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Obama’s Campaign Nervous + C.S. About Iraq

The polls show that Obama has peaked in Iowa and has nowhere to go but down. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has endorsed Hillary Clinton, the 10th U.S. Senator to do so. And Obama’s campaign is showing signs that it’s nervous, edgy, and has “a whiff of desperation.” John Edwards is hitting Obama hard on his Kumbayah jibberish. Via the NYTimes:

Former Senator John Edwards, continuing a line of attack, suggested that Senator Barack Obama is too “nice” for the presidency.

You can’t nice these people to death,” he said, referring to insurance companies and drug companies. “You’d better send somebody into that arena who’s ready.”

Then Time magazine’s blog The Page dissects the Obama campaign’s latest conference call and report:

Conference call with campaign manager Plouffe, 24-slide powerpoint presentation focus on what Obama’s accomplished in Iowa — but also NH, SC, NV, and Feb. 5 states, citing polls, fundraising, organization, crowd sizes.

Perhaps trying to preempt a poor Iowa showing, Plouffe repeatedly cites “1 on 7″ “avalanche” of spending facing Obama by Clinton, Edwards and outside groups backing them. Read powerpoint presentation of strategy here (pdf).

The Edwards campaign responds: “Their pre-occupation with money instead of the power of a strong message speaks volumes to a flailing campaign.” Read full statement here.

HOT UPDATE:Mr. Hope’s Smear and Slime Time,” from Taylor Marsh. “Obama is in full scale panic mode and no one is safe. . …”

So for all you people who have been emailing me and commenting about how harsh we are it’s time to wake up and take a good look at your own candidate who is using every single dirty line he can come up with, including scare tactics straight out of GOP central to make people think that Edwards won’t have the money to finish the race. I thought this election was not about money? It’s about ideas. Well, Mr. Hope just threw his main theme overboard. (Read all of Taylor’s analyses!)

Obama’s unfavorables are rising, higher than Hillary Clinton’s, and Obama’s campaign has stepped up its attacks on Edwards (that link is a must-read).

Here’s some good ol’ C.S. on Obama’s supposed courageous early stand on Iraq:

Obama Wasn’t Right About Iraq — AGAIN” from ThinkingDem at MyDD.com: “I am NOT saying that Obama did not oppose the war. He did. I grant him that. What I am saying is that on the 3 fundamental bases as stated in his speech on October of 2002, his judgment was NOT RIGHT.” Briefly:

(1) “He does not dispute the intelligence that everybody else believed. He does not dispute the causus belli for war. Barack Obama was just as wrong as everybody else.” (See ThinkingDem’s reasoning.)

(2) “Barack Obama was NOT RIGHT about the threat posed by Iraq.” (See ThinkingDem’s reasoning.)

(3) About Obama’s contentions about why we shouldn’t go to war:

[Quoting Obama] “I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.”

[ThinkingDem then says] First of all — it still bugs me to no end that Democrats don’t recognize that by framing victory in the language of defeat BEFORE THE WAR BEGAN, Obama was setting himself up to run for Commander in Chief on the pre-ordained failure of the very troops he wants to command. How you people out there don’t see the truly disgusting, shameful, cynical long term political calculation in that phrase makes me fear for the future of the Party.

But let’s put that aside for a moment. Obama agrees that Iraq is a threat. He was wrong about our ability to contain that threat. But even if you put THAT aside, Obama is saying that America should not neutralize threats to our national security if it’s going to take a while, cost a lot and involve a lot of risk. A President Obama would have responded to Pearl Harbor by saying “Screw it, let the Japanese have their fun”. After all, four years of combat? Billions spent? Lots of Dead Americans? Hell, Obama would have responded to 9/11 by doing…nothing. Afghanistan was no threat to us, and of course, 6 years later, we’re still there, for an undetermined future, at an undetermined cost, at an undetermined risk…

Now. I opposed the war in Iraq right up until the moment we crossed the border. Not being a selfish, mindless idiot, I recognized that once we crossed the border, we weren’t leaving until that country could function on its own, and that was going to take a long, long time.

