Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Moving to Obama?

E. J. Dionne sees increasing parallels between the 1980 election and today.

As I've written here before, the nation's mood was very different in 1980. The 1970's, when people my age started to become aware of the larger world around us, represented a long funk for the U.S. and Americans craved change. In the midst of the humiliating Iran hostage crisis, Carter boosted the hawkish Ronald Reagan's talking points by moving in Reagan's (and the nation's) direction with a harder line on the Soviets and increasing military spending. Dionne sees today's GOP saddled with an unpopular President now moving in Obama's direction on Foreign Policy.
The Obama camp has gleefully noted that over the last week, the administration and McCain have moved closer to Obama's foreign policy positions on issue after issue. Obama called for diplomacy with Iran, and Bush has taken the first steps in that direction, with McCain's support. Obama has long said that more American troops were needed in Afghanistan. McCain made a statement to the same effect last week.

Bush also endorsed a "general time horizon" for pulling American troops out of Iraq, although the administration was at great pains to distinguish between its "time horizon" and the 16-month "timeline" that Obama has proposed.

The upshot in all these cases: Obama's positions have come to look safe and reasonable, undercutting McCain's core argument about Obama's inexperience. And if the Bush administration is seen as moving his way, Republicans can hardly dismiss Obama's ideas as dangerous or impractical.

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