How Mainstream Can He Get?

Today the Washington Post reassures its readers that “Obama Tends Toward Mainstream on Foreign Policy”:

[F]or all the criticisms leveled at Obama, and his own professions of being the candidate of change, most of the policies outlined in his speeches, in the briefing papers issued by his campaign and in the written answers he gave to questions submitted by The Washington Post fall well within the mainstream of Democratic and moderate Republican thinking.

As we noted here, a number of Obama’s policy prescriptions have been outside of what we consider the mainstream:

I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems…
…I will not weaponize space…
…I will slow development of future combat systems…
…and I will institute a “Defense Priorities Board” to ensure the quadrennial defense review is not used to justify unnecessary spending…
…I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons…
…and to seek that goal, I will not develop nuclear weapons…
…I will seek a global ban on the development of fissile material…
…and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert…
…and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals…

The Post’s discussion is interesting, nevertheless, for what it tells us about Obama’s inner circle of foreign policy advisers:

His eclectic group of senior foreign policy advisers includes former Clinton administration officials such as Anthony Lake and Susan Rice, as well as outsiders drawn to him by his unusual biography and his willingness to break with orthodoxy on what they see as “common sense” issues, including talks with Iran and the effectiveness of nuclear weapons against terrorism.
Among the most influential are Samantha Power, a Harvard professor who wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on genocide, and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration. ***
Early last year, as Obama’s formal campaign structure was being developed, these “personal” advisers, with no official standing or government experience, clashed repeatedly with the more traditional members of the team. By numerous inside accounts, the writing of Obama’s first major foreign policy address, delivered in Chicago last April, was a painful process in which Lake, a former national security adviser, and other more seasoned counselors felt they were not given due deference.
“People like Sam Power are important to [Obama’s] thinking, and he hadn’t worked with Tony and Susan a lot,” said one member of the team, who declined to discuss internal campaign deliberations on the record. While Obama’s statements about nuclear weapons and attacks inside Pakistan made some of the more experienced members of the team recoil, the newcomers watched with admiration as the candidate “stuck out his chin and got hit and just kept going forward,” this source said.

The “Sam Power” who is “important to [Obama’s] thinking” is, of course, the same Samantha Power about whom Paul has written several times, including earlier today. The photo below, which ran with the Post’s article, shows Power and Richard Danzig with Obama in New Hampshire:
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PAUL adds: Karen DeYoung’s piece is laughable even by the standards of the Washington Post. She claims that most of the policies Obama presents in foreign policy speeches and papers fall within the mainstream of Democratic and moderate Republican thinking. Yet she cites only one example, the Middle East peace process. Here she says that Obama advocates a continuation of Bush administration policies but promises more energetic and intense presidential involvement. But, of course, when it comes to the “peace process,” the level of presidential invovlement makes all the difference. A president who mouths platitudes about peace and occasionally holds a meeting is not applying the same policy as a president who becomes intensely involved in trying to broker (or, more likely, impose) a deal.
As I noted earlier today, in some respects Obama’s approach to foreign policy is immoderate compared to Hillary Clinton’s, never mind “moderate Republican thinking.”
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