I believed, as Bob Graham did, that the next target on the agenda needed to be Hezbollah. I still think that man was right and this country would have been better off if he had listened to him.

But it is silly beyond the point of stupidity to give Obama credence for opposing, or being “right” about the Iraq war when his opposition was based on such faulty, nee stupid, logic and reasoning. It’s like a Teacher giving a kid in 4th grade credit for getting the answer to a long division question right without being able to figure out that the little bastard was just guessing.

Barack Obama was wrong about the case for war. He was wrong about the threat posed by Iraq. He is wrong on the criteria for what threats determine a military response. …

ThinkingDem has a more conservative view of the Iraq war than many of us, but he makes some solid C.S. observations.

If you missed it, catch it: Larry Johnson’s “Will Obama Run an Oprah Foreign Policy?

Here’s more on Obama’s inconsistencies — and flip-flopping — on the Iraq war, from my early December investigation of Obama’s actual views, and lack of action, on the Iraq war:

There’s Obama’s (and Oprah’s) incessant claim– as Oprah told the Des Moines crowd on Saturday, “long before it was the popular thing to do, he stood with clarity and conviction against this war in Iraq.”

In July of `04, Barack Obama, “I’m not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don’t know,” in terms of how you would have voted on the war. And then this: “There’s not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush’s position at this stage.” That was July of `04. And this: “I think” there’s “some room for disagreement in that initial decision to vote for authorization of the war.” It doesn’t seem that you are firmly wedded against the war, and that you left some wiggle room that, if you had been in the Senate, you may have voted for it. (“Meet the Press,” 2004, via MyDD, Nov. 11, 2007)

“What would I have done? I don’t know” … “There’s not much of a difference” between him and George W. Bush … “some room for disagreement in that initial decision. …” If that’s not triangulation, I don’t know what is.

What about Obama’s speeches on Iraq in the U.S. Senate? “[H]e did not give a speech devoted to Iraq for 11 months, and waited 16 months to give his first floor speech dedicated to Iraq, which happened to express his opposition to Senator John Kerry’s troop withdrawal plan. …”

What about Obama’s voting record in the U.S. Senate on Iraq? TPM Election Central painstakingly compared every single vote on Iraq by Sens. Clinton and Obama, since Obama entered the Senate. Senators Clinton and Obama voted identically, except once: On the confirmation of “General George Casey to be Chief of Staff for the Army, held just this past February. Hillary voted against confirmation, while Obama voted to confirm.” Why did Sen. Clinton vote against Gen. Casey’s confirmation?

During his nomination hearing to be Army Chief of Staff, I questioned General Casey about recent reports, both by the Department of Defense Inspector General and press accounts, that units and personnel lacked the necessary equipment. General Casey responded that was not aware of the problems cited in these reports and actually quite surprised at the reported shortcomings. In the Inspector General report’s summary, the equipment shortages were attributed to basic management failures among military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan. General Casey was not aware of this investigation or its recommendations that oversight must immediately improve to ensure proper distribution of equipment; as a result units and personnel are not able to perform assign missions. — From “Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Vote on Confirmation of General George W. Casey to be Army Chief of Staff,” Feb. 8, 2007

Sen. Obama weakly defended his vote for Gen. Casey. …

“It is a bit unseemly that General Casey is being made the scapegoat for a war that never should have been fought and for a failed strategy dictated by the civilian leadership in the White House. The President, Vice President and other civilian officials set forth an unworkable strategy with inadequate resources and did not listen to the advice of generals on the ground. They are the ones ultimately responsible for the current situation in Iraq. I hope General Casey will get more support for his new mission, which is so important to the country. I want to see General Casey use his experience in Iraq to ensure that the civilian leadership in Washington understands the challenges faced and resources needed by today’s Army.”

