal was a respected national newspaper. The WSJ argues, seriously, that Obama is running for “Bush’s third term,” because he “will” support Bush’s Iraq policy, as evidenced by his discomfort with the “Betray Us?” ad. I’m actually feeling kind sorry for how ridiculous the Journal’s editors are making themselves appear. (C&L)
Do any Democrats nowadays respect the politics of the WSJ? I note that Benen says that it was a respected national newspaper. And if there's a strategy at work here on the part of its editors, I don't know what it is.
They certainly used to like Bush and defend his Iraq war policies. If they don't like him now, that leaves two possibilities: They were wrong then and therefore have little credibility; or they are wrong now.
If they do like him, or at least think he wasn't wrong about everything, then I really don't understand the strategy. Won't some of their readers think if Obama = Bush, Obama might be sort of better than they thought? Or is this sort of 'Obama = Bush' aimed at Hillary bitter-enders? I don't get it. Whose belief are they trying to undermine?
Speaking of Hillary, It's becoming pretty standard for right-from-the-start Obama supporters to dismiss the relevance of Hillary bitter-enders with an airy wave if not an unbecoming sneer or jeer. In reality, , as Patrick Edaburn notes here, if enough hold-outs hold out in the general, Obama might not get that landslide we Dems are all hoping for.
One month ago 60% of Clinton voters planned to back Obama in November, now it is down to 54%. The number of Democrats who want Clinton as the nominee has risen from 35% to 43%.
That there is any slippage back toward Clinton reflects a level of dissatisfaction with Obama that might or might not mean anything at all in the long run, but that it would probably be a good idea for his campaign to think on. I've certainly heard people I respect compare David Axelrod's tactics during the primaries with Karl Rove's. That's not good.
But don't shout at me, Obama people. I've moved on. I'm just saying: quite a few people haven't. Many Obama supporters I know want to write those intransigents as ill-tempered, selfish, dumb-as-a-bag-of-bricks 'Hilltards' who are just sulking because they didn't get their way. I'm just going to say, and keep on saying:
- This patronizing and dismissive attitude isn't especially in our mutual candidate's interest; and
- The characterization of these people as 'the roadkill of history' ignores the fact that there are plenty of coldly rational yet implacable ones who are only to glad to explain why they can't give their support to Obama.
And those people may have more of an impact on the swing voters than Obama loyalists would like to believe.
What did John McCain learn in Vietnam? He learned, it seems, that we could have won that war.
Indeed, what is most striking about McCain's attitude toward Vietnam is his insistence that we could have won -- that we should have won -- with more bombs and more casualties. In 1998, he spoke on the 30th anniversary of the Tet Offensive. "Like a lot of Vietnam veterans, I believed and still believe that the war was winnable," he said....Five years later, he said much the same thing to the Council on Foreign Relations. "We lost in Vietnam because we lost the will to fight, because we did not understand the nature of the war we were fighting, and because we limited the tools at our disposal."....
Very few military historians agree with McCain's bitter analysis, which suggests that a ground invasion and an even more destructive bombing campaign, with an unimaginable cost in human life, would have achieved an American victory. But perhaps because he is obsessed by the humiliation of defeat -- which fell directly on his father, Adm. John S. McCain Jr., who served as the commander in chief of Pacific forces during the Vietnam conflict -- the former prisoner of war seemingly can formulate neither a rational assessment of that war's enormous costs nor of its flawed premises and purposes....(Joe Conason)
Much as George W. Bush couldn't let go of his dad's failure to finish the job that couldn't be finished during the first Gulf War, eh?
In McCain's mind, those lives and that treasure were expended in a "noble cause." ....What vital American interests required so many deaths and so much suffering? There were none, but presumably, again, McCain thinks that we were forced to push back against communist expansion in Asia. That too was an awful misconception, based on cultural ignorance, since the Vietnamese accepted Russian and Chinese assistance only to expel the American occupation. Within the decade that followed the American defeat in Indochina, our diplomats were opening a new relationship with China while the Soviet Union, along with communism as an ideological threat, was on the verge of disintegration. (Joe Conason)
And that McCain --- unlike some vets we know of --- doesn't get this is perhaps the most worrying reflection on how his military experience will affect his detachment and rationality if he gets to be Commander in Chief.
[I]t is easy to understand why a man who thinks that we should have escalated the Vietnam War after 10 futile years would talk about occupying Iraq for a century. And it is hard to imagine why voters would elect a president who still believes that 60,000 American dead and more than 300,000 wounded in Vietnam were not quite enough. .(Joe Conason)