Free Markets, Free People

War of choice getting in the way of Obama’s preferred message?

Interesting story from Glenn Thrush at POLITICO. And, of course, it is about pure politics.   It seems that Obama’s decision to go to war with Libya has caused a distraction from the most pressing domestic issue – the economy.  And just when some half-way decent news on unemployment is evident.

But in the view of his closest allies, Libya is drowning out his attempts to portray himself as an economic commander-in-chief fighting a series of new threats to the fragile U.S. recovery, especially the devastating and politically poisonous rise in gas prices.

The most recent example: On Friday, press secretary Jay Carney hoped to spend quality time with the White House press corps discussing an upbeat March employment report showing the economy added 216,000 jobs, outpacing analysts’ estimates.

But he was asked a grand total of two questions about the report. He fielded 16 about Libya and at one point had to sneak in a plug for the positive job numbers when a reporter asked a question about budget negotiations with Congress.

“Don’t tell me Libya is not a distraction,” said Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. “Dealing with a military operation of this complexity, with this many moving parts, takes an enormous amount of the president’s time. We’re talking about hours and hours a day dealing with his national security staff. … It has an impact on everything else.”

Now obviously, it we have to go to war for a good reason – an actual imminent danger or threat to our national security – then you don’t worry about how it will effect the political agenda.  You do your duty as CiC.  In fact, a President can normally expect it to help him politically – to get a pretty good bump in the polls – as the nation comes together behind them.

But when the war is perceived as a “war of choice” or a “dumb war”, such a bump may not be forthcoming – as in the case of the war against Libya:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows 37% give the president good or excellent ratings on his handling of national security issues. Slightly more voters (40%) say the president is doing a poor job when it comes to national security.

Rasmussen isn’t the only polling service to have those numbers:

Just 39 percent of Americans think Obama has clear goals in Libya, while 50 percent think he doesn’t, according to poll results released Monday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

Just 47 percent of Americans support the U.S. airstrikes, while 36 percent don’t and 17 percent don’t know, according to the Pew poll.

The Gallup Poll found similar results, the lowest level of initial support for a U.S. military action in at least three decades, and the first time in 10 interventions dating to the 1983 invasion of Grenada that a majority of Americans didn’t support the action at the onset.

Translation?   This is a political problem of Obama’s own making.  And on the eve of launching his re-election campaign to boot.  Not smart politics – not smart at all.  He’s literally “created” a story by his decision to wage a war of choice that will dominate the news and any other message he tries to spin.  What is clear is that despite the announced hand-over or pullback in US participation, the press continues to treat it like it should be treated – a war instigated and started by the US (and others) and continuing to have US participation whatever the level.

And we’re starting to hear about how overtaxed our coalition partners are now.  The UK for example,.  Says the head of the RAF:

With the RAF playing an important role in Libya, where bombers, fighter jets and surveillance aircraft have all been involved over the past fortnight, he admitted the service was now stretched to the limit.

[Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen] Dalton, 57, said the RAF was planning to continue operations over Libya for at least six months. His assumption is that planes will be needed "for a number of months rather than a number of days or weeks".

Did you catch that last sentence?  Months instead of weeks.  So we can expect to see this remain in the news for some time and we can most likely expect to see more and more of the coalition members whining about their level of participation and attempting to get a higher level of US participation.  Already, this weekend, the US flew more sorties in the NFZ than previously planned.

So here you have a classic example of not only a dumb war, but dumb politics.  That’s usually what happens when you make snap-decisions without any planning while apparently completely underestimating the reaction of the American people.

Not that anyone on the left will admit that or anything.

~McQ

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49 Responses to War of choice getting in the way of Obama’s preferred message?

  • Attorney General Eric Holder today will announce that self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad will be tried in a military commission, the CBS News Investigative Unit has learned. A source says the commission will be held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

    I guess they are trying to put all the “bad news” behind them.

    • LOL….  epic, EPIC fail for Failbama.  I thought military commissions at Gitmo were EVIL, as per what candidate Obama constantly said about President Bush.

      Oh well, the useful idiots and rubes get ugatz again, but they’ll keep their mouths shut.  Useful and idiots, to the bitter end

  • “Every single retailer has and is paying more for the items they sell, and retailers will be passing some of these costs along,” Long says. “Except for fuel costs, U.S. consumers haven’t seen much in the way of inflation for almost a decade, so a broad-based increase in prices will be unprecedented in recent memory.”

