Monday, September 29, 2008

The pitfalls of common sense

It must be hard to stay on script, especially when you can't let common sense be your guide. Take for example the McCain/Palin campaign as it tries to make sense of its position on the the Taliban and al Qaeda and their activities in the Afghan and Pakistani border regions. To stay on message at the debate the other night Senator McCain had to keep rebuking Obama for his naive and unschooled approach to the problem.

About a year ago now, Obama was presented with a hypothetical question: If you had clear and actionable intelligence about the location of bin Laden or some other senior al Qaeda operative within Pakistan and Pakistan either couldn't or wouldn't act to take them out, or cooperate in doing so, would you act unilaterally?

His answer was —yes.

At the time, during the primary campaign, there was every effort to paint his answer as a gaffe, something only a dangerous neophyte would say. He was given opportunity to qualify, clarify, or rework his response.

No thanks, he said, I meant what I said.

Fast forward to the debate the other night and John McCain is still gnawing at the bone. Obama was irresponsible, naive and dangerous for saying such a thing.