Thursday, November 30, 2006

Obama's Weapon On Clinton: Iraq

The mood was different back then. 9/11 was recent. The country wanted to hit back so hard, the vast majority of Republicans believed the Dick Cheney lie that Saddam was behind 9/11.

Even since entering the Senate, Hillary has been under pressure to boost her defense credentials. She might have an idea or two on health care, but can she be imagined in the role of Commander In Chief? That is an unfair gender question, but it was/is there. She countered by going hawkish in more ways than one. She might have taken one step too far.

The Iraq War is no longer popular: it might have singlehandedly cost Bush the Congress. Hillary has never taken a stand against that war. Her stand during the election was that Rumsfeld should be fired. Message: the war was right, just its execution got messed up.

Obama, on the other hand, is the original anti-war candidate. He opposed the war back in the days. That is how he became a Deaniac. Dean was anti-war.

Obama and Hillary are my two favorite people in the US Senate. They are both super talented. Both represent the better possibilities despite the constraints of race and gender. Both are left of center pols taking easy strides to the center to win elections. Both are or are going to be strong on money and organization. Both are going to come up with many good ideas.

But Hillary can't wish away her tracks on Iraq. Iraq is also going to loom large for 2008 like it did for 2006. And that is where Obama is going to have to hit hard. There must be too much footage of Hillary speaking for the war option, too much footage of Hillary supporting Bush even after the deliberately faulty intelligence was all over the papers. Therein lies Hillary's weakness.

Obama was not only anti-war ("dumb war") but he has been careful not to take the Murtha position of immediate withdrawal. He wants the troops out, sure, but before that he wants a political solution to the problem. How about engaging the adversaries in dialogue? The fallback countries for the insurgents in Iraq have been Iran and Syria.

Many say a larger regional conference is also the right thing to do for the Israel-Palestine thing.

So Obama comes to you with a solution. The guy has a plan. It happens not to be cut and run. It happens to be solve and get the hell outa there.

Perhaps the Iraq War will be over before Obama gets into the White House, but that is not the point. This is a judgment issue.

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