The media have already picked their winner. My colleagues Pejman Yousefzedeh and Bob Hahn have pointed to a Rassmussen poll that indicates 49% of sentient Americans believe the media is in the tank for Barack Obama
Today on the front page of the Washington Post two reporters, with a thrill running up their collective leg, demonstrate the veracity of this poll by engaging in blatant, robust man-love (we are giving them the benefit of the doubt at this stage) for Obama by doing violence to the very notion of mathematics as anything other than metaphor.
A lot of ink has been spilled over whether or not failed Iraqi Prime Minister Nour al-Maliki has endorsed Barack Obama's plan for troop withdrawal. Never mind that the controversy hinges on one number, to wit 16, and ignores the premises behind the number. Obama made his proposal in the context of the war in Iraq being lost:
"My plan for ending the war would turn the page in Iraq by removing our combat troops from Iraq’s civil war; by taking a new approach to press for a new accord on reconciliation within Iraq; by talking to all of Iraq’s neighbors to press for a compact in the region; and by confronting the human costs of this war.
The stated purpose of the surge was to enable Iraq's political leaders to reconcile. They have not done so. . . . Our troops fight and die in the 120 degree heat to give Iraq's leaders space to agree, but they are not filling it. . . . The bar for success is so low that it is almost buried in the sand." While the failed Iraqi government is referring to troop reductions in the context of winning a war.
Today the post runs a front page, above-the-fold, story headlined:
Iraq Points to Pullout in 2010
High-Level Statement Is Second in Days to Back Timetable Similar to Obama's
Whether or not this headline is an accurate statement or simply a case of WaPo reporters Sudarsan Raghavan and Dan Eggen fellating Obama depends on what "similar" means.
From the story:
The comments by spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh mark the second time in recent days that a senior Iraqi has endorsed a timetable for U.S. withdrawal that is roughly similar to the one advocated by Obama. Dabbagh suggested that a combat force pullout could be completed by the end of 2010, which would be about seven months longer than Obama's 16-month formulation (emphasis mine).
So if Obama's "plan" calls for a 16-month redeployment of US troops and the Iraqi government's proposal is 23-months, or some 44% longer that Obama's, they are still similar. Now granted, they are similar in that they are integers beyond that the similarity is more than a little unclear. This is an expansive definition of "similar" that I could have benefited from in my failed attempt to be a geologist had my professors been WaPo readers.
Using the same definition "similar" would include any period of time from 9 through 23 months, inclusive, and could undoubtedly be expanded as much as necessary to support any position taken by the Obama campaign and we'll undoubtedly see this happen in the course of the campaign when Obama will have to eventually admit that a US military presence in Iraq, similar to that we've had in Germany and Korea, is inevitable.