Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 23, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

BACK ATCHA, JOE....Joe Biden responds today to Joe Lieberman's recent anti-Obama screed in the Wall Street Journal:

Last week, John McCain was very clear. He ruled out talking to Iran. He said that Barack Obama was "naive and inexperienced" for advocating engagement; "What is it he wants to talk about?" he asked.

Well, for a start, Iran's nuclear program, its support for Shiite militias in Iraq, and its patronage of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Beyond bluster, how would Mr. McCain actually deal with these dangers? You either talk, you maintain the status quo, or you go to war. If Mr. McCain has ruled out talking, we're stuck with an ineffectual policy or military strikes that could quickly spiral out of control.

Sen. Obama is right that the U.S. should be willing to engage Iran on its nuclear program without "preconditions" — i.e. without insisting that Iran first freeze the program, which is the very subject of any negotiations. He has been clear that he would not become personally involved until the necessary preparations had been made and unless he was convinced his engagement would advance our interests.

President Nixon didn't demand that China end military support to the Vietnamese killing Americans before meeting with Mao. President Reagan didn't insist that the Soviets freeze their nuclear arsenal before sitting down with Mikhail Gorbachev. Even George W. Bush — whose initial disengagement allowed dangers to proliferate — didn't demand that Libya relinquish its nuclear program, that North Korea give up its plutonium, or even that Iran stop aiding those attacking our soldiers in Iraq before authorizing talks.

Not bad, Joe. I know this isn't a position with a lot of support, and that Biden himself is (apparently) angling to be secretary of state in an Obama administration, but I still think he'd be a pretty decent VP selection. Experienced, good debater, pretty smart on foreign policy, and willing to talk occasional smack — a better quality in a VP than a secretary of state.

Kevin Drum 12:14 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (74)

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Comments

An ego even bigger than other Senators have--a bad quality in a VP

Posted by: reino on May 23, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ahh, come on Kevin...Occasionally being able to talk smack and bust balls should be part of a Sec of State's tool box particularly when dealing with stupid Congress trash before committees.

Posted by: keith g on May 23, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

reino: Maybe, but a worse quality in a S of S.

Posted by: bleh on May 23, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

I'd bet a thousand dollars if Bush flip flopped on talking to Iran the Right Wing Noise Machine would turn on a dime and call Bush's decision "Bold", "a sign of strenth", etc.

Posted by: RobertSeattle on May 23, 2008 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

I agree Kevin. Biden would bring a lot to the party, both in foreign policy and with older white folks - men and women.

Posted by: pinson on May 23, 2008 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

"You either talk, you maintain the status quo, or you go to war."

Really? Does anyone buy this? Just 3 Options?

Ratcheting up sanctions is not possible? Not even an option? It violates the laws of physics? At some point, the mullahs/Ahmadinejad/whoever is really in charge will say "no mas" no? Never? And what is this "or you go to war" Bullshit? We "go to war" if the USAF makes a handful of raids? All-out bombing campaign? Full-on Navy-Airforce assault without ground troops? All-out air-sea-land war? It doesn't make any difference to the next VPOTUS, I guess. People who talk like that ("bluster" I guess you could call it) are just not interested in the specifics of what they're saying. Sounds like the same old Joe B to me...

Posted by: not now on May 23, 2008 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

As Tripp posted in another thread below:

Blah blah blah. In politics if you are explaining you are losing.

Posted by: Tripp on May 23, 2008 at 12:12 PM

While JMHO, I don't see much good in Biden doing the 'splaining for BO.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 23, 2008 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

I think Neil Kinnock said the exact same thing a few years ago.

Posted by: Bill Smugs on May 23, 2008 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Given McCain's temper, the safest thing for HIM is to
not talk, since talking would likely result in war faster than not talking.

For other people, not so much.

Posted by: catclub on May 23, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

You are saying that Joe Biden (D-Credit Card/Banking Industry) would make a good vice president? I disagree. This feistiness he's displaying is only of very recent date. For the past 7 years he's buckled under to the GOP again and again and again. And he's heavily indebted to the aforementioned credit card/banking industry. I would never trust him to look out for my best interests. I wouldn't trust him as far as I can throw him.

Posted by: Helena Montana on May 23, 2008 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Biden gives a well reasoned, sane and passionate defense of a possible diplomatic approach and gets called names by bloggers for his efforts? Shame!

