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Contentions

No Criticism Allowed

In his blog over at the New Yorker, George Packer writes this:

Unfortunately, [David] Brooks’s fair-minded critique is rare on the right. Most conservative critics of Obama’s first month are not hoping to be proved wrong, as Brooks says he is. Far from it: their dice were loaded from the start. Charles Krauthammer, Karl Rove, Peter Wehner, and others have already concluded that Obama is a failure, even as they pretend to reserve final judgment. Given the amount of wrongheadedness and damage pundits like these have inflicted on the country in its recent history, the decent thing for them to have done is say nothing for at least six months. They might even have learned something.

Let’s untangle Packer’s arguments.

1. Packer claims that I have “already concluded that Obama is a failure” — even though in the piece he cites, I wrote this:

[W]hile Obama has sent of jolt of energy through the GOP, which is in far stronger shape than anyone could have imagined just a month ago, I hope Obama and his administration can adjust in time. After all, the fate of our country is now tied in large measure to his actions. It’s a bad thing to have as our commander-in-chief a person with, in Krauthammer’s vivid phrase, a “kick me” sign on his back. The first month has been ragged, and some disturbing signs have arisen. It’s still very early — Obama has yet to complete his first full month in office, after all — and he may get his sea legs soon.  He remains a formidable political figure. And sending 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, while done in a somewhat haphazard way, was reassuring.

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