Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Obama's Time Machine

Never mind the middle name and the costumes. This is not going to help Obama with me:

Obama said during the debate with Clinton that once he withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq, if al Qaeda were to form a base there, "then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad."

"I have some news," McCain said. "Al Qaeda is in Iraq. It's called Al Qaeda in Iraq. My friends, if we left, they wouldn't be establishing a base, they'd be taking a country and I'm not going to allow that to happen."

Advantage McCain. Even with his war wounds, he still can hit the hanging curve ball, if he gets one. But this is odd, from the news service reporting it -- Reuters, naturally:

McCain was somewhat undermined by Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, who told U.S. lawmakers Wednesday that Al Qaeda in Iraq had suffered major setbacks last year and although still "capable of mounting lethal attacks," the group had suffered hundreds of members killed or captured.

How does that "undermine" him? McCain, not Obama, backed the strategies that led, in essential ways, to this success against the enemy which, McConnell takes pains to say, is still deadly, and which, no doubt he would agree, would surge right back if the U.S. pulled out ASAP.

Even Obama didn't take this silly line of argument.

Obama hit back at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, saying McCain had joined President George W. Bush in supporting a war "that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged."

"I have some news for John McCain, and that is that there was no such thing as al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq," he said to cheers.

He mocked McCain for his oft-repeated remark that he will get al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden if he has to follow him to the "gates of hell."

"So far all he's done is follow George Bush into a misguided war in Iraq," Obama said.

Which is about the only retreat option he has there, but it's a weak one. Nobody is voting for him to be president of 2003. If he's going to run on a platform of reversing the flow of time, then I want to see the paperwork on that. If he's going to present himself as someone who believes Saddam-in-charge was better for America than no Saddam, then please say that in so many words. If neither of those things, then he better talk more about the future, less about a past he can't change.