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Morning Fix: The sticky wicket of Afghanistan

1. The sticky policy and political wicket that is Afghanistan is highlighted in two national polls released over the last 24 hours . The two surveys -- one by the Washington Post/ABC and the other by CBS/New York Times -- showed President Obama's approval numbers falling on his handling of the issue and the American people deeply divided on the right course in the country. In the CBS survey, 38 percent approved of the president's handling of Afghanistan while 43 percent disapproved -- a nine-point jump in disapproval since mid-October. In the Post poll 52 percent of Americans believe the war in Afghanistan was not worth fighting (as compared to 44 percent who say it was) while there was deep division over whether the president should send a larger number troops to the region (46 percent) or send a smaller force (45 percent). What these numbers make clear is that there is no right answer from a political perspective for Obama when it comes to Afghanistan -- just a series of choices that range from bad to worse. No matter what Obama chooses then -- and a decision on troop levels is expected as soon as next week -- he will have to sell it to the American people, a high-stakes political game as the calendar turns from 2009 to 2010.

2. Hoping to answer the barrage of advertising slamming vulnerable House Democrats for their vote in support of the president's health care bill, Americans United and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees are funding ads in eight congressional districts thanking members for their vote. The ads, which will cost the two groups $750,000 for a week's worth of broadcast and cable commercials, are a direct rebuttal of ads being funded by 60 Plus Association and the Chamber of Commerce; the narrator says that "the insurance lobbyists weren't happy when" the Democratic member voted for the bill because they know that the legislation "would stop them from raising premiums and stop them from denying coverage when you're sick." (Check out a sample ad being run in support of Indiana Rep. Baron Hill.) That liberal interest groups feel compelled to respond to the attacks being made by their conservative brethren suggest that the ads are working and the members on the receiving end are getting jumpy. Here's a full list of the districts where the Americans United/AFSCME commercials will run: Arkansas' 1st (Marion Berry), Arkansas' 2nd (Vic Snyder), Connecticut's 5th district (Chris Murphy), Indiana's 8th (Brad Ellsworth), Indiana's 9th (Hill), North Dakota's at-large (Earl Pomeroy), Virginia's 5th (Tom Perriello) and Virginia's 11th (Gerry Connolly).

3. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, downplayed the schism between the establishment and conservative wings of the party -- comparing the current state of affairs within the party to what occurred in the wake of Ross Perot's independent presidential candidacy in 1992. "We worked very hard as a party to go after those Perot voters," recounted Barbour who was chairman of the Republican National Committee at the time. "We invited them to participate in our party, invited them to come to meetings." He added that Republicans must take a similar tack when it comes to the tea party crowd who has energized -- and roiled -- party politics with the intensity of their distaste for not just the Obama administration but the GOP party apparatus as well. Barbour pointed to Republican successes in New Jersey and Virginia earlier this month as evidence that if conservatives are brought into the fold and listened to, they will turn out for Republican candidates -- noting that Gov.-elect Chris Christie won 94 percent of the conservative vote despite running as a moderate. "Republicans cannot take for granted that those people are all going to vote for us," added Barbour.

4. And/But....Buried deep in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey are eye-opening numbers about the commitment to ideological purity within the two parties. Asked whether they would rather see a Democrat nominated who disagreed with them on many issues but had a good chance of winning or a candidate who agreed with them on most issues but had a poor chance of winning, 58 percent of Democrats chose the former option while 38 percent took the latter. Forty three percent of Republicans said they would prefer a candidate who could win while 53 percent said they would rather a candidate who they agreed with ideologically no matter his or her electoral chances. The emphasis on ideology over electability among self-identified Republicans was born out in the special election in upstate New York earlier this month when conservatives -- led by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin -- drove state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava out of the race due to her lack of adherence to core party principles. The "big tent/small tent" debate is playing itself out in other places around the country -- most notably in Florida's Senate race -- and for those moderate candidates these CNN numbers have to be worrisome.

5. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo continues to publicly insist that he has made no decisions about a run for governor in 2010 but, according to a terrific article by Danny Hakim of the New York Times, Cuomo is already mulling potential running mates. The most intriguing name being floated is New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson who lost narrowly to Mayor Michael Bloomberg earlier this month. Why all the behind the scenes intrigue for Cuomo? Because he remains very wary of offending the black community by pushing out Gov. David Paterson (D) -- particularly after Cuomo unsuccessfully challenged then state Comptroller Carl McCall, an African American, in a 2002 primary for governor. A source close to Cuomo insisted that the story was overwritten and that no such detailed conversations about a running mate are going on. But, the story does suggest that Cuomo is significantly further along in the planning of a gubernatorial bid than has been revealed publicly.

