Measured Against Reality

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Collins on Obama

This is the smartest Op-Ed I've read in a while. The main point:

But if you look at the political fights he’s picked throughout his political career, the main theme is not any ideology. It’s that he hates stupidity. “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war,” he said in 2002 in his big speech against the invasion of Iraq. He did not, you will notice, say he was against unilateral military action or pre-emptive attacks or nation-building. He was antidumb.

Most of the things Obama’s taken heat for saying this summer fall into these two familiar patterns — attempts to find a rational common ground on controversial issues and dumb-avoidance.

This does seem to be true, and it's a decent way of rationalizing his FISA vote, (which which I still disagree, but it's a lemon at this point since the damn thing would have passed no matter what. We we're failed by Obama, we were failed by the Democratic House and Senate leadership). I think this is worth remembering, since some people seem to think that Obama should hold perfect positions (which is insane, because that will differ drastically among the people who support him), and some of the time you're going to disagree with him. But Collins's last point is worth remembering:

Meanwhile, Obama has made it clear what issues he thinks all this cleverness and compromising are supposed to serve: national health care, a smart energy policy and getting American troops out of Iraq. He has tons of other concerns, but those seem to be the top three.

I think that, setting aside all of the other things we disagree with, accomplishing those three things would make an Obama presidency wildly successful.



  • I think Obama is the true strategic realist when it comes to foreign affairs whereas McCain has clearly portrayed himself as the democratizing warrior. Obama isn't talking about spreading democracy. Rather, he's talking about maintaining the balance of power in the middle east, restoring US-European alliances and refocusing on Afghanistan (a war that we are losing). God help us if we continue on this warpath. Frankly, I don't think Americans can stomach any more violence.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:18 AM, July 26, 2008  

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