Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday's wash

So the reviews are coming in for the president's speech last night, but they seem decidedly...mixed, at best--even from the president's allies::
"Lawmakers from President Barack Obama's own Democratic Party expressed deep skepticism about the plan's chances for success but conceded they had little likelihood of blocking it. Republican supporters of the troop increase had their own objections, chiefly Obama's announcement Tuesday night of a July 2011 timeline for beginning to bring American forces home."

Even the NY Times notes the contradictions in the president's policy:
"But by including an explicit timetable to begin a withdrawal, Mr. Obama highlighted the seemingly conflicting pressures defining the debate over how to proceed: to do what is necessary to ensure that the region is not a launching pad for attacks on the United States and its allies, and to disengage militarily as quickly as possible."

Even some Obama-ites at Salon mag are deeply unhappy:
"I may be the only person in the United States who was trying to wait for President Obama's Afghanistan speech to make up my mind about his war plans. Of course, I mostly failed at that. Sure, all of Obama's options are bad, but still, few decisions seem as clear-cut as this one. Escalation is hard to see as an exit strategy. Obama has no clear path to "victory." We are likely to waste more lives than we save. I thought that was true before Obama's big speech, and I still think it now, afterward. At the moment he needed all of his persuasive powers, Obama gave the worst major speech of his presidency. I admit: I expected to be, even wanted to be, carried away a bit by Obama's trademark rhetorical magic. But I wasn't, not even a little. I found the speech rushed, sing-songy and perfunctory, delivered by rote. I despise the right-wing Obama-Teleprompter taunts, but even I wanted to say, Look at your audience, not the damn Teleprompter, Mr. President. Obama looked haggard, his eyes deeper set, and I believe this decision pained him. But I'm not sure even he believes it's the right decision."

An AP "fact check" quickly found some Obama fact-fudging:
"The president raised expectations that may be hard to meet when he told Americans his troop increase in Afghanistan will accelerate the training of that country's own forces and be accompanied by more help from allies. A look at some of his claims and how they compare with the facts:
OBAMA: "Because this is an international effort, I have asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. Some have already provided additional troops, and we are confident that there will be further contributions in the days and weeks ahead."
THE FACTS: When Obama says he is confident that allied countries will provide more troops in the weeks ahead he is setting aside years of mostly empty-handed American efforts to get others, including allies in NATO, to deepen their commitment to combat in Afghanistan."

The Notre Dame men's hoops team is now 7-1, with a win yesterday over Idaho State, 80-70. That's nice; that Luke Harangody continues to pile up points, rebounds, and school records is great, he deserves them; and it's nice that ND can score.
But it's worrisome that a team like Idaho State can shoot 55% for the game against ND and hang with them for that long. Defense, or rather, the lack of it, killed the Irish once they got into Big East play last year. Will it do the same this year?
Meanwhile Michigan State lost--again--to North Carolina, 89-82. The Spartans didn't shoot well from the perimeter, and had trouble defended UNC's big men down low. But who's surprised that MSU, in playing such a tough schedule, is starting slow. Izzo's teams always seem to finish well, though...