Continuing with the Sunday shows’ carping, the liberal pundits after the holiday weekend aren’t very pleased with Barack Obama on the topic of Iraq. E.J. Dionne didn’t much care for the do-over Obama press conferences last Thursday:
Republicans are pressing Obama on Iraq because they know that any new moves he makes will be interpreted, fairly or not, as a change in position and that this will hurt him with two groups: the antiwar base of the Democratic Party and independent voters, many of whom are just tuning in to the campaign. Painting Obama as a shameless shape-shifter is a way for his opponents to dull the enthusiasm (and inhibit the campaign contributions) of the war’s staunchest foes. And if this image stuck, it could also hurt Obama among independents. They might vote for a hawk or a dove, but not a chameleon.
The New York Times editors seem peeved as well:
But after promising to immediately begin drawing down troops by one or two brigades a month, [Obama] is now giving himself wiggle room by suggesting he will let military commanders set the pace.
Perhaps Obama should remember his own admonition in the Reverend Wright affair: “Well, when you’re in national politics, it’s always good to pull the Band-Aid off quick, and I think that’s what, you know, the, the, the political consultants will tell you. ” He should figure out what his new policy is, explain it clearly (and without multiple pressers in a day) and try to make his case as best he can that his judgment and leadership on the surge were superior to McCain’s. It won’t be easy. But procrastinating and equivocating aren’t helping matters.