That’s it. That’s the entire press release. Not a word about Gen. Casey’s failure to know about the crisis in equipment shortages or the “basic management failures” during Gen. Casey’s own time in Iraq or the Inspector General’s shocking report.

What about the senators’ trips to Iraq? In his three years in the U.S. Senate, Obama has visited Iraq once. Sen. Clinton has visited Iraq and Afghanistan three times.

Sen. Obama failed to show up for the MoveOn or Iran votes, and in effect lied when he lamely told Wolf Blitzer that he didn’t know the Iran vote was coming up and didn’t have time to get back from campaigning in New Hampshire. (In fact, all senators were informed the day before that the Iran resolution vote was to come up the next day.)

Read more.

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  • http://www.evergreenpolitics.com shoephone

    And on a lighter note…

    *HAPPY NEW YEAR* EVERYONE!

    • Shirin

      Live in hope, die in despair!

      Love,

      Debbie Downer :o }

      • http://www.evergreenpolitics.com shoephone

        Shirin – What can I say? Hope is more fun than despair… and I’m trying to shed 15 pounds of the latter for 2008.

        Sanguinely,

        Shoephone

        >;)

    • Shirin

      PS I am hearing the fireworks and thinking about what those kinds of sounds have meant to Iraqis for the last five years.

  • TeakWoodKite

    The truth ain’t pretty….that’s how you tell it is.

  • hendricks

    good bye, larry. i truly respected and liked you before you started whoring for the clintons. pathetic. i’m erasing your bookmarks and will no longer believe a word you say. go fuck yourself.

  • Fred C. Dobbs

    >>> John Edwards is hitting Obama hard on his Kumbayah jibberish.

    Well said!

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  • http://noquarterusa.net/blog/ Leslie

    The Des Moines Register poll, which is considered the gold standard of Iowa polls, shows Obama has widened his lead over Hillary, 32-25. Obama’s lead increased from 28%, while Hillary has held steady, and Edwards is at 24%.

    This means Obama’s lead is above the margin of error, with Hillary and Edwards tied.

    It’s going to be a nail-biter Thursday night. Eeeeek!

  • http://www.theliberaloc.com Andrew Davey

    Cheese louise, Obama’s looking more and more like a HUGE disappointment! And btw, have you all seen this?

    http://www.taylormarsh.com/archives_view.php?id=26750

    Obama attacked Kerry & Gore:

    “I don’t want to go into the next election starting off with half the country already not wanting to vote for Democrats, we’ve done that in 2004, 2000.”

    Well, I don’t want to go into the next election with a Democratic nominee who won’t stand up for our party! Criminy, this guys frustrates the hell out of me!

  • http://noquarterusa.net/blog/ Leslie

    What I find most interesting is that Hillary has been the de facto nominee for months. On the eve of the Iowa caucus, Edwards is suddenly tied with her! And Obama also sees Edwards as a threat and has shifted attacks from Clinton to Edwards.

    See article here.

    I’m going to be glued to the TV Thursday night!

    • TeakWoodKite

      MSM Ratings?
      Can’t wait until the exit polls call it one way and MSM calls another….

      Glued to my Latop well.

  • MarkL

    I was just thinking today what a terrible influence Obama has been on the race. He has had a couple of good policy proposals, but those are vastly outweighed by the damage he has done to the Democratic discussion.
    Instead of debating how best to fight Republicans, Obama has forced a useless discussion on whether we should fight Republicans at all!

  • Centrocitta

    Ciao Americani. Bon Anno 2008. The nightmare is almost over!

  • Shirin

    Those lying bastards that got us here in the first place that won’t use diplomacy, Bomb everyone that disagrees with us..that sent our troops to Iraq..ect .ect..

    And on what basis do you expect Hillary or Obama to be different than that?

    Oh, yeah, I forgot! While Obama is bombing the crap out of half the Muslim world he’s gonna make ‘em love the U.S. by setting up American-sponsored internet cafes – absolutely brilliant!

