Future Message From Camp Obama:

July 5, 2008 at 6:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Now that Obama is “refining” his position on Iraq policy, could his anti-politician brand be in crisis? He held a press conference Thursday where some say he backtracked on his intial promise to bring troops home within a 16 month timetable. Here’s what he said:

“I have always said that I will listen to commanders on the ground. I’ve always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability…That assessment has not changed, and when I go to Iraq and I have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies.”

But, this is what he told John Gibson back in April during the ABC debate:

GIBSON: And, Senator Obama, your campaign manager, David Plouffe, said, “When he is” — this is talking about you — “When he is elected president, we will be out of Iraq in 16 months at the most. There should be no confusion about that.”

So you’d give the same rock-hard pledge, that no matter what the military commanders said, you would give the order to bring them home?

OBAMA: Because the commander-in-chief sets the mission, Charlie.

That’s not the role of the generals.

And one of the things that’s been interesting about the president’s approach lately has been to say, “Well, I’m just taking cues from General Petraeus.”

Well, the president sets the mission. The general and our troops carry out that mission. And, unfortunately, we have had a bad mission set by our civilian leadership, which our military has performed brilliantly. But it is time for us to set a strategy that is going to make the American people safer.

Now, I will always listen to our commanders on the ground with respect to tactics, once I’ve given them a new mission, that we are going to proceed deliberately, in an orderly fashion, out of Iraq, and we are going to have our combat troops out. We will not have permanent bases there.

Once I have provided that mission, if they come to me and want to adjust tactics, then I will certainly take their recommendations into consideration. But, ultimately, the buck stops with me as the commander-in-chief.

Putting aside policy tweaking for Camp Obama if “progress” there continues, how does Obama avoid jeapordizing his brand as the anti-politician while casting McCain, like he did Clinton, as just another Washington insider, out of touch with the American people and devoid of the keen sense for change American needs? Obama needs to stick to the rhetoric on Iraq that catapulted him into the national spotlight in the first place, helped to elbow Clinton out of a presidential candidacy and secured a firm base of support among the Democratic Party. Now, I understand tacking to the center after winning over the left is Politics 101 for running a general election campaign, but the PERCEPTION of consistency is key…and after a series of right turns last week from FISA to slapping moveon.org, I see a brand in crisis, soon to be under attack from two sides: the right AND the left.

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4 Comments »

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  1. “I don’t know the key to success, but I know the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”

    Bill Cosby

    This statement is true of any politician during the election cycle. But in the end, the problem is that the American people, as a whole, don’t know what they believe. And are easily mislead from slick guys like Obama and McCain. They end up trying to please everyone, but in the end, please no one.

    Obama cannot stay in the same area that got him the nomination and win the election, history has shown this.

  2. I agree, Obama needs to worry less about how he compares to McCain and more about his own campaign. It is inevitable that Americans will draw a comparison between the two and he can make McCain look worse (in comparison) by making himself look better. Right now they both just look like squabbling children.

    In 04′ Kerry essentially ignored attacks against him while in 08′ Obama has committed himself to fighting them (a good decision IMO). However, I wonder if the Obama campaign is getting confused and allowing a willingness to refute political smears turn into being bogged down in our 24/7 political drama.

    I think too much participation in our cable political theatre has the potential to put a real damper on his youth support. The 18-24 demographic watches The Daily Show, not Hannity and Colmes. I am not sure what the appropriate response is for Obama.

  3. I disagree with your assessment, hotfiler. I think what Obama is doing, and must point out to make it obvious, is that he is willing to reconsider changes in strategies as events on the ground change. He needs to draw the contrast from this tactic and that of Bush, who would never change, regardless of how failing his positions are/were. But essentially, Obama has not really changed his stnace on the war in Iraq. He needs to continue to show this difference with McCain, specifically with his position to not set up 50 permanent bases in the theater, as McCain and Bush support. He knows voters don’t want to surrender, but he also knows that they do not want hundreds of thousands of their children stationed in the middle east in a dangerous and volitile region to Americans. Redeploy to Afghanistan and wipe out Al Queda and the Taliban. Which should have been the original goal back in 2001…

  4. It’s not tacking to the center when the majority of Americans want out of Iraq now, and think going there in the first place was a mistake. It’s tacking to the right really, or the stupid if you want to be blunt about it.


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