Ramesh — Good points. Two other thoughts: If the surge was going to work, it was going to work relevatively quickly. And, if it worked, the success would be clear and recognizable. With this huge sprawling mess of a health-care reform, taxes were frontloaded and benefits were diffused or put off. I sincerely doubt it will be a clear success the way the surge was.
And, more important, the surge didn’t help Bush or the Republicans politically! Indeed, the fact that Bush was a lame duck probably made backing the surge easier. Regardless, even after it succeeded, Bush was still unpopular and the Republicans still got thumped. You could argue that it might have been worse for the GOP if he hadn’t launched the surge, but if Obama wants a second term, the surge isn’t really a very useful model, is it?
Update: Oh and there is this, from a reader:
One other thing you and Ramesh may want to mention: the 2007 surge was the RIGHT thing to do vis a vis American interests. The Dem HR gov’t takeover of healthcare finance is the absolute wrong thing to do. Sometimes substance does matter, see yesterday. God bless the voters of the Commonwealth!