The Candidate of Contrast
UPDATE: Lambert at Corrente catches Obama, um, exhibiting truthiness on his now famous Oct 2002 speech. It is part of a carefully crafted myth about his "consistent" Courageous LeadershipTM on the Iraq war. Take a look.
I have always found the nonsensical claim that Sen. Obama has "consistently" opposed the war in Iraq to be laughable. I find it even more amusing when Sen. Obama claims he will be able to contrast himself more effectively against Sen. McCain on Iraq, than Sen. Clinton. At Trail Mix, Craig Crawford provides just one example that deflates this delusion (emphasis mine):
Democrats are feeling quite confident about a nifty-sounding new strategy for connecting the war in Iraq to economic problems at home. The idea is to blast Republicans for the war’s cost. But both of the Democratic nomination contenders repeatedly voted to spend that money.
A coalition of anti-war groups on Monday launched a $20 million campaign to convince voters that spending for the war is draining the economy and creating what the coalition calls the Iraq Recession. And they have already released their first advertisement, a direct hit against Republican nominee-to-be John McCain.
There could be a bit of a snag in these efforts to attack McCain and the GOP for passing what the coalition calls “blank check funding bills.” The Democratic Party’s remaining rivals for the nomination both voted for the same funding bills that McCain did.
While Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton did vote for failed Senate bills to set timetables for ending the war, they did not vote against any of the spending measures that kept the war going exactly as President George W. Bush wanted it to go. And in the year since Democrats won control of Congress the funding has continued without a break.
It sure would be easier for Democrats to make the “Iraq Recession” argument stick if they had a nominee who actually voted against it.
The usual suspects will likely claim that at least Sen. Obama opposed the war back in 2002. Actually, as I have pointed out before, outside of his commendable October 2002 speech, his alleged "opposition" is itself dubious for several reasons - but more importantly his ostensible anti-war position back in October 2002 is in fact not particularly advantageous against Sen. McCain. The GOP will mock him the way they mocked Sen. John Kerry by questioning his principles (saying that he was "against" the war before he was "for" it - considering he supported blank check funding for it for many years, even giving a speech in 2006 against a timetable-based withdrawal and claiming in 2004 that his position at that time was not much different from Bush's and that it would be a "slap in the face" of the troops to withdraw prematurely - before he became "against" it again when the political winds shifted after 2006). With Sen. Clinton, we can expect the "she was for it but is now against it" attack; however, Sen. McCain has himself left open the possibility of withdrawal despite his advocacy for continued troop presence in Iraq. All of this, of course, doesn't even address the fact that Sen. McCain and the GOP will also likely claim that Sen. Obama cannot be taken seriously given that he was opposed to giving the President of the U.S. the authorization to use force against an arch-enemy even though the United Nations was seeking a strong resolution that provided such authorization in order to get enforceable inspections of the kind that Sen. Obama said he wanted. Bottom line, if Sen. Obama becomes the Democratic nominee, the Iraq debate and "contrast" is not going to be as easy as he imagines.