As we enter the second half of the campaign year, facts are undermining the Democratic narrative that has dominated our politics since about the time Hurricane Katrina rolled into the Gulf coast -- most importantly, the facts about Iraq.
During the Democratic primary season, all the party's candidates veered hardly a jot or tittle from the narrative that helped the Democrats sweep the November 2006 elections. Iraq is spiraling into civil war, we invaded unwisely and have botched things ever since, no good outcome is possible, and it is time to get out of there as fast as we can.
In January 2007, when George W. Bush ordered the surge strategy, which John McCain had advocated since the summer of 2003, Barack Obama informed us that the surge couldn't work. The only thing to do was to get out as soon as possible.
That stance proved to be a good move toward winning the presidential nomination -- but it was poor prophecy. It is beyond doubt now that the surge has been hugely successful, beyond even the hopes of its strongest advocates, like Frederick and Kimberly Kagan. Violence is down enormously, Anbar and Basra and Sadr City have been pacified, Prime Minister Maliki has led successful attempts to pacify Shiites as well as Sunnis, and the Iraqi parliament has passed almost all of the "benchmark" legislation demanded by the Democratic Congress -- all of which Barack Obama seems to have barely noticed or noticed not at all. He has not visited Iraq since January 2006 and did not seek a meeting with Gen. David Petraeus when he was in Washington.
I can remember how opponents of the Vietnam War simply tuned out news of American success when at Richard Nixon's orders Gen. Creighton Abrams pursued a new strategy. Opponents of the Iraq war, including Obama, seem to have been doing the same.
That's not true of all critics of the Bush administration and its military leaders. The editorial writers of The Washington Post have been paying close and careful attention. And even though they may be temperamentally more inclined to favor Obama's candidacy over John McCain's, they have not been unwilling to take Obama to task for his inattention to American success. Obama, the Post noted tartly on June 7, "has become unreasonably wedded to a year-old proposal to rapidly withdraw all U.S. combat forces from the country -- a plan offered when he wrongly believed that the situation would only worsen as long as American troops remained."