Thursday, October 07, 2010

How BO Lost The Left

Dems turn on Obama over Iraq, Afghanistan, Gitmo | Washington Examiner

Superb Barone column. I think we all know that the BOasims on the left have ceased, but why? Pretty simple -- the left wanted America hurt and Bush completely repudiated. BO may not like America all that much, but he didn't go so far as to immediately pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and release all the Gitmo folks to do the liberal "news" shows to regale us with tales of torture -- probably 90% imagined, but some of them probably did miss their pet goats.

They might have been OK with Bush and Cheney not actually being locked up, but they at least wanted to keep heaping abuse on their chosen demons. BO's foreign policy, while still poor, was far more reality based than his domestic policy, so it mostly validated the Bush/Cheney foreign policy. While he has made vast progress in destroying the US at home, he has really not been nearly as visible a disaster abroad as may have been expected. I remain amazed we have not suffered a large domestic attack as yet, but suspect that my amazement will not last much longer.

The uncomfortable truth is that many -- not most, but many -- Democratic politicians and Democratic voters saw political benefit in an American defeat in Iraq. Many, including Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, then boss of Obama's new chief of staff Pete Rouse, thronged to the Washington premiere of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11." They tried to give every appearance of agreeing with the "Bush-lied-people-died" crowd and with those who charged that high-ranking officials colluded in systematic torture.

It was a lot of fun while it lasted, up to election night 2008 and Inauguration Day 2009. But then Obama had to govern. Knowing little of military affairs, he retained Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has loyally served presidents of both parties. Understanding even if not admitting the great headway Americans had made in Iraq, Obama declined to throw it all away.

Appreciating that Afghanistan was critical to protecting Americans, he made a commitment to increase troop levels there in May 2009, reconsidered it from August to November, then restated it Dec. 1, with a commitment to begin withdrawals in July 2011.

In so doing, Obama implicitly confessed that the view of the world held with quasi-religious fervor by the Democratic left was delusional all along. Bush didn't lie, we didn't go into Afghanistan and Iraq without allies and against their wishes, we didn't carry out policies of torture, etc. The effort to cast Iraq as another Vietnam and America under Bush as an oppressive rogue power were perhaps emotionally satisfying but unconnected to reality.

Without saying so, Obama has found himself having to teach this lesson to the Adam Serwers of the world. They don't like hearing it. They're keeping their ears plugged up and their eyes defiantly shut. Their MyObama Web pages are inactive and their checkbooks are closed. They've tuned out of the campaign and many of them won't even vote. The president they helped elect -- and the world -- have turned out not to be what they thought.

This is also a great opportunity to observe the difference between left and "right". Bush was never a conservative favorite and he lost their support with spending in general and entitlements in particular (prescription drug benefit). While I certainly didn't like what Bush did in those areas, I found the alternatives (Pelosi and Reid) to be so horrible that it was very easy to hold my nose.

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