Via Newsbusters, she can’t seriously believe the number is 95 percent.
Then again, this is someone who spells “Nicole” with two L’s.
Watch, then we’ll do some partisan math.
The great majority of Republicans will hate Biden’s speech because he’s a Democrat and they’re duty-bound to hate it even though the core sentiment, that Americans shouldn’t be dying in endless wars to defend a people who won’t defend themselves, is right in the MAGA wheelhouse. That leaves us way, way short of 95 percent. That said, Wallace is right that the country broadly supports withdrawal even though it knows things might get ugly. Women in burqas again? Afghan soldiers being executed? Americans have already priced that in and are willing to accept it in the name of being done with a 20-year go-nowhere occupation. I think it’s conceivable that Biden will see, oh, 65 percent support if things don’t get really bad. In addition to Democrats supporting Biden for partisan reasons, there are some nationalists and libertarians on the right who take isolationism seriously enough that they’ll grin and bear whatever’s coming in the name of reducing America’s military footprint abroad.
I’m enjoying the MAGA cope in my replies who conveniently forget Trump fell for the Generals tricks in 2017 and then was so incompetent he couldn’t actually end the war by the end of his presidency
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) August 16, 2021
Biden deserves credit for finally just giving the people the truth: Our presence in Afghanistan will never achieve the desired aims, and the nat sec officials who said otherwise were frauds and liars. Trump got rolled by these con artists, Biden said Enough.
— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) August 16, 2021
Still, the restoration of the Taliban is a process, and Americans have a funny habit of supporting major foreign policy decisions soon after they’re made before gradually changing their minds once they’re forced to live with the consequences. Taliban atrocities will be recorded on smartphones and shared on social media. Reports of jihadis setting up camp in Afghanistan will appear in newspapers. Grim stats about school attendance rates among Afghan girls collapsing will circulate.
That 65 percent will begin to soften.
Democrats will hang with Biden for awhile but misgivings will nag at them. They’re supposed to be the party that cares about human rights, no? It’s the MAGAs who are callous towards foreigners, not liberals, or so we’re told. Why, the president’s speech today sounded more Trumpy than it did Biden-esque. That won’t sit well with them.
There may be unpleasant foreign policy consequences too that’ll compound the damage to Biden’s and the party’s fortunes. If China’s saber-rattling about America’s provocative weakness in Afghanistan leads to an invasion of Taiwan, U.S. prestige will crumble and humiliated swing voters may clamor for a right-wing strongman who’ll ensure that the country is once again feared abroad. Maybe that’ll be Trump, the left’s nemesis. Maybe it’ll be someone worse. That’s a high price for Democrats to pay for withdrawal from a conflict that hadn’t caused major American casualties in years.
There’s another influence on Democratic opinion that shouldn’t be underestimated, namely that some prominent members of the party will be willing to say publicly that the withdrawal process was grossly mismanaged and became an inexcusable clusterf**k. For instance, there’s this Democratic former CIA chief and defense secretary:
“In many ways, I think of John Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs, you know?” [Leon] Panetta said. “It unfolded quickly and the president thought that everything would be fine and that was not the case.” But President John F. Kennedy, Panetta noted, “took responsibility for what took place.”…
“We’ve been through a difficult few days here in Afghanistan, and he’s got to make clear to the American people that as commander in chief, he is going to continue to protect our national security and that we are going to go after terrorists wherever the hell they are at. He’s just got to ensure that the United States of America remains a strong world leader that can work with our allies to try to protect peace and prosperity. That is the message he’s got to give the American people and the world, because our credibility right now is in question.”
Did it help our credibility when Biden blamed the Afghan army for failing in his speech this afternoon despite the fact that he pulled the logistical rug out from under them when he withdrew American troops? The Afghans had been trained to depend on American air support and real-time intelligence from U.S. assets. Because they were using American-made aircraft and other vehicles, they relied on American contractors to service their arsenal. When Biden yanked our air power, contractors, and intel people, the foundation on which the Afghan army was built collapsed underneath them.
I’d say our credibility is more in question after that display of buck-passing, not less.
Another Obama alum is also underwhelmed by Biden’s performance:
“I thought that his case for why we had to get out was strong, it was compelling, and I think he had to do that as well. But I do think that he needed to take responsibility,” Axelrod said.
“I think he would have served himself well if he had just embraced it. Yes, there were failures on the part of the — clearly on the part of the Afghans. Yes the government there is corrupt. Yes Donald Trump left him with a mess. All of that is true, but he is the commander in chief now. He is in charge of this operation, and he should have said it did not go as it should have and taken responsibility for that,” Axelrod later added.
What will it do to Democratic support to have figures like Axelrod and Panetta giving them de facto permission via their criticism to be unhappy with Biden and how this has played out? Do we think that 65 percent will hold?
Do we think *50 percent* will hold?
“asked whether the U.S. should still withdraw its military presence if this would create an opportunity for terrorist groups like al Qaeda to establish operations in Afghanistan” 35% said the American military should withdraw in this case, with 48% saying it should not.
— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) August 16, 2021
I’ll leave you with this guy, who followed Wallace on MSNBC after she assured viewers that Biden rules and everyone will love what he had to say. He did … not love it.
U.S. Army veteran Matt Zeller goes off on MSNBC about Biden’s remarks on Afghanistan:
Zeller: “I feel like I watched a different speech than the rest of you guys. I was appalled.” pic.twitter.com/eGC5tMBvy4
— Whitney Robertson (@whitneyleerob) August 16, 2021
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