I think the whole Obama vs. Hillary spat from last week is just another version of the media focusing on the wrong thing, while the substantive things are ignored or glossed over. Let's face it, no matter who the Democratic party nominee is, that person will likely be the next president. The Republicans are so far gone with their insane defense of the debacle in Iraq, and their fundamental misunderstanding of the threat we actually face, that none of them seem electable to me. Both Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton would offer a better foreign policy than what we are currently stuck with, and both understand that alienating and ignoring allies is not all that helpful a way of getting them to help fix our mess.
The GOP and the media try to frame the issue in a way that makes it seem as though the Dems are in favor of leaving Iraq and just giving up on fighting Islamic extremism -- you know the old cut and run bullshit from last year. In Obama's foreign policy speech today, he came up with a great way of defining what the actual position of the Democratic party has been and should be in the future. He says it incredibly well:
"Just because the President misrepresents our enemies does not mean we do not have them. The terrorists are at war with us. The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, but the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for...
The President would have us believe that every bomb in Baghdad is part of al Qaeda's war against us, not an Iraqi civil war. He elevates al Qaeda in Iraq – which didn't exist before our invasion – and overlooks the people who hit us on 9/11, who are training new recruits in Pakistan. He lumps together groups with very different goals: al Qaeda and Iran, Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents. He confuses our mission...
By refusing to end the war in Iraq, President Bush is giving the terrorists what they really want, and what the Congress voted to give them in 2002: a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.
When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world's most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland."
He then says what has needed to be said about Bush's buddy Pervy Musharraf in Al-Quedastan, er, Pakistan:
"I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."
I'm still not 100% sold on Obama as my candidate, but if he delivers a few more speeches like this, he may just be able to ward off my doubts. I'm still holding out for Al Gore, but barring that, a Clinton/Obama ticket or maybe an Obama/Biden (think how much positive media Obama would get for picking Biden after that "articulate" comment a while back) ticket would work for me.