‘A Promise Kept’

Obama for America unveiled this video earlier today, called, “Ending the War in Iraq: A Promise Kept.” It sketches out President Obama’s opposition to the war before it began, shows his commitment to ending the conflict over the course of several years, and takes us through to this week, when he welcomed home U.S. servicemen and women at Fort Bragg.

Clearly, when it comes to listing his first-term accomplishments, Obama will put a very big check mark next to “end the war in Iraq” on his presidential to-do list. With each of the leading Republican candidates criticizing the withdrawal, and calling for an indefinite military presence in Iraq, it will be a point the president and his team will be eager to emphasize.

What I find interesting, though, is to realize the muted political impact.

I started blogging in February 2003, shortly before the war began (I was against the invasion), and along with millions of others, I was horrified by this disaster. For years, the notion of a U.S. withdrawal and an end to the war seemed like a dream. Indeed, if you’d told me in 2006 or 2007 that a Democratic president would, less than three years after taking office, bring all U.S. troops home, I would have expected it to be a huge deal, with a major bump in the polls, and pockets of national celebrations. This was, after all, the dominant issue in American politics for several years.

But the nation’s political priorities have changed dramatically in a fairly brief period of time, in large part because of the economic crash in 2008. And as a result, President Obama likely won’t receive any political boost at all, no matter how significant the development.