War and Primary
by Jerome Armstrong, Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 08:54:39 PM EDT
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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