Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Obama hits it out of the park today with what will come to be seen as the pivotal speech of his campaign. Bush tried to preempt him with a press avail in the morning. McCain attempted to counter afterwards.

Highlights of the contenders, per TPM:

What strikes me most is that Obama defines success, and basis part of that on the answers Gen. Petraeus and Amb. Crocker gave to him in committee hearings a few months ago. McCain says the surge worked so trust me, "I know how to win wars." (???) but never defines success, certainly not in clear terms like Obama. Obama offers 16 months -- we can hold him to it. It takes guts for him to lay it out like this, defining victory and vanquishing surrender.

McCain is making the Humphrey/Carter/Mondale/Dukakis mistake, only the Republican way: he's running as best manager. Military manager, to be sure, but still just manager.

America does not vote for Best Manager for President. America votes for Vision. We'll even take substitutes when the pickings are slim, but we love the real thing, the one we share, the one who gives voice to what's been brewing all too long and shows us a path to reach better days.

Here's the rock solid argument at the heart of this masterpiece:

At some point, a judgment must be made. Iraq is not going to be a perfect place, and we don't have unlimited resources to try to make it one. We are not going to kill every al Qaeda sympathizer, eliminate every trace of Iranian influence, or stand up a flawless democracy before we leave - General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker acknowledged this to me when they testified last April. That is why the accusation of surrender is false rhetoric used to justify a failed policy. In fact, true success in Iraq - victory in Iraq - will not take place in a surrender ceremony where an enemy lays down their arms. True success will take place when we leave Iraq to a government that is taking responsibility for its future - a government that prevents sectarian conflict, and ensures that the al Qaeda threat which has been beaten back by our troops does not reemerge. That is an achievable goal if we pursue a comprehensive plan to press the Iraqis stand up.

To achieve that success, I will give our military a new mission on my first day in office: ending this war. Let me be clear: we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 - one year after Iraqi Security Forces will be prepared to stand up; two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, we'll keep a residual force to perform specific missions in Iraq: targeting any remnants of al Qaeda; protecting our service members and diplomats; and training and supporting Iraq's Security Forces, so long as the Iraqis make political progress.

We will make tactical adjustments as we implement this strategy - that is what any responsible Commander-in-Chief must do. As I have consistently said, I will consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government. We will redeploy from secure areas first and volatile areas later. We will commit $2 billion to a meaningful international effort to support the more than 4 million displaced Iraqis. We will forge a new coalition to support Iraq's future - one that includes all of Iraq's neighbors, and also the United Nations, the World Bank, and the European Union - because we all have a stake in stability. And we will make it clear that the United States seeks no permanent bases in Iraq.

This is the future that Iraqis want. This is the future that the American people want. And this is what our common interests demand.
It ties into his whole responsibility theme, the same one pissing off Jesse Jackson, the one that America agrees with wholeheartedly.

Here's the whole masterful thing.

If America doesn't give Barack Obama a landslide victory, America is on notice.

PS: I expect Obama to pop up in Iraq sooner than you think. This whole set-up and build is looking long in the works. Ready to move. Advancing over all of McCain's supposed territory.

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