Friday, July 4, 2008

Obama and Poli Sci 101

I saw a headline this morning which stated, "Obama may moderate Iraq Stance after visit" (or other words to that effect).

I get it.

One of the very first lessons I remember from Poli Sci 101 was that you always run hard left or hard right in a primary because you're after only a) your party, and, really b) the subset within your party that actually cares enough to vote in a primary.

Once you're in the general election, you then just have to be one shade towards the center on the major issues, and bam, you should be successful.

Well, this model works really well in an abstract, theoretical world of statistics, but in the real world -- on real issues -- there's not often a clear stake in the ground you can hold that puts you that little bit towards the center.

On Iraq, however, there is, and now it's up to Senator Obama to take it.

All he has to do is say that we should have some type of phased drawdown and then stand by for flex options on an "as-needed" basis (i.e. his advisors will assess based on the reality on the ground). He should capture everyone on the left anyway, but the real key is grabbing the moderates.

I'm not a single-issue voter, but it's close. I'm looking at 16+ more years in uniform, so the last thing I want is a President who's going to pull the plug on something based on politics or current rhetoric that will lead to an abandoning of allies (hmmm...where have we seen that before) or, worse, bloodshed far beyond anything we've seen to date in Iraq. As a would-be nation-builder, I'd obviously rather walk into a stronger, more stable Iraq or Afghanistan in 2010-11 than the reverse.

Some will call him a flip-flopper.


One man's flip-flopper is just another man's "enlightened mind-changer."


KD said...

If you were his advisor today (or, if/when he is President), what would you suggest?

The New Englander said...


Just that he stay moderate and consider the needs of the Iraqis when he makes his decision. True, they never asked to be invaded in the first place, but I think the real crime would be us just pulling chalks before they're capable of defending themselves internally and externally.

Of course, they don't dictate our policies and our needs, but I think it would be callous of us just to walk away as blithely as we came the very least, they need us for logistics, air support, battlefield medicine, intelligence, etc. If they are going to be the ones patrolling the streets and doing the targeted raids, I'm all for it. Let them be the ones in front, but make sure we're not pulling the rug out from underneath as they continue to build what is now the largest (in geographic size and population) democracy in the entire Middle East.

Based on any indicator you might use (economic, political, security, trade, etc.) signs in Iraq are pointing in the right direction, finally.

To reverse all of that because of a political pledge would be a colossal (and tragic) waste.


KD said...

I like your style, gp. Also, nice post about people who can get fired-up... I agree with your thoughts about people who never show any emotion; I don't necessarily want to hang with apathetic people.

The New Englander said...


lol...I didn't think I had a style, so you may be the first person to ever say that! It looks like the latest good political news from Iraq is that the Iraqi government is helping take matters into their own hands by starting to dictate the withdrawal/scaleback terms themselves.

Glad you feel the same way about apathetic people...funny, I bet if we looked around at Fortune 500 CEOs and world leaders, we wouldn't see too many "cooler than thou" apathetic types, would we?