Scott Wilson and Joshua Partlow write in the Washington Post that Barack Obama is in a tight spot:
President Obama is caught between two important constituencies as he recalibrates his policy in Afghanistan — the generals who want more troops, and the base of his own party, whose tolerance for a worsening conflict is quickly evaporating.
….”Afghanistan is going to be a huge political challenge. There’s no doubt about that,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the military assessment is pending. “The key for us is to have a strategy and have the competency to execute that strategy. It’s going to be hard to convey this. And it’s never going to be popular.”
Well, that sure doesn’t sound like he feels caught. It sounds, as usual, as if Obama is going to ignore his base and do whatever the Washington establishment wants him to do. The fact that he’s aware that his base doesn’t like this is an entirely different thing from feeling that he has a genuinely tough decision to make.
But then again, why not? As the Bernanke reappointment shows, even the people who have been criticizing the DC establishment relentlessly for showing too much deference to the people who originally got the financial crisis wrong fell all over themselves to declare the Bernanke choice brilliant once it was made. So maybe Obama figures the Afghanistan criticism is just a bunch of hot air too. And maybe he’s right.