17 July 2008

Mr. Obama goes to Iraq

To begin: Does Keith Olbermann really expect to be treated as a serious journalist when he spends the first 10 minutes of his show asking that short-haired lesbian-looking loudmouth from Air America why it is that U.S. troops are still in Iraq? I used to love Olbermann when he was on SportsCenter, but "Countdown" has quickly devolved into a cartoon. His sincerity when talking about Tim Russert in the wake of Russert's sudden death was striking, and made him appear nearly likable, but at no point was Olbermann ever fit to wash Russert's feet. What a joke. I simply can't imagine the type of person who watches "Countdown" regularly.

And onward: By tiptoeing toward the center on Iraq, the Changemaker has opened the door, however slightly, for an onslaught from Team McCain. It is laughable that Obama has been perhaps the most stalwart anti-war candidate in recent memory -- even moreso than John Heinz-Kerry -- yet hasn't made a single trip to the Middle East to survey the war's progress. (McCain, on the other hand, has made about a dozen.) Instead of running on his primary season stance -- no visits to Iraq and demanding an almost-immediate withdrawal -- His Hopeness has decided, remarkably, that perhaps a full-on withdrawal is in fact unwise, and that yes, a visit to Iraq with Chuck Hagel is a good idea.

This latest episode is yet another example -- along with Rezkogate, Wrightgate, NAFTAgate, promise-to-take-public-financing-then-change-my-mind- gate, and his outlandishly extremist voting record -- that the most transcendent political figure of our lifetimes is nothing more than a conventional neoliberal politician from Chicago who will say anything and do anything to get elected.

As has been written in this space before, if McCain has any hopes of winning in November, he must go for the throat at every turn. Perhaps his most effective ammunition is using the numerous examples cited above -- plus the dozens of others that are undoubtedly ahead -- to paint Obama's mindless rhetoric as meaningless and expose him as a fraud. The High Priest of Hope's popularity is not based on his policies or his record, but rather his image and his message. If the Senior Senator uses these opportunities to move into attack mode, he will have given himself a chance.

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