Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

President Obama's Afghanistan speech leaked.

Yes, its a done deal: "The commander-in-chief has issued the orders."

Here's some fate that might save Democrats from this debacle:

One Democratic congressman predicts that fully half of his caucus will oppose the escalation. "Obama is going to get his ass kicked on this," the congressman says.

An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore pulls no punches:
Do you really want to be the new "war president"?  

...Have you drunk Bush's Kool-Aid?

We thought you would stop the madness.

...You DON'T have to do this.

...You can be your mother's son.

Though I 100% oppose it, I don't find his decision surprising in the least. That Obama is in the same mold as someone like Evan Bayh in terms of his pragmatic don't-rock-the-boat support of the status quo way of doing things in DC seemed obvious during his Senate term.  However, Obama won because he ran a campaign that did find believers in him being something different, and this isn't what they projected.

I jest with Moore's letter above, but I don't doubt that he sincerely expresses the feelings of betrayal that those who voted for Obama expecting a change of course in the Middle East wars-- and not 3-4 years down the road either.

I have been pointing out that this is going to become a major primary issue within the party, and incumbents that support the surge should be due warned that they are opening themselves up to insurgent primaries.

Jennifer Brunner, in a competitive Senate primary in Ohio, comes out against Obama's troop surge in Afghanistan, Time to Bring Home the Troops: "...I believe the costs are too great--in human lives and economic resources--to continue along the current path. It is clear to me that America must set a timetable for bringing our troops home from Afghanistan as soon as possible...." I haven't seen any comments by her opponent, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, on the Afghanistan surge.

In case you haven't gathered, yes, going down this path led by Obama is going to drive a deep division into the Democratic Party. I have a feeling that this is a Humpty-Dumpty into pieces sort of moment for the Democratic Party: A '10-'12 primary split within the Democratic Party over the escalation of the US occupation in Afghanistan that could make the current healthcare reform debate look like patty-cake play.

There were a lot of terrific articles written about the coalition that came together in 2008 to finally win. The basic thesis is that the minority around 1972 McGovern's antiwar campaign, which won a plurality with Clinton in '92, finally captured the WH with a majority. You could probably even point back to McCarthy's '68 primary as the true genesis of the coalition. It seems irrefutable to me that Democrats won in '06 and '08 on the backs of those that demanded a different approach than a military one in the middle east. It wasn't just about Obama; but even more about a rejection of the Bush foreign policy approach. Though undoubtedly Obama will frame it differently in a speech tomorrow, this decision by Obama is effectively more of the same (with the 'different' or 'change' TBD at a later date).

Update [2009-11-30 15:59:23 by Jerome Armstrong]: Via David Dayen: who notes this from the Republican challenger to Senator Bennett in Utah:

...freshman Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz will call on President Barack Obama on Monday to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan [...] Earlier this year, Chaffetz traveled to the region and said that, since then, he’s “become more engrossed in my conviction it is time to bring our troops home.” “I am opposed to nation building, and I quite frankly don’t see or understand what victory looks like,” he said. “I believe, as most people do, that our military can do everything we want them to do. … But we’re asking them to fight a war that is not very well-defined. And we are asking them to do so with one hand tied behind their back.”
"Seems that there’s a direct correlation between calling for withdrawal and having to face the voters."

Tags: 2010 (all tags)



Fear mongering diary

I was there with McGovern, and with Clinton. This diary is a lot of manipulative fear mongering.

by cmpnwtr 2009-11-30 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Fear mongering diary

Seems rather childish of you, given your age then.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-30 10:53AM | 0 recs

Before I begin, President Obama's response to Michael Moore is worth a read.

Now speaking of fear, I have supposed to have been afraid of Obama for two years now. The same people telling me I should be afraid of the black guy being given the nomination, because he could never beat McCain, are now telling me I'm supposed to be afraid of Obama's judgment on Afghanistan.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-30 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Fear?

"The same people telling me I should be afraid of the black guy being given the nomination, because he could never beat McCain, are now telling me I'm supposed to be afraid of Obama's judgment on Afghanistan."

Where do you come up with this racist-calling crap?

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-30 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Fear?

It is one of the latest talking points online to define President Obama at all cost. Injecting race where it is not a factor. It has popped up on various sites with various discussions such as gay rights, economic issues, a comparison this weekend between President Obama and prior president, etc.  I would not take it seriously. It is just meant to change the subject.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Fear?

Right, when all else fails, play the racist card.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-30 08:09PM | 0 recs
Jerome, you did say that

or at least allude to it;

http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/9/23/1020 39/684

and ended up being ridiculously wrong.

by ND22 2009-11-30 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Jerome, you did say that

Jesus god.  If jerome had any self-awareness, that would sure sting.

by lojasmo 2009-11-30 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Jerome, you did say that

Ah, you apparently don't know the difference between quoting what someone else is saying (hint, its in the blockquote) and my own opinion.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-30 08:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Fear?

You should be the one who is getting a serious pucker factor--today the Republicraps endorsed this move. Do you realize that this is the same thing that tanked Bush and the GOP -- first in the Congress of 2006 elections and then in 2008 with his election.
Harry Truman--Korea. Mr. Truman could have run for president as many times as he wanted ( he was grandfathered by the 2 term limits) but got crushed in the polls in 1951 with the Korea debacle/stalemate.

Lyndon Johnson--Viet Nam -- Ditto-- he was getting hammered in 1968 over the stalemate. He almost lost Congress to the GOP. People were so pissed they ushered in Reagan as Governor of California.

George Bush--Irag/Afghanistan--Ditto--he did lose the Congress in 2006 and got the GOP crushed in 2008.

B. Obama--Afghanistan -- 2010--We get hammered in Congress elections by the same Republicans who came out today in support of Obama--in 2012 we lose the Presidency as this idiot war drags on....
This is terrible. Why do we need to fight in all these basket case sorry ass countries--DO YOU WONDER WHY NO OTHER COUNTRY IS IN THERE?

by hddun2008 2009-11-30 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

Contrary to those who see shadows of McGovern around every corner, I think it is very healthy for the party to have this debate.  I think it would have been a whole lot healthier to have it during the last primary, mind you, instead of everyone signing onto a consensus that Afghanistan is the "good war" and of course we should finish the job, blah blah blah.

by Steve M 2009-11-30 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

The problem is that people thought they (on an emotional level) were having this debate.  It went with the whole positioning himself as the anti-Clinton.  That may have been a projection about who President Obama, then candidate Obama, was. But, it was something that he was more than willing to use for the purpose of winning. Saying that some of us knew who he was at the time does not help the party as the less politics  obsessed voter begins to figure it out. That's the danger.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 11:08AM | 0 recs
Afghanistan as the good war

was a very important rhetorical trope for those who wanted to both bash Bush for Iraq and distance themselves from the dirty fucking hippies.  

by JJE 2009-11-30 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Afghanistan as the good war

In other words, everyone running in the primary except maybe Kucinich and Gravel, right?

by Steve M 2009-11-30 01:33PM | 0 recs
Don't forget Ron Paul!

by JJE 2009-11-30 02:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

It is possible for Afghanistan to have been the "good war" at one time, and then become a bad war after the window of opportunity expired due to the US's bungling of the war.

At this point, so much time has passed, the war in Afghanistan turned from capturing Osama and punishing those responsible to a much broader theme of eradicating Islamic terrorism which is stupid because one of our allies all these years has been Pakistan which has been complicit more than Afghanistan's taliban in spreading global terrorism with their hatred of India and nurturing of terrorists, some of who ended up killing our own countrymen.

As I said before, it would have been much cheaper and morally better, even if it was legally questinable, to just send an assassination squad after Taliban leaders instead of waging a conventional war where not only a clear end is not in sight, and a lot of money has beeen spent that could be used to help save lives via better health care in the US, it could have prevented a lot of collateral damage that is incurred in such wars. All those innocent bystanders dead in Iraq and afghanistan.  

by Pravin 2009-11-30 08:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge
The role of LBJ to be played by Barack Obama, the role of Richard Nixon to be played by Mitt Romney.  I hate to sully the memory of a great progressive by saying HHH will be played by Joe Biden.  And the betrayers will be played by Russ Feingold as Gene McCarthy and; of course, no one will play RFK.  2012 may well be a replay of 1968 with the players listed.
p.s.  Mike Huckabee as George Wallace.  
by Demo Dan in Dayton 2009-11-30 11:13AM | 0 recs
the early Obama supporters

used to laugh at me when I said I was sure Obama would have voted for the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq if he'd been in the Senate in October 2002.

by desmoinesdem 2009-11-30 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: the early Obama supporters

The new slogan: "I refuse to believe it."

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-30 11:23AM | 0 recs
Re: the early Obama supporters

I don't see what's wrong with that. Obama was publicly opposed to the War in Iraq in 2003, at the same time he was in favour of the war in A'stan. Even in his speech opposing the Iraq invasion he stated he was not a pacifist.

Those that think that Obama is not doing something he campaigned on are deluding themselves.

by vecky 2009-11-30 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: the early Obama supporters

Yeah but the situation since then has gotten a lot less manageable in Afghanistan. Also, we have less money to spend on a war now. We got more pressing concerns with healthcare. Also Obama wasted a lot of money on a bank bailout that he no longer has my support in wasting on a war that is very fuzzy at this point.

by Pravin 2009-11-30 08:42PM | 0 recs
Re: the early Obama supporters

Obama did not waste any money on the Bank Bailout - TARP was under GW Bush, of the money leftover in the kitty when Obama took over he has spent very little - most on GM restructuring and the Mortgage help.

Healthcare is progressing. Yes it would have been nice if Congress had not taken sooo long to get to this point, but that is what happens.

Obama inherited a difficult situation of several different crises at once. Yet it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time.

by vecky 2009-12-01 09:05AM | 0 recs
Perhaps they were laughing

because they realize that Iraq is not a synonym for Afghanistan.

by JJE 2009-11-30 12:40PM | 0 recs
name one time

when Obama has gone against conventional beltway wisdom since he was elected. On any policy.

You are seriously telling me that he would have taken the political risk of voting against the AUMF in 2002?

by desmoinesdem 2009-11-30 01:41PM | 0 recs
KSM trials

by ND22 2009-11-30 01:45PM | 0 recs
Wasn't it a political risk?

He opposed the Iraq war prior to the invasion, and presumably he had some ambitions of office higher than state senator then.  If Iraq had gone well it would have hurt him.  It was a gamble at the time and would have been a gamble if he had been in the US Senate, but I don't see why he would have made it in the latter situation when he didn't make it in the former.

Even granting that he's toed the conventional line since he was elected, the comment I responded to said he would have supported the AUMF had he been in the US Senate, not that he would have supported it if he had been president.

FWIW I agree with the prevailing sentiment that this Afghanistan escalation is a bad and possibly disastrous decision.

by JJE 2009-11-30 02:24PM | 0 recs
I'd still laugh at you

on can oppose Iraq, but support Afghanistan, even today.

They are two different wars.

by ND22 2009-11-30 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge
This diary just highlights the hypocrisy of all the whinging about Obama betraying his campaign promises we see here all the time.  Obama's keeping a promise but that's not a sign of character, or honesty, or anything good because it's a promise to do something you don't want.  
Americans' ignorance, and the bipartisan quality thereof, of Afghanistan is appalling.  The loudest voices on all sides of the debate view Afghanistan through the lens of what they already know with no visible interest in learning anything new.  
I'm not going to hold you to some sort of meaningless litmus test about your knowledge of Afghanistan, like asking you what language Tajiks speak, but if you've never wondered the like on your own unprompted, then ask yourself now how it is you pretend to care enough about them to know our best path to helping them.
by Endymion 2009-11-30 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

This comment kind of sounds like "I agree with Obama's decision" masquerading as "how dare you criticize Obama for keeping a promise."  I think the latter is just a red herring.

If McCain had been elected and had kept every one of his promises I wouldn't be praising him for being a man of integrity, I'd be enraged that he's ruining the country.  Personally I like politicians to stick to their guns when I agree with them, and to come around to the right way of thinking when I disagree.

Whether people should be surprised by Obama's decision (they shouldn't) is a completely separate issue from whether they ought to support it.  If I felt we should get out of Afghanistan the day before Obama was elected, I'd feel the same way the day afterwards.

by Steve M 2009-11-30 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

The real question is whether you supported Obama or McCain.... if you supported MCain and he kept his promises you would expect to be happy. If you supported Obama and he kept his promises you should be happy too, no?

There is hardly cause for complaint here.

by vecky 2009-11-30 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

I'm pretty sure a lot of people supported Obama without agreeing with every one of his positions.  There were only two choices.

by Steve M 2009-11-30 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

Everyone always has a choice. Maybe his position on A'stan was not considered important in the greater scheme of things (Iraq, Iran, HC), but that's not the impression that is being conveyed.

by vecky 2009-11-30 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

Not to mention there was a huge primary field. So I don't buy the contention that their was no choice.

by vecky 2009-11-30 12:04PM | 0 recs
I'm trying to think of the anti-war '08 Candidate.

Whatever happened to them?

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-30 12:26PM | 0 recs
I'm trying to think of the anti-war '08 Candidate

Kucinich & Gravel are still around... I think.

Here is a round up of the various primary positions:


by vecky 2009-11-30 12:43PM | 0 recs
The Gravelanche!

And Kucinich didn't make it far in the primary.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-30 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: The Gravelanche!

Wonder why... the war in A'stan was sooooooooooo unpopular.

by vecky 2009-11-30 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: The Gravelanche!

It sounds like we are in agreement on this.

The idea that there is going to be some massive wave of Democratic voters expressing opposition to the escalation in Afghanistan goes against everything we saw during the 2008 primary.

by Steve M 2009-11-30 01:36PM | 0 recs
Especially since

this is unlikely to even be an issue in a year. Remember how the escalation in Iraq was supposed to make people even more opposed to the war cause the death tolls were going to climb.


by ND22 2009-11-30 02:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Especially since

I think the number of people who care deeply about the situation in Afghanistan is regrettably low and has been for a long time.

People are talking about the issue now, kinda, because the President is making a high-profile decision and thus there's a lot of news coverage.  But it most likely goes right back to the background in a few weeks.  It's not a great way to run a country but it is what it is.

by Steve M 2009-11-30 02:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Especially since

I think it is one more straw on the camel's back. I also think we are not going to know what impact, if any, this will have right now because his policy is just being implemented. The best I can tell you at the moment is only 36 percent think this will yield a positive result.  I also think trying to figure out what the general public will think is somewhat irrelevant. Next year is a base year election.  It will not take big shifts  in 2010 to change the outcome of what will probably be close elections. If the polling data is right, the base is already depressed and planning not to show up due to other reasons. Between the social issues (abortion and gay rights) and the economic issues, there is already enough for them to be depressed. I do not see how this helps that. I certainly do not think asking people to buy that this is what the Democrats meant when discussing bringing the troops home will be a successful strategy for convincing the base regardless of what is thought of that base. So, even if it is not on the front burner for everyone, it is significant enough to hurt that 2 or 3 percent we needed to turn out next year or whatever extra percentages that are now maybe not going to show up. All of this- whether the ineffective stimulus or Stupak or this adds up.

by bruh3 2009-12-01 04:01AM | 0 recs
Then you should've voted for someone else

by ND22 2009-11-30 01:45PM | 0 recs

He's not keeping a promise. And if keeping promises were the litmus test, he's a huge failure of a President.

Obama's gone rogue with this surge.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-30 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Persian

Yes he is keeping his promises, and thank you for writing off his administration in it's first year.

by vecky 2009-11-30 01:10PM | 0 recs
Jerome wrote off his administration

before it even started.

by ND22 2009-11-30 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghan surge

Do you realize that the country can no longer afford a war at this point? We are pretty much broke. Too much time has passed and too much money has been squandered. When many people supported the Afghanistan war, revenge was on many of our minds along with the fact that we could silence global terrorism by eliminating AL Quaeda and its benefactors(the Taliban). I doubt that is a realistic goal right now using an expensive conventional war as the objective.

Let us play the OPPORTUNITY COST game. Would the US be better off if we just quit Iraq and Afghanistn cold turkey and spent all the savings on

  1. Improving intelligence agencies
  2. Impriving Healthcare at home saving more US lives than a radnom terrorist attack.
  3. Improving education making the US more secure as we have more informed citizens who will be savvier about the world dangers and come up with better solutions to future threats.

So Iraq and Afghanistan will descend into temporary chaos which is a phase they will go through eventually at some point anyway. Big deal. There are countries worst off in Aftica. Rebuilding nations is not a priority we can afford. We are a broke nation.

by Pravin 2009-11-30 08:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghan surge

Canada has 8000 troops, England has 9000 troops, these countries are going through a recession as well yet they can afford to spend money on A'stan (as well as provide health-care, but that is another matter).

I favour a war tax to cover the costs of the A'stan war. I don't think we've quite reached the point though were we are bankrupt. That is only a GOP talking point.

by vecky 2009-12-01 09:21AM | 0 recs

I clicked on your link for Obama's leaked speech.  Hilarious !!

I am going go reserve judgement until I see the speech, and can compare it with what he said last time around.

by Ravi Verma 2009-11-30 11:33AM | 0 recs

thanks to your link, I will also be comparing it to LBJs speech.

by Ravi Verma 2009-11-30 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

I agree with Obama's decision, given his position as CiC.  I am not one bit surprised by it, as he always expressed intent to initiate greater troop numbers in Afghanistan.

At the same time, I'm going to call and write Congressman Walz in order to encourage him to oppose this escalation, because I oppose it personally.

How do you like them apples?

by lojasmo 2009-11-30 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

Campaign promises dont mean crap once your in the oval office. When the commanders on the ground and the experts lay out what needs to be done, thats what matters. He has to do what is best, not necessarily what is promised.

As for Michael Moore, the man is a first class idiot.....who cares what  he thinks...

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-30 12:31PM | 0 recs
Not really

listening to the "commanders on the ground" and the "experts" is what kept people dying in Vietnam long after it was clear that it was a foolish project.

by JJE 2009-11-30 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Not really

Wthat Buckeye doesn't get is that tactics and operations are made on the ground. Strategy is made in DC.

by vecky 2009-11-30 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Not really

no shit, that was my point...

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-30 04:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Not really

NO what got peopel killed in Vietnam was the fact that politicans and commanders were to worried about politics and hwo things looked on the front pages and didnt prosecute the war as they should have. They never fought the war to win it really....that was the lesson that those who fought it like Schwartzkoff learned and vowed not to repeat.

You can make all the campaign promises you want but until you sit in the oval office and have all the facts those promises are hollow.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-30 04:18PM | 0 recs

The only reason why they even HAD to be worried about politics and how things looked on the ground is because they didn't prosecute the war as they should have, not the other way around.

by ND22 2009-11-30 04:44PM | 0 recs
Re: WHAT?!?!?!

True true... you can't separate the two. Even Lincoln had to deal with a populace sick of war and hungry for tangible results. If Sherman hadn't taken Atlanta when he did the 1864 elections might have turned out differently (and the South wasn't even voting!).

And in 1942... Roosevelt pushed and prodded Eisenhower to achieve a victory or any significant action in the ETO ahead of the Congress elections. Eisenhower put Operation Torch into action, but only after November 4th and the Democrats suffered quite the rout (-8 senate, -45 house). In 1944 with war results more tangible and an end in sight, Dems did better.

That's simply how it works. The public ain't lemmings, they are not going to close their eyes and condone endless casualty lists.

by vecky 2009-11-30 05:07PM | 0 recs
Re: WHAT?!?!?!

Yeah dude thats pretty muich what I said. If they fought the war as they shoudl have and dint worry about the politics it migh thave had a differnt outcome.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-30 05:49PM | 0 recs
No that isn't what I said

the reason the public and the media turned against the war WAS because it was executed badly. It was BECAUSE of stuff like Mai Lai that they had to worry about the politics of war.

They weren't worried about the politics of the war until 2-3 years in, when it was ALREADY failing terribly.

by ND22 2009-11-30 07:02PM | 0 recs

Vietnam was unwinnable.  It is very difficult for foreign military might to prop up a government that lacks popular support.  We are learning this lesson again in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Schwartzkopf didn't learn whatever lesson you think he learned.  We went back into Iraq 12 years after the invasion Schwartzkopf commanded precisely because Bush I and his team realized that regime change and nation-building is extremely difficult and costly.

by JJE 2009-11-30 08:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

This is not really news. The thing is Obama never campaigned against the war in Afghanistan. He said we needed more troops there and he said that the Bush Administration took their eyes of the ball.

Also, I think this is a good debate for the Democratic Party to be having. I don't think it is going to divide the party in such a way as to keep us from being able to win elections. I also think it is absurd to compare this in anyway to the situation, with Vietnam, that LBJ faced. The conflict in Afghanistan has never been, and likely never will be the hot button issue that Iraq was with the general voting public. It might, on the whole, poll poorly. But I do wonder how important people would actually find it to be compared to other issues.

Personally, I think a troops escalation is a bad idea not because I don't think the Afghan situation needs to be addressed, but because I don't think there is a coherent vision on how to address it. To me that, rather than the fact that we are sending in more troops, is the bigger issue.

I know there are many, here and elsewhere, that would love to see Afghanistan become Obama's Iraq, if only so they can point and say "I told you so," but the reality is that such an occurence is a LONG way off. So, while it is disheartening for me to see this administration falling into the trap of lacking an exit plan or a cohesive strategy for tackling the problem, I am still not willing to look at this as the big make or break moment of Obama's first term in office.

by JDF 2009-11-30 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

(1) The President always campaigned on 'winning' in Afghanistan and so did the entire party - he promised to get out of Iraq which he will by the end of 2011.

(2) It's good to have a healthy debate about Afghanistan within the party; but that doesn't neglect the fact that for right now the President doesn't have very many options.

The President was never a pacifist and even in talking about Iraq he called it a dumb war and specifically said he wasn't against all wars. I don't see him doing anything differently than Edwards, Clinton, Biden, Dodd et al would have done. Especially given 9/11 and the place Afghanistan holds as the "good war."  A distinction democrats created.

by BlatantLiberal 2009-11-30 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

Exactly... it's also important to put some perspective...

In Australia, after Cheney-lite Howard was voted out of office last year, the new PM Rudd withdrew from Iraq and at the same time boosted troops to A'stan. More troops are to be sent now, including more contributions from new Zealand.

Barack Obamas strategy is in line with that of our allies.

by vecky 2009-11-30 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

A reality check for the regular assortment of bullshit artists and spinners:

" I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do.  I will get our troops home, we will bring an end to this war.  You can take that to the bank"

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29083534/pag e/4/

As I said in the last diary o n this subject, I am not even sure what is the right solution here. He may be right about the surge. The idea that this has been his consistent position or that there is no reason for confusion by voters now is not matched by the prior record or by the spirit of being the anti-war candidate. He know going in that this what people projected onto him. Apparently, based on this quote, there was a reason people felt that way.

I await the spin.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 01:00PM | 0 recs
Spin This

From the Meet the Press transcript you cited it is clear that this quote was understood by the panel as referring to Iraq.  Note Obama's reference to 'this war:'

MR. GREGORY: The issue of troops is what everybody's focused on, certainly politically, when troops come home.  This is what President Obama said before he was president, on the campaign trail.  This is October 2007.

(Videotape, October 27, 2007)

PRES. OBAMA: I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do.  I will get our troops home, we will bring an end to this war.  You can take that to the bank.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: And yet by July of 2008 on the campaign trail, he spoke about it somewhat differently.

(Videotape, July 3, 2008)

PRES. OBAMA: My 16-month timeline, if you examine everything that I've said, was always premised on making sure that our troops were safe.  And my guiding approach continues to be that we've got to make sure that our troops are safe and that Iraq is stable.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: You write in the book that Obama will be torn between what his supporters expect and what his generals advise.

MR. RICKS: I think that's right, and I think we may see a confrontation between Obama and the generals by the end of this year.  American voters, many of them, think we're going to be out of Iraq in 16 months; when he talks about having combat troops out of Iraq, that somehow no more Americans troops will die.

'Meet the Press' transcript for Feb. 8, 2009 NBC Meet the Press 8 Feb 09

Nice try, though.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 01:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Spin This

do you really think people were thinking he was just talking about iraq? the quote I gave is to illustrate a larger point, which by the way, is why I linked to the quote and then subsequently added what I said. It is essentially the same thing I said in the other diary. The problem you and others face is that people will feel like you sold them a bill of goods when you start to parse out saying he meant Iraq, and not some other war. That's not the spirit of what they thought they were getting. So, you can go sigh to me all you want. They will still be demoralized. As I said, I am not even sure what I think of this issue. Just like with Stupak, it is not my issue, but I can understand the effect politically of actions even as you try to spin what's happening.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 01:47PM | 0 recs
Yes he was just talking about Iraq

you can try to spin your mistakes as much as possible, because clearly you didn't bother to read the rest of the interview...especially the part a few minutes later when Afghanistan is specifically discussed.

by ND22 2009-11-30 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes he was just talking about Iraq

I am going to take the advice of a friend. She said when you have explained yourself, and they are still pretending not to understand it is on them, not you. My thesis is pretty simple: there is a reason for their confusion. Your thesis is pretty simple: you want to pretend there is not by parsing which war. Most voters do not make those distinctions regarding bringing home the troops.

Here are the numbers:


This is your ultimate problem. Add that to the feeling of confusion over what they thought they were getting and that quote creates a problem for you.  

by bruh3 2009-11-30 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes he was just talking about Iraq

Most voters know the fucking difference between Iraq and Afghanistan...they might support pulling troops out, but that's not what you said.

You took a quote from Obama on Iraq and tried to spin it as him talking about Afghanistan...Most people are smart enough to know the fucking difference between the two wars, even if they oppose both.

As for you friend, she was lying to spare your feelings.

by ND22 2009-11-30 02:13PM | 0 recs
Spirit, Schmirit

He said what he said.  This spirit nonsense is contradicted by the man's own statements and published policy.  It's just a different flavour of Kool-Aid and an insipid one at that.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

So you saying that there is no such thing as branding? Because the spirit "nonsense" is really another way of discussing how branding is used. Indeed, as I discuss below with Steve M that's something that candidate Obama used exceptionally well. Hell, I have seen you argue things here that have no basis in what President Obama does because you believed in a candidate Obama brand as far as I can tell. Your arguments over President Obama wanting a different relationship with congress comes directly from Obama's image craft, but that has really little to do with the substance of what he has done since being in office. When it suits him, he is perfectly willing to act like any other president before him. Branding however convinces you that he is not because that's not the label he goes by for you. I am as susceptible to branding as anyone else here. that's why I am incredibly clear that it is a factor. I hear his speeches, I want to believe them true. It is only the background work that makes me question them.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 02:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

I did read your original comment and I think you deserve credit for your remark that 'I am not even sure what is the right solution here. He may be right about the surge.'  That shows a thoughtful position.  I feel much the same way.

But it strikes me as ironic, given that during the campaign this guy was often portrayed as an 'empty suit' and the 'Kumbaya candidate,' that after the fact one would attempt to smokescreen what the man actually said on given issues.  Obama took considerable pains to differentiate Iraq and Afghanistan policy, as I diaried at the time.  I just don't buy the 'spirit' argument.

As for his 'different relationship with Congress' I think it is self-evident that his approach to the health care legislation is a significant departure from what the Clintons attempted, for one thing, and that he has encouraged Congress to lead on the detail of the actual legislation with policy 'guidance' from the executive.  As I have noted before this seems an important distinction between how our party and the Republican's operates effectively in these matters and if it is successful we have a precedent for other challenging and important legislation in his first term and beyond.  So, yeah, I'm actually pretty happy on that score.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 03:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

a) He was called an empty suit precisely because of the fact people felt he was all branding rather than reality.

Branding is not about specific instances. It's about image craft and emotions. See the link I provide below to Steve M for more branding details.

The problem once again with the quotes is that once the image craft has taken affect it is hard to overcome the image.

Below with Steve M, I compare this image of Obama being "anti war" with people's belief that Bush said Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

Both images were things that both men crafted without saying it, and both men could point to "facts" (in the case of Bush he never said Saddam was behind the war and yet people believed he said it anyway.)

This is the heart of branding. People stop paying attention to the details and work off emotional response. Madison Avenue uses it all the time. What some of you seem to be unwilling to admit is that this is something President Obama used in his campaign. if you admit he was using such techniques, then you should also admit there is the chance people could be confused when the overall image craft of 'antiwar candidate" does not match the specific rhetoric which may prove your point, but does not convey the entire truth.

