Purple. Like A Bruise.
Yesterday, I noted that the L.A. Times was reporting that the president was going to follow the advice of General Stanley McChrystal, and escalate the escalation in Afghanistan. Today, the New York Times offers this:
As President Obama prepares to decide whether to send additional troops to Afghanistan, the political climate appears increasingly challenging for him, leaving him in the awkward position of relying on the Republican Party, and not his own, for support.
The simple political narrative of the Afghanistan war — that this was the good war, in which the United States would hunt down the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks — has faded over time, with popular support ebbing, American casualties rising and confidence in the Afghan government declining. In addition, Afghanistan’s disputed election, and the attendant fraud charges that have been lodged against President Hamid Karzai, are contributing further to the erosion of public support.
A CBS News poll released on Tuesday reports that 41 percent of those polled wanted troop levels in Afghanistan decreased, compared with 33 percent in April. Far fewer people — 25 percent — wanted troop levels increased, compared with 39 percent in April. And Mr. Obama’s approval rating for his handling of Afghanistan has dropped eight points since April, to 48 percent.
Congressional Democrats, particularly those on the left, report increasing disenchantment among constituents with the idea of a long and possibly escalating conflict in Afghanistan, especially as the American strategy comes to resemble a long-term nation-building approach rather than a counterterrorism operation.
“I and the American people cannot tolerate more troops without some commitment about when this perceived occupation will end,” Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, said Wednesday in an interview.
Does the president ever listen to his liberal base? Does he ever listen to the public? Who, exactly, is he trying to appease? Why?