The DADT passage was a legislative victory. But if -- as most of our non-politicized senior military officers and about 60 percent of our combat troop rank and file believe -- this new policy will reduce recruitment at a time when combat troop shortages are already hampering field success, there may be a long-term price for this short-term legislative success.
If, on the other hand, no serious problems emerge, I don't believe the DADT passage gives the president any special political advantage in the out years.
Finally, the Start Treaty was confirmed in the Senate with most Democratic senators and a large handful of Republicans. This is hardly a partisan triumph. Almost the entire Republican foreign policy establishment supported it. Even the Republican Senators who opposed its December passage were only holding out for some minor amendments on nuclear modernization and missile defense authorization.
They got a promise from the president of $80 billion for nuclear modernization -- which six months ago would have been called a GOP triumph -- and still is.
And they got a letter from the White House that the treaty does not conflict with our right to develop missile defense -- another triumph for the GOP from a White House that has shown little enthusiasm for our defensive technologies.
Only because the Republican Senate leaders unshrewdly did not take yes for an answer -- and continued to oppose Start -- did the president get the appearance of a victory.
In fact, despite the president believing it is historically consequential, the confirmation of the Start Treaty is a minor foreign policy matter today (30 years ago, during the Cold War, it would have been a central accomplishment). The real nuclear threats today are from Iran and North Korea -- on both fronts of which President Obama is an utter failure, as was his predecessor President George W. Bush.
Despite the sobriquet "The Comeback Kid" given to Obama by the brilliant, normally politically spot-on conservative gentleman and columnist Charles Krauthammer, Obama has not come back.
Clinton gave himself that compliment after he came in second in the New Hampshire Democratic Party presidential primary just days after he and Hillary had appeared on "60 Minutes" to admit -- in the face of the Gennifer Flowers illicit sex scandal -- that their marriage had been rocky, but would survive (which it famously has). In Clinton's case, he had come back politically.
In Obama's case, he enters 2011 facing more than 80 new Republican congressmen and senators, most of whom would make Barry Goldwater look soft on limited government and deficit spending.
On those central issues of 2011, the president either capitulates or storms in defiance and gridlock. He has not come back from political crisis; he has only inflamed his formidable opposition across the country.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.