Obama was wrong about the surge while McCain was right, but by and large I think the case could be made (but not by me!) that Obama is by far the more thoughtful and reflective of the two candidates and far more disposed to listen to a range of advice. My guess is that he would have a broader and arguably better decision making proess than McCain. It’s only at the moment of decision that he worries me – I don’t know if he was trapped by lefty advisers, lefty instincts, or lefty pandering but he was wrong, wrong, wrong on the surge.[emp added]
I think Maguire is wrong. I think that Obama, like most leftist, exhibits a rigidly stereotyped decision making process. He may make a show of polling opinion but in reality, he has long before made up his mind.
Leftists confuse public policy with individual morality and self-worth. They believe that intelligent and good people naturally support a specific, restricted range of policies and the only reason someone would not support those policies is because they are stupid and/or evil. Leftists cannot easily choose to deviate from the Left’s collective view of what policies define an intelligent and good person, without undermining their own sense of self-respect and self-worth.
Obama opposed the Surge because he believed that intelligent and good people had to oppose the Surge. Choosing to support the Surge, or even to admit it might succeed, until the evidence proved overwhelming, simply imposed too high a psychic cost. He could not have done so without undermining his own sense of self-respect and self-worth.
When faced with a similar problem in the future, Obama will make the same stereotyped response. He will choose the course of action laid down long before by leftist consensus. He will not deviate.
He doesn’t know how to.