Posted by: Darsan54 on May 23, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

If Biden becomes SoS, feel bad for the poor translator trying to keep up with the deluge of words that pours outta the guy.

Posted by: jpe on May 23, 2008 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair, Darsan54, it's the commenters calling Biden names, not the blogger.

Posted by: Singularity on May 23, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama can remove the corporate Republican Biden from Congress, that would be a positive change and a good start to his presidency.

Posted by: Brojo on May 23, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Darstan54, this board has become infested with McCain trolls. I don't know what happened to the moderators. I happen to think that Biden would make a good SoS. He is a possible candidate for VP as well.

Could somebody explain when actual diplomacy fell out of favor. Was it when Condi Rice became SoS or did it happen when Dick Cheney became VP? I have lived a long time, through numerous administrations and never before have I encountered the argument that talking to our opponents is a sign of weakness. Are Republicans afraid the opponents will talk them into something bad for America? If so they should resign right now.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 23, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Helena,

Any Senator from Delaware is going to have that profile. At least he has the local economy excuse, it is the all the other Dems who caved to the credit card companies who should be held to the fire.

Posted by: eric k on May 23, 2008 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Great idea. We need to have a DLC type who likes war and luvs the military-industrial-media complex in the VP slot, in case President Obama goes all heterodox on us.

Posted by: eb on May 23, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Ted Strickland of Ohio for VP.
I'm going to post this every time there is any VP mention anywhere in the blogosphere. As long as he vets ok without any killed a nun while drunk driving episodes in his past, he is the only choice.
Take ohio out of play without spending any money.

Posted by: Scott on May 23, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

The WINNER!

Kevin's worst post of the week!

Sen. MBNA as VP for a country in the middle of a recession.

Doorknobs, Kevin, how dumb can you be on this one?

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on May 23, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Experienced, good debater, pretty smart on foreign policy, and willing to talk occasional smack — a better quality in a VP than a secretary of state.

I'd have to say those qualities make a better SoS than VP. Waaaay more so.

Posted by: Monty on May 23, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Not Now, but ratcheting up sanctions falls under point #2. After all, we have such a record of success with sanctions. Look how well sanctions worked with Sadam Hussein and especially with Cuba. Boy, after nearly fifty years we've got the Cubans right where we want them!

Posted by: AK Liberal on May 23, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

"reino: Maybe, but a worse quality in a S of S."
--bleh

Perhaps the best solution is to leave him in the Senate.

As far as diplomacy going out of style, it started with the rhetoric of Reagan, though fortunately he didn't believe or understand the things he was saying. It was implemented by President Cheney, who thinks talking is for girls and Rice shouldn't act like a girl.

Posted by: reino on May 23, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

I was reading that only two senators ever made president and neither never finished their first terms. Are they cursed?


BTW would McCain have been released from his POW camp if the US had not engaged in diplomatic relations with his captors [enemies]?

Posted by: Jet on May 23, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Doorknobs? WTF?

I agree Biden's not a great choice, but...

Doorknobs?

Posted by: thersites on May 23, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I am very frightened of Iran which may be on the way to building a nuclear reactor. But obviously, I am more frightened of countries that already have nuclear reactors!! What about Finland? They have four nuclear reactors, and they have a history of giving a major military power all that they could handle. Who will protect us from the Finns?

Posted by: Slugger on May 23, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I agree. Obama could do MUCH worse than Joe Biden as a pick. He's in my top three choices.

Posted by: Beth in VA on May 23, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think that Joe Biden would help Obama much as VP. He's got the same "egghead" problem that Obama does.

The guy I think can help Obama the most is Jim Webb. I think he gets it about how the party can reach out to alienated working-class whites with a progressive message, focusing on the exploding economic inequality.

But certainly Biden can be useful as a sort of shadow Secretary of State during the campaign. I worry a bit about him because he was pro-war at one point, but he seems to have recovered his sanity.

Posted by: Joe Buck on May 23, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I still think he'd be a pretty decent VP selection.

The #1 criteria for selecting a veep is to swing that person's home state in the general. Delaware is solidly blue, and has a grand total of 3 electoral votes. For that reason alone, Biden fails.

Granted, the current veep is from a solidly red state with only 3 EV, but he picked himself. (And he was a terrible choice for every other reason too)

Posted by: on May 23, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Biden would be a good VP choice . . . for McCain.

