Monday, September 8, 2008

The Trap of Buying Into the Prevailing Conventional Wisdom

Barack Obama has gotten where he is by taking positions contrary to those of the Bush (McCain) Administration. Many of those positions--particularly the Iraq Invasion--were the conventional wisdom when they first were proposed, meaning those positions had bipartisan support; think Hillary and Biden on Iraq, circa 2003. Obama was not then part of the conventional wisdom crowd.

Lately, however, Barack seems to be succumbing to the pressures of joining the prevailing bipartisan conventional wisdom on several issues where robust debate, if not opposition, might be a better course of action. Here are three of those issues:

1. The "surge" was a success, and was the primary cause for the diminution of the violence level in the Iraq Theater;

2. As US troop levels decrease in Iraq, US troop levels should increase in Afghanistan, perhaps on a one-for-one basis; and,

3. The US taxpayer bailout, as structured by the Bush Administration, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was the best and only action that could have been taken to avert more damage to the housing market and the overall economy.

This post is not the venue to analyze the three prevailing wisdoms above. The article I posted just below this one addresses point 3. At least one previous blog of mine on this site addresses point 2.

Shrill criticism is not being advocated by me.

But there is no reason Obama could not be saying something like: "The new administration will be examining these, and all, policies and positions of the Bush Administration in detail. Those examinations will determine whether or not changes in course are necessary. Everything will be on the table,..." including those three pieces of conventional wisdom listed above.

-This originally appeared on my Blog on

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