Mission accomplished, peace with honor, or the courage to come home?

(Cross-posted from Think it Through.)

As a former speechwriter for politicians, I pity President Obama's scribes this week. Their assignment is to craft a speech recognizing the last U.S. “combat” troops leaving Iraq. I can feel their frustration at being asked to draft remarks that defy reality.

Here is an opportunity for the President’s word merchants to turn frustration into a positive result for the country.

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It's Now or Never for Obama and Democratic Governance

Roosevelt considered it.  Truman tried it--and failed. Kennedy was blocked, Johnson succeeded in part, Nixon nearly did it, Clinton was nearly destroyed in trying to do it.  Now President Barack Obama wants to undertake the most radical act of his presidency, and bring us universal health care.    If he succeeds, it will reinvigorate our society, ending a fundamental injustice in one of the wealthiest nations in the world.    If he fails, it will spell the end of the yet short lived Democratic dominance of Washington.  

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Thomas Eagleton

A brief history lesson:

In 1972 the Presidential race came down to Nixon and McGovern.  McGovern won the Democratic nomination at the convention and selected Thomas Eagleton to be his Vice Presidential running mate.

According to McGovern, he had asked and been turned down by Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Hubert Humphrey, Edmund Muskie and Birch Bayh, before asking Eagleton.

Eagleton, 43 at the time, was not thoroughly vetted before being selected as the running mate.

Only two weeks after being selected, it came to light that Eagleton had been in a mental hospital in the 60's for depression and received electroshock therapy.  It was a devastating revelation.

Shortly after this information came to light, McGovern requested that Eagleton remove himself from the nomination.  Eagleton was quickly replaced with Sargent Shriver but the damage was done.

Nixon went on to beat McGovern by over 23% and an electoral victory of 520 to 17.  McGovern carried Massachusetts and DC.

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Scott McClellan and John Dean

In 1973, the Nixon administration had closed ranks to stonewall the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Watergate scandal. But then, White House Counsel John Dean, sensing that he was about to be made a scapegoat, flipped. Dean was the first person in the Nixon administartion to implicate Nixon in the Watergate break-in and coverup. The rest, as they say, is history.    

And so, I was pleased today to read that Scott McClellan will testify before the House Judiciary Committee about the Valerie Plame affair. Is it possible that Scott McClellan can turn over the rock and reveal this festering mess for what it is? Can he at least bring down Cheney? Perhaps not. But I fella can dream, can't he?    

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Hillary Clinton=our Richard Nixon

The more I think about it, the more I see huge similarities between Richard Nixon in 1968 and Hillary Clinton in 2008.  Both are figures that have a likeability problem and both would benefit from the unpopularity of the opposition party.  Lyndon Johnson was very unpopular in 1968 and George W. Bush is very unpopular now because of unpopular wars.  Despite these favorable conditions, Richard Nixon was only able to pull out a close 43%-42% victory in the fall over Johnson's VP, Hubert Humpherey.  At the same time Republicans made almost no gains in Congress.  

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