  • http://www.food4humanity.org HoosierHoops

    Happy New Year everybody here at No Quarter!!!
    Can i say something about the Hillary, Obama, edwards race..
    I can’t wait till we decide on somebody..Then we can turn our attention and energies towards ripping the holy shit out the GOP Nominee.. Those lying bastards that got us here in the first place that won’t use diplomacy, Bomb everyone that disagrees with us..that sent our troops to Iraq..ect .ect..
    Oh I can’t wait..
    Drive safe tonight..

  • Shirin

    In his three years in the U.S. Senate, Obama has visited Iraq once. Sen. Clinton has visited Iraq and Afghanistan three times.

    So what? There still isn’t a significant difference between their voting records or their policy statements.

    • TeakWoodKite

      Does “remote viewing” count? :)

      I wish you and yours the best in the coming year.

      OT:

      I was looking for a translation of OBL’s recent text. Do you know any links? The US i-bubble is not helpful. Checkin out what you said on the last thread and Nawaz Sharif is mentioned as a player as well. Not hard to see what lights your fuse about it.

      • Shirin

        Sorry, I don’t know of any translations other than the suspect ones the MSM have had, and frankly I haven’t even seen those. I have more or less the same interest in what OBL has to say as I do in what Bush does. :o }

        I will see if I can find something though.

        • TeakWoodKite

          I have more or less the same interest in what OBL has to say as I do in what Bush does. :o }
          The left and right hand of Chaos.

          Thanks for looking.

      • Cee

        Since he’s dead I didn’t pay much attention but Juan Cole has the entire thing

        http://www.juancole.com/

        • TeakWoodKite

          Just a summary Cee: Thanks though and Happy New year. :)

      • Shirin

        Sorry, haven’t found a translation of Mr. Straggle-Beard’s latest. However, since you mentioned Pakistan, here are what I think are some realistic and fair commentaries on Benazir and the Pakistan situation.

        And by the way, the word now is that since the Bushies have managed to get Benazir killed (yeah, I would implicate them, not Hillary or even Obama, since it was the Bushies who sent Benazir into the shooting gallery), they will now try to broker a similar deal involving Nawaz Sharif, which will be interesting given that Musharraf and Sharif have always loathed each other, and Musharraf apparently fears Nawaz Sharif a great deal or he would not have banned him from running in the election.

        Tariq `Ali, who can be quite scathing when the occasion merits it, is very fair and nuanced in his remarks about Benazir, praising her where she earns it and criticizing her where she deserves it. He is kinder to her than I have been, but then he knows a lot more about her, and about Pakistani political history than I ever will. I found Manan Ahmad’s remarks in the Democracy Now internview very worthwhile too.

        http://www.democracynow.org/2007/12/28/pakistan_in_turmoil_after_benazir_bhuttos

        http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article3295851.ece

        And this Tariq `Ali wrote before the assassination:

        http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n24/print/ali_01_.html

        • TeakWoodKite

          This Bhutto thing is getting stranger and stranger….I must be shuting up like a telescope…(OH I got one under the tree.)

          Their problem is that, with Benazir dead, the only other alternative for them is General Ashraf Kiyani, head of the army. Nawaz Sharif is seen as a Saudi poodle and hence unreliable, though, given the US-Saudi alliance, poor Mr Sharif is puzzled as to why this should be the case. For his part, he is ready to do Washiongton’s bidding but would prefer the Saudi King rather than Mr Musharraf to be the imperial message-boy.

          http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article3295851.ece
          TARIQ ALI:

          “I cannot understand, for the life of me, how the President of the United States can be so isolated and remote from reality as to insist that an election goes ahead when one of the central political leaders in the country, backed by Washington, has just been assassinated”

          I was a readin’ ’bout how, way back when, the OBL’s and Taliban’s saw ‘poor Mr Sharif’ as the lesser of two evils.(the word was “accomodating”) Now he is a ‘Saudi poodle’.
          Seems to me, if I were him, I would be ‘puzzled’ too. Plus, I never knew that the pedigree was indiginous to the Kingdom.
          So in feeding the dragon under the staircase, Bush calls in a play for short yardage and bam!!
          Zip nada nothing, but a dead player…now he thinks…”Long pass down the side line and out…?” Why is no one willing to play hot potato? Didn’t they all get an OveGloove for the holidays? One thing is for sure the Pakistani ballot box got screwed just like ours did.

