Friday, July 4, 2008

Hilzoy gets it

Someone should send Krauthammer this post:

Saying that he will be open to advice and new information, however, is not the same as saying that his fundamental views on Iraq are open to change, absent some genuinely unpredicted and catastrophic development. It's one thing to be open to a somewhat different pace for troop withdrawal, and another thing altogether to change your mind about the wisdom of getting out of Iraq in the first place. But I honestly don't see where Obama got near saying he was open to changing his mind on that score, even before he held the second press conference, at which he explicitly denied this.
And she goes on to point out that a main reason we expect leaders to stick to their positions regardless of changing facts is that Shrub has trained us to:
Why are we so ready to believe this sort of thing?

I put it down to eight years of George W. Bush. It's obvious that Bush would have had to be dragged kicking and screaming away from Iraq... The only thing that could possibly get him out of Iraq is a timetable with the force of law, and even that might not have worked.

But most people are not like that. And that's a very good thing: the range of policies that you can adopt when you have even the most minimal trust in the person who will execute them is much larger than the range you can use when that person is Bush.... [W]e can't afford to give Bush any flexibility at all, since experience shows that he will abuse it. That's a real sacrifice.

I suspect that after seven long years of Bush, some of us are reacting to all politicians as though we couldn't trust them any more than we can trust him...[W]hen [Obama] says that he plans to refine his plans on talking to commanders on the ground, it's not obvious that that means reconsidering the entire idea of withdrawal.

This matters. Our failure to give our candidates this much space is, I think, the only reason why the claim that you will withdraw in 16 months (or whatever), no matter what, seems to anyone like a good thing for a candidate to say. ... That would just be obvious, the way it would be obvious that your surgeon ought to be able to adjust his plans once he opens you up.

There's more, as well... The whole post is really worth reading.

[h/t: Andrew Sullivan]

No comments: