Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ok, so now what?

David Seaton's News Links
I'm getting tired of playing Jeremiah and I'm sure my readers got there first. In the "Book of Lamentations", God told Jeremiah, "You will go to them; but for their part, they will not listen to you".

It sure does look like Senator Barack Obama is going to take the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

The media certainly think so. Matt Drudge - a sign of our times if ever there was one -- gloats daily over Hillary's decline after flirting with her outrageously in the opening weeks.

However, Hillary might pull it off yet, the Clintons are like the guy with the funny haircut in "No Country for Old Men".... you don't want to turn your back.
And of course, as Al Gore said, "It isn't over till the fat lady sings", (the fat lady sang for him, but it didn't get him anything but a Nobel Prize).

But, ok, ok, let's assume for argument's sake that Obama has got it in the bag. What's next? It's kind of tricky in my opinion.

The first thing Obama will have to do on nailing down the nomination is to stop massaging his movement and veer toward the center. This is going to disappoint some of those who applaud when he blows his nose, but if he doesn't move to the right and convince people who give this fainting and speaking in tongues the fish eye, he won't have a chance.

When searching for the center he will run into his greatest weak point, his nil military credibility. He has never even served in the armed forces. Bill Clinton and Dubya hadn't either, you say? At the time both of them came to office, there were no serious military threats to the USA. That has all changed.

The United States is presently fighting two wars and has a good chance of losing them both. At this moment both Iraq and Afghanistan are relatively quiet and there has not been a terrorist attack on the US "homeland" since 9-11. All of that could change in a moment. When the snow melts in Afghanistan this spring the fighting will get very hot and will last well into the fall.

As to terrorism: Osama bin Laden has done very well with the Republicans and I imagine he would do his little bit to keep them in the White House. A major terrorist attack in the USA would win the election for McCain outright. And we haven't mentioned the Balkans, that could all go blooey at any moment.... and with no troops to spare.

Then there is Iraq. Some think that Iraq is "winnable", but they are talking in terms of something like nearly twenty years. Military ├╝berpundit, Anthony H. Cordesman writes in the Washington Post:
What the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan have in common is that it will take a major and consistent U.S. effort throughout the next administration at least to win either war. Any American political debate that ignores or denies the fact that these are long wars is dishonest and will ensure defeat. There are good reasons that the briefing slides in U.S. military and aid presentations for both battlefields don't end in 2008 or with some aid compact that expires in 2009. They go well beyond 2012 and often to 2020.
This means that talk of a quick withdrawal from Iraq will meet with stiff, well documented, establishment resistance and not just from the neocons and AIPAC.

That means trouble for Obama. I can't really see any vice presidential candidate that would give him any credibility here except Wesley Clark. Have I missed somebody? The Democrats hold very strong cards on economic issues, but when it comes to war fighting... All it took was an "October surprise" video of Osama bin Laden's to sink John Kerry, and he was a war hero!

If I were John McCain, I would play this card very strongly. In fact if I were McCain I would choose as my running mate no other than Colin Powell. It is a fact that if the "Powell Doctrine" had been applied, either the invasion of Iraq wouldn't have taken place or enough troops would have been sent to stop the anarchy that followed. McCain, the hero of Vietnam, running with an African-American general on the ticket, would be hard to beat... in less, of course, there were breadlines by November.

Whoever gets to be President had better not have made too many promises about "restoring America's position" in the world. It isn't doable. Nobody seems to want to break the bad news to the American people, but the party is over. Bush is merely the face on the decline, not the decline itself. Tony Karon has a wonderful post on this called "Honey I shrank the superpower". I quote:
The gangster movie Miller’s Crossing offered a profound mediation on the nature of power in one petty thug’s warning to his boss: “You only run this town because people think you run this town.” Bush’s catastrophic mistakes have inadvertently revealed the limits of U.S. power, making it abundantly clear to both friend and foe that Washington is no longer in charge.(...)The fading of Pax Americana in the wider Middle East is partly a product of Bush’s over-reach and over-reliance on force and the threat of force. But it is also a symptom of epic, economically-driven shifts — the rise of China and India, Russia’s resurgence and Europe’s steady expansion, to name a few — that have redefined the global power equation.
The key word is Bush's has revealed the limits of American power. Bill Clinton was like the magician, David Copperfield, much smoke and mirrors, and Bush is like a kid's birthday party magician who puts his hand in the hat and pulls out nothing but rabbit poop.

The limits are real and everybody, everywhere is in on the gag by now, except, it seems, a lot of American voters. DS


Anonymous said...

James Webb would be a great, credible VP for Obama.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

That sounds pretty good.
The domestic problem the Democrats would have if they try to pull out of Iraq is with AIPAC. I don't know how much Webb would help there.

Anonymous said...

"Breadlines in November"

It's not that far away. There has been an urgent call from two local food banks here on the east side of San Francisco Bay for donations. Not only is the demand up, donations are off.

Not to mention the impending bankruptcy of the city of Vallejo (non-public safety employees will be laid off), the $16,000,000,000 shortfall at the state level - one third of state parks are being close in California along with prisoners furloughed early, laying off park rangers and prison guards.

And McCain brags about not knowing much about economics. It will be a trial by fire for Obama when he is elected.

Forensic economist

Anonymous said...

that's not a funny haircut. it's authentic-looking circa 1970.