'Goldilocks' Strategy Wins Prez Time
Adopting centrist position is a gamble
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2009 1:24 AM CST
A CH-47 Chinook helicopter prepares to land and pick up members of a coalition force in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan.    (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Staff Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock, File)

(Newser) – President Obama's Afghanistan speech represented a brave foray into the middle ground of American politics, where those who venture tend to get crushed, writes EJ Dionne. His "Goldilocks strategy—neither too hawkish nor too dovish, but just right"—has split his party while failing to win any credit with his opponents, Dionne writes in the Washington Post.

The strategy has been slammed as an effort to please everybody, Dionne notes, but while the move to the center may win support for the policy, it's unlikely to help Democratic electoral chances next year. By absorbing the political hit now, though, the president has at least won time for his strategy to succeed. "If he's right that progress can be made quickly and that troops can begin to withdraw, political opposition will recede," Dionne writes. "If the policy fails or stalls, he will have hell to pay."