Nevertheless, Susan Rice, a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, said Obama "welcomes Prime Minister Maliki's support for a 16 month timeline" and called Maliki's comments "an important opportunity to transition to Iraqi responsibility, while restoring our military and increasing our commitment to finish the fight in Afghanistan."Alan Colmes began invoking Maliki everytime he looked to support Obama's timelines. Andrew Sullivan followed suit. Liberal magazine Salon also got into the act. Last night on Hannity and Colmes and Obama supporter, Adam Smith (D Washington) used that opportunity to again tout Maliki's support for timetables for withdrawal.
How ironic that Maliki has become a liberal Democratic idol for all future military planning in Iraq. Why it was just this time last year that they used Maliki as a symbol of Bush's failure in Iraq. Here is what Carl Levin said last summer.
"I hope the parliament will vote the Maliki government out of office and will have the wisdom to replace it with a less sectarian and more unifying prime minister and government". A couple days later Hillary Clinton said much the same thing, ""During his trip to Iraq last week, Senator Levin ... confirmed that theIraqi government is nonfunctional and cannot produce a political settlement because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders, I share Senator Levin's hope that the Iraqi Parliament will replace Prime Minister Maliki with a less divisive and more unifying figure when it returns in a few weeks."
At about the same time, here is what Hillary Clinton said about Maliki.
called for Prime Minister Maliki to be removed in August while the President stood by him despite his mounting incompetence
So, it appears the same person many leading Democrats referred to as "incompetent" and wanted removed just last summer is now the point person for military planning in Iraq. This is the height of political cynicism. When the Democrats saw an opportunity to bash Maliki for political purposes they went ahead and bashed him. When they saw an opportunity to highlight his agreement they went ahead and did that as well. I assume they feel as though no one will notice or care.
Of course, the only reason the very same party that used Maliki as a whipping boy not but a year ago is now using him as the standard bearer is due to the ironic reality that the very surge that they furiously objected to worked so well that their ludicrous dual position appears reasonable.
The greatest irony of all comes from this column by Jonah Goldberg.
Yes, McCain heroically pushed for the surge when the war was at its most unpopular point. Even more impressive, he favored a change in strategy back when the war was popular.Within months of the invasion, McCain was calling for more troops and the head of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Later, when the Iraqi civil war erupted, al Qaeda in Iraq metastasized and Iran mounted a clandestine surge of its own, McCain doubled down; he argued that we couldn’t afford to lose and proposed a revised counterinsurgency strategy for victory.
That was the same month that Obama introduced the “Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007.” That’s great stuff for McCain’s biographers. But the catch-22 is that the more the surge succeeds, the more advantageous it is for Obama. Voters don’t care about the surge; they care about the war. Americans want it to be over — and in a way they can be proud of.
The surge has done likewise with the war. If it were going worse, McCain’s Churchillian rhetoric would match reality better. But with sectarian violence nearly gone, al Qaeda in Iraq almost totally routed and even Sadrist militias seemingly neutralized, the stakes of withdrawal seem low enough for Americans to feel comfortable voting for Obama. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s support for an American troop drawdown pushes the perceived stakes even lower.
Recall that Bill Clinton, with his dovish record and roster of “character issues,” would never have been elected if the Soviet Union hadn’t collapsed in 1991. With the Cold War over, the successful Reagan surge (and Bush pere’s cleanup efforts) made rolling the dice on Clinton tolerable. The McCain surge (and Bush fils’ success at averting another 9/11) produces the same effect for Obama.
So, let's see if everyone is following the irony. The very same person that many Democrats wanted removed from power is now being referenced by those same Democrats in order to build their own case for future military operations in Iraq. The reason they can all do this is the very same surge they all rejected furiously worked so well that it even gave them political advantage.