    Inflation like we haven’t seen in a decade.
    You have to wonder what nuance they will use to blame it on Bush … maybe none.

    • Inflation like we haven’t seen in twenty years is more likely. Next up, disco balls and platform shoes!
       

      • Wake me when he implements “Phase 3″, I’ve already seen the previous parts.

      • I wonder if Carter left a cardigan behind that would fit Teh One…???
        We know…geez, we’ve ALWAYS known…that Obama’s focus is ENTIRELY on jobs, jobs, jobs.
        Right…?!?!?!

  • “On Friday, press secretary Jay Carney hoped to spend quality time with the White House press corps discussing an upbeat March employment report showing the economy added 216,000 jobs, outpacing analysts’ estimates.”
     
    Sorry, no sale on the economic improvement.  It ain’t recovery spring.
    And it’s entertaining in the way a train wreck is to see them using the war they effectively started as an excuse for why the ‘good news’ on the economy isn’t getting out there.  Come on, this is the same guy that blamed some of the rise in gas prices on the economic improvement.  Uh-huh.
     
    “Dealing with a military operation of this complexity, with this many moving parts, takes an enormous amount of the president’s time. We’re talking about hours and hours a day dealing with his national security staff.”
     
    And as for that, I call bullshirt on that too – the only moving parts this guy worries about are the ball and what club he’s swinging.   He’s spent two years demonstrating he’s an ‘idea’ kind of guy, and not into the detail.  He likes issuing the orders from on-high and have the workers scurry below to make his vision into reality.  Like some kind of fantasy where he only has to speak his vision, and it will become so.  That’s been the mechanism for 3 years now.   Anyone who thinks he’s changed his spots to suddenly become the detail level war planner voted for him, and probably thought they were going to get their rent paid and their gas supplied when he became President.
     
    No Sale – he’s not capable of doing the job, that didn’t change 3 weeks ago when he decided it would be a wise to stick our national fist into the hornet’s nest in North Africa.

  • Obama’s 2012 campaign will turn on making things worse (he depends on an increase in dependency on government) while claiming that things are getting better (it has been 41 months since the recession began; you’ll hear more about how it “ended” and “recovery” begain in mid-2009).

    But that would be just where the now ordinary Doublethink trend points.

    I don’t think that we will be that fortunate. For one thing, Qaddafi and Libya is not about Qaddafi and Libya. It’s about Obama and his animus toward the United States. Much the way the Stimulus was not about stimulating the economy (we all know that now, right?) but about paying off unions and favored rentseekers. It stimulated nothing. And much the way ObamaCare was not about health care reform, but about power and destructive control over the economy and individuals.

    • I’m thinking of questions asked by Reagan during the 1980 election: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? Do you feel that our security is as safe, that we’re as strong as we were four years ago? And if you answer all of those questions yes, why then, I think your choice is very obvious as to whom you will vote for. If you don’t agree, if you don’t think that this course that we’ve been on for the last four years is what you would like to see us follow for the next four, then I could suggest another choice that you have.”  I think whoever wins the Republican nomination needs to ask this again and again.

  • Obama is talking DOUBLING spending on Federal lands, including an aggressive land take-over.
    The guy is unbelievable.

    • Next, I expect to hear Obama call for the demutualization of the National Debt.

    • Now this is interesting.
      It seems the Obamas bought their Chicago house at 5046 S Greenwood Ave for $1,650,000, but the current Zestimate on zillow.com is $740,500.
      Woof. A blind man could invest better.

      • Given that it was (A) part of a political package deal with Ayers and that skunk Rezko and (B) he probably didn’t pay out of his own pocket, why should The Dear Golfer care?

  • Here’s the lead sentence from today’s Libya story on the NYTimes website right now: “As rebel fighters made modest gains Monday in the oil town of Brega, a senior rebel leader criticized NATO for bureaucratic delays.”

    A “senior” rebel leader is criticizing NATO. About bureaucracy.

    Well, as this turns to unbridled animus, the rebels will note a thousand offenses a day, not necessarily spoken by any “senior” leaders, but burning in the jihadi spleen.

  • Really? Obama implied that, absent our intervention, Gadhafi might have killed nearly 700,000 people, putting it in a class with the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. White House adviser Dennis Ross was only slightly less alarmist when he reportedly cited “the real or imminent possibility that up to a 100,000 people could be massacred.”

