Air America Radio
Well, the Atrios-OTB debate (The Thrilla in Blogzilla?!) on Air America Radio‘s “Majority Report” is over. I’m still unused to the vagaries of radio via telephone but it was a little less awkward from a technological standpoint than my first stab on it with Cam Edwards. I could at least hear everybody, although I think I talked over the segue to a station break. Going three against one trying to defend the progress in Iraq is a daunting task and I’m not sure how well I fared. Atrios, a Wednesday night regular on the program, sounded quite polished and reasonable, at least over the phone.
Clearly, the occupation/counter-insurgency phase of the war has been messy. Aside from not going to war in the first place–which may or may not have been the case if Al Gore or John Kerry were president–I am not sure how things could be much better, though. People give presidents too much credit and blame for things over which they have only strategic control, whether the state of the economy or the progress of a war. No president, regardless of how congenial or how many languages his wife speaks, was going to be able to talk France into going to war with us. No president, regardless of the brilliance his staff, was going to have substantially more success against the insurgency. The insurgents always fare well in the early stages and things get worse before they get better.
Unfortunately for Bush, the incumbent gets blamed for everything that goes wrong and the challenger can say he would have done all the good things, too, but somehow avoided the bad ones. If Gore were president and things were as they are now, one presumes the Republican challenger would say the same thing. Bush is going to have to persuade people between now and November 2nd that he has by and large made the right decisions in Iraq and elsewhere and that he’s more trustworthy than Kerry to lead us into the future. The second part of that task will be easier than the first, I’m afraid.
Update: Don’t forget, Robert Tagorda is on tomorrow night.