There's nowhere left for McCain to go here. Either he endorses a timetable for withdrawal, which he has consistently said would be a disaster, and cedes his only big issue to Obama -- and more importantly, concedes that Obama's judgment is sound -- or he deliberately ignores the concerted, expressed wishes of the Iraqi government in order to prolong an unpopular war.But the mainstream media have already formulated a new "gotcha question" for Obama. The question which Nightline asked him tonight is "If you had to do it over again, . . . would you support the surge?" It's a clever question because it focuses Obama's immediate attention on whether the Bush administration was correct in launching the surge rather than whether it's now appropriate to withdraw American troops. However, if Obama acknowledged that the surge was a good idea, he would leave open the possibility that the Bush administration might be right about not withdrawing at all.
Obama's answer was that "these kinds of hypotheticals are very difficult." That's not very good and he'll probably have to come up with a better answer the next time he's asked. Maliki's endorsement of the idea of getting American troops out of Iraq in 2010 could be a big boost for Obama. But Obama has a long way to go before he nails that big boost down.
And there will be more "gotcha questions" coming Obama's way.
Contrary to Spencer Ackerman, "it ain't over till it's over."