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Obama and the Surge

Karen DeYoung and Jonathan Weisman declare this morning that Sen. Barack Obama, with his recent travels and comments, "has remade the [presidential] campaign's foreign policy playing field, neatly sidestepping Republican charges that he has been naive and wrong on Iraq and moving to a broader, post-Iraq focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Our Readers Who Comment have both praised this article for its solid, unbiased analysis and condemned it as yet another line in the litany of proof that the media have fallen in love with Democrat Obama and written off Republican John McCain.

Obama has received wall-to-wall coverage from the MSM, with all three major network news anchors and several senior political correspondents tagging along on his Mideast excursion while McCain jokes that he's being covered by the Junior Varsity. And Obama has gotten good press, although a Post editorial today calls Obama's "strategic vision eccentric." It too has received a flurry of comments, most of them attacking the Post. Probably useful to note that Post reporting and editorial-writing staffs are separate entities, and there's a high firewall between the two shops.

We'll start with the comments on the story, and allenridge, who wrote, "POST you're missing the "story". For the second night in a row "stubborn" Obama still can't admit that the "surge" has worked... Look Obama is clearly over his head and like a fish out of water..."

But crlchild said, "Well done Obama. Could it be that the US is about to get a President with both commonsense and brains?"

davidstats2006 wrote, "I haven't seen anything that suggests that the role of the surge in the reduction of violence Iraq is anything but minor, whatever Republicans say. I believe the two other contributors to that reduction -- "a Shiite militia cease-fire" and the "rejection of al-Qaeda-allied insurgents by Sunni tribal leaders" -- were far more important."

HFNY said, "The 2006 election where the Dems seized control of Congress also motivated the Sunnis to work with the US... McCain doesn't seem to understand this - he thinks the surge began and caused the Sunni Awakening, which is the opposite of the way events on the ground took place."

rjcrawford33 asked, "Could it be that Obama is proving even more adept than many of us hoped? Could it be that the only thing left to McCain and the GOP is incipient racism via code word? Obama continues to astound and fascinate."

pgr88 said, "Huh? So the WaPo spin is "Obama has remade the campaign's foreign policy playing field" now, eh? Face it - Obama had to go. He has no experience on the issue, and his positions as recently as 3 months ago were dead -wrong. He has to play catch-up..."

novanelly wrote, "Obama hasn't "neatly sidestepped" criticsm no matter what this article wishes to believe - his complete lack of understanding of the effect of the surge in Iraq and his total lack of any plan for the future of Iraq were put on display during this trip and have not been forgotten no matter how much Obama wants to change the subject..."

metzger1 said, "Before, Obama said the Iraq war was unwinnable. Now, he says it's won. Yuck."

And BruceMcDougall said, "...The shameful bias in our national media is becoming an international joke... the media has vetoed your votes and picked the candidate themeselves."

But andym108 wrote, "This article by Karen DeYoung and Jonathan Weisman is a model of clarity and evenhandedness, and should be read carefully by everyone posting here. Obama clearly states that while he intends to listen to the military with great respect, there are many other factors to consider in formulating our foreign policy. The wishes of the Iraqi people and the needs of our own economy, just to name two that seem to be forgotten by the Post editorial board."

Which brings us to some comments on the Post editorial today. We'll start with DEFJAX, who asked, "Is this editorial from the WaPo editors or the Republican National Committee?"

Jeff-for-progress said, "One thing, I find disturbing, is the frozen mindset, that does not see the benefit of an evolving position on what the US strategic interest is. I think it makes a big difference if it is backward-looking as the Post's overemphasis on protecting oil reserves is, as in this editorial, or forward-looking attempting to become more energy self-reliant..."

Chas1 wrote, "You people still don't get it; or you can't abandon the 26 mistaken editorials you published in favor of our military invasion of Iraq in the first place... The WaPo editorial team is the one who is "eccentric." "

markst said, "I guess that this editorial, along with Mr. Gerson's elegiac paene to Ms. McCain in the accompanying column, is the Post's attempt to counter recent criticism that the media has given too much coverage to Mr. Obama."

rkeithgargus wrote, "Every faction in Iraq save one is in favor of the US exiting Iraq on timetable. The one faction that wants us there is the one stealing or being bribed. The rest want us out... This editorial page is a train wreck."

edbyronadams said, "If keeping a timetable becomes a political necessity for a President Obama and he completes it in the face of oil export disrupting civil war in Iraq, the resulting runup in gasoline prices would wreck his presidency."

Jerusalimight asked, "Why does the WaPo always scream "The sky is falling!" when Democrats make traction? Chicken. Littles."