6. Norm Coleman (R) isn't expected to make a decision on the 2010 governor's race until next year but a new Rasmussen poll suggests the former senator has plenty of time to make his decision. Coleman led the Republican field with 50 percent while state Rep. Marty Seifert at 11 percent was the only other potential candidate to break double digits. Coleman's lead is almost entirely attributable to name identification gained from his time as mayor of St. Paul and his six years in the Senate but it does suggest that if he decides to run, he will be a clear favorite. On the Democratic side, former Sen. Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak each received 30 percent of the vote while none of the other candidates scored in double digits. Coleman would give Republicans a chance to hold this seat, which is being vacated by Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) after two terms. But, if Coleman takes a pass this race looks extremely difficult for any other GOP candidate given Minnesota's Democratic tilt.

7. Kansas Democrats -- finally -- have a candidate for governor in the person of businessman Tom Wiggans. "Now more than ever as our state and our families deal with this difficult economic climate, we need a successful business leader in the Governor's office," Wiggans said in a statement announcing his candidacy. Wiggans, who has never sought elected office before, is likely to run as an outside to the political process -- a smart move in this climate -- and cast Sen. Sam Brownback (R) as more of the same. Not a bad idea but Brownback is extremely well funded and popular in a state where Republicans really have to make mistakes to lose statewide races. Acting Gov. Mark Parkinson (D) all but handed this seat to Brownback months ago when he not only announced that he would not run but also selected as his lieutenant governor someone who had pledged not to run. What Wiggans gives Democrats is a warm body in the event that Bronwback makes some sort of major campaign error.

8. Connecticut state Sen. Sam Caligiuri (R) is considering the prospect of dropping out of the Senate race against Chris Dodd for a challenge to Rep. Chris Murphy (D) in the 5th district. Caliguri acknowledged the possible race switch in a statement issues Tuesday, noting that he was being encouraged to make the change by state party chairman Chris Healy. "Senator Caligiuri's potential entry into the fifth congressional district race spells trouble for Democrat Chris Murphy and shows Republicans are ready to provide new leadership in the Congress," said Healy. Maybe. Murphy, who ousted longtime Rep. Nancy Johnson (R) in 2006, has proven to be an able politician and the northwestern Connecticut district went for President Obama by 14 points in 2008. Despite those challenges, Caligiuri has a far better chance in a House race than he did in a Senate primary that includes former Rep. Rob Simmons as well as two self-funders.

9. It's quiz time! The Post political quiz today is all about -- you betcha! -- former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. The Fix, who has spent more time reading, writing and thinking about Palin than is healthy, scored a 100 percent. Can you match it?

10. West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd becomes the longest-serving member of the chamber today and, as expected, C-SPAN -- the Fix's favorite network -- is all over it. Check out video of Byrd running down his list of the greatest Senators (Richard Russell, LBJ, Mike Mansfield Norris Cotton), offering up e advice for a new member of the body ("work hard in your committees") and reflecting on how he would change his vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act if he could.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 18, 2009; 5:34 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Comments

I miss "Say What?"

Posted by: MikeK3 | November 18, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I miss "Say What?"

Posted by: MikeK3 | November 18, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Re: legal issues with the stalker.

The fact that some people have been banned and some posts have been deleted means -- legally! -- that WaPo is culpable for content here. Had nothing ever been deleted then this would not apply.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 18, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"we allow senators like Strom Thurmond, Ted Kennedy and Byrd to be propped up and, effectively, cede authority to their staffs."
==
I dont know about Thurmond, but I don't think anyone can logically make a case that Kennedy's staff did all the work. Byrd either. Besides if the people of their states felt they were not well represented, they have the option to replace them every 6 years. Perhaps the people are of the opinion that even if only by the power of their names and the ideals they once embodied, these senators are still more effective than a younger more vibrant, less experienced politician, who doesnt have the pull of their senior. Whatever the reason, the people have spoken. and with 2 of the 3 you mentioned, i think they have made a good choice.

Posted by: elijah24 | November 18, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"we allow senators like Strom Thurmond, Ted Kennedy and Byrd to be propped up and, effectively, cede authority to their staffs."
==
I dont know about Thurmond, but I don't think anyone can logically make a case that Kennedy's staff did all the work. Byrd either. Besides if the people of their states felt they were not well represented, they have the option to replace them every 6 years. Perhaps the people are of the opinion that even if only by the power of their names and the ideals they once embodied, these senators are still more effective than a younger more vibrant, less experienced polititian, who doesnt have the pull of their senior. Whatever the reason, the people have spoken. and with 2 of the 3 you mentioned, i think they have made a good choice.

Posted by: elijah24 | November 18, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"I'm kinda hoping that Sen. Byrd can finally retire. As for who permits it, ask the voters. Sen. Kennedy was vigorous at his last election, so I don't think he quite fits that model.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade"

I'm thinking Jim Bunning

Posted by: DDAWD | November 18, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm kinda hoping that Sen. Byrd can finally retire. As for who permits it, ask the voters. Sen. Kennedy was vigorous at his last election, so I don't think he quite fits that model.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 18, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

So the choices are: remain ideologically pure & impotent, or learn how to compromise and move policy in your favored direction.

Posted by: bsimon1

-------------------------------------------

I agree. Do it just like Nancy and Harry do it.

Posted by: leapin | November 18, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

RobT1 writes
"So it's no wonder conservatives aren't too keen on the Republican party right now. The Republican party better figure out how to harness all that conservative anger or they will continue to pay the price of being in the minority."


That's only half the battle. Merely harnessing all that conservative energy isn't enough to win elections, therefore it isn't enough to deliver results. Part II is attracting enough swing voters to support their candidates so their candidates can win elections. Swing voters want bipartisanship. Swing voters want compromise. Swing voters want pragmatism. When either party retreats to their core ideology & refuses compromise, bipartisanship or pragmatism, they won't win enough elections to implement the policies they want. So the choices are: remain ideologically pure & impotent, or learn how to compromise and move policy in your favored direction.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 18, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

'The Anti-Defamation League, in a report released this week, has asserted that “a current of anti-government hostility has swept across the United States” since President Obama was elected just over a year ago.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study cites the Tea Party movement and the at times rowdy health care town halls that occurred over the summer as examples of the increasingly anti-government climate. But it also takes aim at one prominent media figure: Glenn Beck.

In general, the report said that those more hostile toward government believe the Obama administration poses a threat to the long-term well-being of the country, with some believing the president wants to import socialism or fascism to America.

“Some of these assertions are motivated by prejudice, but more common is an intense strain of anti-government distrust and anger, colored by a streak of paranoia and belief in conspiracies,” the study found.

Mr. Beck’s broadcasts “play an important role in drawing people further out of the mainstream, making them more receptive to the more extreme notions and conspiracy theories.”

Posted by: drindl | November 18, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Robert Byrd becomes the longest-serving member of the chamber today-
Am I the only one who thinks we are seeing an Imperial Senate appear? Despite numerous accounts of inability to function at a "normal" level we allow senators like Strom Thurmond, Ted Kennedy and Byrd to be propped up and, effectively, cede authority to their staffs. It doesn't mean they aren't good people. It means they aren't able to fulfill the responsibilities of the office. How are we "represented" when this occurs?

Posted by: midlife | November 18, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Must we always discuss Afghanistan as to what is the right POLITICAL answer? How about what happens to Afghani women when we pull out--as we will?

When The Ta-Li-Ban Come Back

When the Ta-Li-Ban come back,
Then we girls will quit the school
For the acid they would throw
Would our faces burn away.

When the Ta-Li-Ban come back,
Women will not doctors be,
Jobs are not for such as us,
Worthless creatures owned by men,
They may beat us as they please.

When the Ta-Li-Ban come back,
I will marry old Rashid,
I must make a good third wife,
For I’m nine and just the age
Of the Prophet’s youngest bride
When she graced his marriage bed.
Peace should be upon his name,
He is perfect in all things.
Baby-wives obey and serve,
Keeping tears from off our cheeks.

When the Ta-Li-Ban come back,
Women then will know their place,
Mother must the burka wear,
Never show a man her face,
Father must go out with her,
Or they’ll whip her in the street.

When the Ta-Li-Ban come back,
Girls must not report a rape.
Lacking four Believers who
Testify it was by force,
They would scream beneath the stones,
Dying for adultery.

