Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Opinionator: A blog at the NY Times by Tobin Harshaw & Chris Suellentrop

Praise From an Unlikely Source

The Wall Street Journal editorial page isn’t exactly a target constituency for a Democratic candidate in advance of the presidential primaries and caucuses, but a Journal editorial nearly swoons over Barack Obama’s statement [$] that, as president, he would target Al Qaeda in Pakistan if General Pervez Musharraf won’t: “Obama is taking heat from liberals and conservatives alike for his comment that he wouldn’t hesitate to send U.S. troops into Pakistan to capture or kill Al Qaeda leaders. Actually, it’s the best thing we’ve heard yet from the junior U.S. Senator from Illinois.” The editorial adds:

Incidentally, Mr. Obama’s words — assuming they are sincere — indicate that as President he would have overruled former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who in 2005 is reported to have vetoed a U.S. commando raid into Waziristan on grounds that it might have destabilized Mr. Musharraf’s government. The Senator describes that decision as “a terrible mistake,” and anyone who wants to run to the right of Rummy on counterterrorism can’t be all bad.

(The editorial also embraces the “grown in office” cliché that conservatives usually denounce as a liberal term for Republicans who move to the left: “By distancing himself from his party’s pacifist wing, Mr. Obama is growing up as a candidate.”)