RUSH: Last night on CBS coverage, Katie Couric spoke with Bob Schieffer after the speech. She asked Bob Schieffer, ‘How convincing do you think the president was tonight in terms of supporting his decision?’
SCHIEFFER: The president always makes a very eloquent speech, but we’ll look back on this and say, ‘This was the defining moment of the Obama presidency.’ This was the night when Barack Obama took full ownership of the war in Afghanistan. What the comment on this speech is going to be all about is, is the strategy itself. How do you on the one hand say, ‘We need to send these troops over there. It’s critical. This is in our national security interests to do this,’ but then say, ‘Uh, but we’re only going to keep ’em there for 18 months. We’re going to start to withdraw them’? I just don’t understand the logic of how that works.
COURIC: But isn’t it a delicate…?
SCHIEFFER: I don’t understand how you can set a deadline. You know, this is not a football game where there’s a clock where the time runs out. To win this war you have to defeat the enemy. How can we say in the beginning that we’re going to do that when we don’t know what’s going to happen?
RUSH: That’s classic! We gotta keep that in the archives forever. There’s old Bob Schieffer on CBS saying it doesn’t make sense, Katie. It doesn’t make sense. This is right up there with the Brokaw bites (doing Brokaw impression), ‘We don’t really know much about Barack Obama, what books he’s read, people he knows.’ It’s the defining moment of the Obama presidency, but gosh, it just makes no sense. The defining moment of the Obama presidency, according to CBS, makes no sense! He’s right. It doesn’t make any sense. The surprising thing to me to me is that Schieffer wants to defeat the enemy. (interruption) That’s that, Snerdley? Well, I know he’s a World War II guy, but… Okay, maybe I’ll rethink that. David Gergen is also in crisis. David ‘Rodham’ Gergen is in crisis. CNN’s Special Decision Afghanistan. After Obama spoke, Anderson Cooper spoke with David ‘Rodham’ Gergen. ‘Can he have it both ways: A troop increase and then kind of announcing withdrawal?’
GERGEN: I don’t think he succeeded tonight doing the most important thing he hoped to do, and that was to rally the country, to heal the wounds and rally the country behind him. I — I — I just don’t think it happened. Um, we’ve given too little credit to the president and the people around him in developing his policy. They understand this extremely well. One could not always say that about the Bush administration sometimes when they went to war. They do have a sophisticated approach. I don’t think they explained it very well. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, at the beginning: ‘The cavalry is coming but they ain’t staying long,’ which was sort of the message of the speech.
RUSH: You talk about tortured? You talk about tortured! This a guy bending over backwards, forwards, sideways to praise this thing. ‘They’re smart! They’re really smarter than the Bush administration. Oh, yeah. Sophisticated, much smarter than Bush. But the strategy is nonsensical here, Anderson. Send the cavalry in, and you take ’em out? I think you can pull it off, I really do. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, but it’s crazy. It’s sophisticated nonsense out there. They’re really smarter than the Bush people. I think they really know what they’re doing. The speech didn’t quite make any sense. I mean, it does make sense, but it didn’t make sense. You going to send the cavalry out there, going to bring them back in. I think it’s not as crazy as it sounds, but it’s crazy.’ That’s the translation of what you just heard.
RUSH: Now, folks, let’s go to perhaps the reigning smartest, ahem, conservative, ahem, in the room, David Brooks, last night on PBS with Jim Lehrer, ‘Obama didn’t say get out.’
BROOKS: It’s a way of going to war in a way that’s quite limited. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a country go to war in this fashion, but it’s going to be what we’re going to try.
LEHRER: Did you have a sense that history was being made? No president has ever done this before, said, ‘Okay we’re going to escalate, but we’re going to escalate toward a conclusion by a date.’ Has that ever happened before?
BROOKS: Yeah, and I really don’t know what to make of it because it will be some comfort to the skeptics of the war, but how will the people in Afghanistan feel, how will the government feel, how will the Taliban feel? That’s sort of unknown to me. The other big gap in the speech that I thought that I’m still waiting for is how exactly we’re going to fight this war.
RUSH: Now remember, this is the guy who loves the crease in Obama’s slacks, I mean he really has a good tailor, very sophisticated. So all these people in the tank for Obama are just confused. You note, ladies and gentlemen, the only people not confused are you and I. I can tell you how the Taliban are going to feel. I frankly don’t care how they feel, but I know what they’re going to do. They’re going to sit around and they’re going to terrorize the villagers, and they’re going to say, ‘Look, the Americans are going to get outta here in 18 months. We’re going to be here after they leave. You choose sides right now, and we’ll be watching.’ That’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to have no allies. We’re going to get no cooperation like we had in Iraq and the surge there. We’re not going to get anything like that. (imitating Obama) ‘I don’t know how the Taliban feels about this, I’ve never seen a country go to war like this before, I really don’t know what to make of it because he’s such a smart guy, Obama’s such a brilliant, sophisticated guy. I really don’t know what to make of it. Maybe I’m not smart enough to figure it out,’ Brooks is saying.
