Finally, some transparency from the Obama White House. I refer to see-through efforts to affect nonchalance about Tuesday's elections in which Republicans made gains unthinkable just a year ago.
No, of course President Obama wouldn't be watching election returns, both White House spokesman Robert Gibbs and senior aide David Axelrod told the media in advance. Wasn't there a Chicago Bulls game on that night?
Of course, it wasn't elections in general that put the president off. It was these elections in particular. As Gibbs later reported, the president spent Election Night 2009 watching an HBO special about his own election in 2008. By Gibbs' reckoning, as Newsbusters.com's Kyle Drennen notes, this was the second time the president had watched his own election story.
Maybe it gets better with age. Or maybe it offers an affirming rush of newfound nostalgia, that someplace pleasant to linger and bask.
Either way, the president's self-involved example offers a lesson. Such retrospection, narcissistic or not, is precisely what Republicans must not lapse into with their own victories, however stunning they now appear. Yes, the people voted in two key states to beat down Big Obama Government, but conservatives must offer more than pushback in 2010 and beyond. There's a war going on, a gargantuan national effort that these mainly state and local elections, of course, said nothing about.
I was reminded of this gaping hole when a prominent British Labor politician, Kim Howells, made news in Great Britain this week with a proposal summed up under the Guardian headline: "It's time to pull out of Afghanistan and take the fight to Bin Laden in Britain." This proposal, coming from a former Foreign Office minister who has supported the war in Afghanistan, is guaranteed to crack the UK war debate wide open, something that has yet to happen here.
And what does he mean? In a lengthy essay that appeared on the same day that five British troops were murdered by a Taliban-linked Afghan policeman, Howell explains that seven years of military and civilian aid have neither destroyed Al Qaeda in Afghanistan nor the Taliban. "There can be no guarantee," Howells writes, "that the next seven years will bring significantly greater success and, even if they do, it is salutary to remember that Afghanistan has never been the sole location of terrorist training camps."
The light begins to dawneth.