Oh nos. David Broder is complimenting Obama
...for defying the hysterical left who elected him, of course.
Some adaptation is necessary for almost every president because few experiences can really prepare them for the challenges Obama described to Meacham. George W. Bush went through it after Sept. 11, 2001, subordinating his domestic agenda to focus on the terrorist threat -- and never changing.
But the step is harder for today's Democratic presidents than for their predecessors -- or their Republican contemporaries.
Ever since Vietnam, the prevailing ideology of grass-roots Democratic activists has been hostile to American military actions and skeptical of the military itself. Iowa, where the Democratic nomination process begins, is famously tilted toward a pacifist view of war. Throughout the primaries, the pressures push forward candidates who do not challenge that mind-set.
That was certainly the case last year, when Obama's best-credentialed challengers -- Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd -- all stumbled over their votes to authorize Bush's use of force in Iraq.
The second reason Democrats struggle more with becoming commander in chief is that they have more things than do Republicans that they want to accomplish here at home. Time and money are always in short supply. The bigger the domestic agenda, the more resistance to being "diverted" into military adventures. Obama, like all his Democratic predecessors, has set big goals. Afghanistan has to look like a distraction to him.
And a third reason is that today's Democrats really are isolated from the military. Harry Truman had been an artillery captain; John Kennedy and Carter, Navy officers. But Bill Clinton did everything possible to avoid the draft, and Obama, motivated as he was to public service, never gave a thought to volunteering for the military.
Where, oh where, to begin?
Let's start with George W. Bush diverting attention from domestic "priorities" after 9-11. George W. Bush had two domestic priorities at the start of 2001: tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and passage of no child left behind, both of which he accomplished. I challenge anyone to name me another priority for his first term, anything left undone. His second term, of course, made privatizing social security a priority, which went almost as well as the guarding of the Iraqi National Museum. Looters were poised for privatization, just as looters were waiting for the US military to divert their attention to the Oil Ministry. The only thing being diverted after 9-11 for his administration was a priority for capturing al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Instead, attention was diverted to connecting al Qaeda to Iraq.
Second, the fact that Democrat candidates had trouble explaining away their votes for authorizing military action in Iraq had nothing -- nothing -- to do with "hostility towards the military." As I recall, we lefties were quite supportive of military action in Kosova and, notably, Afghanistan; that support may not have been unanimous, but it was real. No, the difficulties Biden, Clinton, Dodd and (though unnamed since this isn't about haircuts or infidelity) Edwards had explaining their Iraq votes were the result of how stupid it was to invade Iraq and the subsequent clusterfuck that was the Bush administration's actions there.
I'm guessing that when Broder writes the incomprehensible phrase, that Iowa "is famously tilted towards a pacificist view of war" (WTF is a "pacifist view of war"?), he is referring to 1968, when the anti-war candidate Gene McCarthy "famously" upset President Johnson in New Hampshire. In 1972, anti-war candidate McGovern lost to Muskie in Iowa.
And, finally, the last paragraph cited above is really indefensible. Bill Clinton did everything possible to avoid the draft. Sure. His efforts pale in comparison to Dick "I had other priorities" Cheney. George W. Bush's exploites during the Vietnam War are, of course, legendary. Those two war heroes defeated Al Gore and John Kerry, both of whom served -- the latter with distinction -- in Vietnam. Perhaps, Broder might consider, Obama's community service in Chicago was more valuable than whatever service he may have provided the good people of Grenada.
UPDATE: Roy, as usual, is the ideal antidote for such bullshit.
Labels: David Broder, How stupid do they think we are