We'll close with Awheck, who wrote, "So the Washington Post has written the talking points for The Messiah, now he can be for and against, against and for, for and for, for or for, for or against, against or for, against but for, for but against, for never against, but never for or never against."

All comments on the Deyoung-Weisman analysis are here.

All comments on the Post editorial are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  July 23, 2008; 9:45 AM ET
Categories:  Iraq , Obama , Presidential Politics  
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Posted by: flower1800 | July 26, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

coolrepublica wrote:

McCain can still win this. Throwing money at people and bombarding them with ads is not going to make them trust you more. McCain needs to hammer the trust issue even more. Who do you trust? The guy that would sell his grandmother if it would win him an election or the guy who says that he would rather lose an election than see his country come home in defeat.

I trust the guy who didnt sell out his country by making propaganda films for the Viet Cong while he was a prisoner of war. It was his sworn duty to try and escape or die trying. Instead he told them who his daddy was, cooperated fully with his captors and procedeed to stay for 5 years. Are you f'in kidding me. The guy is a disgrace to U.S millitary.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 24, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Why is it every time I see Obama and his surrogates on TV, or whenever I see a one-sided piece about him, I feel like puking?

It's not his ideas for this country that is making me sick I don't think.... I am convinced however, that the blatant bias from the media and the church-style preaching that he delivers to his "children" every time he opens his mouth is doing more to harm his chances with potential voters (independents) than it helps.

And the last time I checked people in Europe and the Middle East DO NOT VOTE IN OUR ELECTIONS! Start pandering to the Americans for once will you! And I am not just talking about Obama on that one. McCain is no better on that front considering I can't listen to him talk without getting a headache....

What really makes me mad though, is they BOTH seem to value illegal's and foreign opinions of themselves much more than the folks who will be voting.... But of course, it seems (simple Google search) that illegal's are now able to vote in our elections as well as immigrants! Just through the fact that most places only require a license to vote... And as you know, you do not need to be a citizen to get a license...

Perhaps THAT is why they BOTH seem to be doing so much pandering to these previously illegal groups....

Posted by: Why is it | July 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

. . . And about Michelle Obama not being Jackie Kennedy . . .

I agree.

Jackie was the daughter of a Wall Street broker, and was born into a wealthy Northeastern family that dates back to the early 1800s.

Michelle is the daughter of a municipal worker.

Big difference.

Posted by: Ronald | July 24, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Let's get it right, people . . .

Michelle Obama made two "proud of my country" speeches in two Wisconsin cities that day, February 18, 2008.

In the first speech, in Milwaukee, she said "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback."

Later that day, in Madison, she said "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

Notwithstanding the fact that when seen/heard in context, neither comment is anti-American, the anti-Obama media talking heads and the McCain propaganda machine probably choose to focus on the first speech because there is a difference between "proud" and "really proud."

The adverb "really" suggests that Ms. Obama had pride in her country previously, but something about the moment in which she was speaking has magnified that pride.

Posted by: Ronald | July 24, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I hope the press doesn't start writing about Michelle Obama as if she were another Jackie Onassis as she certainly is NOT. It seems it would be more appropriate for her to be a host on The View with the other gabby women than a First Lady.

Posted by: marjorie | July 24, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

For all those folks praising the Obama's as if he were the next coming, be prepared for a big let down. "A Change We Can Believe In" is like a used car saleman tell someone a car was driven by a little old lady! The President of the United States should have a family that supports America, and stand proud behind this fair Nation. Not make comments of being pround for the first time in their "Adult Lives"! Now knowing that Obama is mixed racially, I would like to know if anyone but me thinks Obama and Bush could pass for Brothers? I think he looks more like Bush than the idea of saying McCain will follow Bush's policies! Voting for Obama....Country fails worldwide..........being proud to be an American PRICELESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: CashNDC | July 24, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

All you newspaper people are hypocrites. Far too human to be objective, you presume objectivity where it doesn't exist.

Posted by: R.S.Newark | July 24, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

coolrepublica demonstrates, once again, that Republicans are utterly bereft of ideas. Nothing else to run on, so the truck out the old "don't trust Obama" meme. So is McLame the new Hillary?

The McLame camp has showed itself to be completely incompetent in running against Obama, and the last two weeks have seen the virtual implosion of pretty much all of McLame's foreign policy positions. Not a great week.

Out here in the hinterland, McLame's getting creamed. Yeah, he's got TV ads up but they're hardly making a dent, and his ground organization is pathetic.

