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Kathy Shaidle

When you’ve lost Daniel Ellsberg…

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Posted on June 11 2010 10:00 am
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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Legend has it (and it’s wrong, by the way) that when “the most trusted man in America” denounced the Vietnam War on national television one night in 1968, President Johnson muttered, “If I’ve lost [Walter] Cronkite, I’ve lost the country.”

Since mainstream journalists are heavily invested in their self-image as brave “speaking-truth-to-power” types, it is no wonder this story is still making the rounds, even though “Johnson did not see the Cronkite program when it aired. The president at the time was in Austin, Texas, at the 51st birthday party of Governor John Connally. (…) There is, moreover, no evidence that Johnson ever watched the Cronkite program on videotape.”

Oh well. Let’s play along anyway. Is it time to say, “If he’s lost Daniel Ellsberg, Obama’s lost the Left?” Looks like it.

If Daniel Ellsberg’s name sounds familiar, here’s why:

As a Defense Department official in the 1960s, [Morton] Halperin personally supervised the writing of a top-secret analysis of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, which later became known as the Pentagon Papers, whose illegal release did more to undermine the American war effort in Vietnam than any other domestic event. (…)

Halperin’s bias informs every page of the report, which argues that the war was “unwinnable” from the beginning. One of the writers on Halperin’s team, Daniel Ellsberg, leaked this classified document to the press, a violation of the US Espionage Act.

Yeah, that Daniel Ellsberg. He’s still walking around, a free man, and he just gave an interview with the famous German magazine Spiegel. Here’s a snippet:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Ellsberg, you’re a hero and an icon of the left. But we hear you’re not too happy with President Obama anymore.

Daniel Ellsberg: I voted for him and I will probably vote for him again, as opposed to the Republicans. But I believe his administration in some key aspects is nothing other than the third term of the Bush administration. (…)

Take Obama’s explicit pledge in his State of the Union speech to remove “all” United States troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. That’s a total lie. I believe that’s totally false. I believe he knows that’s totally false. (…)

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But Obama has been very verbal about his criticism of Wall Street.

Ellsberg: His actions are totally uncoupled from his public statements. I don’t even listen anymore. He has turned 180 degrees.

For once, I’m happy to see Daniel Ellsberg running his mouth. Men like Ellsberg represent the elite, white, nostalgic progressive portion of Obama’s political base. This isn’t good news for the President or the Democrats.

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