The MSM seems to be taking Barack Obama at his word, or at least holding him to his word, that he’s now for a “conditions-based” withdrawal scheme. It sure is “getting squishier and squishier.” And then in front of minority journalists Obama sounded like he was channeling George W. Bush and John McCain:
One of the most important things for the next president is to work with the commanders on the ground, to find the right strategy to go after the central front on terror, go after Al Qaeda, go after the Taliban while maintaining some of the gains that have been made in Iraq.
I suspect the latter is mulling which excuse they should employ: Is Obama brilliantly adapting to what he saw on his trip and accepting the advice of General Petraeus? (The “I’m boss and he’s just a little picture guy” was just a head fake, in this scenario.) Or is he all-seeing/all-knowing and foresees that in 16 months we will arrive at the perfect point at which conditions allow our withdrawal? Or (adopting my view) is he a canny post-modernist whose words have no fixed meaning but show the brilliance of his mind? Or maybe it’s all consistent in the Great Mind ? (An “absolute schedule for withdrawal of troops” never meant that 70,000 couldn’t be redubbed a “residual force” and left for 20, 50, make it a hundred years. Oh gosh, that does sound an awful lot like . . .)
Actually, if the Left weren’t shilling so hard they’d be in whiplash. Their candidate spent a week before the trip defending his fixed timetable and a week overseas defending it over the objections of our near-victorious general. He drew Prime Minister Maliki into domestic politics to bolster his own view. He did a yeoman’s job of defending the netroot worldview: the surge was a waste, we shouldn’t have done it, we can leave according to a fixed schedule, etc. If he is going to drop it now this is going to make the catfight over FISA look like a beach party.
But then again, perhaps the Left is so desperate to elect their man that they, like the populace in 1984, will simply accept the last utterance and ignore that it directly contradicts what came before it — the entire communications and policy effort of the last two weeks, not to mention the last 18 months of the campaign. One wonders if anyone on the Left will have the temerity to ask: why should we trust this guy?