Ouch. “We don’t estimate speeches,” the CBO director says of President Obama’s April 13 budget address.
Ouch. From Robert Kagan. “The entire military leadership believes the president’s decision is a mistake, and especially the decision to withdraw the remainder of the surge forces by September 2012. . . . This may prove a disastrous political calculation, too, however. If the war is going badly in the summer and fall of 2012, it will be because of the decision the president made this week. Everyone will know he did it against the advice of his commanders. Everyone will know he did it for political reasons.”
Ouch. Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen dumps on Obama’s Afghanistan plan. “The president’s decisions are more aggressive and incur more risk than I was originally prepared to accept.” But, alas, he’s not principled enough to quit in protest: “More force for more time is, without doubt, the safer course. But that does not necessarily make it the best course. Only the president, in the end, can really determine the acceptable level of risk we must take. I believe he has done so.” In other words, “Not my fault, but I don’t want to give up my job!”
Ouch. It’s not easy to get David Gergen annoyed, but there’s no denying he’s upset with the president’s Afghanistan speech. He writes that “the impression grows that the president and his team were heavily influenced by the growing weariness with war in the public — 56% now say we should get out of Afghanistan — and by fears of the cost of war. All that is understandable — the president clearly has one eye (or both?) on his re-election campaign next year. Politics ever intrudes in policy-making. But in foreign policy, the tradition has usually been that a president’s role is to figure out what is in the nation’s security interest and do that. A strong president tries to rally public opinion behind him, not bend to the latest shift in the winds. . . . I wish he had listened to Gen. Petraeus.” Yeah, that’s David Gergen.
Ouch. Peter Wehner speaks for a lot of Americans. “For a wartime president to hold the mindset Obama does, which has resulted in a half-assed prosecution of the war, is among the more unsettling things I have seen in my career in politics. And so, I might add, is the transparent political calculation in Obama’s decision.”
Ouch. Obama is losing the 18-29-year-old vote. Maybe it has something to do with their 17 percent unemployment rate. In any event, only 31 percent approve of his handling of the economy.
Ouch. The American Legislative Exchange Council’s ratings on states’ economic outlook are out. New York is 50th, California is 47th and Illinois is 44th. Hey, those are all deep blue states. In fact, Kentucky is the only red state in the bottom 10.
Ouch. Jon Huntsman seems to acknowledge Republicans don’t like him. “Jon Huntsman sketched out a path to the Republican nomination Wednesday that transcends the conservative base in key early states, an exercise in needle-threading that hinges on his ability to capture a large swath of independent voters.”