They link to this piece by McClatchy News, in which it is suggested that neither the president nor the vice-president got involved with negotiations, instead allowing State Department lawyers to break down the options for them. Allahpundit asks: How much of that was due to “bungling” and how much was due to Obama’s and Biden’s studious disinterest?
A major complication was the insistence by the Obama administration that the accord go before the Iraqi parliament, something that in the end Iraqi politicians decided was impossible. But whether that restriction was necessary is an open question. Many status-of-forces agreements are signed at the executive level only, particularly in countries without elected legislatures.
But the White House turned the issue over to the State Department’s legal affairs office, reporters in Baghdad were told on Saturday. The lawyers gave a variety of options, but Obama chose the most stringent, approval by Iraq’s legislature of a new agreement, citing as precedent that the Iraqi parliament had approved the 2008 agreement, reporters were told.
Emphasis mine. Allah writes:
In other words, they could have tried to negotiate with Maliki and Talabani directly rather than go through the Iraqi parliament, where the Sadrists had extra leverage. Whether they would have gotten anywhere on immunity with them given the political risk in Iraq of extending the U.S. occupation is unclear, but apparently the White House wasn’t eager to find out. An Obama spokesman insists that the story’s “totally wrong” and that The One and Biden were “engaged” with Iraqi leaders all along, but an Iraqi government spokesman didn’t deny the lack of contact when asked by McClatchy. Any theories on why the White House would have chosen a path of, shall we say, benign neglect on extending our troop presence? Maybe this data point from the new Times poll can help:
You’ll want to read the rest of Allah’s analysis, but what struck me was the profound irony of a president who constantly “jokes” that he wishes he could govern by himself, without having to deal with congress — a president who is currently planning to make as many runs around the legislative branch as he possibly can — insisting that the Iraqi leadership do what he what he doesn’t wish to do himself: work with the legislative branch.
I mean, the House has passed 15 jobs bills. Is it really true that only Obama’s is the Precious? The One Bill to Rule Them All? He can’t work with all of these ideas to come up with something everyone can agree on?
But no, I suppose he can’t. Not if his entire re-election hinges on the “they want everyone out of work, breathing dirty air” line.