But more than anything, I think the self-delusion exhibited by Bacevich in his article underscores how formidable Obama can be.
This gives Obama far too much credit. Prof. Bacevich isn’t engaging in any self-delusion. He may be unduly optimistic about Obama’s chances to end the war, but it seems clear that he has come to this position in spite of everything that he knows about Obama. Before he can make the pro-Obama suggestion, he has to remove the traditional resistance to the idea of supporting a Democrat for President, and the main way to do that is to show how the GOP is not only not going to advance the conservative views he has outlined but in many cases will embrace their opposites. As I read Bacevich, Obama becomes just barely tolerable because the GOP has failed so badly and lost all credibility. Bacevich has taken this position with his eyes wide open, so to speak, and does not indulge the comforting falsehoods that Obama channels Burke and the like. That means that Obama’s appeal on the right will probably end up being confined to a very few who are so strongly antiwar that they are simply dead-set against McCain winning and will do what is necessary to prevent that from happening. As the nominating contest itself has shown, there aren’t a lot of these people, and it seems to me that Obama might get about half of them at the most. This is not a measure of how formidable Obama is, but instead it is a measure of how utterly unacceptable McCain is to everyone on the antiwar right and how far some are willing to go to thwart McCain’s ambitions. For some of the reasons Klein outlines, as well as others that I have given before, I cannot bring myself to that point, but I understand that the main reason why some of my colleagues can and have has almost nothing to do with Obama and a great deal to do with McCain.