re: Left Behind

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Joe’s right about Democrats who get so spooked by national security issues that they never bother to learn the details. In 2004, John Edwards was labeled a lightweight because of his inability to say anything that wasn’t superficial about foreign policy. He’s decided to fix this substance neglect problem in 2008 by becoming a policy expert on….poverty issues.

Then there’s Silvestre Reyes, Speaker Pelosi’s choice to chair the House Intelligence Committee, who didn’t know that al Qaeda was a Sunni organization.

And yet, the paucity of Democratic solutions to the Iraq quagmire is less a reflection of the Democrats’ weakness than it is the paucity of solutions of any kind, Democratic or Republican. It seems, based on Ana’s posts, that at AEI on Friday McCain pulled one of his signature moves by pre-emptively suggesting that his own plan for Iraq might fail. McCain is remarkable that way: he understands intuitively that the public has grown tired of platitudinal boilerplate, so he provides his own running commentary on himself, much of it deflationary. The result, on a matter as grave as the Iraq war, is that McCain comes across as sober and serious and willing to do what’s right regardless of the political fallout.

Here’s something to watch for: will McCain, Bill Kristol, Gen. Keane and Fred Kagan go along with the President if what we are hearing is correct — that Bush will propose a “surge” of approximately 20,000 troops rather than the 30,000-plus, over at least 18 months, they wanted? Or will they declare Bush’s plan a half-measure and walk away? – jc

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