When America goes home,
And the Ta-Li-Ban come back,
We will know to thank you for
Living as our mothers lived,
All subservient to men,
Thirteen centuries ago.

~Robert A. Hall, Former SSgt, USMC

Permission to publish this blank-verse poem is granted to anyone with the courage. But remember Theo van Gogh and the Danish cartoonists.

Posted by: tartanmarine | November 18, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"Orrin Hatch has slipped an amendment into the health care bill that would include faith healing as a covered medical procedure."

Funny how the MSM hasn't covered this at all. Republiclans are 100% against this bill -- unless it happens they can slip some taxpayers cash to their favorite bigbucks megachurch preacher?

Posted by: drindl | November 18, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The debate has gotten so silly that David Broder [someone please get rid of this predictable R tool] said recently that Obama should just 'do something' in Afghanistan, whether it's right or wrong. As if a few dozen or hundred or thousand young people's lives didn't make a difference.

This is part of the reason we're in this mess. The MSM never worries about sending its own sons or daughters, it's a political game to them. If there were a draft and these reporter's kids were old enough to get sent, you might see more thoughtful posts on the subject.

Posted by: drindl | November 18, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Actually, one unambiguous if unintended political benefit of Obama's approach to date has been forcing Republicans into arguing the untenable position that the Commander in Chief should *not* seriously consider the ramifications of sending Americans into combat.

Posted by: nodebris | November 18, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

The lack of an obviously superior political decision actually frees Obama to concentrate on the strategic issue itself.

Posted by: nodebris | November 18, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

An email I just got:

Get Sarah's book for just $4.97 — save more than $24 off the cover price — Go Here Now.

Out, what, one day, and it drops to 4 bucks? Somebody must have read it.

Posted by: drindl | November 18, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=120527432&m=120510490

This morning NPR ran the above story for your listening pleasure. It explains how a "work around" is feasible and how it has been done on a limited scale successfully, and why.

Holbrooke [and many others] have been explaining the Pakistan connection for years. The others do not count as much as Holbrooke, b/c BHO placed Holbrooke with the portfolio for the area.

I think ceflyline will agree with me that the military perspective wrt the Taliban is one which requires the Pakistanis to combat them in Pakistan and someone to combat them in Afg - or the Pakistani effort just pushes the Taliban fighters into Afg. Conversely, NATO can drive Taliban fighters out of Afg, but into Pakistan to raise heck there, unless the Pakistanis hold up their end. GWB was forever frustrated by Musharraf's promises without performance while sucking our $$$.
"Safe haven in Pakistan" was a phrase that rang throughout the GWB years.

We went into Afg to thwart and finish AQ when we found the Taliban regime supported AQ. The Taliban still hides and nourishes AQ and does so without regard to the A-P border. Thus the two nation strategy was imperative, but never a possibility until Musharraf was gone.

The NPR article tells how the non-military part of the effort can work. One question I would ask, if I were the Prez and I accepted this postulate, would be "What is the level and composition of force necessary to secure the non-military effort?" Karzai would not be in the forefront of my planning, b/c Afg is not a centralized or westernized government. The strengthening of local and tribal governments that are actually responsive to the needs of people for schooling and roads may have a coercive positive effect on weeding out corruption in Kabul. The placement of funding outside Kabul also dries the corruption lifeline.

When Lloyd Bentsen first proposed NAFTA he did so with the caveat that we might have to work around the corrupt government in MX City. We never quite got that right, of course, but MX City is less corrupt now then it was 25 years ago. Everything is relative.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 18, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Cuomo taping Thompson to run for Lt Gov would seal the deal for him. Let's hope it happens, we would be rid of Paterson and it would scare off Mayor 9/11.

Palin/Beck 2012? Just when you think this woman could not be any stupider she outdoes herself once again.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | November 18, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The Biggest Joke of All

"In an interview with Newsmax, former Gov. Sarah Palin didn't entirely rule out running for public office with Fox News personality and tea party hero Glenn Beck.

When asked about such a ticket, she responded:

I can envision a couple of different combinations, if ever I were to be in a position to really even seriously consider running for anything in the future, and I'm not there yet. ... But Glenn Beck I have great respect for. He's a hoot. He gets his message across in such a clever way. And he's so bold - I have to respect that. He calls it like he sees it, and he's very, very, very effective."

Posted by: drindl | November 18, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

TO: "drindl" @ 9:31 a..m.

"...resultant harm to Post readers."

I do believe you have delivered a threat via telecommunications.

