How President Obama Can Win My Approval

Resign immediately.  No, I’m just kidding.

Seriously, I will give him a chance, and I will hope for a presidential term that resolves some problems and moves us forward in some important ways.  As a conservative, I realize that President Obama will not pursue my agenda in the White House.  He wasn’t elected to do that.  But here are some areas where I see the potential for some common ground and where he can win the approval of people like me:

1. Iraq: Do not set an arbitrary timetable for withdrawal.  Work with the Iraqi government to determine the best time to pull out the bulk of our troops.  I doubt that it will be as short as sixteen months, but it probably won’t be much longer than that, given the extraordinary progress that has been made.  This job must be finished well, and I am actually quite optimistic about President Obama’s ability to do that.  He will feel the political pressure, and he will know that if Iraq goes to pieces on his watch when it was doing so well at the end of the Bush term, he will pay a steep political price.  I expect him to disappoint his base on this one, at least a little bit, because he will not withdraw immediately.  But we are really in the final stages of this operation, and I think we have reached a point where Americans can build a broad consensus that this job can and will be finished in a reasonably short amount of time.  I fully expect us to maintain a small troop presence in Iraq well beyond President Obama’s time in office. 

2. Afghanistan: I support President Obama’s intention to move troops from Iraq to Afghanistan in order to stabilize the situation, so long as he does so in a sensible way that does not prematurely close down the operation in Iraq.  How to strike a balance between these two is difficult, but I hope he will listen closely to the suggestions of General Petraeus.  Petraeus obviously knows what he is doing.

3. Iran: Do not meet face-to-face with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions.  Lower-level negotiations are fine, but do not legitimize a rogue leader and give him ammunition for propaganda by meeting with him face-to-face.  And do not cave in to the pacifist base and swear off all military options against Iran.  A war with Iran is the second last thing we want right now, but a nuclear attack against us or one of our allies is the absolute last thing we want.  Do not pursue a policy of appeasement.  Keep pressure high on Ahmadinejad.  Make it painful for him to go on with his ambitions to develop nuclear weapons.

4. Homeland security: Secure the borders, secure the borders, secure the borders.  Whatever we decide to do with the illegal immigrants already here, whether we kick them out or offer them a path to citizenship, we must secure our borders.  Do not jeopardize our security by giving constitutional rights to terrorists.  They are not criminals; they are enemy combatants.  President Obama knows that if, after seven years of protection under President Bush, we get hit again on his watch, he will pay the price for it.  For this reason, I suspect that he will warm up rather quickly to some of the Bush administration’s tactics for protecting our homeland (and I am not referring to torture here at all).   

These are all national security issues.  I’ll move on to the economy and domestic social issues in the next post.


2 Responses to “How President Obama Can Win My Approval”

  1. Clay Says:

    Great post, my friend.

  2. Luke A. Says:

    And keep Gates and Petraeus.

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