Posted by: DR on May 23, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

You are saying that Joe Biden (D-Credit Card/Banking Industry) would make a good vice president? I disagree. This feistiness he's displaying is only of very recent date.

That's OK, because (a) we'd only need six more months of feistiness from him, and (b) as veep, he'd be singularly powerless to aid the banks and credit card issuers.

And what eric k said: any Senator from Delaware would likely have a similar profile. But think of it this way: if Biden became veep, his seat would be open, and we'd get the chance to find out.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 23, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

any Senator from Delaware would likely have a similar profile.

Are all Delaweenoids members of credit card and bank boards of directors? Or are they more like blue collar Reaganites who vote against their best interests? Or does the Delaware state constitution mandate all of their senators must represent big capital? Probably the businesses incorporated in Delaware have fixed all state elections through various means.

Posted by: Brojo on May 23, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Because I am a Republican, I enthusiastically support the nomination of Joe Biden for Obama's running mate.

Posted by: John Hansen on May 23, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Weenie, Tripp,

In case you don't get back to the previous thread, just letting you know that I've conceded defeat in the "Jeebus, I'm old!" competition, leaving the field open to you guys.

Biden's trouble, besides him being the Senator from MBNA, is that he would be seen as elitist in the same way that Obama is. Not fairly, since in some ways he's been a decent progressive, but there it is just the same.

Webb's the best choice. There's a certain percentage who won't vote for a colored fella with a funny name no matter what you do, but there might be a few who'd be reassured by the sight of someone like Webb standing beside Obama. We'll need those votes.

Posted by: thersites on May 23, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: does the Delaware state constitution mandate all of their senators must represent big capital?

It's not in the Constitution, exactly. But it seems to work out that way.

Posted by: thersites on May 23, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

thersites beat me to it. Webb is the best pick.

Posted by: Lucy on May 23, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Obama probably needs to select a woman to be his running mate. Many women feel Sen. Clinton was beaten because of sexist attacks and have intimated they will stay home on election day. Nominating a military man to be Obama's VP will not necessarily appeal to those women, but perhaps they can be persuaded to vote Democratic in November if a woman is on the ticket. A woman VP candidate also becomes the presumptive front runner after Obama's second term. That could be a problem for Hillary, but probably not for her supporters.

Posted by: Brojo on May 23, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Darstan54, this board has become infested with McCain trolls."

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 23, 2008 at 1:19 PM

I'm a fairly regular visitor here and I can't think of anyone saying anything that even could be remotely construed as being "pro McCain" so who are these trolls of which you speak Ron?

I absolutely despise and abhor McCain and believe he's going to be a terrible President.
But, since Obama won't get to 270 in the Electoral College, he is going to be the next POTUS. I've resigned myself to that.

And even if I wrong and Obama does win, he'll be even worse. But, at least, the American people will know which party to blame come the 2010 midterms.

Does this count as being "pro McCain"?

Posted by: Chicounsel on May 23, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Since the Vice President is a heartbeat away from being President, being able to be a good and competent President might be one prerequisite. In the past 55 years, Nixon, Johnson, Ford, HW Bush (well, Cheney, too).

Posted by: maxgowan on May 23, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

The SNL skit that sums up this whole primary season
Get These Latest Designs
Bill wants Hill as Veep
This and more on...

http://sensico.wordpress.com/

Posted by: ytryhgfd on May 23, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, Brojo. How many women are we talking here?

Obama needs to pick a white man with foreign policy experience who can rumble with McCain and reassure all those queasy voters out there. Plus Webb is an economic populist. Plus as a former Republican Webb dovetails with the whole post-partisan angle.

Obama/Webb can win.

Posted by: Lucy on May 23, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel,

Tangoman and Orwell come to mind.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 23, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

So a lot of media assholes made sexist comments about Hillary and now a lot of women will sit out the election.

Mission accomplished!

Posted by: AnotherBruce on May 23, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

My partners and I were talking about VP choices at lunch. As a group we like Hillary, but think that after the election Bill sulking around in the background would be a giant problem for Obama.

Except for Bill, Hillary's only weakness is that she the most establishment of Democrats. This is a change election. The establishment is about to be shaken and stirred.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 23, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

AnotherBruce

I am sure a lot of activist women who have spent their entire lives fighting for the rights of women are going to sit out the election so that John McCain will be able to nominate more Supreme Court Justices just like Roberts and Thomas. Give me a break. Anybody who buys the argument that Hillary's base won't support Obama hasn't done much thinking.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 23, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Ron,
In the end I don't think all of those currently pissed off will sit it out - but right now it sure wouldn't hurt if BO chose a woman as his running mate, and it doesn't have to be Clinton, just someone who would look like they would have an excellent chance in 2016.

