I agree that the ad runs the risk of overpromising. Obama already likes to set lofty goals with little attention to how he plans accomplish them. I also remember President Bush’s sweeping plans for his second term back in the heady days when he still had “political capital.” These plans are now almost entirely on the cutting room floor.
Note, however, the slight change in emphasis on Iraq: McCain doesn’t alter his policy goals in Iraq, he doesn’t give us any strong reason to believe he will be able to deliver on what he is promising, and his past Iraq predictions haven’t always panned out. But McCain is emphasizing the return home of most of our troops as an explicit near-term goal. The perception that McCain would stay in Iraq for 100 years is a losing message when pitted against a candidate who is even semi-credibly promising withdrawal. But a Nixonian peace-with-honor gradual drawdown without disavowing the war aims is a stronger position politically. The Democrats can promise to withdraw faster than McCain, but George McGovern can tell you that this approach does not always work. The American people want to get out of Iraq and win the war. Whether or not this is possible, they might prefer a candidate who promises both to a candidate who promises one or the other.