Monday, July 7, 2008

More War Over War

Gotcha politics, long-reviled, may finally have taken the next logical step - inventing gotchas where none actually exist.

Take the latest campaign battle over Obama's position on withdrawing troops from Iraq. McCain says that Obama's statements "have left a significant question as to exactly what he intends." This so-called flip-flop stems from Obama's statement that while the strategy in Iraq will be to bring the troops home as soon as possible (ideally within 16 months), the exact timeline will be affected by the actual conditions on the ground. That is to say that Obama won't just yank the troops out no matter what.

Interestingly, that's what he's been saying the whole time.

Consider also, as Christopher Beam points out, that it would be pretty irresponsible to hold to a plan formulated over a year in advance without regard to how the situation may have changed in the intervening time.

Consider also, that what Obama has supposedly flopped to is right, even in John McCain's thinking. Both candidates are saying (as Hillary Clinton did too) that conditions on the ground in Iraq need to be considered when withdrawing soldiers. The strategy difference remains that Obama want to withdraw troops as soon as it's responsible to do so, while McCain sees a permanent occupying force as a positive.

When we cut through the hysterical campaign rhetoric, McCain is saying that Obama was wrong and now he's switched to the right position, and that makes him wrong. Never mind that Obama's stance has been consistent, McCain's position on this "controversy" is outright absurd.

No comments: