Will the Shoe Fit Obama?

Flying footwear draws attention away from U.S. economy

The sight of President George Bush lame ducking a pair of Iraqi shoes was a grim reminder of just one more mess President-elect Barack Obama will inherit.

Bush's reaction to having a pair of shoes thrown at him by an Iraqi journalist was at the same time impressive and shameful.

Running for cover after dodging the first shoe would've been a perfectly reasonable reaction. Instead, like a seasoned QB under a heavy rush, Bush managed to stay in the pocket and avoid the second shoe, never leaving the dais from which he was speaking.
Incredibly, Bush was cracking jokes as his assailant, having been hauled away by a swarm of security goons, could still be heard wailing from the next room over.

"All I can report is it is a size 10," quipped the commander in chief.

He also shrugged off the incident as a sign of a healthy democracy.

"That's what happens in free societies when people try to draw attention to themselves," Bush said.

What kind of man reacts so blithely to such an assault?

"Look how courageous he is!," shout his supporters.

"Listen to how oblivious he is!," cry his detractors.

The whole thing was the perfect exclamation point to the man's tortured slide into irrelevance and the perfect example of the mindset American's moved away from on Nov. 4.

Obama's candidacy was initially fueled by a 2002 speech in which he argued passionately against what he characterized as a "dumb war" in Iraq. It was that stance which allowed him to separate himself from rival Hillary Clinton during the primary season.

But things have changed drastically since then. In the general election it was his view of the then-looming economic crisis that helped him defeat Sen. John McCain. While the economy has moved to center stage, there are still expectations that Obama will keep his promise on Iraq, namely to get the hell out.

With unemployment and foreclosures on the rise, American's will be progressively less and less patient with investing blood and treasure into Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Obama doesn't appear inclined to stray far from the Bush strategy as it currently stands: a slow withdrawal from Iraq coupled with an escalation in forces in Afghanistan.

“The president-elect has been very explicit throughout the campaign and since the election that he believes that waging this fight in Afghanistan is a high priority and he would like to see more resources devoted to this fight, including more troops,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said during a press conference on Thursday.

Obama can only hope that in the years to come, when he makes his final official visit to Iraq, he will not hear shouts of "This is the farewell kiss, you dog!” as a pair of size-10s go whizzing past his head.

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