Sneaky, Sinister Goings-On Over at Obama’s Website

Another example of pathologizing evolving responses to changed fact sets:

 Barack Obama’s campaign scrubbed his presidential Web site over the weekend to remove criticism of the U.S. troop “surge” in Iraq, the Daily News has learned.

The presumed Democratic nominee replaced his Iraq issue Web page, which had described the surge as a “problem” that had barely reduced violence.

“The surge is not working,” Obama’s old plan stated, citing a lack of Iraqi political cooperation but crediting Sunni sheiks – not U.S. military muscle – for quelling violence in Anbar Province.

The News reported Sunday that insurgent attacks have fallen to the fewest since March 2004.

Obama’s campaign posted a new Iraq plan Sunday night, which cites an “improved security situation” paid for with the blood of U.S. troops since the surge began in February 2007.

It praises G.I.s’ “hard work, improved counterinsurgency tactics and enormous sacrifice.”

Campaign aide Wendy Morigi said Obama is “not softening his criticism of the surge. We regularly update the Web site to reflect changes in current events.”

GOP rival John McCain zinged Obama as a flip-flopper. “The major point here is that Sen. Obama refuses to acknowledge that he was wrong,” said McCain, adding that Obama “refuses to acknowledge that it [the surge] is succeeding.”

Scott at Power Line responds in typical fashion:

The New York Daily News catches Barack Obama scrubbing his Web site over the weekend to remove criticism of the U.S. troop “surge” in Iraq. Obama’s site had previously described the surge as a “problem” that had barely reduced violence. Obama’s “down the memory hole” approach to his critique of the surge is the perfect accompaniment to his dishonest New York Times op-ed.

There is no “memory hole” problem here, though — at least not for Obama.

James Joyner disagrees with Obama’s withdrawal plan — as do I, with parts of it, but for very different reasons from James’s. However, James’s analysis of the right’s response (or much of it) to the “Obama scrubbed his website” story is quite good: 

Barack Obama has taken things off his campaign site that might be used by opponents to embarrass him, James Gordon Meek reports in the NY Daily News under the headline “Obama Purges Web Critique of Surge.”  Why, it’s our Outrage of the Day!
I question the timing. It’s awfully convenient that the Daily News published something on Sunday and the Obama campaign just happened to take that into account in a speech he gave on Monday, let alone that he just so happened to put that speech up on his Iraq page over the weekend!

Jim Hoft has screen caps proving the perfidy. …

Ed Morrissey believes that “the Obama campaign has yet to acknowledge that the changes came from a strategy he opposed and that he predicted would fail. “ Obama’s Monday NYT op-ed, “My Plan for Iraq,” does that, though:

In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.

But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true.

One can reasonably disagree with his plan; indeed, I do. But he acknowledges the successes of the Surge while still arguing that it’s time to start drawing down our forces.

Scott Johnson says it’s 1984 and this is Obama’s version of the Ministry of Truth. Matt Lewis thinks it’s “sinister” and “secretive.” But campaign websites are marketing vehicles, not permanent document repositories. Nor do they operate on the ethical premises of the blogosphere, where purging old posts is considered unsporting.

Pamela Geller thinks that, “when he denies with a straight face that he’s changing anything, Obama gives new meaning to chutzpah.” But he’s not changing anything! He still supports withdrawal 16 months after he takes office, albeit with some caveats that he didn’t emphasize during the primaries. And he says right there in the NYT op-ed — published yesterday — that he opposed the Surge. If he’s trying to hide that fact, he’s going to need to be a mite more clever about it.

Cernig declares Obama to be a “triangulating wimp.” Then again, so is McCain:

Triangulating wimp. He could at least have the courage of his previous convictions and say clearly that he thinks he was wrong, if that is indeed what he thinks now. But McCain’s just as bad. He’s been opposed to drawing troops down in Iraq (disagreeing with the Pentagon) but now, when polling tells him that many sympathise with the argument that Afghanistan is the real central front in the War on Terror – including both Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus during their last testimony to Congress – he’s ready to announce he wants a Surge there too. McCain’s also made a huge dung pile about Obama’s previous stance on the Surge making him unfit to be Commander In Chief. Yet Mullen opposed the Surge and so too did Bob Gates. Has McCain said aloud that such opposition makes them unfit to be Chair of the Joint Chiefs or Secretary of Defense? of course not. Triangulating wimp.


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