Friday, July 18, 2008

Security Threat

Let's stop kidding ourselves.

Is Sen. John McCain in any tangible way prepared to be President of the United States of America?:
Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Friday that his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, is likely to be in Iraq over the weekend.

The Obama campaign has tried to cloak the Illinois senator's trip in some measure of secrecy for security reasons. The White House, State Department and Pentagon do not announce senior officials' visits to Iraq in advance.
Per Josh Marshall, imagine if the situation had been reversed -- the McCain campaign and the media would be trying to paint Obama as too dangerously inexperienced for what is arguably the most intel sensitive job in the world:
If it is true that Obama is going to Iraq this weekend, it is a very serious mistake for McCain to have disclosed it publically. Even for run-of-the-mill CODELs the military gives guidance like, "Please strongly discourage Congressional offices from issuing press releases prior to their trips which mention their intent to travel to the AOR and/or the dates of that travel or their scheduled meetings. Such releases are a serious compromise to OPSEC." If Obama is going to Iraq this weekend, I can not begin to imagine how much this is complicating the security planning for the trip.

It's known that Obama is leaving on his foreign trip this weekend and the Journal OpEd page this morning said that Obama could arrive in Iraq "as early as this weekend." And with a slew of reporters in tow, it's not exactly highly classified information. But there is a reason definite information about these sorts of trips aren't released in advance.

Hypothetically, maybe McCain was just guessing. But even so it would still be a serious lapse of judgment on his part.

Judgment -- Obama's core value proposition.

Daniel Burrell asks if America can even afford a First Term by Sen. John McCain:
Since announcing his candidacy last April, McCain has been unable to get control of his organization. The campaign's messaging, strategic planning, grassroots, and fundraising operations all have been mired in disarray. Most of the mess is attributable to the candidate's inability to establish a clear chain of command at the top and to quell infighting among senior staff, a somewhat stunning revelation when considering McCain's stature in the Party and past experiences as a presidential contender. But while the chaotic state of McCain headquarters has become a well worn subject over the past two weeks, with a litany of Republican elected officials and strategists questioning the candidate's chances in November, as well as mainstream media figures such as Bill Kristol and Adam Nagourney writing pieces chronicling the myriad and ongoing staffing problems, few seem focused on the more substantive issue of what all of this means for a McCain first term if he is actually elected...

...Contrast this against the Obama organization and the differences are stark. They remain focused, organized, and well managed. Notwithstanding some shuffling of his policy team earlier in the year, Obama has made no major changes to his inner circle since announcing his candidacy. Moreover, the chain of command is defined and clear...

...With the Fall approaching and the campaigning reaching its peak, McCain's current political team will no doubt ratchet up the charges of inexperience and youth against Obama. But these cries will likely fall on deaf ears if Obama continues to deliver a consistent message and organize effectively through November...
There's rumors of the Republicans running someone else, maybe McCain steps down for one of his hundred pages of health report that reporters got a glance at one Friday afternoon a few months ago. It would certainly set an interesting precedent. Or case study.

Phil Gramm was on the outs earlier this week for his "nation of whiners" geniusness, then in again this morning as McCain's chief economics (stealonomics?) advisor (image sub-prime king Gramm as Treasury Secretary?), then after a day of no doubt a lot of long phone calls, out completely with an unrepentant, bitchy statement:
“It is clear to me that Democrats want to attack me rather than debate Senator McCain on important economic issues facing the country,” Mr. Gramm said in a statement issued by the campaign. “That kind of distraction hurts not only Senator McCain’s ability to present concrete programs to deal with the country’s problems, it hurts the country.”
Stop hurting the country, Republicans. Stop fucking with our infrastructure, moral highground, and common sense.

As President, which is all but an apocalyptic fantasy, McCain would be a serious security threat to our nation. He's not reliable on the issues, he's not a successful manager of his campaign apparatus or message, but worst of all he's not a successful manager of his candidate -- he can't manage himself well enough to safely do the job.

Maybe 2000 was different. Maybe his embrace of his arch-rival, his saboteur, during the 2004 election corrupted not only his politics but his body and mind as well. Maybe he's feeling his age worse than, say, Joe Bruno, because of the sacrifices he made for us and his country.

Experience and age don't always correlate. I work with and often learn from people younger than me. There are difference experiences than 26 years working in our legislative branch, 22 in "The Millionaires Club." And different ways to grow from those experiences, different ways to apply their lessons, to grow rather than diminish.

Everyone is following Barack Obama's lead. It started the day he announced his candidacy on the Internet, and Sen. Hillary Clinton quickly moved up her announcement by several months and followed. She followed him on raising money through small donations on the Internet and this week the Bush Administration followed him, after years of vicious Chamberlain-baiting, by flipflopping on relations with Iran.

Well, today Obama actually affected Iraq policy. The enormity of his candidacy's withdrawal message, particularly starting the week by promising to complete within sixteen months, must be pressuring the White House to switch course and call for a timetable-I-mean-horizon:

Mr. Bush, who has long derided timetables for troop withdrawals as dangerous, agreed to at least a notional one as part of the administration’s efforts to negotiate the terms for an American military presence in Iraq after a United Nations mandate expires at the end of the year.

The agreement, announced in coordinated statements released Friday by the White House and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government, reflected a significant shift in the war in Iraq.
Obama's going to go to Iraq and do something we haven't seen before -- maybe meeting with someone outside the tight circle of showcase normally experienced by U.S. politicians visiting Iraq, maybe making a speech before some interesting group, maybe the Iraqi Parliament, a chance to lay down his vision in person and give a coming attractions they can all buy into. Then he'll go to Europe and blow away unprecedentedly ginormous crowds. Then he'll come home even more fired up and ready to go, having laid clear groundwork to be picked up on January 21st. You know, on Day 1.

There is nothing to follow with McCain, not just because he'll just flipflop around, but because he's got no vision. He's trying to own the surge, which is just the cherry on top of the dungheap. He's running as Best Manager like losing Democratic Presidential candidates traditionally do.

Obama not only has vision, so far he's extraordinarily successful in executing it by enlisting the public, i.e. leading.

Anything less, in this brittle age, is far too perilous to consider.

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