The day after Barack Obama said that the troop surge in Iraq has worked but that he was right to oppose it because “we had to change the political debate,” Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post proclaims that Obama has, by virtue of his trip to the Middle East, demonstrated his “gravitas.” Obama did so, according to Cillizza, at a press conference in Jordan, which Cillizza chooses to designate “perhaps the major moment of the trip.”
But one man’s mush can be a fawning MSM member’s indicia of gravitas, so let’s examine the statements that Cillizza claims are so impressive. Here’s one:
Regardless of who becomes next president we are going to have to strip away ideology, strip away the politics.
Gee, I never heard that from Obama before.
The next president is going to have to make a series of very difficult judgments.
Cillizza also was impressed that Obama “took the high road” by explaining that he was not interested in having a “colloquy” with John McCain about Iraq because that is not in the best interests of the country. Some might think that invoking the national interest as a basis for refusing to engage your opponent is just another instance of Obama’s “new” politics. Cillizza treats it as statesmanship.
Finally, Cillizza finds evidence of Obama’s profundity in the candidate’s rejection of the view that there are only two possible positions about Iraq and his insistence on the need for “flexibility.” But Obama has long understood that there are more than two possible positions on Iraq, having personally embraced many more than that number. Obama has been nothing if not “flexible” when it comes to Iraq.
Obama’s lack of experience in foreign affairs is exceeded only by his cynicism and inconstancy. Both have been on display throughout Obama’s current trip, most grotesquely in his admission that he places concern over “the political debate” ahead of implementing the policy that helped us avert defeat in Iraq.
Obama’s inexperience, cynicism, and inconstancy represent the major, and perhaps the only, barrier to his quest for the presidency. So it’s not surprising when reporters like Cillizza attempt to create a different narrative, even when they have only the candidate’s platitudes to rely on.
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