Barack Obama has distilled exactly what is wrong with President Bush's policy towards terrorism: "He is fighting the war that the terrorists want us to fight. Bin Laden and his allies know they cannot defeat us on the field of battle or in a genuine battle of ideas. But they can provoke the reaction we have seen in Iraq, a misguided invasion of a Muslim country that sparks new insurgencies and ties down our military."
That should have been the headline lead, the Democratic talking point, and was, for about fifteen seconds. Both John Edwards and Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq war, although Edwards says he didn't inhale. If Obama's statement is true, and the history books sure are leaning that way, then Edwards and Clintons were Bush's dupes, and Obama wasn't. Since they can't refute him, they had to find some verbal misstep that they could jump on that would distract from and discredit everything else he said.
"As president, I would deploy at least two additional brigades [6,000 troops] to Afghanistan to reinforce our counter-terrorism operations and support NATO's efforts against the Taliban.... I would make the hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan." (As a Geography teacher, I know this one; I looked it up in October, 2001. The area Bin Laden disappeared into -- after they let him escape at Tora Bora-- covers about the same square acreage as Colorado.) "If we have actionable intelligence bout high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."
Nope, we're not going to talk about that either. The television analyst is a pack animal, as easily distracted as an Airedale puppy in a rubber ball factory, and they've almost all lost the scent. They are entertaining themselves now by covering the "he-said-no-he-didn't-gotcha" forays of Hillary Clinton, ignoring Obama's main points and instead calling him "irresponsible" and "reckless" for saying he'd talk-- dear God, not that!-- to unfriendly leaders like Castro and Chavez in his first year of office... not during the second year, as Hillary said she would.
The pundits were so enthralled to be covering gossip instead of ideas, that The Daily Show was able to put together a montage of self panickers calling this a "Slugfest", "Clash of the Titans", "Heavyweight Bout", topped by Wolf Blitzer's panting, "It got ugly and it got ugly fast."
No, Hillary is not the devouring dragon-witch-queen from Sleeping Beauty, as desperately portrayed by the right-- hell, if she wins the nomination, I'm going to have to hold my nose and vote for her-- but these are Republican tactics, unworthy and . Tracy Flick, your life is calling.