Thursday :: Dec 27, 2007

Senator Obama Must Fire Axelrod!

by Turkana

As Jeff has pointed out, Senator Barack Obama's top campaign strategist today implied that Senator Hillary Clinton is somehow partially to blame for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. From Time:

Bhutto’s death will “call into issue the judgment: who’s made the right judgments,” Axelrod said. “Obviously, one of the reasons that Pakistan is in the distress that it’s in is because al-Qaeda is resurgent, has become more powerful within that country and that’s a consequence of us taking the eye off the ball and making the wrong judgment in going into Iraq. That’s a serious difference between these candidates and I’m sure that people will take that into consideration.”

And he points specifically to Senator Clinton.

“She was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq, which we would submit, was one of the reasons why we were diverted from Afghanistan, Pakistan and al-Qaeda, who may have been players in this event today, so that’s a judgment she’ll have to defend,” Axelrod said.

Big Tent Democrat wonders where Sen. Obama has been on funding Iraq and Afghanistan. Here's the answer, Big Tent, from Talking Points Memo:

Since the comparison of the Iraq positions over the years of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is one of the hottest issues of the campaign, we thought it would be useful to post a comprehensive comparison of all of their votes on everything relating to the Iraq war.

So here it is: A massive compilation of Iraq-related bills -- and the votes by Hillary and Obama on them, side by side -- beginning in early 2005, when Obama first joined the Senate....

As you can see, Clinton and Obama have voted the opposite way on only one vote on our list: The confirmation of General George Casey to be Chief of Staff for the Army, held just this past February. Hillary voted against confirmation, while Obama voted to confirm.

Talking Points thinks Sen. Obama's initial opposition to the war is still paramount. I think what matters most is what someone does when they're in the position of having to actually make a decision. Senator John Kerry talked against the war, then voted for it. So did then-Senator John Edwards. It was about making a complex political calculation, and flat-out wrong, but both Senators Kerry and Edwards are still good men who made the same terrible mistake. What matters now is not 2002 or 2003, but 2009 and beyond. How the hell do we get out? Of course, like Sen. Clinton, Sen. Obama won't even promise to have all our troops out of Iraq by 2013.

The question is what kind of leader Sen. Obama would be. Would he skip out on making tough decisions? Would he have other priorities? Or is it just a political game?

As Jane Hamsher wrote:

I'd still like to see any indication made by Obama prior to the vote that he opposed the Kyl-Lieberman bill, because I just did not hear it. He doesn't get to campaign now on opposing it after sticking his finger in the wind -- at the time, many were watching that vote as a way to measure how sincere his desire to challenge the foreign policy establishment really was.

If it was such a big deal that he's spent so much time excoriating Sen. Clinton over it, you'd think he's have at least lent his considerable oratorical skills to opposing it, wouldn't you? Just as you would have thought a leader would have at least tried to lead the opposition to the Mukasey nomination. As Garance Franke-Ruta wrote:

It seems to me that if Obama thought the Kyl-Lieberman Iran Resolution vote was as important a line in the sand on a march to war with Iran as he is now making it out to be, he could have taken the time to come back to Washington, give a speech on the issue, and urge all his Democratic Senate colleagues to vote no, too. And then he could have cast a vote himself.

A speech of that sort would probably have been enough to get Clinton to alter her vote, because the evidence suggests that pressure from less high-profile presidential competitor Chris Dodd has already helped move her (as well as Obama) toward a more decisive position on withdrawing from Iraq. Obama could have tried to unite the Democratic caucus of the U.S. Senate on this issue, and urged them to present a united front on this foreign policy question. Instead, he managed to be out of town on the day of the vote, and then did not issue a statement on it until 10 p.m. that evening. So much for "personal involvement" in stopping the U.S. from "being dragged into another war"!

But, of course, Sen. Obama himself had previously co-sponsored a similar resolution, S.970, which included this language:

(8) The Secretary of State should designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189) and the Secretary of the Treasury should place the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order 13224 (66 Fed. Reg. 186; relating to blocking property and prohibiting transactions with persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism).

And now his surrogate blames Hillary for Benazir Bhutto's assassination. As sometime Obama supporter Big Tent says:

According to Axelrod, is Obama to blame for the Bhutto assassination too? Outrageous stuff from the Obama campaign.

Will Sen. Obama fire Axelrod? I support neither Senator Clinton nor Senator Obama, and when Billy Shaheen made his despicable comments about Sen. Obama, I called for Sen. Clinton to completely disassociate herself from him. She did. In fact, she personally apologized to Sen. Obama. Will Sen. Obama now disassociate himself from an important campaign asset who made a similarly despicable statement? His record would suggest not.

Turkana :: 6:15 PM :: Comments (13) :: Digg It!