Obama's Speech: Morning Review Thoughts

The reaction from Democratic members of Congress -- those with actual power -- seems to be just favorable enough. That is, there doesn't seem to be anything in the words of David Obey, the top appropriator, or Ike Skelton, the top armed services cmte Democrat, to indicate that, with the right argument (especially for Jane Harman) and cost schedule, the president won't get what he wants.

That said, as Chuck Todd points out in a Tweet to me, the White House wants to capitalize on this reception and push the money through quickly, lest the debate bleed over into 2010. But most Democrats seem to want to wait; as Dick Durbin suggested, since it took Obama so long to decide, it might Congress a while to figure out where they stand. The White House will find an ally in congressional Republicans like Dick Lugar and John McCain, who've indicated that they support the troop escalation and the lightning speed at which it will take place. That means that the Pentagon needs its money soon.

2. What about our allies? Monitoring the wires, two countries -- Poland and Italy -- have pledged to send more troops to Afghanistan. France is moving in that direction, albeit cautiously. Britain has already committed to a small increase.

3. The foreign policy cognoscenti seems split: Thomas Friedman, who lunched with POTUS yesterday, opposes the surge. David Ignatius, seated on the other side of the president, likes it.  Steve Clemons found parts of the speech to like and others to be concerned about.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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