    But these are outlandish scenarios that go beyond any reasonable interpretation of Gadhafi’s words. He said, “We will have no mercy on them” — but by “them,” he plainly was referring to armed rebels (“traitors”) who stand and fight, not all the city’s inhabitants.

    “We have left the way open to them,” he said. “Escape. Let those who escape go forever.” He pledged that “whoever hands over his weapons, stays at home without any weapons, whatever he did previously, he will be pardoned, protected.”

    Wow.  That kinda makes Obama lying us into war, yes???

    • Awwww, he probably hung his favorite adverb – ‘potentially’ around things while he was potentially ‘being clear’ so we’d potentially ‘make no mistake’ about Khaddafi potentially killing potentially hundreds of thousands of, potentially, Libyans.
       
      So, potentially he wasn’t lying.

    • Meanwhile, those “raging conservatives” over at firdoglake bash away …

      This is America’s third war in a Muslim country. It lacks a well-defined mission or a realistic end-game strategy. Even our top military and civilian personnel admit it isn’t in our nation’s vital interest and that Libya wasn’t a direct threat to our national security.
      It is not surprising that, after months of near-endless deficit hysteria and politicians insisting we need to cut basic services meant to help Americans, the voters have concluded we don’t have a few hundred million to waste on more military adventurism.
      Popular support for this conflict was fairly low to begin with, and I predict it is going to drop very quickly as the price tag keeps growing.

  • The best part of all is that this opens an opportunity for the Repub candidate to seriously position themselves to Obama’s “left” on National Security while at the same time getting conservative and libertarian support on the position! Who’da thunk that was possible a year ago? (Inasmuch as Right/Left makes sense here at all, given how generally stupid this whole thing has been.)

    • I think that as this Libya situation leads to the next situation, to which Libya will be but a footnote, that any conventional understanding of where we are and what we face will be inoperative.

      Obama wants to take us down to the historical bedrock of class struggle and to get there he’s anxious to collapse the infrastructure of “bourgeois principles.”

      So, your optimism about this Libya moment getting the right to Obama’s left is likely to pass as Libya passes on to the next thing, which will be bigger and much worse. You have to look at the destruction he has wrought in his first two years, and it’s considerable, and watch him quadruple that wherever he can. It’s not an accident that he’s got himself his own war now.

      • For your dark vision to attain…seems to me we would have to have troops on the ground.  And not merely Special Ops guys.
        Short of that, a move by Congress to pull out would be quite acceptable, as it would just involve defunding naval and air assets.
        IFFFFF he puts in troops, that changes the dynamics altogether.
        One thing we totally agree on, however, is that we cannot afford a second…FAR LESS RESPONSIBLE…Obamic term in office.

      • Martin: I don’t think so. Obama has shot his wad. He lost his huge majorities in Congress, he has lost his sky-high hopenchange poll numbers, and he has lost credibility everywhere.

        The Libyan maneuver was an ill-considered gamble that he could pull off a quick smart win that would look good for the next campaign. But he has not staked his presidency on Libya — he’s got it stop-lossed by turning it over to NATO.

        Unless Obama gets lucky (the Friedman Prayer) and Qaddafi dies, Libya is going to sputter out into a low-grade civil war from which Europe and America will quietly back away.

        • ” America will quietly back away”
           
          Ah, the trusty path of the compliant lap dogs of American Lame Stream Media.  Serving ‘the One’.
          ‘Quietly’ will be the operative word.  Why, 8 months from now, we’ll have forgotten all about this little foray.
          In fact, 8 months from now, maybe a ‘good war’ will shamble by, to give our brave little golfer soldier a chance to look not only Presidential, but re-electable.
          And think of it, he can promise to fix the economy!  to Close Gitmo!  to bring hope and change!  Why, he can run against Bush all over again.

          • I think that the President has painted himself into a bit of a corner with the rhetoric he used during his first presidential campaign.  He painted himself as the anti-establishment, anti-incumbent, anti-war, etc. candidate.  Now, he is the establishment, incumbent, etc. plus he started his own war.  The only change he delivered is that we are now in a worse economic situation with worse unemployment with a greater deficit and debt and there is still little “hope” (whatever that means).  It will be fascinating to see how he campaigns and the reasons he will give the electorate to vote for him.  I imagine it will be primarily fear-based (e.g. if you vote for that Republican, it will be Bush all over again!).  To a lot of people though, the Bush years look like the good-old days of yore.

        • That’s a conventional way to understand what’s going on, and I wish I could believe that there was something conventional about this.

