A RNC Conference Call With Dan Senor

This afternoon, I was invited to participate in a RNC conference call with Dan Senor. According to the intro Patrick Ruffini from RNC sent us:

“Mr. Senor served as the chief Coalition spokesman and senior advisor to Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, and was one of the longest serving American civilians in Iraq, entering Iraq on one of the first civilian convoys after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.”

To be honest, it was kind of a so-so conference call because it was a little too fluffy and generalized — at least for the audience that was there. The general message was, “These elections in Iraq are a really big deal.”

But, do conservative bloggers need to hear this message? Not only do we know about the elections, but as a group we’re very supportive of and gung-ho about the war effort. So, there’s no need to try to sell us on the idea that the elections are important, because we already know that. What we’re always looking for is new ammo to sell other people on the importance of the war and the elections and we didn’t get quite enough of that.

Senor did make one pretty good point though.

He noted that polls show that a large majority of Iraqis say they want the American troops to leave, but when they’re asked if they’d like the troops to leave immediately, a large majority says, “no.” That’s not all that surprising — after all, who would want armed foreign troops standing on every street corner — but it does add a little perspective. The Iraqis may want us to leave, but they also understand that we’re still needed for the moment.

In any case, that’s the long and the short of the conference call — which, by the way, almost led to my completely embarrassing myself in front of everyone there.

You see, I always ask questions at these press conferences and normally, you do that by hitting *1. Then a voice comes on the line, asks you your name, you say your name, and then you wait to be called on. Well, this time I’m hitting *1 and nothing is happening. I try again, hit it about a half dozen times, and still, nothing happens. So, I figure it’s busted and become mildly annoyed.

A few minutes later, we’re getting close to the end of the meeting and I’m simultaneously listening to Senor talk, throwing a ball for the dog, and reading an Ace of Spades HQ post on the “gay cowboys eating pudding” movie, Brokeback Mountain, and I hear them say they have time for one more question. Then, in the background, I hear, ” John Hawkins, ask your question.”

Apparently, the system wasn’t broken, they just changed how it works. Luckily, I didn’t get caught napping and asked Senor (I’m paraphrasing), “When the Iraqi forces fully takeover security for their country, in let’s say 2007, assuming that they’re competent, what impact will that have on the insurgency?”

Actually, I was fishing for a little talk about strategy because I don’t think the Bush administration does that enough. “As the Iraqi troops stand up, our troops will stand down,” is a good line, but they need to go a step further and explain to the American people why the terrorists are caught in a no-win situation once that happens.

Instead, Senor just hit on the fact that the Iraqis are better at identifying foreign accents and that the Iraqi people will take pride in being able to defend their own country.

All in all, Senor is a really knowledgable guy, but it might have been nice if he’d given us a little more meat and a little less bread in the sandwich, if you know what I mean.

Others covering the call included…

Mary Katharine Ham over at Hugh Hewitt’s blog (She apparently loves my accent)

Suitably Flip

Let Freedom Ring

Blogs Of War

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