Posted by lex, on July 16, 2008
In an Op-Ed today, the WaPo turns Barack Obama’s “rigidity” complaint about John McCain’s Iraq position and hurls it right back at him:
At the time he first proposed his (16 month withdrawal) timetable, Mr. Obama argued — wrongly, as it turned out — that U.S. troops could not stop a sectarian civil war. He conceded that a withdrawal might be accompanied by a “spike” in violence. Now, he describes as “an achievable goal” that “we leave Iraq to a government that is taking responsibility for its future — a government that prevents sectarian conflict and ensures that the al-Qaeda threat which has been beaten back by our troops does not reemerge.” How will that “true success” be achieved? By the same pullout that Mr. Obama proposed when chaos in Iraq appeared to him inevitable.
The magical sixteen months – smart policy when the war was being lost, smarter still when it is being won – are not really Mr. Obama’s preferred option, one intuits. He was until recently eager to demonstrate nuance on the topic, ready to “refine” his views.
Now, not so much – the Democratic Party base has seen quite enough refinement, thanks so much.
The party’s big donors – the kinds of folks that can afford to dole out $5000 on their preferred candidate – have already been tapped out, a fact made all the worse by the apparent hesitance of Hillary! donors to jump on board the Obama bandwagon (and for that matter, for well-heeled Obama supporters to dig deep and help Clinton pay back the millions in personal funds she loaned her own campaign).
That leaves the hyperventilated legions Kos kids and MoveOn.org types who scrimp and save to send $50-100 to Camelot (v2.0). Big donors choose winners and losers during primary season and get petted at Hollywood parties, but it’s the vast number of small donors who make national elections happen. Or not.
And the small donors are increasingly off-put by issues such as faith-based charities and the FISA row-back, especially. All of this loose talk about building on the successes of George W. Bush’s Illegal War for Oil© at the expense of activist self-esteem and righteous certitude?
That’s a bridge too far.