Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Obama's "Good Fortune"

Dan Balz of the Washington Post calls it "good fortune"; I think it's more a matter of being right than being lucky (Eve Fairbanks at TNR agrees) but it's true that there is no small amount of luck in the fact that Nouri al-Maliki, for the second time in a few days and while Obama is visiting Iraq, affirms that he agrees that American forces should withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2010, only about eight months later than envisioned in Obama's plan. Of course, Obama's "fortune" in this matter is making the right-wingers a little crazy; as they desire to pin the recent increase in stability entirely on the surge, and thus give McCain entirely the credit for supporting it, they must somehow find a way to slam Obama for being against it in the first place. Unfortunately for them, it is entirely more interesting to the media and the voters alike that Maliki agrees with Obama about what to do in Iraq now.

The right-wingers, and McCain, are probably also now slapping their foreheads in irritation, as they are the ones who repeatedly called for Obama to visit Iraq so he would view the "facts on the ground" and somehow be forced to change his position on withdrawal (and thus be accused of flip-flopping.) Yglesias summarizes how well that's gone for them:

...instead...Obama went to Iraq and Iraqi leaders said he'd been right all along! That's about as close to "game, set, match" as you get in terms of real world events influencing your political campaign.

Instead of being boxed into a corner, Obama now appears to be ahead of the curve. The NY Times summarizes the situation well here:

The central tenet of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy is suddenly aligned with what the Iraqis themselves now increasingly seem to want. Not only have the developments offered Mr. Obama a measure of credibility as a prospective world leader in a week when his every move is receiving intensive attention at home and abroad, but it has complicated Mr. McCain’s leading argument against him: that a withdrawal timeline would be tantamount to surrender and would leave Iraqis in dangerous straits.

Where does McCain go from here? As Marc Ambinder reports, here's one Republican strategist on this development: "We're fucked."

1 comment:

adam said...

"We're fucked."