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Ricks Suggests Obama is Stalling on Afghanistan to Help John Corzine

By Matthew Yglesias on October 29, 2009 at 5:31 pm

"Ricks Suggests Obama is Stalling on Afghanistan to Help John Corzine"

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He doesn’t endorse it, per se, but Tom Ricks sort of uncritically passes on the following fairly serious—and seriously weird—accusation against the White House:

Last but most importantly: Nov. 3, gubernatorial elections in both Virginia and New Jersey. The latter of which is my reasoning why the decision was delayed this long. Corzine is in the fight of his life and Obama is going to piss people off either way. Important special elections also in California and New York.

I’m not going to shift into faux-naive mode and pretend it’s outrageous to even insinuate that the administration thinks about politics when it comes to national security. No doubt the president is aware of the general state of public opinion and thinks about how his decisions on Afghanistan will impact his ability to work on other aspects of his agenda. That said, the idea that a decision is being specifically pushed back until after the election because somehow that will help John Corzine is kind of bizarre.

I mean, there’s not even any reason I can think of for believing that delay is helpful to Corzine. This sounds like a person so eager to dream up insidious motives to attribute to the president that he’s come up with one that doesn’t even make minimal sense. Ricks himself has been sharply critical of Obama’s slow decision-making pace. If he wants to endorse the claim, that the “most important” factor in the delay is a cynical effort to intervene in the NJ gubernatorial election he should say so plainly and back the argument up. If not, he should withdraw it. Just passing this on as an “interesting analysis” from “My book researcher, Kyle Flynn, a two-tour vet of Afghanistan (with extra points for duty in Oruzgan, the Pashtun answer to Arkansas) and now a graduate student at Georgetown University,” doesn’t really cut it.

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