Thersites,
I didn't power my first computer with coal, it was with wood - oak that is! And I don't think that I am quite as old as you - I did have a really excellent science teacher when I was in high school and I had skipped ahead few grades(Earnest Rutherford's nephew actually) and so started programming when I was a tweenager.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 23, 2008 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers

NPR was doing an interview with someone from NARAL, and a woman called into the show stating that she wasn't going to vote for Obama because of sexist attacks on Hillary. I have no idea how much of an activist she was, but I'm worried that this might be a problem that could affect a crucial number of votes.

I can understand the frustration, the truth is that Clinton has been subject to a number of stupid and venal attacks. But I think that the closeness of the primary fight has blinded a number of people (not just women) to what the problem is. It's not Obama, it's the media. They're the ones who propogate this crap. They've done it to Obama too.

I think that most people will come to their senses on this after the nominee is finally picked, but it's upsetting to me that folks are losing their perspective on this.

Posted by: AnotherBruce on May 23, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

OW,

My partners and I like Hillary, but it seems she may have taken herself out of the running. How about the Kansas Governor. She is a Democrat who has won again and again in a very red state, she is smart, and she has executive experience. Her only draw back is that she gave a dud rebuttal to Bush's state of the union speech last January.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 23, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Weenie,
Okay, I'm ignorant enough that I can't be sure that you're kidding me about Rutherford's nephew. I looked him up and I supose it's possible, chronologically.

But the Gnarled Oak Deity is really annoyed with you.

Posted by: thersites on May 23, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ron,
The dud rebuttal was disappointing. I haven't mulled out all the potential options, personally I like Sen Patty Murray or Gov. Christine Gregoire, but then I'm from WA state.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 23, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

AnotherBruce: It's not Obama, it's the media. They're the ones who propogate this crap. They've done it to Obama too.

And you think it's bad now. Right now the Right Wing Noise Machine is going easy on Hillary, but they wouldn't mind having two targets. It fucking sucks that we have to be influenced by them, even indirectly, but that's the reality.

Posted by: thersites on May 23, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Could somebody explain when actual diplomacy fell out of favor. Was it when Condi Rice became SoS or did it happen when Dick Cheney became VP? I have lived a long time, through numerous administrations and never before have I encountered the argument that talking to our opponents is a sign of weakness. Are Republicans afraid the opponents will talk them into something bad for America? If so they should resign right now.
Posted by: Ron Byers on May 23, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Good comment and the answer is Dick Cheney. When the big biographies are written 50 years from now, Cheney's will loom large as an incarnation of smoldering evil. A unique American villan for all time.

Posted by: Northern Observer on May 23, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

This is a change election.

It won't be if Webb, Reagan's Sec. of the Navy, is Obama's VP. Selecting a military person to be Obama's VP signals there will be no change to the militant policies of the US to the anti-war advocates who have supported Obama.

Posted by: Brojo on May 23, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Webb was against the invasion of Iraq from the start!

Posted by: Lucy on May 23, 2008 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK
As far as diplomacy going out of style, it started with the rhetoric of Reagan, though fortunately he didn't believe or understand the things he was saying. It was implemented by President Cheney, who thinks talking is for girls and Rice shouldn't act like a girl.

reino, I think you and Norther Observer are both on the right track, but there's a few details you haven't brought up that really confirm your thoughts AND highlight some of our current difficulties.

Broadly, I think we can look at Contracting.
Contracting military services, I should say.
Corporations providing services that the military had previously done for themselves. Reagan/Bush saw a substantive increase in contract services(shipping, fuel delivery, mess provisioning) that the military had done itself - to cut costs and increase efficiency, you know.
Lucky for Dick Cheney, he came out of the Reagan Administration and into Halliburton.
Ding! Light bulb should be going on now ...
Halliburton and Kellog Brown & Root( a subsidiary of Halliburton) picked up a lot of slack for the Pentagon - for a fee of course. And they are not the only companies so helpfully lightening the Treasury.
The field exploded in 2003, and added a new dimension - mercenaries, aka contract military, beholden to no government.
It seems pretty apparent to me that without extensive use of contract work(logistic and paramilitary), the adventure in Iraq would simply not have been possible - not while significant forces were committed to Afghanistan.
Given that we had contractors as a potential resource, the Iraq invasion became possible, and once embarked upon, required vast expenditures on contract support - I often wonder if that was part of its raison d'etre. That is, permitting businesses to dip their hands deep into taxpayer pockets.
Use of diplomacy, then, would prohibit vast profits.

