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Friday, July 4, 2008

Dick Morris, Soren Dayton, and Obama's Iraq Conundrum

Here is how Dick Morris describes Obama's conundrum on Iraq

When it comes to Iraq, Obama is most comfortable living in the past. He wants to endlessly replay the day when he castigated the war as unnecessary and cooked up by White House political types and ideologues. He’s far less comfortable talking about Iraq now, and downright antsy when it comes to discussing the future.

It’s a lot easier to oppose a policy than to figure out how to replace it.

The key is to force Obama to face these dangers - and explain what he’d do.

* He could deny the possibilities - and come off as a naive, wishful thinker; most unsuitable in a president.

* He could waffle - but then McCain would press. If Obama kept it up, voters would see indecision or evasion - evidence he’s in over his his head on foreign policy and national security.

* He could say that he’d use diplomacy to handle the situation - but Americans are rightfully skeptical about the chances for a diplomatic resolution, especially if the United States pulls out its troops.

As Frederick the Great said, “diplomacy without force is like music without instruments.” McCain could always press and ask, “What do you do if diplomacy fails?”

* Which brings us to the inevitable answer he must give: I will go back into Iraq with troops.

But that begs more questions: Would he keep adequate force in the region? If not, it could take six months of convoys to go back in. And isn’t it inevitable that a new invasion would lead to many more casualties than just staying there?

In other words, in the view of Morris, his position is so difficult to explain that eventually it just looks weak and disjointed. The policy that is easiest to explain will usually win with the voters.

My colleague at Red State, Soren Dayton, had this piece about this very thing. In the piece, she used these three clips.

After watching these three clips, I can't help but think that Morris is right. Obama will have to turn himself into a pretzel trying to explain his policy. The three clips are painful to watch. The rest of the campaign will be spent moving his position to the politically viable place in the campaign.

That's why Obama recently made this "policy shift".

Barack Obama threw a cloud of doubt around his flagship policy yesterday, after the Democratic nominee admitted he was ready to “refine” plans for the withdrawal of all American combat troops within 16 months of taking office.

Speaking on a campaign stop in North Dakota, Mr Obama promised to use his forthcoming trip to the Middle East for a "thorough assessment" of whether the "conditions still hold" for his proposed pull-out.

“I’ve always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability. That assessment has not changed,” he said. “And 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.”

This will be the Obama posture on Iraq. It will become more and more complicated. It will only get worse as the situation on the ground gets more fluid and continues to improve. On war, you can't be wishy washy and shifty like you can on other issues. That's what Barack Obama has been doing and it will continue to get worse for him as the campaign evolves and improves.


jbjd said...

Barack Obama has no position, on anything, until David Axelrod tells him what it is.

Anonymous said...

Drums roll please.........
That is the president America will have next January!The son of Africa is the ruler of the us

Anonymous said...

You guys don't get it! Obama's policy on Iraq is not getting more complicated -- it's more "nuanced"! Read the NY Times!

Anonymous said...

This is his "new politics"? No thanks. Obama will say and do anything to win. He stands for change alright: changing his views in order to get elected. What a hypocrite.