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This was where I thought John McCain might just win this election. As General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker came before the US Senate, I thought John is going to look good. Very good. After all, he has just spent the last week on the campaign trail reminding Americans that a precipitous drawn-down of troops would be foolhardy. And now we have Dave Petraeus in those hallowed halls recommending a 45-day halt to the modest drawn-down that the Administration had promised us. McCain was golden. And he certainly looked the part: calm, even-tempered, but tough––a warrior. That was, until he tried to get the General and the Ambassador to talk about the imminent threat of al-Qaeda. Well, a threat, sure. But not the biggest bogeyman in the region. But they are a threat? Sure. Sorta… They were really trying to give McCain the answer he wanted. He was “Mr. Surge,” after all. But McCain would not let go. He keeped on blabbing about al-Qaeda, like it was the key to this war. The word that strikes terror in the heart of John Q. Public. And then, he did it. He called them Shi’a again. Doooh! Solider Johnny fumbles the globe, once more. Not good. Then Senator Clinton steps to the plate. She is cool, articulate and forceful. This is when I start thinking: This may not be where McCain shines, this may be the forum where the junior senator from Illinois is going to look very…um…junior, I think is the word. I bite my lip hard. My palms begin to sweat. Finally, it’s Obama’s turn. No speechifying is going to save the boy tonight. This is where we see if he is truly a match for these two seasoned Senators. And this is where we got to see Obama at his best. No flowery prose. No retrofitting stump speech bullet points. Instead, a respectful, but tenacious, line of questioning concerning the metrics of success. The question that no one has answered for the past five years. A question that few have even asked. And a question that betrayed something I had yet to notice. Obama has actually thought this thing through. He actually appears to have a plan. A messy one, no doubt. But a plan, nonetheless. And it was pretty clear that this big-eared rookie had just won the day.



  1. Nothing you said here offends me. I think you brilliantly summarized the events of the day. Good work.

  2. The metrics of success: this means “keep the troops there.” Not a good plan.

  3. Talk about “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic”. Huey, Lewey and Dewey different methods- same results.

  4. Why is it that when Goldwater ran for president he lost because they were afraid he would use the A-bomb. Now when Huey, Lewey and Dewey run they are afraid they won’t use the A-bomb. Go figure.

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