Team of rivals, round 1 ~ BrianInNYC

In the early days of the new administration much was made of the term “team of rivals” to describe the type of cabinet President Obama had put together but until very recently we really haven’t seen too many competing views being played out.  I have feeling that all that is about to change on what will I think prove to the most difficult issue of President Obama’s first term, Afghanistan.  Frankly I find it fascinating that the two main players in this debate are the Sect. of State and the VP.  Perhaps I’m reading too much into what’s going  but I think there is something else at stake besides which path we will be taking in Afghanistan but also the structure of the Democratic Party under Obama. 


Obama Considers Strategy Shift in Afghan War
President is reportedly considering one plan put together by Vice President Joe Biden that would scale back U.S. forces and instead put emphasis on rooting out Al Qaeda there and in Pakistan.

In what appeared to be a reference to this debate, Clinton voiced her opinion on the matter in an interview on Monday night.

"Some people say, ‘Well, Al Qaeda’s no longer in Afghanistan,’" she said on PBS. "If Afghanistan were taken over by the Taliban, I can’t tell you how fast Al Qaeda would be back in Afghanistan."

Obama Considers Strategy Shift in Afghan War

President Obama is exploring alternatives to a major troop increase in Afghanistan, including a plan advocated by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to scale back American forces and focus more on rooting out Al Qaeda there and in Pakistan, officials said Tuesday.

Although Mr. Obama has said that a stable Afghanistan is central to the security of the United States, some advisers said he was also wary of becoming trapped in an overseas quagmire. Some Pentagon officials say they worry that he is having what they called “buyer’s remorse” after ordering an extra 21,000 troops there within weeks of taking office before even settling on a strategy.



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33 responses to “Team of rivals, round 1 ~ BrianInNYC

  1. Breaking News Alert
    The New York Times
    Sun, September 27, 2009 — 2:06 PM ET

    William Safire, Nixon Speechwriter and Times Columnist, Is Dead at 79

    William Safire, a speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon
    and a Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for The New
    York Times who also wrote books on politics and a treasury of
    articles on language, has died at age 79.

  2. After watching the interview with SOS Clinton on Face the Nation this morning and then watching an interview with Secretary Gates, where they both were essentially asked the same questions about Iran and Afghanistan I really don’t think the team of rivals scenario is going to play itself out, much to the annoyance of the media, who loves the idea of that idea. I’ll admit, I’m biased, I run a blog that is entirely about Secretary Clinton, but I think this is one of the most cohesive foreign policy teams an administration has had in a long, long time.

  3. nannymm

    Hi, Stacyx. Can you post a link to your blog?

  4. Welcome aboard stacy. I didn’t catch Face The Nation today so I’m glad you posted your link. I for one don’t think it’s such a bad thing that everyone isn’t on the same page on this one. To be honest I don’t mind a little drama everyone once in a while it keeps things interesting, and in all candor I am finding myself leaning more towards the Biden position than Clinton’s.

  5. dnd

    “Perhaps I’m reading too much into what’s going but I think there is something else at stake besides which path we will be taking in Afghanistan but also the structure of the Democratic Party under Obama. ”

    Ya wanna elaborate on that?

  6. Thanks, Brian. What was amazing about the interview with Secy Gates this morning was that he essentially came out and said the Bush Admin (which of course he was a part of) dropped the ball and were overly focused on Iraq as opposed to Afghanistan- those weren’t his words of course but I was really surprised- it was some much-needed honesty in the Beltway. I just saw on Twitter (via Jake Tapper) that the GOP is already coming out swinging against Gates and I assume that’s the reason why.

    I tend to think that Afghanistan is not the type of country where we can “win”, for lack of a better term. We may be able to stabilize it somewhat, but looking back at Afghanistan’s history, particularly with the Soviet invasion, I’m not sure how many troops we would need to send to make up for all the time we lost while we were focusing on Iraq. Gates wouldn’t call it a quagmire, but I would.

    That said, I am much less hawkish than Secretary Clinton, who I believe supports more troops- at least she did last time- she’s been mum on what she thinks should be done after Gen. McCrystal’s report.

