Senator Obama seems to be developing into a deliberative center of gravity, as a number of massive political objects – Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, French Prime Minister Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and the White House – have swung inexorably into his orbit. All these august personages, either implicitly or explicitly, embraced his 16-month timeline for withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.
Looking back now, we can see that the fortnight preceding the candidate’s flight to Kuwait was like a sequence in an old movie where wind blows away calendar pages to announce an epochal plot turn. First, on July 7, the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, dissed Bush dogma by raising the prospect of a withdrawal timetable for our troops. Then, on July 15, Mr. McCain suddenly noticed that more Americans are dying in Afghanistan than Iraq and called for more American forces to be sent there. It was a long-overdue recognition of the obvious that he could no longer avoid: both Robert Gates, the defense secretary, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had already called for more American troops to battle the resurgent Taliban, echoing the policy proposed by Mr. Obama a year ago.
On July 17 we learned that President Bush, who had labeled direct talks with Iran “appeasement,” would send the No. 3 official in the State Department to multilateral nuclear talks with Iran. Lest anyone doubt that the White House had moved away from the rigid stand endorsed by Mr. McCain and toward Mr. Obama’s, a former Rumsfeld apparatchik weighed in on The Wall Street Journal’s op-ed page: “Now Bush Is Appeasing Iran.”
Within 24 hours, the White House did another U-turn, endorsing an Iraq withdrawal timetable as long as it was labeled a “general time horizon.” In a flash, as Mr. Obama touched down in Kuwait, Mr. Maliki approvingly cited the Democratic candidate by name while laying out a troop-withdrawal calendar of his own that, like Mr. Obama’s, would wind down in 2010. On Tuesday, the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, announced a major drawdown of his nation’s troops by early 2009.
Like these same celestial bodies whose ranks McCain so desperately wants to join, he has swung in behind Obama on position after position. In fact, his campaign is left running on nothing else but the alleged success of the “surge.”
But as this post points out, at least portions of the major news media are willing to cover McCain’s ass when his ignorance is showing. If this were 2004, and McCain's name were John Kerry, he would be labeled a flip-flopper of historic proportions. But his mavericky manliness just overwhelms the press corps, apparently. A cynic might conclude that the electorate is left in a less than objective position from which to judge the candidates’ merits.