Playing two sides against Afghanistan

It’s one thing for a politician to draw criticism for a policy from his opponents, but the reaction to President Obama’s Afghani-plan speech last night from the left is potentially more problematic.

Obama’s speech was unsurprising – not only had his plans for troop escalation been the worst kept secret in Washington for weeks, he promised to do as much during the campaign last year.  Still, pundits like Michael Moore – normally a water boy for all issue blue – have issued strongly worded rebukes against such a strategy.

Moore’s warning, in an open letter, that Obama would “destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in” him suggests that he wasn’t paying attention to the substance of Obama’s campaign rhetoric.  As a likeable candidate, Obama made it easy for folks like Moore to ignore policy details and revel in the fact that their newest candidate wasn’t a wonkish robot (like Al Gore in 2000) or a New England blue blood (like John Kerry).

Unfortunately for the President, that raises expectations to the level of his follower’s wildest dreams – not a good thing in an environment where success or failure often comes down to the size of the yardstick.

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