Posted by: kenga on May 23, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

kenga,
When you strip away the spin and look at Cheney's moves when measured against his interests; you really do get this sick feeling that he has been a true manchurian candidate, every one of his moves was calculated to enrich himself and his friends.
Cheney is a modern day Pirate.

Posted by: Northern Observer on May 23, 2008 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Sec. of Navy Webb resigned because Reagan cut the budget for some useless war ships. Sen. Webb was against the invasion of Iraq, and he deserves credit for that. Webb is really a Republican though, and he resembles McCain in many ways.

Some Democrats think nominating a military man to become Obama's VP will persuade some moderate voters who are leaning towards voting for McCain because of national security to vote for Obama. They may be correct, but such a persuasive strategy to gain moderate Republican votes might cause more leftist voters to reconsider their support for Obama and vote for an actual candidate who is a liberal rather than for one who only postures as a liberal. No one knows what the ratio would be in such a trade off, but like those women who are having second thoughts about voting Democratic now that their candidate is not likely to win the nomination, leftist voters do not want to have their votes taken for granted either, which a Webb VP nomination would do.

Cynthia McKinney would be my choice for Obama's running mate, appealing to both leftists and women, but I have to concede racist America is not ready for that.

Posted by: Brojo on May 23, 2008 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers: Could somebody explain when actual diplomacy fell out of favor. Was it when Condi Rice became SoS or did it happen when Dick Cheney became VP?

It began with the rise of PNAC, and their access to the levers of power circa 2000. Specifically, the idea that America as the sole remaining superpower--the country with the biggest baddest military on the planet--could use its position to promulgate American interests and values in an unprecedented an relatively unfettered manner.

Obviously if you think you're the only superpower on the planet, and military power is the primary basis by which you gauge your ability to achieve your goals, traditional diplomacy and alliances are much less important and take second seat.

To reino's point: Reagan's wishes and rhetoric may have been antithetical to diplomacy, but the reality was that diplomacy was still necessary in that age, and the realists in Regan's administration understood that. Which is why Reagan's bark was much worse than his bite. PNAC's mistake (among many) was confusing rhetoric with reality.

Posted by: has407 on May 23, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

As far as I can tell, VP candidates hardly ever help the ticket unless they are extremely popular pols from a key swing state.

They can hurt a ticket if they're not seen as capable of taking over, but not much, witness Pretty Boy Quayle not hurting Bush the Elder.

So as much as I hate to say it, Strickland would be the best VP candidate.

(I would like to see Webb wale on St. John, but then Webb wouldn't be debating St. John, so the hits wouldn't be as direct as needed, I'm afraid.)

Once the VP nominee gets the nod, s/he's forgotten by the MSM after about two news cycles.

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 23, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Webb is really a Republican though, and he resembles McCain in many ways.

How is Webb so egregious that liberals would actually forsake Obama if Webb is the VP pick?

As far as I can tell, VP candidates hardly ever help the ticket unless they are extremely popular pols from a key swing state.

Charlie Crist makes me nervous.

Posted by: Lucy on May 23, 2008 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

CYNTHIA MCKINNEY!!!

If Obama wants to lose the "sane" vote, by all means nominate her.

Fer chrissakes Brojo, vote for Nader or Fulani or whoever. You know you really want to.

Posted by: Tom S on May 23, 2008 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK
Experienced, good debater, pretty smart on foreign policy, and willing to talk occasional smack — a better quality in a VP than a secretary of state.

Er, have you forgotten that, for all his smarts, Joe Biden's favorite snack food is his own foot? That's not a good quality in a Vice President, and even moreso not a good quality in a running mate.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 23, 2008 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

If Webb is Obama's VP candidate, then to end the occupation of Iraq anti-war advocates will have to vote for a ticket that represents more military spending and belligerence. That is not the kind of change Obama's liberal campaign posturing has promised. If Obama disappoints a major constituency of his even before he takes office, it means he will not fulfill many of the aspirations his followers expect after he becomes president. Liberals should expect to be disappointed with an Obama presidency anyway, but he could at least wait until after his inauguration to let us down and not make us vote for someone as warrior-like as Webb.

