Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Obama's Missed Point on Pakistan

He was cool and confident in the debate but, in his desire not to look like the young man knocking down a senior citizen to grab a cab, Barack Obama passed up at least one chance to sharpen the difference in his approach to the war on terror with that of John McCain.

At one point, the Republican huffed: "He said that he would launch military strikes into Pakistan. Now, you don't do that. You don't say that out loud. If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government."

"Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan," Obama replied defensively. "Here's what I said. And if John wants to disagree with this, he can let me know, that, if the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out.

"Now, I think that's the right strategy. I think that's the right policy."

What Obama failed to underscore was that since then the Bush Administration has agreed by launching unilateral attacks across the Afghan border on terrorist safe havens and that, after years of being bamboozled by Musharraf, is challenging the new regime to earn the billions of aid the US has been pouring into Pakistan.

In the first presidential debate ever in 1960, Nixon tried not to seem too combative and came off looking like Uriah Heep in comparison to JFK's confident firmness. Obama avoided that pitfall, but not completely. In his stance on Pakistan, he could have shown more spine without risking cockiness. That's part of appearing presidential.

2 comments:

Thingumbobesquire said...

We are facing a great depression in this nation again. Neither of these candidates have a clue. And yet all the political blogs and television commentators mindlessly carry on about debating style. Barack Obama and John McCain had absolutely nothing to say about what to do to get the nation out of this disaster. Who lost the debate? America.

Dan said...

Obama has to stop saying, "your absolutely right", or "john is absolutely right on that." This is where Kerry failed.
Stupid voters can only remember things in the first sentence... so he should say something like, "it is correct that..., BUT!". And it has to be an emphatic "BUT!!" Stupid voters will remember the "BUT!!". It works.