Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Complete Mantra

While running for office, Obama regularly chanted out loud his campaign mantra. He also encouraged others to join in. Yes we can.

What we are learning during these transition days is that Obama's mantra has a second part, repeated silently after the first part. The complete mantra is: Yes we can... but no we won't.

Change We Can Believe In?

While running for office, Obama could hardly speak a single sentence without using the word change. Most troops will be home from Iraq by the middle of 2010... he pledged. There will be a fixed timetable... he pledged.
  • Barack Obama will responsibly end the war in Iraq:

    Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: successfully ending the war. The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased.
But how likely is this to happen if Obama retains Robert Gates, who staunchly opposes a fixed timetable for bringing the troops out of Iraq? And, really, how credible was Obama's word on this, given his personal preference to send more US troops to Afghanistan? (Needless to say, sending more US troops to Afghanistan is a preference that Gates shares.)

Obama's spin on this is continuity. But so much continuity even surprises a skeptic like me. I doubt that McCain would have retained as much of the Bush legacy.

From all of the above, at least Obama's strategy for reviving the economy is getting clearer. And, no, there is nothing original - no change in substance or ethics - in that either.