And then Jim Lehrer is doing his level best to promote this, ‘This is incredible, history being made, no president’s ever done this before. Wow. Wow. We’re going to escalate but we’re going to escalate toward a conclusion by a date, wow.’ Trying to make this FDResque or Churchillesque. I have the greatest time listening to these pointy-headed know-nothing intellectuals wring their hands over this and try to make sense of their smart buddy, their elitist fellow Ivy Leaguer just making a fool of himself, ‘I don’t know what to make of it, never seen it done before, well, I don’t think it’s going to work, crazy to send the cavalry in there and pull them back out. I don’t know, smart guy, though, they’re far more sophisticated than the Bush people. We gotta give them that but, boy, I don’t know, guess it could work, but I don’t think it can.’
RUSH: Bob Schieffer. Bob Schieffer said, ‘I don’t understand it. I do not understand how you can do this. You go out there… It’s not a football game where there’s a time limit and when the time limit’s over…’ That’s a good point. Think of the speech and look at it in light of a pregame pep talk. Imagine Obama as a coach of a football team with that speech. It’s brutally bad, folks, it was horribly incoherent and it was so narcissistically self-absorbed that it was — to me it was — an abomination, and I am not trying to be overly critical. Now, in the context of the speech, Obama said last night (again, bashing the Bush administration) that requests by commanders on the ground in Afghanistan for five years for more troops were never answered.
RUSH: Now, back to some audio sound bites, ladies and gentlemen. We just heard from David Brooks, struggling to accept a nonsensical strategy from his intellectually superior and nuanced president. Here is Howard Fineman, post-speech, MSNBC. Question: ‘How did the speech go? Could it have changed minds in any direction?’
FINEMAN: Not based on soundings that I’ve taken — e-mailing with people, talking on the phone, checking out the blogs. I don’t think he changed many minds one way or the other. I think it will be viewed realistically by everybody all across the spectrum. Dick Cheney’s already sounded his notes. People like McCain sounded theirs. Senator Dick Durbin, one of Barack Obama’s earliest supporters, issuing a very terse statement tonight, saying, you know, it took the president a long time to decide this strategy. It’s going to take me awhile to decide what I want to say. On the blogs, at least the ones that I looked at right away, a kind of grudging understanding that he was making a grim, calculated defense of the existing strategy.
RUSH: A grim minimalist defense of strategy. And Fineman says it did not satisfy the base. He’s going to have no base when he needs ’em. Here’s Maxine Waters again on MSNBC, post-speech. She was asked if she was for or against, or both, the new strategy.
WATERS: I’m terribly saddened. After having listened to the speech, I felt that this, uh, young, bright, articulate president, uh, who wants to do the right thing but made commitments during his campaign that he was going into Afghanistan. He was going to get Osama Bin Laden, and now he’s back against the wall, uh, with a strategy that I think has no end. It doesn’t really resonate for me. I’m saddened because 30,000, uh, new troops are going to go into Afghanistan. I guess they’re going to be fighting in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, and Taliban — and where does it end? And what do we do? We have to kill all of the Taliban and we’re going to try and transition that government into a democracy? I don’t get it. It doesn’t work for me.
RUSH: So Maxine Waters. We are so honored, ladies and gentlemen, to be alive to share in the raw intellect of so many members of the Democrat Party. Maxine Waters especially. I hope you take a moment to give thanks to whoever you thank, that you happen to be born at a time when you lived on the planet at the same time as Maxine Waters, so that you and all of us could benefit from the brilliance, the articulation that we just heard. It’s so rare to be in the midst of this kind of blinding smartness. She’s just saddened that the young, bright president has been forced to keep his campaign promise, which we all know was just a campaign promise. Last night on CNN, after Obama spoke, the Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
STARR: What the president did tonight is he put boundaries around what the military will do. He spoke right here about what we can achieve at ‘a reasonable cost.’ He has put boundaries around it. This is not overwhelming force, this is not overwhelming diplomacy, not overwhelming economic aid. All of this is boundaries. Uh, not to be flip about it, if there’s any good news tonight maybe it’s that there weren’t any gate crashers at West Point. (haughty laughter) As far as we know.
RUSH: Oh! Oh-ho ho! Ohhhh! Ladies and gentlemen, the long knives are out in the State-Controlled Media. From Bob Schieffer, to David Brooks, to David ‘Rodham’ Gergen, to Howard Fineman — and now Barbara Starr at CNN: The only good news is there weren’t any gate crashers at West Point. But we can always count on F. Chuck Todd.
TODD: You gotta say this about the president. By putting this July 2011 date out there, he’s basically saying, ‘Look, judge me in the first term. I’m making this Afghanistan policy part of the referendum on my presidency.’ That’s a gutsy move.
RUSH: F. Chuck Todd: ‘a gutsy move.’ No, F. Chuck, it’s… (laughing) It’s a purely calculated political move. We want to do something.