LAT Writer: Obama Defense Picks are 'Centrists'; Peace Activist: You 'Can't Directly Criticize' Obama

Obama handsWell, isn't this a hoot?

As Barack Obama appears to be appointing less than totally pro-surrender officials to his inner circle, far leftists are feeling constrained in their criticism by Obama Mania.

A Los Angeles Times article by Paul Richter with an amusing title ("Antiwar groups fear Barack Obama may create hawkish Cabinet") notes that Obama has appointed or is considering many people who originally supported the war in Iraq (this apparently automatically makes them "hawks").

Richter's hawkish characterization of the likes of Richard Holbrooke, Hillary Clinton, Vice-president Elect Joe Biden, and John Kerry is inadvertently amusing to any reader who has followed the machinations in Washington since the 110th Congress began in January 2006.

Richter goes to one peace activist, Kevin Martin, to "prove" that Obama is a "centrist." But in the process, as noted in my bold, we see an antiwar zealot acknowledge that Obama Mania has gone over the top:

Kevin Martin, executive director of the group Peace Action, said that although Obama had campaigned as an agent of change, the president-elect is "a fairly centrist guy" who appears to be choosing from the Democratic foreign policy establishment -- "and nobody from outside it."

"So, in the short term, we're going to be disappointed," he said. "They may turn out to be all pro-war, or at least people who were pro-war in the beginning."

Martin said that his group was concerned about Gates and Clinton as well as Rahm Emanuel, Obama's choice for White House chief of staff. He also said his group was trying to mobilize its grass-roots supporters with e-mail alerts, but recognized that it must approach the subject delicately because of public euphoria over Obama's historic victory.

"There's so much Obama hero worship, we're having to walk this line where we can't directly criticize him," he said. "But we are expressing concern."

Poor baby.

And while I'm here, has anyone else seen "public euphoria"? Media euphoria yes. Public euphoria? Don't think so.

What Richter and Martin choose to ignore is that much of the original support in Fall 2002 was pure political opportunism in the face of upcoming congressional elections and a public that clearly supported the proposed invasion. In those elections, the party in the White House increased its House and Senate majorities for the first time in a first mid-term election in a very long time. If instinctively antiwar Democrats hadn't swallowed hard but had instead declared their true thoughts, the swing to the GOP would have been even greater.

The conduct of most of those Richter named since shortly after Baghdad fell through the present day has shown that they were all too willing to cut funding and/or cut and run to prevent American soldiers and negotiators from achieving the victory in Iraq the White House noted yesterday:

You remember back in the debate when we were talking about arbitrary dates for withdrawal, that was when there were some members of Congress just suggesting that we get our troops out of Iraq, win or lose, without any sort of planning or thinking about the conditions on the ground. What we've seen since then is that as a result of the surge, we've been able to have tremendous successes on the security front, both because of the bravery of our soldiers and the work that they've done, and also the provincial reconstruction teams that are peopled by people from the State Department and USDA and other places to try to help on the political and diplomatic side of the equation, as well.

This is a mutually agreed to agreement. And that is one of the things that is different about an arbitrary date for withdrawal, when you want -- when you say you're going to leave, win or lose. We believe that the conditions are such now that we are able to celebrate the victory that we've had so far ....

The real question appears to be whether Obama will choose to lose the war that has been won, or will muddle though with feckless people who will not pursue our interests further. That he appears to be heading in the latter is a bit of relief, but not much. Calling such people "hawks" and "centrists," as Richter and Martin did, is low comedy.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.