Yes, the overwhelming tone of the media coverage, most especially on TV, is gushingly pro-Obama. But there are rays of reality which poke through. That is especially true in print coverage, but even on TV there are exceptions to Obama-mania. A CNN correspondent reminds viewers that Obama’s scheme for withdrawing a brigade a month is likely a nonstarter. And Joe Scarborough gets Harold Ford to admit that the notion that the Sunni awakening was somehow unrelated to the surge is absurd.
As Scarborough makes clear, what is so maddening about the coverage is that the news anchors and reporters who repeat Obama’s mantras uncritically and who marvel at the lovely photos do know better. (I have no doubt that if a Republican candidate was repeating such gibberish the headlines would be “GOP Candidate Out Of Touch.”) It is downright silly to claim the Anbar awakening happened by magic on its own or that Iraq would be anything other than a chaotic killing zone without the surge.
And what is McCain to do about this? You can only complain and ridicule the press so much. It would seem that a singular focus on Obama’s apparent regret that we invested time, money, and lives in a successful surge is the way to go. There is plenty of material to work with, some incredulous media to cultivate on the topic and a public predisposed to dislike candidates who apologize for America’s success. Whether one considers the before/after surge dichotomy or what Iraq and the Middle East would look like if we hadn’t succeeded (starting with the recognition that all the Iraqi leaders Obama met with would likely be dead or powerless), the question remains why Obama even now prefers the “without surge” scenerio.
After the hoopla subsides, that question will remain. And McCain is not without some receptive outlets through which he can make his case.