Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

Withdrawal No Longer Obama's Bread and Butter

No one knows how Barack Obama's trip to Iraq will go, what he will say about his Iraq policy afterwards, and how the public will receive it. But the current situation benefits John McCain.

Both men owe their nominations to the issue of war in Iraq — Obama for opposing it when Democrats around him supported it and McCain for pushing the surge, long before President Bush even proposed it. When they each joined the presidential race, opposition to the war was strong and Obama joined many Democrats and some Republicans in opposing the surge. Back then things seemed pretty clear. When chaos ruled Iraq in 2006 Americans began favoring withdrawal, but polls show now that Iraq has been stabilized by the surge there is less support for withdrawal, which Obama is calling for within 16 months of taking office.

The Obama World Tour: Brought to You by the Major Networks

July 21

Brian Williams: “This is Brian Williams, reporting from Amman, Jordan. Day 1 of Barack Obama’s World Tour. Lee Cowen is here to report on Sen. Obama’s first day in the Middle East.”

Cowen: “Brian, I must say this has been an emotional day for the Obama campaign and for me personally. The large, and I must say, adoring crowds were just very excited to capture a view of the great one, I mean, Sen. Obama.”

Video with Cowen voice-over: “After a long and grueling plane ride, a courageous Barack Obama emerged in Amman to a hero’s welcome.”

McCain Fearful of Making Mistakes

Did you catch that terrific line of John McCain's about Barack Obama laying out a strategy for Iraq in a major speech on Tuesday before leaving for his first trip there in years?

"I note he is speaking today about his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan before he has even left, before he has talked to Gen. Petraeus, before he has seen the progress in Iraq, and before he has set foot in Afghanistan for the first time," said McCain. "In my experience, fact-finding missions usually work best the other way around: First you assess the facts on the ground, then you present a new strategy."

Target Practice

Some Franken Sense:

— If The New Yorker demonstrated nothing else with its Obama cover, it proved that when it comes to satire, it has a long way to go to achieve the quality of Mad magazine.

— If I wanted to offer reassurance, I'd probably want to avoid saying "Bank on it." It's gone the way of the "Slam dunk."

— Deregulation doesn't work. Trusting the marketplace is the economic equivalent of taking a hike in the lawless frontier territories of Pakistan. In both cases, ruthless, greedy warlords will overrun the unprotected, steal all they can and ride off unpunished for the destruction they leave behind.

McCain Draws Obama into National Security Debate

Despite the vast unpopularity of the war in Iraq and John McCain's parroting of the Bush position, recent polling has the candidates even on who would do the better job of handling the war. This is because McCain is seen, by a very wide margin, as the best at being commander in chief.

So Barack Obama has a dilemma. He gained initial traction in the primaries largely by outflanking Hillary on the war and showcasing his early opposition. But the more he speaks about the war now, the more he makes national security and foreign policy the major issue of the election. And there is no way that can help him.

Three Cheers for The New Yorker!

OK, for all of you people who were upset about the cover of this week’s New Yorker, I only have three words: Get a life!

I know, I know, both the Obama and the McCain campaigns condemned the cover as incendiary. Well, they ought to get a life, too. This campaign is already going overboard on political correctness. It’s getting so you can’t say anything critical, sarcastic, or even funny about either candidate.

And, let’s face it, this week’s New Yorker cover is laugh-out-loud funny!

Barack Obama Is Not Funny


TO: Members of the National Comedy Writers Association
FR: Comedy Guidelines Committee
RE: Barack Obama Guidelines

Given the latest flap from our friends at The New Yorker magazine, we have decided to issue the following advisory guidelines for all of you funny guys out there: Barack Obama is not funny. Don’t go there. Don’t risk it. Not worth it.

Satire is Not for Sissies

The dictionary definition of satire is the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing or deriding vice, folly, etc.

It sounds easy, but it is not.

Satire is real funny when the other guy is the one being satirized. It is not so funny when you are the victim.

The latest cover of The New Yorker magazine is a case in point.

Candidates Respond to News

The Hill's A.B. Stoddard answers viewer questions about Sen. Obama's and Sen. McCain's abilities to deal with problems in their campaign and gives commentary on possible VP picks.


Bipartisan Partisanship — Not an Oxymoron

This, my first column for The Washington Times, is perhaps my best opportunity to explain the title I selected as the name and theme — "Purple Nation" — and why it has relevance to the presidential contest between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain and for the future of American politics.

First, what “Purple Nation” — a reference to the result of mixing "red" and "blue" state colors — does not mean: It is not about a mushy center where flip-flopping candidates abandon core ideological principles and rush to take "centrist" positions in order to win over more of the independent-minded swing voters from both parties. That is the politics of expediency and inauthenticity, and most voters will see through that quickly.