Paul Wells: Supporters of Barack Obama—and Stephane Dion—just weren't listening

Dana Milbank, making himself useful for a change, surveys left-liberal despair over Barack Obama’s Afghanistan strategy. The arguments will be familiar to students of Lawrence Martin, whose Globe column this week carried the unmistakable, and familiar, sound of a romantic falling out of love again. Oh, Barack — we thought you were good, but instead you’re bad.

We’re reminded once again that support for a candidate can be so fervent that supporters devote a lot of energy to blocking out what the candidate says, in plain English, over and over. Milbank is especially good on this point. Remember that one subspecies of the shortlived mania for Stéphane Dion was the ironclad conviction that Dion would represent Pierre Trudeau’s second coming as a federalist, even though Dion had spent his career sharply criticizing elements of Trudeau’s thinking. Similarly, apparently it was possible to think Obama would do nothing in Afghanistan except poke daisies into the barrels of all those rifles. One way to avoid this misperception would have been to listen to Obama.

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