Obama’s Judgment

September 9, 2008 at 11:58 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Barack Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, said something profoundly amazing that nobody has picked up on. When discussing the candidates “judgment” Chris Wallace and David Axelrod had this exchange.

WALLACE: On a matter of judgment, the kind of thing that Rick Davis is talking about, wasn’t Obama wrong and McCain right about the troop surge?

AXELROD: Well, first of all, you want to talk about a matter of being profoundly wrong in judgment, it was the judgment to go into Iraq in the first place instead of going after Osama bin Laden, who’s resurgent today. But let’s leave that aside for a second.

What Senator Obama has said is that he believes that the surge reduced violence beyond what he and anybody expected. What it hasn’t done is created the political reconciliation between the parties in Iraq that you need for a stable peace.

WALLACE: Well, let me just pick up…

AXELROD: Hold on, Chris. It has enforced…

WALLACE: How can you say that it has reduced violence beyond what anybody expected? Reduced violence beyond what John McCain expected?

AXELROD: I believe it did. I think if you ask any of the military people involved and they answered honestly, they’d say, “We did not know,” and they got — and there were — the troops did a magnificent job.

General Petraeus deserves credit. But there was some serendipity involved as well in the Sunni “awakening,” in the decision of the Mahdi army to lay down…

WALLACE: Where did John McCain ever say, “The troop surge — I’m going to support it, but I don’t know that it’s going to really work?”

AXELROD: The point is this. We were told that the surge — the purpose of the surge, Chris, was to promote political reconciliation and to shift the responsibility to the Iraqis.

Today we are still spending $10 billion a month to defend Iraq, rebuild — to defend Iraq and rebuild Iraq, even as they have, the Iraqis, a $78 billion, $79 billion budget surplus. That is wrong, and I think the American people know it’s wrong.

And to say that this was a success when we’re still mired there at $10 billion a month, when we still have, you know, over 10,000 troops in Iraq is, I think — really miss the point.

But if we want to talk about judgment, let’s go back to the beginning and ask whether it was the right judgment to go in in the first place.

I understand that Governor Palin would like to talk about this aspect of it, but there’s a much larger discussion to be had about this. And on the broad sweep of things, including whether we should be in Afghanistan or Iraq, Barack Obama’s been right and John McCain has been wrong.


What does that say about Obama’s judgment when he picks somebody as his running mate that according to his own chief strategist, David Axelrod, has bad judgment? Doesn’t that call into question Obama’s judgment, rather than those who voted for the Iraq war? Barack Obama’s judgment is so poignant and so homed that in his judgment Joe Biden’s judgment on the Iraq war was wrong but not so wrong as to disqualify him for vice president.

And did you notice how Axelrod quickly wanted to change the subject the first time he raised the judgment of voting for the Iraq war as if he knew he’d stepped in it? Wallace had an opportunity to tee off at that point. I would have asked, “What does that say about Obama’s judgment picking someone as his running mate who, according to your own statement, “profoundly wrong in judgment?” What a missed opportunity.


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