Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Speech

I wondered earlier today whether Obama has the inclination and the political chops to adapt to the changing political landscape as adroitly as Clinton did after the 1994 elections. I think tonight’s speech, especially its well-chosen words about Bush, gave every indication that he has both:
“I am mindful that the Iraq War has been a contentious issue at home. Here, too, it is time to turn the page. This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It’s well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one could doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for Iraq’s future.”
This wasn’t the abject confession of error about the surge that conservatives were clamoring for. But, without conceding its wisdom, Obama plainly acknowledged the political legitimacy and good faith of Bush’s decisions about the Iraq war. Under the circumstances it would have been not only civically irresponsible, but politically unwise, for Obama to have offered his political opponents anything less. And it will be not only civically irresponsible, but probably politically unwise, if his opponents keep demanding anything more.

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