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Did Obama just get the biggest endorsement of this election?

in

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's comments in support of Barack Obama's 16-month withdrawal timetable are bouncing around the net like a superball.

In addition to the previous quotes, try these on for size:

"Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems."

And:

"The Americans have found it difficult to agree on a concrete timetable for the exit because it seems like an admission of defeat to them. But it isn't," Maliki told Der Spiegel.

Where does this leave McCain? How can he attack Obama's plan if the Iraqi PM (and a majority of the parliament, and the population in general) like his plan? The Iraqis don't want U.S. troops to stay for 100 years, 10 years, or even two years.

Does this take Iraq off the table for McCain? And if it does, what does he have left to campaign on?

Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan

in

Wonder what John "100 years in Iraq" McCain will say about this:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told a German magazine he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months.

In an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday, Maliki said he wanted U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible.

"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes."

Bush adopting another Obama policy position

in

The president now says that timetables, er, "time horizon" OK in Iraq:

In the area of security cooperation, the President and the Prime Minister agreed that improving conditions should allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals -- such as the resumption of Iraqi security control in their cities and provinces and the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq.

OK, so Bush has bent on not negotiating with North Korea and Iran, sending more troops to Afghanistan, and now he's saying timetables are OK in Iraq. Maybe next he'll stand up for universal health care...

What's to blame for Congress' low ratings?

Congress has set two records this year: the lowest ever approval rating and number of filibusters by Republicans, which will likely double the old record.

Do you think these two records are related?

Media pile on the Obama bandwagon

in

John McCain is really going to regret daring Barack Obama to go to Iraq. All three broadcast network news anchors will be going along. They are eager to cover the candidate's rock star following in Europe and elsewhere.

I'm sure we will hear plenty of whining about bias from the McCain camp. And there certainly might be some. But the networks are going where the crowds are. Obama is a good news story for America, in a pit of bad news stories. And it's the network brass, concerned about viewership and advertising, who make these decisions to spend money sending their stars overseas to cover a story they could do from the studio.

Barack Obama already leading America

in

First you have John McCain copying Barack Obama's Afghanistan policy, now President Bush starting to use diplomacy with Iran. Is reality winning out over neocon fantasy?

Update: "...former Ambassador John Bolton 'said this is like getting an Obama administration six months early.'"

Signs of failure in Afghanistan

Remember that Afghanistan base where nine Americans were killed recently in a bold frontal attack by Taliban militants? Instead of beefing up our presence, the base is being abandoned. Might as well leave a white flag flying when they leave. That's a big win for the Taliban, and another sign we don't have the forces in Afghanistan to win that war.

But now that John McCain has adopted Barack Obama's Afghanistan policy, maybe there's hope.

Bush acting strangely these days

in

I guess George W. Bush is feeling unloved these days, so he's taken to doing some very odd things, like vetoing a bipartisan Medicare bill that would restore cut to Medicare providers. These cuts would have forced many providers to stop taking Medicare patients, causing a lot of grief for American seniors.

Bush vetoed this bill, even though it passed Congress with more than enough votes to override. And Congress quickly did that today. So I have to ask, why did he do it? He could have quietly let the bill become law without his signature. But no, he had to pick yet another fight that he couldn't win, and now looks like an idiot.

John McCain's geography problem

in

John McCain seems to think Czechoslovakia is still a country. Sorry, but that country split up and changed names 15 years ago.

Now, I don't think the next president should have to keep track of every name change of every little nation on the planet. But if you are going to talk about a country, you damn well better know its name.

Jimmy Carter was right

in

People are starting to realize that Jimmy Carter was right all along, though maybe he was ahead of his time:

He was right in seeking to raise the fleet auto mileage standard to 48 miles per gallon by 1995. (Even U.S. automakers admitted at the time that they could easily achieve 30 mpg by 1985.)

Carter was right in exhorting Americans to turn down their thermostats, even if he did look nerdy in a cardigan while urging us to do so.In his July 1979 speech, he was right when he said, "I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States. Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 —- never." That worthy goal quickly went by the board.

He was right to encourage fuel conservation by proposing a 50-cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline and a fee on imported oil —- in effect, a floor for fuel prices.

Invoking the pioneering spirit of the 1960s moon mission, he was right to recommend a tax on windfall oil profits to finance a crash program to develop affordable synthetic fuels.

Carter was correct, too, in setting a goal of obtaining 20 percent of our energy from solar power by the year 2000.

Where would we be today if only we had followed his programs? The problem is that Carter's programs dropped oil consumption in this country for 15 years, which resulted in lower gas prices. But once everyone forgot about those long gas lines, they started using oil like it was 1970 again. And now we are facing the very same problems 30 years later.

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