[I]t's not some kind of crazy inconsistency to deride someone as a stooge
while he's being a stooge, and then to stop deriding him when he stops
being a stooge. I don't think anyone can deny that over the past couple
of months Maliki has moved to a position more independent from the Bush
Well, sure, Maliki's support for the surge was, in Yglesias's eyes,
the act of a Bush stooge--because Yglesias opposed the surge. Just like
Maliki's support for Obama's withdrawal timetable is, in Fred Kagan's
eyes, the act of an Iranian stooge--because Kagan opposes that
timetable. One man's stooge is another man's independent leader.
The truth is that Maliki is clearly a savvy politician who's
doing everything he can to stay in power--and he'll make whatever
alliances he needs to make in order to do so. It's obviously a very big
deal that Maliki now deems it in his self-interest to stiff
Bush (and McCain) in favor of Obama. But I don't think that makes
Maliki any more--or less--of a stooge than he was a few months ago, no
matter what Yglesias and Kagan say.