From goo-goo media coverage, you might think Barack Obama already has moved into the White House — or that, hoisted on the shoulders of his handlers, his sedan chair is making its regal way to the presidency through mesmerized, swooning, oh-just-to-touch-him throngs.
On his foreign tour he counts in his entourage all three network anchors — Brian, Katie and Charles — and never mind the starkly disinterested media attention given John McCain’s three recent foreign tours (his latest, earlier this month, to Colombia). During McCain’s weeklong March visit to Europe and the Middle East, the networks — between them — aired just four measly news accounts of the trip. Compare that to the media’s all-Obama-all-the-time coverage now and the drumbeat about McCain’s age-related gaffes as he offers up — in at least three states per day — novel ideas on taxes, the economy, education, energy and the environment.
Oh — and the great Obama? Despite his efforts seemingly to moderate — to rush toward the center from precisely the leftism that won him the nomination — he refuses to change or grow.
Recall, please, that Obama never supported the American effort in Iraq — neither the removal of Saddam nor the establishment there of liberty and democracy. It was the wrong war, a “disastrous” war, Bush’s war. In January of last year, he offered legislation requiring the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by March of this year. The Petraeus surge, he said, wouldn’t work because it couldn’t work — because our involvement there was a wrongly conceived, failed and hopelessly bungled enterprise.
Now? Well maybe the surge had some beneficial effect, but the invasion still was wrong and all the combat brigades should come home — except two, which should invade Afghanistan to save it from Pakistan. Or something. As McCain said in a piece The New York Times refused to print — responding to an earlier Times column by Obama:
“In 2007 (Obama) wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance. . . . Any drawdowns must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons.”
Obama wants not victory but withdrawal — even if the Iraqis’ fledgling liberty and democracy should die. Indeed, to acknowledge the success of the surge would be thereby to admit the virtue of the pre-emptive war that not only made liberty possible, but created an increasingly stable U.S. ally and helped stymie the advance of islamofascist terror across the globe.
Liberals dismiss the fawning saturation media coverage of Obama by saying the media gave the same coverage to McCain — in 2000. But that year McCain was the media’s favorite Republican “maverick,” who happened to oppose the dread conservative George Bush. There were hints McCain might be even a closet Democrat — even a liberal. Once McCain made clear his own conservatism, the media dropped him liked yesterday’s donuts.
Obama struts and preens on the foreign stage, his handlers having wangled for him a speech at Germany’s Brandenburg Gate: After all, it’s what Kennedyesque, Reaganesque, presidents do. The media let him present as the moderate he manifestly is not, knowing his attainment of the White House depends on clouding over his leftism. (Watch closely as, from the Middle East, he deals with Israel and — perhaps the electoral issue more important than any other — Iran.)
Yet during this hour when candidates customarily clarify themselves in the public mind, Obama risks becoming an enigma — The Man Nobody Knows. As columnist David Broder notes, “Voters don’t elect enigmas to the Oval Office.”
So we might have reached a major transitional moment. Last summer, with the Petraeus surge so broadly disparaged by Obama and leftist Democrats, the Iraq war began to turn. This summer, with media types drooling all over an Obama demonstrating no inclination to grow toward the maturity that derives from admission of past mistakes, an exasperated, had-it-up-to-here electorate may begin to turn toward McCain.
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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