  • http://www.evergreenpolitics.com shoephone

    Susan – I have to say, I don’t think Cantwell’s endorsement is either meaningful or a surprise. After all, Cantwell waited three years before acknowledging even a smidgin of poor judgment on her own vote for the IWR. Regardging Iran, she supported (even co-sponsored) Rick Santorum’s “Freedom and Support Act”, which was a precursor to the Kyl-Lieberman bill. And she has long been silent about Bush’s illegal spying programs. It was only last month that she finally came out and voted with Dodd and against retroactive immunity for telecoms.

    She’s actually a lot like Clinton AND Obama, waiting until the very last moments to take a position and cast her senate votes. Her finger is permanently poked up, checking the wind.

    My lasting impressions of her were formed almost two years ago, when Obama was in town to stump for her senate re-election bid (kind of ironic) and I staged a silent protest on the periphery of her rally which was being held inside the Garfield High auditorium. All I did was stand on the steps above the auditorium with a sign that outlined her inability to admit the damage done to our nation because of the Iraq War — in stark numbers (at that time): 2300 U.S. soldiers dead, 30,000+ soldiers maimed for life, 50,000+ Iraqi civilians dead, and Cantwell’s infamous line that she had “No Regrets” about voting for it.

    After about 45 minutes, as dozens of people waiting in line to get into the auditorium smiled, waved and gave me the thumbs up , and many others climbed up the steps to ask me about my protest — which every single one of them agreed with — Cantwell’s goons came up the steps and threatened to have me arrested if I did not leave the premises immediately. I told them they reminded me of Bush’s goons, screening rally participants and trolling for protestors to have arrested. I also reminded them they had not rented the steps or the grass quad above the auditorium and had no legal right to make me leave but they were ignorant assholes and, since the crowd was already filing inside, I figured I had made my point and my job was done there.

    Cantwell lost all my respect that day. I wouldn’t care if she had endorsed Edwards (my preference) at this point.

    I was somewhat surprised by Inslee’s early endorsement of HRC, but Cantwell’s just seems par for the course to me.

  • Sandy

    Hey, Susan and Larry and all! Wishing you all a very Happy New Year (‘s eve)!
    Trusting this will be a healthy one….and happy….and wishing you all the best!

  • TeakWoodKite

    Thanks for your thought provoking and detailed efforts SusanUnPC. I normally end up with a few dozen pages and few more books to read on the topics you post. Agree or disagree, it is / has been a positive experience. The new year is on upon us, I wish all the best.

    PS.Politics is… “At the Zoo” by S&G…

    • http://noquarterusa.net/ SusanUnPC

      Thank you.

      I hope you have some good fun tonight and tomorrow. I plan on it, but it’ll mostly be quiet (I hope!).

      Thursday’s going to be a wild day on both sides.

      Btw, there’s a huge to-do going on about Huckabee’s attack ad that he pulled at the last minute:
      http://thepage.time.com/

      • TeakWoodKite

        I stay off the roads on this eve. BTW… Bill Clinton gave an interview 18 months back(?). He was asked which Republican he was most concerned about and he indicated Huckabee, who was not in the race at the time.

  • http://democracylover.blogspot.com Charley

    I was impressed with the similar critique at Corrente Wire: http://www.correntewire.com/obama_stump_speech_strategy_of_conciliation_considered_harmful

    • TeakWoodKite

      The graph posted ther says it all.

  • http://noquarterusa.net/ SusanUnPC

    For a leftie critique of Obama, see Z Magazine.