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Monday, June 05, 2006
Gore Disappoints the Kossacks

And Airiheadda, according to Mickey Kaus:

Gore Pulls Out ... of Kosistan: The striking thing about Al Gore's appearance on ABC's "This Week" program Sunday was that he did not call for any sort of deadline-driven withdrawal from Iraq. Quite the opposite--he was careful to emphasize the potential of a pullout to make the situation worse. From ABC:

"I would pursue the twin objectives of trying to withdraw our forces as quickly as we possibly can, while at the same time minimizing the risk that we'll make the mess over there even worse and raise even higher the danger of civil war," Gore said.

Dismissing calls for any deadline, Gore added, "It's possible that setting a deadline could set in motion forces that would make it even worse. I think that we should analyze that very carefully. My guess is that a deadline is probably not the right approach.

This is of course very disappointing to the antiwar Left, who have been hopping around like little boys doing the peepee dance, praying for release. The tough thing is to work out the political calculations on this. Is Gore thinking he can finesse the Left by blasting Bush, yet refusing to attack him on their favorite issue?

This is all chess on a board where the moves won't be obvious for another 18 months. Politically it would appear Gore's made a short-term mistake; Hillary's not letting anybody get to the right of her on this war. She knows she's going to take some lumps over that, but she's willing to take them if it will help her in the general election.

But while it's a thumb in the eye to the Kossacks, it also appears to be pretty good politics longer term on further reflection. My best guess is that Gore's decided to go for the "electable" label. It worked for John Kerry in 2004, and Gore's got a heck of a lot better case than Le Fraude; he's already won the popular vote once and he's (arguably) from the South. And I suspect that despite the passion over Iraq right now, it's not going to turn into another Vietnam and the continuing attempt to apply that template is silly.

I've had my money on Hillary for the 2008 Democratic nominee for awhile. Gore's been flaky enough that I'm still not entirely convinced that he's running. And there's always the possibility that the activists will become enamored enough with a Russ Feingold candidacy that catches fire.

Gore's put himself in a good spot. The net effect if he does run is that Hillary's boxed in. She can't tack any further right and she's unable to win supporters on the Left among the true believers. She will find herself, like all Senators running for president, forced to defend a myriad of votes. Gore can limit himself to potshots against President Bush anytime he needs a boost among the moonbats.
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