We'll see.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 24, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse


... perhaps not.

Posted by: PacificGatePost | July 24, 2008 1:00 AM | Report abuse

People want to know why Obama is not ahead by much in the poles. The answer is simple people don't trust Obama. He will say whatever it takes to be officially elected president. He is arrogant.

Somewhere along the way it became a bad thing to call someone black arrogant as if arrogance is a white invention and blacks are not people of this earth and are not subject to it. Just because it's not PC to call Obama arrogant because he's black doesn't make it less true. Any man who would make his own presidential seal and have his staff talks about him as if he is already president is asking for trouble. People notice this things. Americans hate arrogance and that's why they hate Bush so much. They see him as arrogant. Obama is even worst because he thinks we are too stupid to notice.

Third, McCain is not Bush and is not going to follow Bush policies. No one other than hard core Obama supporters believe this bull about McCain they are being sold. People may have fears that he will follow Bush but in their heart they know no matter who is president there will be change. The question for most people is what type of change.

Obama means bigger goverment. Socialize medicine and humorless late night TV who are not allowed to talk about "The One" without crazy netroot followers of Obama trying to destroy their careers.

People also remember Dole. They passed on him for Clinton and they got burned. They may have an issue about McCain's age but at the end of the day they will remember how the last time that was an issue for them ended up giving them Monica's blue dress.

McCain can still win this. Throwing money at people and bombarding them with ads is not going to make them trust you more. McCain needs to hammer the trust issue even more. Who do you trust? The guy that would sell his grandmother if it would win him an election or the guy who says that he would rather lose an election than see his country come home in defeat.

I know where I stand. And most Americans are starting to realize the same thing that I do.

Posted by: coolrepublica | July 23, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a breath of fresh air. We can now bask in the notion that we have a potential president that can read and analyze complicated situations. Ahhh!

Posted by: kschafer | July 23, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

What's the difference between the media falling in love with Obama and the masses that fell in love with Bush?

I'd say 4,000 American soldiers lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi ones, and a trillion dollars in war debt.

I don't fear media's the masses that fck'd up the last 2 elections.

Posted by: Terry | July 23, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Mccain is NOT FOR the people of this country. A vote for Mccain is a vote for yet another Bush run government and nothing will change.

The Mccain ad I saw on t.v. today tells me all i need to know about his integrity AND his opinion of the american people. In this ad he basically blames Obama for the high prices of gas - come on, how ignorant does he think the people of this country are?
I guess Mccain thinks the people of this country are either all ignorant or we all have alzheimers and don't KNOW who's responsible for the problems we all face today. It's his buddy Bush NOT Obama - duh !!!
Agreeing or disagreeing with Bush and Mccain about more drilling has NOT caused the gas problem we are facing today. Even if we agreed to this lame solution, it wouldn't affect the price or supply for years to come.
But this all just proves my point that a vote for Mccain is just another vote for Bush. They not only agree on so many ridiculous policies, but they are very similar in their laying the blame. Mccain blames Obama just as Bush blamed the democrats in his latest speech.
It's such a joke.

Posted by: Cathy | July 23, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Did I miss something? Did I fall asleep and did the 2008 presidential election occur while I was snoozing? In the (7/22)NY Times first section was a story entitled "Former First Ladies" which discussed First-Ladies and their president-husbands. The one photo with the article was Michelle Obama. In the Op-Ed section was a piece, middle of the page was the statement "Obama has already won the election--culturally". The MSM has lost its mind and is bullying the population to elect Obama. Their choice.See for yourself.

Posted by: zaney8 | July 23, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

When your editorial elicits praise from the sort of folks who are still hung up on Reverend Wright (see below), that pretty well sums up Fred Hiatt natural constituency.

Posted by: Andy | July 23, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

McCain is boobing because the media, who is usually star struck by HIM is paying attention to anything else.

I WISH the media would cover more of McCain...his gaffes have been piling up, and the media, snugly in their hero, McCain's, back pocket, continue to ignore McCain's ridiculous gaffes.

Mixing up sunni's and shia, moving countries around in his brain- mixing up borders- referring to the nonexistent Czechoslovakia, confusing dates regarding the surge, mistaking levels of troops...i could go on.

It's ridiculous.

McCain is 72. Can we all just admit that as we get older, we get more easily confused and absent minded? It's nothing against McCain, but there is a REASON people retire.

Posted by: jds | July 23, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

the editorial was on point. obama shifts like the wind. as rev. wright said, "he is only a politician". mccain has and continues to put his country before himself.

Posted by: roberto | July 23, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

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