Friday, December 16, 2005


I think Dana Milbank has largely failed to find a voice as a columnist. I think he's unwilling to really pick a side (by side I don't mean Democrat/Republican, I just mean to have a point of view aside from "everyone sorta sucks"), and in his attempts to be above it all he's become some weird hybrid of Bill Maher, South Park, and David Broder. But he's a smart guy and when he gets it right he really gets it right. In a live chat today he explained the basic Iraq political dynamic very succinctly:

Washington, D.C.: The most recent Sketch told us how many times the President used the term "victory" in discussing Iraq, but not what the President meant by the term. Since, as you point out, the President makes "victory" a centerpiece of his Iraq PR campaign, can you shed any light on what exactly the President means by "victory"? Isn't it important to know what we are fighting for; or is Iraq just a Vietnam re-run about which Country Joe and the Fish once sang, "well its 1-2-3-4, what are we fighting for? Don't know, don't give a darn. Next stop is Vietnam."

Dana Milbank:

This is why the "victory" strategy is brilliant: As my sage colleague Al Kamen points out, Bush is taking the Potter Stewart approach. I don't know the definition of victory, but I know it when I see it. While the president has put himself in position of being the sole arbiter of victory, he has managed to make all his opponents appear to be advocating the opposite, which is defeat.

(he may have stolen it from Al Kamen, but I couldn't track down the Kamen version)