Should we notify the authorities?

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 18, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"it looks like she has driven off all reasonable, interesting and intelligent posters; down to less than 100 per day."
==
And yet i notice YOU are still here.

Posted by: elijah24 | November 18, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse


CALLING BOB WOODWARD, KAREN DE YOUNG:

Veteran journalist living and reporting the American horror story of the century would like to talk to you, but cannot reach you due to "exigent circumstances."

Please read articles "GESTAPO USA" and "GOV'T TORTURES ME WITH SILENT MICROWAVE WEAPONS, SAYS EX-HONDURAS PREZ," at http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Will continue to attempt to contact you despite the "full lid." -- VL

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 18, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"and for those moderate candidates these CNN numbers have to be worrisome."

The way you skew things is like Through the Looking Glass. You must be drinking the koolaid for breakfast now. In every case, cited, R moderates, or those who ran as one, won the race. In the only case where a winger beat a moderate, the Democrat won.

How you can spin that to moderates better be scared or wingers, well, I guess you had to belong to College republicans to learn how to do that.

Posted by: drindl | November 18, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Pulling out of Afghanistan and passing healthcare reform with a robust public option would immediately make Obama's numbers go sky high among Dems and Independents. Be bold!

Posted by: jillcohen | November 18, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Chris Cilizza --

You might note that there are legal issues involved with some of your posters, lines that have been crossed and authorities have been notified. You might want to do whatever is necessary to protect yourself, because you are responsible for what happens here and any resultant harm to Post readers.

Posted by: drindl | November 18, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Cc. I noticed that your traffic has dropped off precipitously with only 160 total posts yesterday. If you subtract out the volumonous sewage posted by the moonbat drivl, it looks like she has driven off all reasonable, interesting and intelligent posters; down to less than 100 per day.

I am not sure what you can do to correct this trend but the consequences are clear. Look at olbermans ratings for a peek into your future.

Posted by: snowbama | November 18, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

URGENT TO:

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, SENATE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE, TEAM OBAMA

The link to the article about the secret multi-agency federal program that has deployed a microwave/laser weapons system against "targeted" American citizens was corrupted in an earlier post, below. The correct link:

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-tortures-me-silent-microwave-weapons-ousted-s-prez

OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 18, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

The first 800 billion porkulus was such an utter failure, according to liberal theology, we need another.

Posted by: snowbama | November 18, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

OBAMA TO SAY 'NO, WE WON'T' TO ENDLESS WAR LOBBY?

Prediction: Obama to discard "endless war" strategy with phased withdrawal "with all deliberate speed" from Afghanistan, leaving behind a limited number of special forces to hunt down the estimated 100 or so members of Al Qaeda in country -- the pretext for an eight-year fiasco that has cost much in blood and treasure while yielding little in terms of global security.

But -- Obama also must install a new leadership team at the Pentagon, the intel agencies, and inside secretive security agencies, to thwart Bush-Cheney leave-behinds from executing what appears to be an ongoing silent coup.


***

URGENT TO:

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, SENATE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE MEMBERS (staff, pls. fwd.)

cc: TEAM OBAMA / D. AXELROD / R. EMANUEL / R. GIBBS / JAY CARNEY / A.G. HOLDER (staff, pls. fwd.)

We know the Fort Hood shooter was harasseed, and probably "community stalked." Did this covert federal program help drive him to kill?

SECRET MULTI-AGENCY FED PROGRAM TORTURES, IMPAIRS, PERSECUTES THOUSANDS OF U.S. CITIZENS WITH NATIONWIDE SILENT MICROWAVE / LASER WEAPONS SYSTEMS, LOCAL VIGILANTISM: VETERAN JOURNALIST

• Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan
• FEMA Director Craig Fugate
• NSA Director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander
• Former JSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal
• DIA Director Maj. Gen. Michael Maples
• DOJ Asst. Atty. Gen./National Security David Kris
• CIA Deputy Director Stephen Kappes
• FBI Director Robert Mueller

TEAM OBAMA, CONGRESS MUST ASK: What do they know -- and when did they know it?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-ameria

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-tortures-me-silent-microwave-weapons-ousted-s-prez

OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 18, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

"Iraq is winnable. Afghanistan is not."
==
That may be true, though nobody can seem to explain what "winning" in either country looks like. I would have thought that a "mission accomplished" banner on a battle cruiser would be a pretty cool end, but apparently that was a premature evaluation...but i digress. Afghanistan was justified and Iraq was not. and even if you disagree, President Obama doesnt, and that opinion also informs his decision just as much, if not more than odds of whatever the hell victory is.