  7. This is interesting – from Laura Rozen over at Politico:

    Colin Powell is against more troops

  8. dnd

    Welcome. And thanks for that link regarding Colin Powell. Very interesting.


    I’m not really sure I can d, just a sense I have that something is up. I’ve been surprised to see Bill Clinton increasing his public profile lately and I think this is being done with the full cooperation (and I believe at their urging) of the White House.

    I was also surprised to see Byah come out so strongly this week on Afghanistan and I’m wondering if this was done with a wink and nod from the Hillary camp or is Byah trying to position himself to take over the “Clinton wing” of the party. Ahhhhhhhhhh politics!

  10. Stacy I saw the clip of Gates bashing the Bush Administration and frankly you could have knocked me over with a feather. I’ve been actually pretty impressed with Gates (something you’ll almost never hear me say in regard to a Republican), such a refreshing change from his predecessor.

  11. dnd

    Krugman weighing in on the economic costs of addressing climate change:

  12. dnd

    S.C. Candidate hosts ‘machine gun social,’ ‘AK 47 giveaway’

    An AK 47? A commie gun? Why not an M16 made in the good ol’ USA?

    What’s with the GOP these days? First Sarah Palin goes to Communist China to deliver a speech dissing the US government, and now this. I don’t get it.

  13. nannymm

    It’s getting scary out there. Look at what the crazies are up to now:

    Facebook Poll: ‘Should Obama Be Killed?’
    A Facebook poll — apparently advocating assassination — has cropped up, with the question, “Should Obama be killed?”

  14. Scary indeed, how did your MRI go?

  15. nannymm

    MRI and arthgram both went well, although the whole ordeal was quite painful. Now I’m waiting for the results. I should hear something any time now. There was a message from my surgeon even before I got back home, But, when I returned his call, he was with a patient. So, I’m waiting…

  16. And patience is one of your best virtues, it’s something I’ve really admired in you during this entire health care reform process.

  17. nannymm

    Yeah, right! LMAO!

  18. nannymm

    For the record, the nuns and my mother all used to constantly tell me, “Patience is a virtue.” My standard reply was, “which I don’t possess.” Nothing has changed….

  19. Don’t know if this has been posted already or not, but I just got online and saw this over at Huffingtonpost.

    A poll was posted on Facebook asking users to vote “should Obama be killed?”

    The responses include: “yes,” “maybe,” “if he cuts my health care,” and “no.”

    Read more at:

  20. Is it me or the media kind of downplaying the whole radical-hate angle with respect to Obama? The problem is, if it were just a few nutters on the fringe, that would be one thing(albeit still bad) but the fact is, the so-called fringe at these tea party rallies and other places, really aren’t so fringe. It’s like the media doesn’t want to admit that a) the GOP are helping to incite these folks and b) they just want to harp on the fact that Jimmy Carter called a lot of racist. Hello?

    If the Secret Service is saying the number of serious threats against the President is up exponentially, obviously there’s more to this than simply business as usual.

    With respect to Sarah Palin- that trip to China may not go over so well in some right-wing circles- at least I am hoping. I can’t even believe they *invited* her! I think I remember not too long ago the GOP going crazy when a Democrat went to another country and spoke out against something Bush was doing- unfortunately, I can’t remember who that was or where, so that’s not at all helpful. Sorry ’bout that.

  21. dnd

    It was the Dixie Chicks at a concert in London.

  22. dnd

    Whoever posted that on facebook and those that voted “yes” are probably now being monitored by the Secret Service and the FBI.

    I can’t believe anyone could be so stupid, but I’m constantly proven wrong.

  23. I could have sworn there was also a member of Congress who was traveling and said something critical, but I could be confusing that with the Dixie Chicks I guess. I’ll have to apologize to the Dixie Chicks…;)

  24. Hey Stacy if you’d be interested in writing a thread for the blog let me know, we love pieces from newbies and haven’t had one in ages. Put on that thinking cap and get to work! Your choice of topic of course and please provide pics to go along with your piece.


  25. dnd

    To expand on what Brian said, we are an egalitarian blog. We often disagree, but all civil discourse, ideas and opinions are welcome.

  26. Yeah, we give everyone a chance to make a fool of themselves, LOL

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