I’m one of those skeptical bloggers who doesn’t believe that we can do much to impact media behavior, but what went down tonight was enough to finally push me over the edge. If we can’t get this story out to the wider blogosphere and then to the MSM, I’m not sure what deserves to be pushed:
CBS had an interview with Barack Obama tonight during which Katie Couric hammered him on the surge, asking the same question over and over in different formats. Then came her interview with John McCain, in which she gave him a free platform to smack at Obama, and as he was speaking, she ran pictures of McCain with Petraeus, soldiers doing their jobs, and basically made McCain out to be a heroic old master contrasted with Obama the petulant child.
But that’s not the scandal. This is:
Another European leader signals that it is time to get out of Iraq
Gordon Brown today paved the way for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, promising a “fundamental change” of mission in the first half of 2009.
In a Commons statement, the prime minister heaped praise on the work of British soldiers and insisted the security situation in Basra had been “transformed”.
“We will continue to reduce the number of British troops in Iraq,” Brown said.
“Just as last year we moved from combat to ‘overwatch’, we would expect a further fundamental change of mission in the first months of 2009 as we make the transition to a long term bilateral partnership with Iraq, similar to the normal relationships which our military forces have with other important countries in the region.”
I don’t want this site to spend too much time focusing on idiocy in the right-wing blogosphere because a) sites like MediaMatters and The Carpetbagger Report already do such a good job of it, and b) I only have so many hours in the day. But yesterday I read something that was so mind-boggingly stupid, I just couldn’t let it pass. I also think it offers a telling window into the right-wing worldview. But more on that in a second.
Writing in The Corner, Peter Wehner goes on an extended analogy comparing Iraq to a sick child:
Assume that your child was ill and had a fever. You took him to the doctor and the primary physician recommended medication. Another doctor, not the primary physician, said medication wasn’t needed and, in fact, it would be counterproductive. The fever continued; in response, the child’s physician increased the dosage of medication (over the objections of the second doctor). The child’s condition continued to worsen, to the point that you took your child to the hospital. Medication was then combined with other interventions, over the strong objections of the second doctor. In fact, the second doctor not only recommended against medication, he felt at this stage the child was a lost cause and it would be a waste to devote much more effort on the child’s behalf.
Slowly, however, the child, because of the increased medication and other interventions, began to improve. In a few days, in fact, he was released from the hospital, with the fever going down. Finally the child got to the point where he was healthy enough that the primary physician said he now envisioned that the child would soon be able to come off the medication, provided we continued to see conditions-based progress. Now imagine if the second doctor declared that because the child would one day be off medication, he had been right all along. Such a claim would be absurd; the child would have gotten worse, and probably would have died, if the secondary doctor’s recommendation had been followed. The child’s recovery demonstrated why the secondary doctor’s judgment was deeply and dangerous flawed rather than right.
Where to start? First, as long as we’re dealing with overly elaborate analogies, let’s flesh this out a little more:
Is there any real way to measure how badly the McCain camp is hurting right now on the Iraq front? The Post and Times today are leading with images like this:
And they’re carrying headlines like:
Obama Makes War Gains
Maliki’s Embrace of Withdrawal Timeline Confounds McCain
Read more »
This trip to the Middle East and (soon) Europe has been a boon for Obama and an unmitigated disaster for McCain. Of course, we’re only three days into the trip and Obama could make a gaffe (blah blah) at some point, but the taunts of the McCain camp that Obama hadn’t been to the Middle East have completely backfired to this point.
On an unrelated note, I’d like to thank the crew here at Strategy08 for welcoming me to the site.
Update: And it just gets more pathetic for McCain:
The wheels are completely coming off the McCain campaign. With taunts from their camp regarding Obama not visiting the Middle East completely backfiring, he has resorted to the cheapest of cheap shots.
Jonathan Martin has the story:
Standing next to his fellow naval aviator on Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport, McCain reminds reporters that Obama is “someone who has no military experience whatsoever.”
This isn’t going to go over well. McCain has repeatedly said in the past that military service does not make one qualified for the presidency.
During an interview with National Journal, John McCain was asked if “military service inherently makes somebody better equipped to be commander-in-chief.” McCain said, “Absolutely not…I absolutely don’t believe that it’s necessary.” [National Journal, 2/15/2003]
- I believe that military service is the most honorable endeavor an American may undertake. But I’ve never believed that lack of military service disqualifies one from occupying positions of political leadership or as Commander and Chief. In America, the people are sovereign, and they decide who is and is not qualified to lead us. [American Legion Speech, 9/7/1999]
- Earlier this year at Washington’s Gridiron Club, where humor is the required fare, McCain lay bare what underlies his candidacy. Wearing a jacket outlandishly festooned with dozens of fake military medals, McCain said, “The question I ask myself every morning while shaving in front of the mirror is: OK, John, you’re an incredible war hero, an inspiration to all Americans. But what qualifies you to be president of the United States?” [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 11/7/1999]
This is a pretty lame attack from McCain, considering his previous statements. It’s obvious that this trip to the Middle East/Europe, which has been an unqualified success for Obama to this point, is tying the McCain camp in knots.
I was doing a little research on John McCain’s woeful ignorance of the Middle East when I came across a stunning transcript from 2000 in the aftermath of the USS Cole bombing. John McCain – weeks before what would become Bush’s “election”, used the bombing of the USS Cole – performed by what we came to learn were Al Qaeda – to push what would become, word for word, the Iraq War causus belli later used by the Bush administration.
Read more »
Obama camp just held a call this morning with Susan Rice and campaign spokesperson Robert Gibbs and unloaded on McCain’s flip-flops and unsure footing when it came to Afghanistan:
Rice calls McCain’s Tuesday speech on Iraq and Afghanistan “surreal.” “He has no credible plans for either conflict or their resolution.”
This is just the beginning, they essentially went on to mock McCain mercilessly on his foreign policy assertions. McCain came back with a weak-kneed response (all of this below). THIS is what happens when you go on offense, Obama, please keep it up. Let’s re-cap just what McCain said about Afghanistan:
After reading about John McCain’s latest absurdity, suggesting Obama should travel to Latin America, it became clear to me that the man is not only running for Bush’s third term, but for the position of Travel-Agent-in-Chief. Indeed, he worries about Obama’s travel schedule so much I’m starting to wonder if he gets a commission. Read more »
I’m learning to love Joe Biden. I have mixed feelings about his being VP, mostly because he’s a little too Washington-insider-y for me and is a bit of “old news” when it comes to a national ticket, but let’s be honest, no one cuts to the punch better than this guy. When he’s not rambling, he comes up with some doozies (Rudy: “A noun, a verb, and 9/11″).
On today’s media call regarding Iraq, Biden got right to it, saying John McCain has “no notion of what’s going on in Iraq.”
You know the guy draws blood when the rival camp decides to respond by targeting a surrogate (or perhaps they’re pre-emptively attacking him in hopes of damaging a top Veep prospect):
If we had followed Senator Biden’s ill-informed advice to split Iraq into three pieces, we would have seen wide-scale civil war.
Which contrasts with McCain’s plan of…well…I don’t have any clue what McCain’s plan is.
But as an observer of politics, it seems clear to me that if you’re drawing a response like this, you’ve also drawn blood. For example, you knew Obama’s initial habit of saying repeatedly that McCain is offering nothing more than a “third Bush term” was effective when McCain himself decided to tackle it in a speech (note to Obama camp, bring that back, it was working).
So, today, McCain is going after Joe Biden. Which means Biden must have done something right.