Thursday, February 28, 2008

RNC Adopts Clinton's Ridiculous Afghanistan Point


Way to give 'em talking points, Hillary.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

"[A]mbassador John Ritch, who served for two decades as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's senior staffer on European affairs and East-West relations ... [P]oints out that as subcommittee chair, Obama could have examined a wide variety of urgent matters, from the role of NATO in Afghanistan and Iraq to European energy policy and European responses to climate change..." (Joe Conason, "Obama's European Problem,", 12/29/07)

Right from the RNC link.

Now, mebbe he's a liar or an idiot, but it seems if anyone should know, it's John Ritch, with 20 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and who also served as an ambassador to UN organizations.

Hillary's source looks unimpeachable to me. Better than someone called "KarenC" at the Daily Kos, anyway, unless you know something about Karen that nobody else does.

But hey, you're the expert on epistemology here, WS. I don't know what to make of anything anymore, because no source ever seems good enough. It's an epistemological meltdown, a meltdown, I tell you.

But even if you win this one somehow on debate points, it appears Sen. Obama was supposed to be doing something as subcommittee chair, and he didn't. There's a legitimate criticism in there somewhere.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Tom, you really don't take this stuff seriously, do you? It's just a game of 'gotcha' where you try to score points for your side. Unsuccessfully, in this case. You'll really have to do better than this.

1. Holding hearings on "The role of NATO in Afghanistan" is different than holding hearings on Afghanistan. The contrived line of argument that you and HRC and the RNC are trying to scrape together here is that somehow Obama can't be serious that we should have been focusing on Afghanistan instead of invading Iraq because he didn't hold any hearings. Note that this argument isn't going to work no matter what you come up with on this front...but holding hearings on "the role of NATO" there is especially not going to do it.

2. Note the claim here is that he *could* have held hearings, not that he *should* have. The question isn't "was it in his power?*, but, rather, "was he irresponsible in not doing so?". Again, because of the absurdly tenuous link, and because NONE OF THIS HAS ANYTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH THE POINT THAT WE SHOULD HAVE FINISHED THE JOB IN AFGHANISTAN INSTEAD OF INVADING IRAQ, it doesn't matter that he *could* have done so. It would be irrelevant.

3. Again, you misunderstand the logic of the situation. Nothing I wrote above rests on the authority of KarenC. It, in effect, rests on the arguments above. What you SHOULD have said--and one of the points I was going to make but got bored--is that, though her point seemed clearly right, we'd really need an insider to tell us how these things worked.

4. I like how you tried to set this up so that even if I "win on debate points" there GOT to be something there!!!! Nope. Nothing. The most tenuous of links. But that's the difference between you and me, Tom: you have your positions ahead of the arguments; I wait on the evidence to formulate mine.

I know you are chomping at the bit and spinning wildly to come up with SOMETHING you can pin on Obama...but you'll have to do better than that.

In fact, this is one of the reasons that I urge people to be less irrational and nasty in these matters--because it tends to irrationally convince the weak minded...and to irrationally drive the cantankerous in the other direction.

Me, I'm cantankerous. The lame attacks by HRC, the RNC, and folks like you yourself just drive me more in the other direction. Left to my own devices, I'm only a tentative Obama supporter. When I listen to you folks, I become a fairly passionate one.

And it's stuff like this that makes me realize that it's not only futile, but usually counterproductive, to respond to you in such matters.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

If your point is or was that you find it insignificant that Sen. Obama did nothing as subcommittee chair, OK.

Your original post was that the charge was wrong, per "KarenC." Instead your point is that it's insignificant.

I'm clear now. You're right. It's probably a gotcha. "Ridiculous?" I wouldn't go that far, meself. It goes to Obama's ambition and relative lack of accomplishment.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Incorrect. It was KarenC's point that it was not Obama's jurisdiction. This, again, does not rest on her authority. Ergo attacking her lack of credentials is irrelevant.

Since Afghanistan was not in Obama's jurisdiction, he had no obligation to hold hearings on it, and, indeed, it is plausible to think that it would have been grandstanding for him to do so.

Nothing--nothing--has been offered yet that disputes that point. Could he have done so? I'm not even sure, but that isn't the question. The question is: is that the way things are done in the Senate? And no one has yet offered any evidence at all that it would have been appropriate.

Furthermore, holding hearings on the *role of NATO*--the only thing that would have been at all reasonable for him to do--would not have had anything to do with the claim in question, that the Afghanistan war suffered b/c of the Iraq war.

It's all bullshit, all gotcha, all the time.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, you win on points. And he did zip nada zilch as subcommittee chair.

I wasn't aware that the Iraq war's effect on Afghanistan was at issue here. If it is, then NATO's slackness in helping in Afghanistan becomes more important.

7:14 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

Well, this thin reed of accusation made CNN tonight, so it's not going away despite its thinness.

Of course, had Obama held these hearings, the very same people would have accused him of grandstanding. In that case, they would have been right.

11:02 PM  

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