Republican strategist and Democrats' archenemy Karl Rove has broken ranks with his party and personality to praise President Obama's Tuesday night speech on Afghanistan. Of course, the president's address was also breaking ranks in a fashion--the strategy of sending 30,000 extra troops is popular among Republicans. Still, the plaudits from Rove were by no means a given. "President Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday night deserves to be
cheered," Rove declares in the The Wall Street Journal. "Over the objections of his vice
president and despite opposition from
his political base, the president is sending an additional 30,000
troops to Afghanistan to fight terrorists." He suggests that the
decision will help the president's approval numbers at home and rebukes
the "antiwar left" for both thinking Obama wasn't serious in calling
Afghanistan the "war of necessity" and trying to "stop the president
from making good on his commitments."
Naturally, Rove has a few quibbles: he would have preferred Obama give General McChrystal his requested full 40,000 troops, isn't nuts about the "arbitrary" withdrawal date, and wasn't a particular fan of the long deliberation time. He also thinks Obama "missed a chance for a grace note" discussing the Iraq surge--Obama should have acknowledged that he was wrong and praised President Bush. But the tactician ends with a comradely call to arms:
Victory can still be won. It won't be quick and it won't be easy, and it will take active leadership from Mr. Obama. But it is now within his grasp.