We have not seen that kind of activity with Obama. By all accounts this administration takes time reviewing options and formulating decisions, even if those are decisions we may not agree with.
You must not have paid attention. Here are some helpful quotes about the process within the WH (all from various reviews of Bob Woodward's latest book)
Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, the president’s Afghanistan adviser, is described as believing that the president’s review did not “add up” to the decision he made.
Richard C. Holbrooke, the president’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is quoted saying of the strategy that “it can’t work.”
Even at the end of the process, the president's team wrestled with the most basic questions about the war, then entering its ninth year: What is the mission? What are we trying to do? What will work?
"Can you support this?" Obama asked Gates. "Because if the answer is no, I understand it and I'll be happy to just authorize another 10,000 troops, and we can continue to go as we are and train the Afghan national force and just hope for the best."
"Hope for the best." The condescending words hung in the air.
The process looks just as broken now, as it did under Bush.
I think the difference is not so much "superior judgement" as temperament.
This is a silly attempt at rewriting history. A simple google check reveals what was being touted. While I dont doubt that you may have been personally impressed by his "temperament", and that it may even have been touted by someone (without any basis, I might add), the historical record reveals that he was clearly touting his judgement, and not his temperament. He was clearly not setting himself up as a peacenik (something that Jerome always seems to miss) The very "fairy tale" comment you were disputing, for instance, was about his superior judgement
“Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, numerating the years, and never got asked one time, not once, ‘Well, how could you say, that when you said in 2004 you didn’t know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you’re now running on off your website in 2004 and there’s no difference in your voting record and Hillary’s ever since?’ Give me a break.
“This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” …
Obama is (and was) expected to be more cautiious than Bush in initiating wars ?
This must be strange, given his own words
I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.
I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.
Hillary voted for that dumb war and McCain wants to continue that dumb war indefinitely.
Given that he does not do a very good job of spelling out the differences between "all" and "dumb" wars prior to an eventual outcome (his words imply that "successful" wars are not "dumb", but how do you know if a war is going to be successful when you initiate one), and given that his historical track record of differentiating at this is somewhat dismal (he was in favor of the Afghan war, and not in favor of Iraq; from the POV of successful outcome, this seems to imply 0/2 so far), it is impossible to conclude that he is expected to be more cautious than Bush. Further, given that he has expanded the war's scope in A'stan, while simultaneously reducing the scope in Iraq would suggest that he has not been more cautious than Bush.
I agree that he has kept most of his promises. It is just that his promises were very different from what you listed; and the ones that he will not keep (pullout following victory within 18 months in Afghanistan, for instance) are ones that were silly to begin with.
Finally, you seem to be making a big deal out of "caution"; and Bush's implied lack of caution in initiating wars. My guess is that you are talking about Iraq, and not Afghanistan ~ you dont fault Bush for being insufficiently cautious in Afghanistan, do you? You forget that Bush was fairly cautious wrt to the Iraq war as well. The planning for the Iraq war started the day he took office. I can fault Bush for many things, but lack of cautioun is not one of them.
Now, perhaps you can explain Obama's explanation to his base.
Something about how he had superior judgement, as evidenced by his opposition to the Iraq war vote; and based on that superior judgement, he knew in advance that the Iraq-surge was going to fail; and that he was going to use that superior judgment to defeat Al Quaeda...all within 18 months or so.
Look, it is easy to point fingers. Reality is that noone has a clue...and this includes the people who are in charge, the people who were in charge, and all the people who wanted to be in charge.
I dont doubt your intentions here. And certainly, I remember reading this blog and remember your incessant posts about how Obama and Clinton were no different on any substantive policy position.
That said, I am wondering a few things.
(a) If I understand you correctly, your position is that the current system of government is inherently corrupt; regardless of which set of players is elected to power. I dont disagree, but I would like to point out that this leaves you in a tiny minority. Most people believe that the current system of government is just fine, just so long as the right set of guys are in charge. We disagree on which set that should be, but you get the drift.
(b) If indeed you are about changing the system via a revolution, then what is your plan for that. The only revolution that is currently fomenting are by those that drink tea. A coffee revolution, perhaps ? Seriously, however, what are the options ?
(c) With respect to a revolution, most revolutions are dogged by a failure to correctly diagnose the problems with the system being replaced. Everyone may know that a particular system is failing, but the proper fix can only be developed if the underlying cause of the failure has been correctly diagnosed. What is your diagnosis. How long have you thought about this diagnosis ?
Too many questions for a comment, perhaps. Feel free to express yourself in any which way...I read regularly (even if I dont comment)
Not with an economic stimulus package. Conventional economic theory – i.e. that espoused by the great British economist John Keynes – dictates that the best solution for a recession is government stimulus. This can take two forms: spending and cutting taxes.
Germany’s record of spending and tax cut-less economic success is hard reconcile with this theory. Indeed, when the economic downturn began, there was a great policy debate about whether to focus on economic stimulus or balancing the budget. Most countries, including the United States, came down on the side of Mr. Keynes. German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, on the other hand, stubbornly held onto the position that balanced budgets were more important. Germany did not pass a substantial stimulus package during the recession. And now Germany’s economy is the strongest in the entire Euro zone.
One thing you did not mention is that the US constitution is designed to prevent action. The gridlock is by design...and I suppose the rationale is that a government that cannot do anything is less likely to do some harm. That is an understandable rationale, given the immediate history preceding the framing. The framers, much like generals, tend to fight the last war.