          But my comments are based on the premise that Obama’s very mission is to make things worse.

          Recall how a few months back Obama came out and made the statement that “We can absorb a terrorist attack.” (My response was, “You first, Mr. President.”) Well, right now he’s got a stick in a serious jihadist hornet’s nest, backing and forthing in a way that will create maximum animus on both sides of the civil war in Libya. My contention is that he is creating trouble, and never had any interest in Libya per se. The intervention was never what it was initially characterized as being. It was never a “humanitarian mission” in its design. But it did thrust the U.S., seemingly without any purpose, right into the middle of the Middle Easter upheaval being called, cynically, “Arab Spring.”

          That whole facebook/twitter “flower power” youth rebellion nonsense about Egypt is still being pumped by the White House, and by Obama himself.

          • P.S.: There is now no good outcome in Libya. It will lead to something much worse.

          • Martin: As always you write clearly and accountably. You have driven your stake into the ground as to what Obama is up to and we shall see.

            I think we can agree that Obama is both a nasty leftist and an inveterate narcissist, but we come down on different sides of the fence of which Obama takes precedence.

          • O.K. Next day (4/5), front page at the NY Times site, the report is that Qaeda is securing a position in Yemen, through the unrest there. We had another tentative ally in the leader of Yemen, and now he’s being shoved aside.

            We’re focused on Libya, where Obama made it national policy to oust Qaddafi, without acknowledging who the “rebels” were. Hillary claimed they didn’t, or still don’t, know. I say that’s very unlikely, but either way, how do you get involved under those conditions? As I said in the comment above, this never had the design of a humanitarian mission. It had the design of a straight up intervention on the side of the rebels. And the administration is also still, let’s call it what it is, lying about what happened in Egypt.

            Now, you might think I’m saying, well, Obama’s on Qaeda’s side, or on the side of Islamism, or that he is, in fact, some sort of Islamist himself. And that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that he doesn’t care about Islam or Islamists. His focal point is his animus toward the United States.

            I’ll have to absolve the conservatives who the community organizer organized into supporting this Libya adventure by simply throwing out the “Get Qaddafi” meme and then watched them form up around it. I would absolve them only because I think Obama intended to do it anyway, and that he was ready to get on the military steroids and didn’t need the conservative encouragement. They gave him sufficient cover in the initial stage, however.

            But the important point of departure here is that he injected the United States *militarily* into this “Arab Spring” mess, and that’s not going to be a happy time when it finally shakes out, after the internal upheaval is finished upheaving.

            The Libya choice had the advantage, as an entry point, because Qaddafi is notorious. But he’s mainly notorious because of terrorist activity from 20 to 35 years ago. His current notoriety is largely based on the fact that he comes off as a raving lunatic. My contention is that Obama could care less about Libya; he wanted to get a stick into the hornet’s nest.

            And I don’t think he’s done. Like I said when he got pounded in the election, before he got pounded in the election, that it would make him more, not less, dangerous. And here it is.

          • Martin: There are any number of foreign policy hornet nests that Obama could poke with a stick, thereby embroiling the US. But this wasn’t a unique hornet nest. Britain and France, Hilary and Samantha Powers got there first. Only then did Obama do a tag-along.

          • That’s the “community organizer” at work.

            He throws out the predicate, “Qaddafi must go,” at the beginning of March.

            That not only got the Euros organized, it organized many conservatives behind it as well.

            But it’s postured as a “humanitarian mission.” That sells it to the Left. So, it’s “Get Qaddafi” or “protect the Libya civilians,” depending on the day. Doubletalk and Doublethink up and down the line. Contradictions, activating new animus in the “Arab Spring” hornets nest.

            “We can absorb a terrorist attack.”

            See, we were told.

  • Plus there is Afghanistan and Obama’s reluctant doubling-down last year that hinged upon pulling out troops this summer. Now summer is drawing near and the Afghanistan “surge” has not yielded results anything near what we saw in Iraq.

    Llibya looked like a good bet for about a week, but that bubble burst. Obama bought at the peak.

  • McQ – [W]e can expect to see this remain in the news for some time and we can most likely expect to see more and more of the coalition members whining about their level of participation and attempting to get a higher level of US participation.  Already, this weekend, the US flew more sorties in the NFZ than previously planned.

    Whether it stays in the news depends on how well it goes, i.e. whether or not The Dear Golfer looks good.  If it goes well, expect a fair bit of fawning coverage about how The Dear Golfer, statesman that he is, averted a humanitarian disaster in Libya AND proved that the multilateralism rejected by the cowboy Bush works very well, enhancing our reputation abroad and especially in the Middle East.

    If, however, it goes as many of us expect (i.e. FUBAR), expect to hear… crickets.  You know: sort of like Gitmo, Iraq and A-stan more or less disappeared from MiniTru in the months following the immaculation of The Annointed One (as he was then known)?

    As far as the “coaltion” whining about their share of the load, I say, “Screw you a**holes: this was YOUR stupid idea in the first place.”

    Libya is drowning out his attempts to portray himself as an economic commander-in-chief fighting a series of new threats to the fragile U.S. recovery, especially the devastating and politically poisonous rise in gas prices.

    Frankly, anybody who believes that this incompetent boob is fighting for much of anything other than improving his golf score or trying to find THE perfect vacation spot is either a liar or delusional.  The Dear Golfer has done exactly bupkis to improve the economy; the “fragile U.S. recovery”, to the extent that it exists at all, is taking place DESPITE his policies, not because of them.  And the “poisonous” rise in gas prices?  Totally the result of his policies THAT HE SAID HE WOULD ENACT WHEN HE WAS A CANDIDATE.  This is a rare case of him actually keeping a promise that doesn’t involve taking Mee-shel on an all-expenses paid (by the taxpayer) date to Tahiti.

    Come to think of it, I guess I shouldn’t complain about his golfing and vacationing: the less actual work this f*cking idiot does, the better off we are.  Last time he got a brain wave, we started bombing Libya.  Who knows what damage he could do if he put in a full week’s worth of work?

    Bah.

    Cite from NeoAttorney General Eric Holder today will announce that self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad will be tried in a military commission, the CBS News Investigative Unit has learned. A source says the commission will be held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

    Rush had a good point about this today.  The Bagman, even while announcing that the trial would be held at Gitmo, bemoaned the fact that it really wasn’t the best venue.  Can you imagine any other prosecutor or DA claiming that about a case that he or his department are about to try???  In effect, Holder is GIVING KSM grounds for an acquittal, mistrial or at least reversal on appeal by publicly stating that KSM will not be getting a fair trial at Gitmo.  Un-be-f*cking-lievable.

    Then again, this is the same Bagman who let the NBPP thugs go after they basically pleaded (IIRC) no contest, so maybe he just doesn’t like prosecuting actual criminals, instead preferring to prosecute “enemies” of the regime.

    • Well, we have so much more to fear from Arizonan democracy and private enterprise…
      Priorities…!!!!

    • It sounds like Holder got a call from Obama this morning. This has been brewing for 2 years and this unprofessional so-and-so the temerity to act unhappy. Why do these clown have to act out their ethnic stereotype in full public view ?

  • Holy sh*t……………….Paul Ryan has some massive budget proposal out tomorrow.  Cutting $6 TRILLION(!!!) in 10 years with everything supposedly on the table.

    WOW.

    The left is gonna cry up a sh*tstorm

    • They ain’t the only ones: there are plenty of Republicans who don’t want spending to be cut, either, because they don’t want to be branded as “heartless” in the next campaign AND they are buying votes, too.

  • The US military on Monday withdrew its fighter jets from the international air campaign in Libya, officials said, after NATO asked Washington to keep up bombing raids for another 48 hours.
    The United States had planned to halt combat missions and Tomahawk cruise missile launches at the weekend but accepted a NATO request to continue the operations for another 48 hours until Monday.
    US combat sorties ended at 2200 GMT, with American warplanes on standby as NATO takes the lead, Pentagon spokesman Captain Darryn James said.
    After that, “US aviation assets are expected to cease strike sorties and will remain on an alert status if NATO requests their support,” James said in an email.

    … so a half of a billion dollars later, they are negotiating with the probably mastermind of the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am 103 for insights into an exit strategy.  .. and they said Bush was an “idiot” .. go figure.

  • Obama For President: In 2008, I voted “Present.” .. In 2012, I’m voting “Absent.”
    excuse me while I tee off … could you hold my bag

  • Enhancing our world position …

    (CNSNews.com) – Reporting from Baghdad, Iraq yesterday, NBC’s Tom Brokaw said the Saudi Arabian monarchy is “so unhappy with the Obama administration for the way it pushed out President Mubarak of Egypt” that it has sent senior officials to the Peoples’ Republic of China and Russia to seek expanded business opportunities with those countries.