Monday, May 25, 2015

OPINION - Shields and Gerson 5/22/2015

"Shields and Gerson on GOP’s Patriot Act rift, Islamic State’s victories" PBS NewsHour 5/22/2015


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, new doubts about the Obama administration’s strategy for fighting the Islamic State, the political divide on key provisions of the Patriot Act, and the State Department’s release of emails by former Secretary Hillary Clinton emails.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  .....we turn now to the analysis of Shields and Gerson.  That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson.  David Brooks is away.

Welcome to you both.

So, with that conversation coming from the Republican contenders, Mark, this is in a week where ISIS, Islamic State, is making some big gains.  They took over a key city in Iraq, Ramadi.  You’re starting to hear criticism of the administration policy toward ISIS, towards what’s going on in Iraq.

The President came out this week and said, I have got a strategy, it’s working.

What do you think?

MARK SHIELDS, syndicated columnist:  I think, Judy, that, politically, just speaking politically right now, for 10 years, from 2006 basically up to today, nine years, that Iraq has been a positive issue for Democrats.  They won the Congress in 2006.  They nominated the one candidate in the party who had opposed the Iraq war.  And opposition to that Iraq War and to President Bush’s policy became central in the 2008 campaign.

Mitt Romney had to walk away from his support for it in 2012 and say he wouldn’t have supported it.  And now, 2015, five years after President Obama announced the withdrawal of combat units from Iraq, keeping a promise that he had made in that 2008 campaign, we see Ramadi fall.  We see the Iraqi army in full flight, after all the training, after all the billions of dollars.

And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said they were not driven, the Iraqi army was not driven out of Ramadi.  They drove out of Ramadi.  They aren’t a paper tiger.  They’re a paper tabby cat.

And that is the reality.  And ISIS is on the move.  ISIS is on the offensive.  And I think, politically speaking, beyond the ethics and the morals, that Democrats now are starting to feel themselves on the defensive on this issue, and Republicans are starting to feel free of what had been an enormous burden.

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