Remember When...

... John McCain's big criticism of Barack Obama was that he didn't take enough foreign trips -- especially to Iraq -- and how he hadn't been adequately tested on this big stage of CODELing. What happened to that? Now the critique is that too many Germans are interested in hearing him talk since, I guess, all else being equal we'd rather have a president foreigners find repugnant. But seriously, what's next?

John McCain swore up and down that if Obama went to Iraq he'd find that the facts on the ground contradicted his Iraq position. Instead we found that in the modern day it's possible to form opinions about countries you haven't visited recently and that Iraqi leaders are broadly supportive of his approach to Iraq while universally condemning McCain's vision of a perpetual American military presence there. Meanwhile, meetings with leaders in other countries in the region seem to have gone fine and we're about to find out that Obama's the kind of president who'd start off with enough initial popularity amidst our key allies that he'd be in a position to reinvigorate the transatlantic partnership. All-in-all, a pretty successful trip but especially successful when you consider that pressuring Obama into taking it was the McCain campaign's big plan. Meanwhile, the polls keep showing an Obama win and at some point I think the notion that he "should" be winning by more has to stop giving conservatives much comfort.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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