The Corner

The Persuader

If it’s a choice between a good speech and a good policy, I’ll take the good policy. That’s basically what Obama delivered last night — fundamentally the correct decision on Afghanistan, albeit given grudgingly, after aggravating delays, and probably with too much emphasis on a timetable for withdrawal. We also need good speeches — better ones than what we heard last night. The public is not behind this effort, at least not to the extent that it should or could be. The president must make the case for his policy convincingly and repeatedly. Afghanistan may be an inconvenient distraction to his domestic-policy ambitions, but it has been thrust upon him. What he says about it — or doesn’t say about it — will play a part in his success or failure.

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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