How's Obama Doing Against The Attack Machine?
Pretty darn good, says Glenn Greenwald:
Far more notable is Barack Obama's response to these depressingly familiar attacks. In response, he's not scurrying around slapping flags all over himself or belting out the National Anthem, nor is he apologizing for not wearing lapels, nor is he defensively trying to prove that -- just like his Republican accusers -- he, too, is a patriot, honestly. He's not on the defensive at all. Instead, he's swatting away these slurs with the dismissive contempt they deserve, and then eagerly and aggressively engaging the debate on offense because he's confident, rather than insecure, about his position:
About not wearing an American flag lapel pin, Obama said Republicans have no lock on patriotism.
"A party that presided over a war in which our troops did not get the body armor they needed, or were sending troops over who were untrained because of poor planning, or are not fulfilling the veterans' benefits that these troops need when they come home, or are undermining our Constitution with warrantless wiretaps that are unnecessary?
"That is a debate I am very happy to have. We'll see what the American people think is the true definition of patriotism."
Obama is not cowering in the face of these attacks on his patriotism. He's not remaining silent. He's welcoming the debate. Furthermore, he's not shrinking from the GOP slime machine, who tried to twist his anecdote about a soldier having inadequate resources in Afghanistan. You can see that it's a part of his counter-attack on those who claim to "support the troops." That anyone could credibly say that leaving Afghanistan to focus on Iraq wouldn't cause a reduction in resources is completely spurious. Of course Afghanistan is suffering.
As Sgt. Erick Gallardo put it: "We don't get supplies, assets. We scrounge for everything and live a lot more rugged. But we know the war is here. We got unfinished business."
John Warner is a total embarrassment for playing ignorant on this. What a sad end to a Senate career.
What's more, Obama is taking the fight to John McCain on the issue of lobbying.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Sen. Barack Obama said Saturday that the Republican presidential nominee in waiting, Sen. John McCain, has lobbyists as top aides and "many of them have been running their business on the campaign bus while they've been helping him."
The Democratic presidential hopeful also said McCain's health care plans reflect "the agenda of the drug and insurance lobbyists, who back his campaign and use money and influence to block real health care reform."
Excellent. He's seeing the gift of the McCain stories and is quick to put them to use.
The most interesting tussle thus far between McCain and Obama is over this idea, promoted by McCain, that we should not "bomb our ally" in Pakistan, and even if we do in order to attack leaders of Al Qaeda, we shouldn't say anything about it. McCain is coming off like the pacifist in this battle, and on the absolute wrong side of public opinion (it is well within the range of international law to attack those who murdered 3,000 Americans, and this dodge looks simply like an extension of taking our eyes off Afghanistan to stay in Iraq).
The first test of how Obama is doing in this tussle is in a special election in IL-14, Dennis Hastert's old seat, where Democrat and scientist Bill Foster is taking on Republican Jim Oberweis. McCain and Obama have lent their talents to this district. While I believe that Foster isn't exactly a flaming liberal, he is running on a change in policy on Iraq. Whether or not Obama's clicking on this counter-attack may be revealed in this March special election.