Posted by: elijah24 | November 18, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

The Afganistan polls have to do with the fact that President Obama hasn't made up his mind yet. The administration is waiting to see what Karzai does with his cabinet and what he does with his most curropt ministers will determine if we send 15000 and change to a counter terrorism plan, or send 34000 and change to a counter insurgency plan.

I am sure that we are putting huge pressure on him to get rid of the warlords that are the most currupt, and replace them with technocrats, that way we can put more troops in with at least a hope that it will work.

Also Chris Murphy isn't going to lose in Connecticut. The only reason Dodd is even at risk is becasue of his connections to the countrywide director and the house he sold him in Ireland with a VIP loan from Countrywide.

Posted by: AndyR3 | November 18, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Deadline on gitmo cancelled

deadline on health care cancelled

deadline on Iraq cancelled

deadline on Korea cancelled

deadline on Afghanistan non existent

more mush from the wimp!

Posted by: snowbama | November 18, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I suspect the poll about idealogical purity for the Republicans is a reflection of the open wound still festering from the 6 years of total Republican domination of the federal government that resulted in huge budget deficits, huge increases in government spending (including the largest growth in entititlement spending with the medicare drug plan since the Great Society days) and with the No Child Left behind the biggest goverment intervention into local affairs since the last time the Democrats ran everything. This wasn't exaclty what conservatives, who thought they were voting for the party of small government, bargained for. They swallowed hard and voted for all those RINO's for the sake of getting a Republican majority in congress and to get a Republican elected to the presidency and were told they would see a corresponding increase in conservative principals. It didn't happen. So it's no wonder conservatives aren't too keen on the Republican party right now. The Republican party better figure out how to harness all that conservative anger or they will continue to pay the price of being in the minority.

Posted by: RobT1 | November 18, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Almost three months of indecision on afghan, despite the big announcement in March. The dilly dally ditherer can't seem to cope with the job he won, even though he never had a real job before.

Seems like error after error stacking up. This trip to China is an olympics repeat. Big show. No results. The Obama way.

Posted by: snowbama | November 18, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Political considerations are what have brought us to this crossroad in Afghanistan. It was electoral strategy that made Afghanistan central and Iraq peripheral in foreign policy and that was a huge blunder in real consequences. Iraq is winnable. Afghanistan is not.

Unless the President can put aside political considerations in what to do in Afghanistan, we are going to look bad. Installing real democracy in that backwater is impossible. We should just keep the Taliban from gaining control as cheaply as possible. No more troops. No stupid Afghanization of the war. Protect Kabul. Flatten Khandahar.

Posted by: edbyronadams | November 18, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

We must hope that the Prez makes the best possible decision[s] on Afg without regard to daily polling. If foreign policy were to become the slave of daily polling it would change, daily.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 18, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

#3 makes me laugh. "Barbour pointed to Republican success in New Jersey... noting that Gov-elect Chris Christie won 94 percent of the conservative vote despite running as a moderate."

I hate to disillusion Cillizza, but even Conservative voters are smart enough to understand that many GOP candidates must obscure their true politics to win in a General Election. As there was no Conservative candidate running to the right of Christie, the NJ Conservatives knew who to vote for, and it wasn't the Green Party candidate.

In the future I think we can all agree that if there is no third party Conservative candidate, then the Republican candidate is "Conservative Enough" no matter how much his campaign or the press say he is a moderate. All on the same page?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | November 18, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

The Minnesota numbers on Norm Coleman are probably a little skewed. I suspect that it is only Republicans responding to Coleman. Democrats and independents have high level of dislike for the man who would have lost by double digits to Paul Wellstone in 2002 if not for a plane crash. He then, not too much later, said he was a 99 percent improvement over Wellstone. This didn't go over well in MN.

Many Minnesotans have a Palin-like reaction to Coleman. A few people like him. Most don't. Conservatives don't like his flip flopping and don't really trust him. Everyone else just thinks he is icky. (That's probably not a normal political evaluation, but it is how people around MN respond to his name.)

He has high negatives re: campaign violations -- housing in DC, suits bought by a mysterious contributor. I could run the campaign against him. Three commercials and my cat would win.

Posted by: prairiepopulist | November 18, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

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