The Night Beat: Obama Borrows the Military Back

SELF-PARODY: This is how former Sen. Rick Santorum responded to the day's events via Twitter: "McChristal's firing is further proof with Obama it's always all about Obama.Could have been the bigger man, but just can't handle criticism."

BOOTHBY AND PETRAEUS: Was Duncan Boothby, the former journalist who set up the Rolling Stone interview, an integral part of the
strategic communications campaign to sell the "surge"? He was on staff, but Petraeus staff members insist that he did not play anything other than a small consulting role and had nothing to do with the attempt to "put over" Petraeus with the American people and the world.

BOTTOM LINE: At the intersection of politics and policy, here's a way to understand today's decision:
the President had no choice. Going back to the opening days of the Clinton presidency, Democrats have maintained an uneasy relationship with uniformed military officers and have tolerated the type of dissension and rank insubordination that would never be tolerated by a Republican White House. Clinton was rolled by Colin Powell on gays in the military and the Balkans, which, putting aside the policy merits of those decisions, was not right.  Indeed, one of the few good things Donald Rumsfeld did when he came in was to re-establish the principle of civilian control of the military, even if he took it too far by ignoring military advice in the lead-up to Iraq. Had Obama allowed McChrystal to stay in place, it would have sent the message to the military that such behavior was permissible and would have fatally undermined his authority and credibility as CINC. Again, McChrystal left him with no choice. Obama had to "borrow" his Army back.

BUSINESS BEAT: From Daniel Indiviglio of the Atlantic Business Channel:

Financial reform conference is scheduled to wrap up on Thursday. On the agenda is the ever-important and controversial derivatives provision. Democratic leadership, including Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank, want it finalized this week so that President Obama can confidently present Congress's new regulations at the G-20 meeting this weekend. Republicans, however, aren't pleased, as they think the process is being rushed. The conference committee has pretty fluid rules, and Chairman Frank, in particular, has already used his power to deem certain amendments non-germane to the bill. Republicans especially want to propose reforms for the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are otherwise absent from the bill. It will be a tight finish, so look to see if they get it done on time. If they don't, Democrats say the bill won't be signed until after July 4th.


-- President Medvedev of Russia used his trip to the United States to start Tweeting. Here is an official U.S. government translation of his first efforts: "Hello! I'm on Twitter and it moe6 first message! San Francisco - a very beautiful city. ... Now go to Silicon Valley, look Apple, Yandex, Cisco! ... That's the view from the window of my Hotel. [there was a picture attached.]"  That's kind of ... cute, right? He's in Washington tomorrow with POTUS.

-- The Atlantic's Nicole Allan takes note that an initiative to suspend California's cap-and-trade plan made it onto the November ballot on Tuesday. The ballot initiative is backed primarily by oil companies and is expected to attract $50 million or more. The opposition, however, includes Silicon Valley's biggest tech and venture capital names (Google, eBay, Bloom Energy) as well as Governor Schwarzenegger's team. They seem optimistic about battling the initiative despite the fact that they won't be able to match the oil companies in terms of funding. The upcoming showdown will be a kind of second front to the climate/energy war in Congress right now. A climate bill decision will likely affect the ballot initiative, and vice verse. 

Presented by

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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