"Does Obama Have An Iraq Problem?" Umm, No
by Todd Beeton, Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 02:37:10 PM EDT
Unbelievable. Yesterday on Hardball, Andrea Mitchell led with an oh so provocative tease: "Does Obama have an Iraq problem?" Now, in fairness, the question she posed was based on a piece in The New Yorker by George Packer entitled "Obama's Iraq Problem" which opens with the following paragraph:
In February, 2007, when Barack Obama declared that he was running for President, violence in Iraq had reached apocalyptic levels, and he based his candidacy, in part, on a bold promise to begin a rapid withdrawal of American forces upon taking office. At the time, this pledge represented conventional thinking among Democrats and was guaranteed to play well with primary voters. But in the year and a half since then two improbable, though not unforeseeable, events have occurred: Obama has won the Democratic nomination, and Iraq, despite myriad crises, has begun to stabilize. With the general election four months away, Obama's rhetoric on the topic now seems outdated and out of touch, and the nominee-apparent may have a political problem concerning the very issue that did so much to bring him this far.
Who's the outdated and out of touch one, Mr. Packer? The truth is what Rasmussen has found over and over again, that Americans are rejecting McCain's frame of the war and embracing Obama's, in red states and blue states alike.
The question Rasmussen asks: "When it comes to the situation in Iraq, which is the more important goal for the next president to accomplish during his first term...winning the war or getting the troops home?" As you can see, the only place "Winning the war" wins the argument or is even close is in the reddest of red states or McCain's home state.
|State||Date||"Winning the war"||"Getting the troops home"|
So while Iraq may have dropped down the lists of voters' most pressing issues, judging by these results, if it were to rise again in people's minds, it may actually benefit Obama. But even if we accepted the CW that McCain benefits when the war is the top issue, Chris Cilizza breaks down the extent to which politically Obama so does not have an Iraq problem.
From yesterday's Hardball:
"This is essentially a win win for Obama. If the war continues to look like it is not moving toward a resolution, if things remain unsettled there, Obama can say "look, we need to move out, John McCain wants it to be more of the same. If it gets better, if violence continues to drop, if it looks like stability has arrived, then the war moves off the radar as an issue and Obama still wins."
This video does a good job of taking down Mitchell's and Packer's premise as well: