War and Primary

The other day I was mentioning Afghanistan in the realm of Obama and the Democratic primary, which is the subject of a Politico article today:

As in every presidential first term, the reelection campaign is always in view and always getting closer. By setting a deadline 16 months before Election Day, Obama seemed to be hoping that he could spend his campaign claiming victory; or, at least, diminishing American losses; in a war of which the American public appears to be tiring.

But as 2012 approaches, he will need to thread a political needle: to maintain the focus of Democrats on his domestic accomplishments while assuring them that the Afghan war is not Vietnam; and to fend off almost inevitable Republican attacks that he is set to cut and run.

"The timeline I'm paying more attention to in terms of Afghanistan is the Democratic primary schedule," said Peter Feaver, a professor at Duke University and National Security Council staffer under Democratic and Republican administrations.

"The timeline is counterproductive on the ground. It makes things harder for the military and harder for Karzai," said Feaver. "The one upside is it allows Obama to say we're not in this quagmire forever; which could be enough to prevent a serious primary challenge to his left."

We are starting to see some pushback:

In fact, there's little sign of an impending anti-war primary challenge. But the White House is intensely aware of the toll a war could take on Obama's popularity, not just with his left flank but with a Republican Party whose hawkish impulses compete with its renewed focus on controlled spending.

"I think we're going to have to keep to that promise," said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). "We have to at least ensure that the administration is up to its promised time frame."

And from Alan Grayson via email: 

I just learned that the key Congresswoman in charge of funding aid to Afghanistan - Nita Lowey - has stood up and said no.  Chairwoman Lowey just stopped $3.9 billion of funding for Afghanistan until she has "confidence that U.S. taxpayer money is not being abused to line the pockets of corrupt Afghan government officials, drug lords and terrorists."  This is how Americans ended the war in Vietnam - by ending the willingness of Congress to fund it.

It's also how LBJ tore apart the Democratic Party and became a one-termer. Obama is actually even more ambitious than LBJ-- Obama, as a candidate who won the Democratic nomination on an anti-war speech, believes he can become a Democratic War President and win another term.

I think Joe !!@&!?*! Biden was right about the July 2011 deadline.

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Obama has no independent streak

The Democratic Party has not learned a single damn thing since the Nader debacle in 2000. NOT A DAMN THING. The next time people blame Nader, look at the party itself for creating such a situation. I did not vote for Nader in 2000, but I am definitely going to vote third party in 2012 if Obama keeps this crap up. Obama has been a failure at everything he touched. Yeah yeah, healthcare reform could be a start and its benefits are still sketchy. But it is easily outweighed by the failure of proper financial reform, bungling of the BP mess, and now the lack of clarity on the war.


Karzai's whining should have been nipped inthe bud from day1. To let Karzai get to this stage where he thinks he can play both sides is indicative of the failure of american foreign policy.


Obama has not done a thing to punish Blackwater and others for fleecing our tax money via fraud.



by Pravin 2010-06-28 09:42PM | 0 recs
I blame Nader

Anyone who still says there was no different between Bush and Gore should be institutionalized. period.

by DTOzone 2010-06-28 10:39PM | 1 recs
Yeah, Gore's looking great these days.....

Maybe you should ask a few people in Oregon what they think of the vanquished Vice President (all 400 lbs. of him).


by BJJ Fighter 2010-06-29 01:24AM | 0 recs
RE: Yeah, Gore's looking great these days.....

So much of him to massage.

by 2010-06-29 02:14AM | 0 recs
Counter-insurgency makes no sense if we don't address Pakistan

The reality is even if we do everything right there is still the elephant in the room: Pakistan, and elements of its state that are supporting the Taleban. Right now the Pakistani government has floated the idea of a power-sharing agreement between the Karzai government and the Haqqani group of the Taleban who are closely aligned to Al Qaeda!! And what's this administration's approach towards Pakistan, give them more money and more arms!!

by tarheel74 2010-06-28 11:52PM | 0 recs
"Jobs, jobs, jobs!"

The conflict in Afghanistan isn't going to mean squat come 2012; right now, it polls at about 4% in terms of the average voter's concerns relative to where the country is headed.

Let's just use Obama's own words to measure his performance while he has been in office. He stated that restoring our economy, and in particular "jobs, jobs, jobs", would be his #1 priority.

After promising that unemployment wouldn't go past 8% if Congress pass his "stimulus" bill, it promptly soared to 10.2%. The economy lost 4.1 million jobs during Obama's first year in office.

Can anyone here say, with a straight face, that his performance on the economy has been a strong one? Do you really think that in 2012, voters are going to look at his term in office, and say "wow, I want four more years of this!"

The answers to those questions are obvious. What we're getting from Obama isn't leadership. He's not even a convincing bully.

He's just a failure.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-06-29 01:21AM | 0 recs

No matter how many of these posts I read, I just don't see much evidence in the real world that Americans see Afghanistan as anywhere near the wrenching issue that Vietnam was.  It's not anyone's favorite war, but the idea that it could be the source of a major primary challenge to Obama strikes me as craziness of the first order.

Jerome has been pushing this line for a long, long time, but I see no sign that it's anything other than wishful thinking.

by Steve M 2010-06-29 02:05AM | 1 recs
It's his blog,

his lasting resentment and his obsession.  

by Thaddeus 2010-06-29 10:45PM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

"I just don't see much evidence in the real world that Americans see Afghanistan as anywhere near the wrenching issue that Vietnam was": The reason for that can be explained by one word, DRAFT. During Vietnam, there was a draft, and as such the number of soldiers there was even more than the contingent in Afghanistan. However, the soldiers in Afghanistan are on their 3rd, 4th, 5th.....deployment. Eventually there will be a saturation point, a point of attrition if you may, if this administration is to follow the course of COIN. We might never see the draft, but the attrition is taking its toll on the armed forces, and for a country that is in recession, a continuing war is constant drain to the treasury. I guess unless we go flat broke, or someone decides to reinstate the draft, Americans will always view Afghanistan war as rumblings in a distant nation.

by tarheel74 2010-06-30 01:29PM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

Remind again us of your time spent in the Service, I seem to have forgotten somehow.

by QTG 2010-06-30 01:36PM | 0 recs
RE: Honestly

I am guessing you are for endless war??

by tarheel74 2010-06-30 01:54PM | 0 recs


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