Last night on the Factor, Bill O'Reilly summarized the conundrum facing Barack Obama with regards to Iraq. He ran on the far left platform of withdrawal at any cost. His opposition to the war from the beginning became the only difference in policy between he and Hillary Clinton. This was a wildly popular idea in the primary. It is frankly a popular idea in the general election. The problem is that our own electorate is psychzophrenic on this issue, like many.
While withdrawal is popular, General David Petraeus is emerging as a General of epic proportions. He is fast becoming mentioned in the same breathe as Washington, Grant, and Eisenhower. While withdrawal at any costs may poll well, it is in sharp contrast with the steady and effective plan currently being carried out.
I certainly will not be privvy to conversations between Obama and Petraeus however it is not very likely that Petraeus would endorse any sort of withdrawal plan tied to anything but victory. Furthermore, we are on the brink of victory.
As such, if Obama insists on sticking with his plan on withdrawal at any cost then he is at odds with one of the greatest Generals of our history. The public at large is much more comfortable allowing the General on the ground to dictate strategy not some arrogant first term Senator with no foreign policy experience.
On the other hand, if after visiting Iraq, he changes course and endorses General Petraeus finishing the mission, he will have stabbed his most zealous supporters in the back. The left wing has thus far generally looked the other way on his numerous jaunts to the middle. They are rather upset over FISA however not upset enough to make any legitimate voting difference. That won't be true on Iraq.
Obama's insistence on ending not winning the war was the central platform of his campaign. He can't suddenly do a 180% turnaround on that issue. It is one thing to be wishy washy on the 2nd amendment. That was never central to his platform. It is quite another to reverse course on Iraq.
Now, O'Reilly, much like most of the media, still doesn't recognize the central problem for Obama. He was wrong. He, from the beginning, thought the surge would fail. Carrying a faulty policy all the way toward primary electoral victory doesn't make that policy anymore right. Here is how the RNC summed it up.
He is stuck where he is because for the last year and a half he has been saying that the surge would fail. He has been saying it would add to the problems. He has been saying that it wouldn't lead to political reconciliation. In other words, for the last year and a half, he has been wrong.
That's why he finds himself stuck between a legendary General and a base of voters as wrong as him. He was wrong and he carried millions of people with him. Now, that base, which refuses of course to admit they are wrong, wants him to continue down the same wrong path.
He is now caught in the most difficult political double edged sword. If he crosses the General and insists on faulty policy, everyone but the committed far left will turn on him. If he goes with the General, everyone on the far left will turn on him. Such are difficult consequences of advocating the wrong policy.
Check out Ed Morrissey at Hot Air and Roger Simon at Politico for similar arguments.
Please check out my new books, "Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney's Kafkaesque Divorce and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the World's Last Custody Trial"