Posted by: kmorrison33 | August 10, 2008

Tight Polls: McCain Shows his Expertise on Iraq

The UK Times article, The doubts starting to rein back Obama gives a possible explanation for polls being tight in a supposedly ‘Democratic’ year.

My view is that McCain was always the most appealing Republican in the current atmosphere and Obama is, for many people, a less well-known and riskier bet. But two factors are undervalued. The first is Iraq. It’s easily forgotten but Obama’s candidacy would never have gained the slightest traction were it not for his opposition to the war from the start. It’s what distinguished him from Hillary Clinton and, in the midst of apparent chaos and drift in Mesopotamia, his campaign gave voice to those who simply wanted to cut American losses and move on.

However, there’s a difference between Iraq in mid2006 and Iraq in mid2008. The swift decline in violence and the growing confidence of the government of Nouri al-Maliki have changed the debate from how to leave as quickly as feasible to the costs and benefits of staying longer or leaving sooner, and the tactics of each option. The catastrophe endures, of course; the political progress in Baghdad remains fitful, as the Iraqis’ failure last week to compromise on plans for provincial elections this autumn demonstrates; and the financial costs grow all the time. However, the sharp decline in American deaths has rescued the neo-imperial project from universal obloquy. McCain can rightly claim that he was more right about General David Petraeus’s tactical shift than Obama was. In some respects, he was more right than even Petraeus was.

Iraq is a tricky issue, and McCain’s expertise is starting to shine through. Iraq also highlights some of the Senator’s best traits. His ability to stand up against his party and president and insist on an unpopular change in strategy speaks volumes. He was the only Republican to call for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. It is becoming more and more clear which candidate knows his foreign policy. Senator McCain knows foreign policy not just on a surface level, but he knows the players, the tactics, and the goals. As a prominent Democrat once said, Senator McCain brings a lifetime of experience to the campaign and passes the Commander-in-Chief test

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  1. I think so. Also, his early attitude in the Georgia matter showed a better grasp of the situation’s impications, while Glibam did just a pneumatic shtick - it may well happen that the Iraq affair will go the back burner, the Georgia conflict & the competence addressing it taking the font stage. Just listening to the news and going through the Euro press on line - this is developing in a very ugly affair, at UN and elsewhere, and McCain is in a very good position here - while Glibama is clearly out of his waters.

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