During the primaries, Barack Obama derived energy from the anti-war Left of MoveOn and Code Pink, criticizing the Iraq War and defending his inexperience as secondary to the poor judgment shown by those who voted to authorize it. The issue dropped off the radar screen in the general election due to the financial crisis and the success of the surge in Iraq. Now, however, the same hard-Left supporters who boosted Obama over early favorite Hillary Clinton for the nomination wonder whether Obama may be a hawk in sheep’s clothing:
Antiwar groups and other liberal activists are increasingly concerned at signs that Barack Obama’s national security team will be dominated by appointees who favored the Iraq invasion and hold hawkish views on other important foreign policy issues.
The activists are uneasy not only about signs that both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates could be in the Obama Cabinet, but at reports suggesting that several other short-list candidates for top security posts backed the decision to go to war. …
Aside from Clinton and Gates, the roster of possible Cabinet secretaries has included Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), who both voted in 2002 for the resolution authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq, though Lugar has since said he regretted it.
“It’s astonishing that not one of the 23 senators or 133 House members who voted against the war is in the mix,” said Sam Husseini of the liberal group Institute for Public Accuracy.
I’m not sure why they find this so surprising. Obama picked Joe Biden as his running mate, a man who also voted to authorize the Iraq War, and until the primaries had continued to argue for it. That selection should have sent a pretty strong signal that Obama either wanted to take his administration in a conventional, inside-the-Beltway direction, or that he needed a court jester to keep himself amused on slow days.
The best takeaway quote reported by Paul Richter comes from Kevin Martin of the left-wing activist group Peace Action. He’s not quite willing to blast Obama:
“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.”
We’ll give Martin a Petard Award for that not-quite-revelation about the silliness he and his allies on the Left created over Obama. The “hero worship” that keeps him silent exists because fools like Martin inflated Obama into something more than what he is — an untested, inexperienced politicians whose physical attractiveness and undeniablly excellent oratory substituted for substance.
I wonder what Jodie Evans thinks of all this? The Code Pink founder bundled cash for Obama and helped harness the energy of her organization for his election. Richter didn’t interview Evans for this story, which is a shame; it would have been very entertaining indeed to hear her spin Obama’s reliance on pro-war Democrats in the incoming administration. I’d say that her Code Pink associates may have a few questions for Evans in the coming days.
Meanwhile, welcome to Washington, where it’s almost always a case of “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Obama needed to impress the Left to get the nomination, and now he needs to shed himself of the albatross in order to govern.