Posted by: Brojo on May 23, 2008 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

I just checked out The Atlantic, and there's an opinion piece arguing for Webb on the home page.

The question is no longer whether Barack Obama should select Jim Webb as his nominee. It is whether he can justify not doing so.

Whoa! This is heartening. Webb's always been my first choice for VP. Obama/Webb--how can we lose?!

Posted by: Lucy on May 23, 2008 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

You know you really want to.

What I really want is an end to the US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, an end to US military belligerence/hegemony, an end to military aid to Israel and to have the W. Bush regime investigated and tried for war crimes. Regardless of who I vote for, few, if any, of the things I really want, for my country, will come to pass.

Gee, the magazine that cheered the invasion of Iraq demands Webb be Obama's VP. How surprising.

Posted by: Brojo on May 23, 2008 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

If Webb is Obama's VP candidate, then to end the occupation of Iraq anti-war advocates will have to vote for a ticket that represents more military spending and belligerence.

WTF. Webb would like to end the occupation of Iraq. He hates this war.

Sheesh.

Posted by: Lucy on May 23, 2008 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Obama probably needs to select a woman to be his running mate. Many women feel Sen. Clinton was beaten because of sexist attacks....

Most politicians (and their supporters) who lose an election feel it was so due to some skull duggery.

To those women: Boo F*cking Hoo. Please toughen up.

BTW, Hillary please STFU.

Posted by: keith g. on May 23, 2008 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Webb hates the Iraq occupation and so do I. Why the incongruence? I do not think Webb hates the war because Americans are killing Iraqis, like I do, but because the costs to the war industrial complex diminishes American hard power and perhaps some of Webb's constituents' Federal revenues.

Does Webb hate the Afghanistan occupation?

Posted by: Brojo on May 23, 2008 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: Does Webb hate the Afghanistan occupation?

I'm not sure but, unlike the Iraq war, most Americans don't hate the Afghanistan occupation either. I know you disagree, but a number of progressives think that the Afghanistan invasion was at least somewhat defensible -- and would have been even more so if it had been done right -- where the Iraq invasion never was.

Posted by: thersites on May 23, 2008 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: and to have the W. Bush regime investigated and tried for war crimes

I'm with ya there, buddy. But I'm not holding my breath, either.

Posted by: thersites on May 23, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: I do not think Webb hates the war because Americans are killing Iraqis, like I do, but because the costs to the war industrial complex diminishes American hard power and perhaps some of Webb's constituents' Federal revenues.

You might check out the Webb-McCaskill Commission on Wartime Contracting, and the ensuing pissing match with the White House.

Posted by: has407 on May 24, 2008 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

Senator Obama said in October of 2002:

"Thats what Im opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics."

"Now let me be clear I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity."

"Hes a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him."

"But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history."

"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."

Right on the nose. Doesn't look like Senator Obama needs any help figuring out what is going on in the world, does it?

Posted by: deejaayss on May 24, 2008 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

the Afghanistan invasion was at least somewhat defensible

I agree somewhat regarding the invasion. I hate the occupation. Mr. Webb's views are antithetical to my views about the uses of US military power. Regardless of his appeal to the warrior instincts of pride, service and honor to the rest of the electorate, I would prefer not to have to vote for an unrepentant Reagan cabinet member while trying to end the Iraq occupation and correct the fundamental problems of our way of life.

Posted by: Brojo on May 24, 2008 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK

Forget about Biden, Kevin. He's owned by the financial industry. He championed every anti-consumer, pro-banking bill that came down the pike. His support of the so-called "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act" of 2005 should never be forgiven or forgotten. It showed his true allegiance. Watch the Frontlline piece "The History of the Credit Card." You'll see what I'm talking about.

Posted by: DevilDog on May 24, 2008 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

If Sen. Webb was against the war, he would ask his son to refuse to serve in Iraq, and make that request public. Sen. Webb is too obedient to authority to make that leap. Too obedient to authority or too cowardly of the consequences of disobedience? I bet he could write a novel about the need for success and the costs of war.

Posted by: Brojo on May 27, 2008 at 2:58 AM | PERMALINK
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