In the Arena

Sometimes the Obama Stumbles

  • Share
  • Read Later

Best of the Sunday shows was the sequential face off between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama on Face the Nation. From where I was sitting, McCain got the better of it–not because he had the better argument (he didn’t), but because he was clear, concise and confident. It was, in fact, classic McCain, actually criticizing the military for not moving faster on the troop increase and saying, straight out, that this was our last chance to fix Iraq. He also threw down the gauntlet to the Democrats–if you’re really against the war, don’t mess around with non-binding resolutions, cut off the funding.
Obama, by contrast, seemed to be picking his words very, very carefully. He could have shown some anger at McCain–and Dick Cheney, who did his usual unreality show on Fox–for the outrageous suggestion that a non-binding vote on the surge would somehow hurt the troops. (In truth, it would only hurt the President). He was way too fudgy when asked about Ted Kennedy’s proposal to cut off funds for escalation. I didn’t disagree with a thing he said–his support for a phased, nuanced withdrawal is the right one, as opposed to the “Get Out Now” nonsense proposed by some–but he sure seemed less assured, less presidential, than McCain.