The headline says one thing: “Obama debate comments set off firestorm.” That was after Obama said that he’d actually talk to the baddies of North Korea, Syria, et al. “without precondition”. Shocking!
But come on: It was Hillary’s opportunistic and ham-handed response that started the “firestorm.” She plainly sees advantage in positioning herself as the big bad hawk, though I don’t know why. Even Madeleine Albright’s remarks are not very helpful: “I would think that without having done the diplomatic spadework, it would not really prove anything.” Well, what do we have now? In the wake of the Bush administration’s catastrophically childish refusal to even engage in diplomacy with, well, anyone, I have to imagine Democratic primary voters will be less receptive to that kind of chest-beating than they have been in ages.
And that’s why Obama said what he said.
Hillary is making Obama’s job very simple: She’s acting like Bush. (And I fear no GOP fear-itself-mongering vs. Obama.) Any campaign, Republican or Democrat, which doesn’t understand the necessity and opportunity of putting a ton of daylight between itself and Bush, is kidding itself.
In the ’80s or ’90s, it would have been different. But in how this little scuffle positions the candidates going forward, I’m calling this round for Obama.