Like I said, the lesson is the public option should have been called "Medicare for all because we care about Americans." This is branding. To me, we are arguing about different things. You want to point out some quote you think overcomes my argument , but at the end of the day brands transcend moments or quotes. That's why people go through the trouble of creating them in the first place. Ultimately, I think the problem for the president and more importantly the Democrats here is that we can not stay there outside of a year. I think the numbers in the polls are trending down, and that overall that are trending against President Obama on this issue. I don't think saying "but I said this in this quote on this date" will do it because of the branding issue.

b) If we were to limit the discussion to the health care bill, your argument might have some validation. The problem is that we are not limited to that. He has acted on other legislation in ways that are directly the opposite of what you claim is his approach to Congress.

What you are doing here is using Brand Obama to describe one specific piece of legislation because it is what you would like to believe, but if you are going to parse then you need to look at facts in other instances too. If he is willing to twist arms on other bills, then clearly the issue in health care was not the willingness to twist arms.

I have no idea how Clinton would have done. As I recently said, I think all our choices were shitty given the times we live in now and the reality that we need to make a clean break with prior Democratic economic policy making. I think Clinton would have been as bad if not worse. I think Edwards would have been a big sex scandal. All of it equaling shit.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 03:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

Sounds to me like 'branding' is just another way of saying 'not getting into the weeds on details.'  Fair enough for those not blogging daily on a politically themed website but it doesn't convince me, not here.  And it doesn't seem fair that it allows you to make assumptions for the rest of the electorate, at least on that basis.

It kind of gives you the latitude to spin things however you want, which seems to be a pretty regular pastime.  Aren't we supposed to be the switched on ones talking policy?

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

It gives the politician the ability to spin. They know that people are not following them that closely. I think part of the problem here is also you do not want to admit that branding was a part of what President Obama did to win last year.  People are not going to as a general rule research whether Bush purchased his ranch in the late 90s. They are not going to spend a huge amount of time realizing that when Obama speaks of bringing troops home repeatedly early on that he means only Iraq. They certainly are not going to get it in a branding sense when you are position yourself as Pepsi in competition with Coke. Now, it is true, there may be little difference between Pepsi and COke, but I do not think it is exactly reality to pretend that branding does not influence how people view things. As I say below, this has a valuable lesson for progressives. You are so busy worried about the weeds that you miss how to brand what you are saying to others. So, you can say 'Medicare for all because I care about Americans" because it has a branding potential too even if the weeds are that it is not really medicare for all and there is a lot of small print that people should have read to get the specific differences.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 04:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

'Yes we can' is a brand, that we would be putting two or three more brigades into Afghanistan is a policy.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 04:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

actually "anti war" or "anti clinton" is also branding. and the line between policy and branding is not as simple as you claim. with branding comes meaning of what policy is. democrat is a brand. people assumes that means certain policies versus republican.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 05:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

You assumed that means certain policies, you mean?  'Branding,' as you call it, doesn't make much sense where it trumps stated positions or platforms of individual candidates on specific issues.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 05:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

I don't assume anything. What I am doing is speaking of branding with you, and you keep pretending that branding is not a factor or by first claiming it does not matter, and even if it does it is a limited concept. My point is pretty simple- it is more complicated than you are willing to admit.

by bruh3 2009-12-01 03:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

Obama never branded himself as anti-war, one of his positions or "brands", if you want to call it that, was anti-Iraq.

If he stated he was against afghanistan, you would actually see those statements, everywhere, and any decent journalist would point to those statements to show the flip flop.  These don't exist because there was no flip flop, so please, stop taking away credibility from the argument against further pursuit in  afghanistan by posting blatant history re-writing.

by KLRinLA 2009-11-30 05:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

when people read "bring troops home" they assume home to the U.S. This conversation can go no where as long as many of you wish to pretend that they should have been reading the fine print. That's simply not how the bulk of the public follows politics.

by bruh3 2009-12-01 03:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

I have yet to see your data on how many Obama supporters are confused between these two wars and his clearly stated policy during the campaign.  

So far it is only you who is confused, so don't hide behind that group of imaginary people you kept projecting this confusion on.

by KLRinLA 2009-12-01 06:22PM | 0 recs
I'll say it more clearly

anyone who is STUPID ENOUGH to believe Obama's anti-IRAQ WAR stance equalled anti-ALL WARS wasn't paying attention, didn't want to pay attention, or is too stupid to be involved in politics.

He made it perfectly, abundantly clear that he was opposed to STUPID wars, he said so "I'm not opposed to all wars, I'm opposed to dumb wars" Those are his words exactly.

I find it absurd that someone would take that to mean he's "anti-war" and I find it even more absurd to think we should plan our national security policy around a few liberals who may have "misunderstood"

by ND22 2009-11-30 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it more clearly

You're getting a little adamant here considering that "I'm against dumb wars" is a complete truism.  Presumably folks who are against the war in Afghanistan consider it a dumb war.

by Steve M 2009-11-30 08:11PM | 0 recs
The President doesn't

by ND22 2009-12-01 01:31AM | 0 recs
Re: The President doesn't

Sure... and please tell me which politician isn't against wars he personally considers dumb?  That's what makes it a truism.

by Steve M 2009-12-01 06:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

By the way- image craft was a HUGE part of why it was so difficult early on to convince people  about certain arguments about Bush. Branding and image craft are not necessarily bad things. Progressives can learn a  lot about branding from PResident obama or bush. They are just techniques for communicating to others. They can be bad where for whatever reason they produce confusion about meaning or in the case of Bush were the confusion is deliberated (like the fake ranch  down in Texas).  The point is that I don't buy arguments that say that branding can not trump reality or quotes and that candidates don't know that branding can have such an  impact.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 03:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

The problem, Bruh, is once you start talking about 'spirit' and 'branding' it all gets pretty subjective.  The whole point is that we are supposed to be in the reality based community, which is hard enough to manage at best of times without getting out the Ouija board.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 03:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

branding is a part of reality. Pretending otherwise does not strike me as real. This is like saying Madison Avenue is not a part of reality.

It is true in some sense, but not really true on the most important sense for understand what is going on around you. Your definition of reality actually leaves you open to greater levels of manipulation than mine. I acknowledge that I can be influenced by branding, and thus take into consideration with regard to my level of evidence regarding what's happening.  I do not have to worry about my own subjectivity precisely because I take it into account. A lot of people do not. That's why I am such a big stickler for accountability.

Your statement also does not really discuss those who are not particularly into politics. Most people are not into politics. Thus, the most they will see is the branding. My statements here are about how people who are following branding rather than the specifics could be confused. I am certain that President Obama being a smart politician would know that.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 04:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

I understand what your are saying about the 'silent majority,' I think.  But if that is your thesis you might as well start citing some polling on the subject to back up your position.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 04:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Spirit, Schmirit

The polling I can cite is that of how people view the world and president obama's handling of it, which is something I linked to earlier

by bruh3 2009-11-30 05:19PM | 0 recs
Your Citation

"As you may know, the Obama Administration is considering sending additional troops to Afghanistan. From what you have heard or read, do you think a troop increase would make the situation in Afghanistan better, make it worse, or would it have no impact on the situation in Afghanistan?"

Make it better 36%  Make it worse 22%  Have no impact 31%  Depends 4%  Unsure 7%

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Your Citation

Only 36 percent think it will make it better.

Do you seriously think it is going to go uphill from there when you look at the other numbers on the subject?  If Jerome is right, and this is a quagmire, then I would say no.  Go look at how they view the war generally, and whether they want to be out of it or not. Think about what that means for this number if the policy does not work out.

This is why I said whatever he is doing had better be really short term because that's all he's got.  I am trying to remember what Bush's tipping point was on the war in Iraq? I think it was higher than this in like 2005 going into 2006.

Add to that the branding confusion that Obama is the "anti war" guy.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 05:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Your Citation

Yeah, well 36% is still the biggest number on that question which seemed more to the point of your thesis than any others.  There wasn't a question on whether Obama had deceived the electorate on sleight-of-hand branding in spite of his clearly stated policy.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Your Citation

You think 36 percent is a good number? Wow, look I know you and others really like Obama, but that's a really bad number.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Your Citation

I said 'biggest,' not good.  And the fact it is the biggest should tell you the electorate is more divided on this issue than you are making out it is.  Do you have figures for Democrats?  I'm sure they are worse.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Your Citation

36 percent is a bad number. I was being charitable.  That's why I assumed you meant it was a good number.

His approval is much higher than 36.  This eats significantly into his support base by something like 14 points or so.  Especially given he inherited this war- that's not good.

I do know that the dissatisfaction amongst Democrats right. Dissatisfaction is supposedly at a record high, but I doubt this is related to the war.

I think the dissatisfaction is coming from the economic front (more specifically the ineffectiveness of the stimulus to properly create jobs and the credit freeze with business that is preventing any growth outside of stimulus).

I think this war has little or not effect other than one more straw that can break the camel's back. But, as I said, this is not really my issue- the war. I follow it only lightly and only on the level of thinking about the politics of it. So, there may be better data data out there that I am missing.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Your Citation

36 % is a good number when all the other numbers are lower. That's how it works.

by vecky 2009-11-30 07:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Your Citation

I do no not know what is more disturbing. That you post this claim  probably believe what you were saying or that someone else gave you a 2 for it. It is really difficult to have a conversation with many of you because you are not living in reality. You will literally say anything no matter how absurd. Look, for the record, whether you convince me or not is irrelevant, but at least say something credible.

by bruh3 2009-12-01 03:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Your Citation

It's the simple truth. Bill Clinton won election with 43% of the vote. That's not a very good number, but when the other candidates had 38% and 19% respectively it actually is pretty good.

That reality.

by vecky 2009-12-01 09:09AM | 0 recs
Better than 22%

better than the 22% who think like the blogsphere does.

by ND22 2009-11-30 06:18PM | 0 recs

Bruh, I recommend getting out of this habit of representing "people" in your posts, of divining the "spirit" of what this or that figure said or how "people" understood or will understand it.  For the past two years it has been clear to me and many others who paid sufficient attention that Obama wanted to end the Iraq war and win the Afghanistan conflict.  I have been and remain ambivalent about the latter, but it's been quite clear.  

Stop this game now.  Oppose the policy if you choose, and I think there are excellent arguments against it.  But you don't need to call Obama a liar on this issue, in letter or in spirit to do so.  

by Strummerson 2009-11-30 02:53PM | 0 recs
Re: people


I do not k now what I think of the present policy. It may work or it may not.  I do know that there was a general feeling t the time that Obama was definitely pushing  in terms of the emotional buttons.

I do know is that I don't trust any of you and others  with exception for Steve M (even where we disagree I expect he will provide insightful assessment of the situation as he sees it rather than trying to protect President Obama).

I have sense found a better word to define what I am saying- it is called branding. I suppose this is also an alien term to you.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 03:05PM | 0 recs
Re: people

Perhaps you should consider registering the 'flying WTF' brand.  It suits you.  Do you have any cattle?

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 03:19PM | 0 recs
Re: people

what's weird is that some of you really think there is something far out there about what I am discussing. Take a basic course in branding and marketing.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 03:22PM | 0 recs
Re: people

So now you are an economist, a lawyer, and a Director of Marketing?  Polymaths rock!

by Strummerson 2009-11-30 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: people

I always understood 'Director of Marketing' and 'polymath' to be mutually exclusive.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 03:44PM | 0 recs


by Charles Lemos 2009-11-30 03:30PM | 0 recs

It gets a little frustrating sometimes.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 03:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry

No worries on my part. I thought it was witty if cold.

And to be fair, the tenacity is something to behold.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-30 04:45PM | 0 recs
Good Point

In fact, assuming we actually agreed about something, that's the kind of determination that passes the 'in the trenches' test.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 04:55PM | 0 recs
Cultural gap....

I had to rack my brains really hard to figure that "flying WTF brand" crack.  But I am going to shamelessly file it away for future plagiarism.  And I will make it sound like an expert, of course =)

by Ravi Verma 2009-11-30 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Cultural gap....

I had a friend in Montana who claimed to own the 'two-lazy two-P' brand.  That kind of thing sticks with one.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 06:19PM | 0 recs
Re: people

I don't know why you are so concerned about trust, but thanks for yet another backhanded insult that suggests that most of us are working together and fail to provide you with "insightful assessment."  Nonetheless, you seem compelled to continue to antagonize a "team" that is disingenuous, uninformed, and bears you ill will.  Seems an odd use of one's time.  Unless of course you get some charge out of constructing this environment.  Get some help already.

Congrats on your discovery of the concept of "branding."  I'm sorry to say that I disagree with your claims regarding how it operates with regard to this issue.  Stupak was one thing, though we'll see what Obama does if the bill comes to his desk with that amendment.  DOMA and DADT piss me off.  But this move simply does not function in the same way.  Invoking general feeling and emotional buttons of others seems loaded with projection.  Obama was never a pacifist and always, always, always distinguished Iraq from Afghanistan.  It's not parsing or fine print or wiggle room or catch all maneuvering.  Some people simply weren't paying attention.  Whether that describes you or Jerome or Michael Moore or this or that imagined constituency, I dunno.  You are correct that there will be a political cost for this move.  There would be a political cost for unilateral and immediate withdrawal as well.  Certainly many Obama supporters were always going to oppose this move.  No one gets the candidate of their dreams.  To voice opposition through the feigned sentiment of betrayal by ignoring the records of Obama's intentions, those statements that have been linked up and down this thread, is a piss poor way of dealing with the fact that the guy you voted for because of some issues is now doing something you never wanted.  He's made the call.  I will pay attention to how he explains it and what the analysts say.  Then I will decide whether I think it was the right call.  And I'll pray it works either way.

by Strummerson 2009-11-30 03:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

Obama was talking about Iraq with this quote, right?

I found this quote...

http://blogs.cfr.org/campaign2008/2008/1 0/22/quote-obama-on-afghanistan/

"It's time to heed the call from General McKiernan and others for more troops. That's why I'd send at least two or three additional combat brigades to Afghanistan. We also need more training for Afghan Security forces, more non-military assistance to help Afghans develop alternatives to poppy farming, more safeguards to prevent corruption, and a new effort to crack down on cross-border terrorism. Only a comprehensive strategy that prioritizes Afghanistan and the fight against al Qaeda will succeed, and that's the change I'll bring to the White House."

-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), in a speech Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia on national security policy.

by applejackking 2009-11-30 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

Here is another quote:

"We have seen Afghanistan worsen, deteriorate. We need more troops there. We need more resources there ... I would send two to three additional brigades to Afghanistan."

http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsN ews/idUSTRE49D4OL20081014?pageNumber=2&a mp;virtualBrandChannel=0

by applejackking 2009-11-30 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

did you read the rest of what I wrote? my point is that this is part of the reason people are confused. You can talk until you are blue about how they should have read the fine print, that is not going to change perception that when they were voting for him they thought they were getting the antiwar/anti clinton candidate. Like I said, I awaited the spin. 'Well but here's a specific quote where he did not say that about afghanistan later". Yes. that's already been admitted. The problem is that the war was always about coming home. not which war. see my point now?

by bruh3 2009-11-30 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

Yes I did get what you posted. It's not his fault that people didn't get the message that he was saying for the WHOLE campaign. He didn't try to slide one by on this issue. He was out in full force saying more troops in Afghanistan. People can read into it what they want but they have to remember; it's their fault for voting for the guy.

It took me two seconds to google his positions during the campaign. If this is going to snap people into the realization that they need to actually see what they are getting before they vote for it, then this is good. But it's not Obama's fault that people are having an ex post facto remorse over his Afghanistan policy...

by applejackking 2009-11-30 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

This is where some of you  seem naive about politics.

a) Let's buy for a second that he did not intend to use the confusion regarding him being the "anti war" or "anti Hillary" candidate, it does not matter because ultimately he still has the same problem. That's what I am discussing rather than the subsequent spin that there was no reason for that confusion. As you said, you had to google the subject. Most people don't google to figure out the parsing of candidates. It is also not a great argument to essentially say "well they should have known what he meant." Here' why this really matters in a political sense- read this poll:


The point is that people have to sign on to these kinds of things or the end badly. My hope is that he will announce a quick surge and exit rather than several years of engagement.

b) The reality is that he did use this "anti war" meme and branding to win, and thus, it is a little ridiculous to argue specific quotes when you know that the narrative he was setting up was meant to cover that up through the emotions. And yes, despite my wishes, people are emotional and do not always search for parsing.

As I said to another poster, the reality is politicians do this kind of catch all, song and dance all the time. Their wiggle room is not an excuse to pretend that he was always being entirely forward with voters.

Practical example- when discussing war abroad, what if he kept hammering on the need to increase the troops abroad rather than the confusing message, I doubt he would have won given the times.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 02:11PM | 0 recs
What are we supposed to be looking at?

with this poll, what are we supposed to be looking at as proof of whatever the point is you're trying badly to make?

That 60% think the war in Afghanistan wasn't a mistake, or that 39% want to reduce troops.

Or is that 53% express confidence in the President's ability to come up with a good strategy, or that 9% think generals have too much influence.

You should probably move in the direction of other liberal bloggers and make the point that liberals want troops home and Obama should be doing what his "base" wants.

by ND22 2009-11-30 02:48PM | 0 recs
Re: What are we supposed to be looking at?

You got me- zing!

by bruh3 2009-11-30 02:57PM | 0 recs
Iraq is Afgahnistan

up is down, black is white.  All that matters is that bruh3 is right!

by JJE 2009-11-30 02:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

I think you could probably make this rational ignorance argument about any candidate for any office.  Consistently, when you look at post-election polls, you find a large number of voters who didn't correctly understand the candidates' positions on a host of issues.  You can generally attribute this to the fact that successful candidates are those who manage to be all things to all people, combined with the fact that most voters have few issues where they care deeply enough to get down in the weeds and figure out who stands exactly where.

I don't think this is unique to Barack Obama.  If Hillary had been elected you'd find lots of people who felt like she would wind down the war in Afghanistan.  If JOHN MCCAIN had been elected you'd find lots of people who would say the exact same thing.  No one ever runs as the candidate of endless war.

If I felt strongly during the primary that we needed to get out of Afghanistan, which I didn't, I probably would have looked at it this way.  There was no major candidate taking that position, so as between Clinton, Obama, and Edwards I have something of a Hobson's choice.  It would be perfectly reasonable for me to conclude that as between the three of them, I might as well vote for the guy who has some form of anti-war credentials because maybe he'll see the light once he's in office, or maybe he's just saying this right now to get elected, or whatever.

For the anti-war people who felt strongly that Obama would bring all the troops home, maybe it's a function of them not wanting to admit to themselves that their choice came down to voting for the lesser evil.  But even if they knew all of the relevant facts, it would still be reasonable to conclude that one should vote for Obama because there's maybe a 20% chance he'll get out of Afghanistan, as opposed to maybe 10% for the other candidates.

But either way I don't think anyone can say that Obama's supporters were unique in their confusion about his positions on the issues.  This is how politics always works.

by Steve M 2009-11-30 02:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

I think your argument depends on the issue.  What I mean is that it is true that there is always confusion. For example, Bush supporters believing that he supported import of drugs. However, on the topic of which they are defining their race- at least early on- I feel that in many cases these sorts of confusions are things that the candidates cultivate. I again return to Bush where many people could swear that President Bush had said that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.  The reason why they felt that way is not because he actually said it. It was because Bush used techniques of branding. Something that then candidate Obama used to his advantage. All candidates have done that to some degree. However, Obama took it to a new level with progressives in many ways, and more  importantly, I do not think he should be absolved anymore than any other candidate who uses confusion to their advantage while branding themselves one way that they know will entice the voters, but not shouting the small print.  I mentioned this earlier, but here's a great exchange I read this weekend that sums up how the branding works on the emotional level to convince one that one is voting for one thing when it is actually another:

http://www.openleft.com/diary/16231/naom i-klein-nails-brand-obama

I just find it false to say that this branding is not intended to have the effect of convincing voters of a particular image of a candidate. In this case, candidate Obama as the anti war choice over Clinton. Now, should people have figured it out? Yes, but I advocate that even now when ever he says something. I always say it is not what they say. It is what they do. This is accountability. But to say that branding is not a deliberate act to me seem false. It is. It uses emotions to give you the impression you are getting a certain label.

There are actually lessons that progressives can learn from Obama here. As I said in another diary today, the lesson is that the public option should have been sold as "Medicare for all because we care for all Americans." We could argue afterwards that we were not saying the GOP does not care about Americans. It is just that we do care. The manipulation of language and emotions is what I am trying to get at here.

by bruh3 2009-11-30 02:31PM | 0 recs
He's talking about Iraq


by ND22 2009-11-30 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: He's talking about Iraq

since many of you can not bother to read what do I also write:

"The idea that this has been his consistent position or that there is no reason for confusion by voters now is not matched by the prior record or by the spirit of being the anti-war candidate. " If you are the average voter what are you hearing with the above statement by him?

by bruh3 2009-11-30 01:52PM | 0 recs
When you bother to read what you post

we'll bother to read what you wrote.

by ND22 2009-11-30 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: When you bother to read what you post

zing, you got me!

by bruh3 2009-11-30 02:45PM | 0 recs
GOP is Calling on Jennifer Brunner to Apologize ..

.. for telling the truth about Gen. McChrystal:

http://washingtonindependent.com/69136/m emories-of-general-betray-us

http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/afghan istan/happy-hour-roundup-120/

The truth hurts sometimes. There is reason to be skeptical about the messenger on this, and Jennifer Brunner is the kind who isn't afraid to say it.

by Jeff Coryell 2009-11-30 04:22PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP is Calling on Jennifer Brunner to Apologiz

Geez, she said nothing that has been said before. What am I missing? Why are they (the GOP) upset?

The Pat Tillman stuff is well-known. It's perhaps ad hominem (and I am not even sure of that) but otherwise everything she is saying has been said before.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-30 04:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge


The "Change" candidate has morphed into George W. Bush. This troop surge in this basket case no account country  spells the beginning of the end of all the hard work we did in 2006 and 2008 in rebuilding the Democratic majority. There goes our majorities in Congress and in Governorships. After 2010, the Republicraps will "BE BACK".
I have had it with Obama.

HOWARD DEAN in 2012 anyone, maybe we can save the Presidency from this conman.

by hddun2008 2009-11-30 04:30PM | 0 recs
oh Kent knock it off

by ND22 2009-11-30 04:42PM | 0 recs
If he costs us our majorities

That should be the point where many of us seriously call for a 2012 primary challenge.  

by Kent 2009-11-30 10:13PM | 0 recs
Nice try

by ND22 2009-12-01 01:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

I agree with Obama.  

And it is simply true that Afghanistan is not Iraq.  There is nothing contradictory about resisting the invasion of Iraq and supporting the war in Afghanistan.  That was the position of most progressives from the beginning.  Obama made it clear throughout the campaign that he considered Afghanistan a war of necessity, so why act like he's somehow betraying us now?  

The U.S. and allies have made commitments to forces within Afghanistan that hold the only promise for a positive future there.  A relatively stable, relatively democratic Afghanistan is in our vital national interests and in the interest of peace in the entire region.  In general, nation-building is very problematic but there are cases where it is worth the attempt and I think this is one of them.  

by Thaddeus 2009-11-30 04:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

I don't know if you have any idea of Afghan history but this line "A relatively stable, relatively democratic Afghanistan is in our vital national interests and in the interest of peace in the entire region." betrays your ignorance.

Have you seen the Sean Connery movie "The man who would be king". That depicted Afghanistan in the 1800s, it is still the same now. There was never a single democratic power in recent history and the terrain is ungovernable and there is a rogue nuclear power state which does not want US involvement in the region.

So tell me what is this President's exit strategy other than yet another empty speech? How does he plan to get the 70000 odd troops out of there especially since neither the government nor the people find out presence welcome?

by tarheel74 2009-11-30 06:13PM | 0 recs
Here's an even better question

perhaps this question sbould be lodged to you people;

How does he plan to get the 70000 odd troops out of there especially since neither the government nor the people find out presence welcome?

you want them out, how would you propose getting them out?

by ND22 2009-11-30 06:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's an even better question

Get them out now. Santa Claus is not paying for this escalation, we the tax payers are.

by tarheel74 2009-12-01 03:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

Well, I probably know more about Afghan history than you.  At least I know enough to realize it's not the same as it was over a century ago, despite Western stereotypes, and I know enough not to base my impressions on a Sean Connery film (Good grief!).  If you're going to be insulting, try to provide better sources, will ya?

My "relatively stable" is a clear recognition of the historical developments and the difficulty of nation-building in the region.  However, it was appropriate to engage in Afghanistan in the first place, to dislodge the Taliban, and it is appropriate to continue to support forces that will not provide a nation-wide infrastructure for terrorists.

by Thaddeus 2009-11-30 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

Given the fact that come from that part of the world by allusion to a movie was for westerners to understand what they are dealing with. I doubt you know much if any Afghan history prior to the cold war.

by tarheel74 2009-12-01 03:06PM | 0 recs
And you would be wrong

Do you know what you do when you make assumptions?  And try to beef up the coherence of your posts, please!  I had to read yours three times.

by Thaddeus 2009-12-06 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

That's not strictly correct.  Afghanistan has had periods of pacific monarchy, decentralised warlordism, profitable nepotistic tourism and cultural tolerance in the 20th century.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-30 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

It was mostly either decentralized feudal warlords or tyrannical leaders. But since the late 80s it has been total and complete chaos. So the idea that Afghanistan can develop into some sort of stable democratic country with a central government is a pipe-dream. Hell, they rarely had a stable government since Zahir Shah was overthrown as the king.

by tarheel74 2009-12-01 03:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

So we agree on the history but have drawn completely different conclusions.  Why is that?

by Shaun Appleby 2009-12-01 05:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

Because Afghanistan like most prior British colonies or outposts is a amalgam of multiple often warring tribes and races who were generally ruled by a strongman. Most of the strongmen except in recent times were of Pashto origin. The Taliban was just that, a hardline Pashto movement against the Tajiks and Uzbeks, whom they consider foreigners as well. So the idea of a strong central democratic government there is not plausible, especially since the Pashtos are receiving considerable military and logistical support from Pakistan.

by tarheel74 2009-12-02 05:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

All I said was "that's not strictly correct" and it isn't.  If you want to argue against the "idea of a strong central democratic government" in Afghanistan, do it with someone else.  I never took that position.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-12-02 10:48AM | 0 recs
Men Who Would Be Kings

And the Scots still treasure their freedom, just like when Gibson fought for them against Edward I.

by Strummerson 2009-11-30 07:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Men Who Would Be Kings

Cute. Care to tell me what exit strategy the great leader proposes?

by tarheel74 2009-12-01 03:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Men Who Would Be Kings

Talk about a non-sequitur.  And a characteristically classless move.

Are you really going to defend the invocation of a Hollywood adaptation of one of Rudyard Kipling's colonialist fantasies as a meaningful perspective on contemporary Afghanistan?  I don't claim to be an expert, but I think that film a radically unreliable witness and that suggesting otherwise is just silly.

As for your PUMA vinegar pissing, suffice it to say that you told me so.  Except for the fact that I voted for Obama despite my ambivalence regarding his clearly stated intention to escalate in Afghanistan.  I know you think this is a simple issue.  We should just pack up and leave.  I don't know how anyone can be so clear about such a complex and volatile situation.  I'm not happy about this, not surprised about it, but think pulling up pegs and marching away seems simplistic and irresponsible as well.  This is a truly difficult and complicated and bloody and shitty and dangerous problem.  I'm glad you see it as an appropriate opportunity to self-righteously celebrate your own ideological purity.  

Great leader?  Does it matter that I have always recognized Obama as a centrist politician?  Produce some evidence that I have ever imagined him as anything else or apologized for or ignored those things I disagree with about him.  Go back to Alegre's kiddie korner where freedom of speech is reduced to a privilege granted to those who agree with you.  

Last question: do you feel betrayed that HRC continues to serve as Secretary of State or do you have some apologetic acrobatics that absolves her of involvement in this?

by Strummerson 2009-12-01 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama OK's Afghanistan surge

Was Michael Moore on acid during the election? Obama campaigned that he wouldn't ignore Afghanistan. He campaigned that if President, he'd immediately send in more troops.

Nowhere did he say that he would pull out troops. NOWHERE. And yet, people like Michael Moore still voted for him. And now that he's made a decision that they don't like, Obama is being compared to Bush?!? Really?!?!

They've lost their minds.

by Jen7 2009-11-30 07:10PM | 0 recs


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