What’s the difference between the Washington Post and the Boston Globe? The WaPo can take a hint. After the CJR wondered why the national media wouldn’t call out Barack Obama for his serial distortions on John McCain’s 100-years-in-Iraq comments, the Globe tried to help Obama rationalize it. Michael Dobbs scolded Obama in today’s Fact Checker:
Democrats seized on McCain’s remarks. At one time or another, both Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have said that the presumptive Republican nominee is willing to fight a 100-year war in Iraq. When challenged about this claim on Monday, Obama referred journalists to the YouTube version of the Derry Townhall meeting. But the YouTube clip does not back up his case.
Whether the war in Iraq is actually winnable is a separate question. But there is a difference between fighting a war and occupying a country. World War II lasted for nearly six years (3 1/2 years in the case of the U.S.), but there is still a significant U.S. troop presence in Germany.
Dobbs thinks the Democrats have a better case on challenging McCain’s stand that the war in Iraq can be won at all. He thinks they made a bad choice in opting for distortion, but they don’t have much in the way of alternatives. No one who wants to win national office in America will run on the “We Can’t Win — Surrender Now” platform. The Democrats know that; they wouldn’t insist on a surrender even after winning a national election.
Cheap distortion is all they have left. Some in the media, like Brian Mooney, want to assist in the distortion. Others remain silent — but perhaps Dobbs will provoke more honest reporting in the future.
Here’s the YouTube in which McCain made the remarks last January in New Hampshire: