Monday, May 19, 2008

Obama strikes back

It took a town hall meeting in Watertown, South Dakota, but, after days of sniping, Senator Barack Obama has fired back at President George Bush and Republican presidential candidate John McCain. The senator and Democratic frontrunner said failed Republican policies had made the United States less secure, and he welcomed a general election showdown on foreign policy.

"If George Bush and John McCain want to have a debate about protecting the United States of America, that is a debate that I am happy to have any time, any place, and that is a debate that I will win, because George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for," he said, noting the Iraq War was in its sixth year, Osama bin Laden was still at large, al-Qaeda was stronger than ever, Iran was emboldened and Hamas was in control of Gaza.

The Democratic frontrunner for president was responding to remarks Mr Bush made to the Israeli Parliament on Thursday that compared talks with rogue regimes to the appeasement of Adolf Hitler before World War II. While the White House officially denied the remarks were aimed at Senator Obama, the Democratic candidate took them as a direct criticism of his pledge to use diplomacy to improve ties with unfriendly regimes - and as a direct challenge on national security, the issue Republicans have ridden to the White House in the past two elections.

"After almost eight years, I did not think I could be surprised by anything that George Bush says, but I was wrong," Senator Obama said. He said that instead of celebrating the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding, the President had flouted tradition and launched a political assault before a foreign audience. "That's exactly the kind of appalling attack that has divided our country and that alienates us from the world, and that's why we need change in Washington," Senator Obama said. "They are trying to fool you and trying to scare you. They're not telling you the truth, and the reason is they can't win a foreign policy debate on the merits, but it's not going to work."

Senator McCain, who used the row over Mr Bush's speech to argue again that Senator Obama was inexperienced in the ways of the world, did not back down at all, saying that no issue was more important than national security. The senator said he would not add to the prestige of dictators by meeting people such as Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"It is reckless to suggest that unconditional meetings will advance our interests," Senator McCain told the National Rifle Association in Kentucky. "It would be a wonderful thing if we lived in a world where we don't have enemies, but that is not the world we live in, and until Senator Obama understands that reality, the American people have every reason to doubt whether he has the strength, judgment, and determination to keep us safe."


The party of appeasement

At Real Clear Politics and Hot Air, Ed Morrissey points out Rookie mistakes again: Obama owns appeasement
No one in the US who runs for public office has suggested that the US break with Israel to appease terrorists. Obama certainly hasn't suggested that, and perhaps apart from the really lunatic fringes of both Left and Right, that notion doesnÆ’_Tt get any oxygen at all here. Obviously, Bush wasn't referring to American politicians in this passage, but instead politicians in Europe and elsewhere who have either an animus towards Israel or appreciation for dhimmitude. Nothing - and I mean nothing - in this speech points to any candidate or the Democratic Party, unless they identify themselves as the reference.

Let's see why: The Democrat party has a long history of appeasement. You can look back to Jimmy Carter's entire administration, Madeline Albright's meetings with Arafat and Kim Jong-il, and many other instances. Let's not forget Nancy Pelosi's Hermes tour of Damascus. More recently, Jimmy Carter's "give Hamas a chance" tour and Bill Richardson's heartwarming handshake of Chavez continue to show you that the Dems can't stop loving the murderous thug-du-jour. As the Wall Street Journal said,
When the party's top four Democrats come roaring out of the blocks in unison, something has hit a nerve.

In this particular instance of Pres. Bush's speech, however, Marc Armbinder reports that President Bush was referring to Carter's Hamas junket when talking about appeasement. Noel Sheppard posted the entire transcript of Pres. Bush's speech. Obama took it personally. Thin skin doesn't wear well on presidential candidates.

But the important thing here is that Obama himself has declared that he would hold unconditional face-to-face talks with Iran and that Hamas and Hezbollah have legitimate grievances (h/t Pamela); and that now he's saying that he's under "a false political attack" and that discussing his foreign policy is "dishonest and divisive"
"I'm a strong believer in civility and I'm a strong believer in a bipartisan foreign policy, but that cause is not served with dishonest, divisive attacks of the sort that we've seen out of George Bush and John McCain over the last couple days,"

Absolutely not: Discussing where any Presidential candidate stands on foreign policy is an essential issue of a campaign, as it has world-wide repercussions. The Obama campaign doesn't want people to discuss why Hamas is Betsy asks,
Why isn't it a legitimate question to ponder why Hamas supports Obama?

After all, Hamas is phone banking for Obama: Indeed, we should be asking why do the Palestinians like Obama so much. Ed says that the Obama campaign's made a rookie mistake in taking offense at "appeasement" charges. Or you can say that the Obamanians have identified themselves with appeasement to the point that when the word is mentioned, they hear their names called.



Obama and his defenders here are really a piece of work. Remember how all this started - we saw it earlier in the show in the clip in which he answered the question in that debate, would you speak with these thugs who run Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, et cetera. He said yes, and then he immediately said that he was saying this because it is, quote, "a central diplomatic principle of this administration not to talk to them," and that, he then said, is ridiculous and disgraceful. That was in his answer.

He has repeated that in one form or another at least 20 times over the course of this campaign. So he makes it an issue of an attack on the Bush administration and its diplomacy, and if the president defends himself and defends the policy of not speaking with these thugs, all of a sudden it's illegitimate, disgraceful, and unworthy of the president.

Of course he should defend himself on this, and of course he should include Obama with Jimmy Carter, who spoke with Hamas, and with Pelosi, who went cap in hand to Damascus and spoke with Assad.

And the question John McCain asks is a good one - what exactly is he going to say to these thugs that has not already been said? If he doesn't have anything new to say, then a trip to Iran or a negotiation with Ahmadinejad is an exercise in redundancy, and in honoring him. And if he has new stuff to say, what is it going to be? It's not going to be more sticks. He is not going to be tougher on Iran than Bush and Cheney. It's going to be carrots.

So let's ask Obama - are you going to offer Iran Lebanon? Are you going to offer sway over Iraq? Are you going to offer it domination of the Gulf? Or are you are going to offer it America squeezing Israel? So it is about appeasement, and Israel is a place in which he wants to make that statement.


Bush 'hit the nail on the head yesterday in Jerusalem. And today, the nails started to complain'

That succinct and so apt quote from former Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton who sadly is likely to have no place in a McCain administration. But nailing the leftist whiners is apparently the meme, thank God, and Steve Schippert is playing hammer:
"Tough Diplomacy" is little more than a 2008 re-branding of 2007's Diplomatic Offensiver. And it should be noted with both amusement and sobriety that those who hustle these soon-to-be-trademarked marketing phrases least embody the identities of either "tough" or anything resembling an "offensive" when it comes to American foreign policy.

So following the earlier observation that "[e]veryone seems to have their media-seeking knickers in a bind," and while there is no shortage of keen observations by many others, permit me to add just one more.

Isn't it astounding how the peddlers of today's 'Tough Diplomacy" and yesterday's Diplomatic Offensiver are so thin-skinned and race with alacrity to declare themselves directly offended by what was (at best) an indirect comment about an idea?

Diplomacy, and especially the imagined embodiment of "tough" diplomacy as is being sold, is a skins game. And one fundamental requirement - among many - is decidedly thick skin. For those who want what they envision as "tough" diplomacy or a Diplomatic Offensiver, are these the individuals you want guiding the process?

Not just no but hell no. And while we're on the subject of denying the place of "tough diplomacy", we need to go straight to Morgan Freeberg who does his own impression of a hammer:
This is a hot, controversial issue, with each side intent on convincing the other how correct they are. Why, then, do these mint-tea-and-crumpet talkers never seem to furnish me with any details that would inspire me to see the correctness of their point of view? What's going on in these "talks"? All I see is a bunch of compromises from the reasonable people, while the unreasonable people just do whatever they want. If the unreasonable people do make compromises, they just violate them later. Just like the extended-family visit-trip plans.

Another thing I see is that when these "talks" result in an agreement, somewhere down the road it turns into a big ol' crap-fest. Yes, the mint-tea-and-crumpet talkers have their moment in the sun. They get to prance off planes with signed papers in hand that they can brandish before the cameras, and say like little kids, "Lookee What I Did!" just like Neville Chamberlin himself. But without exception, it seems the longer a "talk" takes to turn into a crap-fest, the bigger the crap-fest it becomes.

Bang. Bang. Bang. A most sweet sound.


Don't Know Much About History

Barack Obama continued to display his surprisingly flimsy grasp of American history yesterday. "This whole notion of not talking to people," began the longtime community organizer. "It didn't hold in the '60s, it didn't hold in the '70s ... When Kennedy met with (Soviet leader Nikita) Khrushchev, we were on the brink of nuclear war."

There's only one problem with this analysis - Khrushchev and Kennedy met in the first months of Kennedy's term. The Cuban Missile Crisis didn't happen until 16 months later. Furthermore, if we really want to dig into the history, many historians believe that the Vienna Summit between the two leaders did much to trigger the Cuban Missile Crisis. Khrushchev, relying on the Bay of Pigs fiasco and what he later saw at Vienna, determined that his American counterpart was a weak sister who could be bullied.

Since Obama obviously knows nothing about the Vienna Summit, he surely doesn't know that in some circles it's viewed as a cautionary tale regarding the inherent risks of diplomacy with malevolent regimes (or "talking to people" as Obama prefers to think of such activities). Besides, Kennedy at Vienna was quite frankly a much tougher and more hard-headed leader than one can imagine Obama being. At one point, Kennedy responded to Khrushchev's blustering by declaring, "Then, Mr. Chairman, there will be a war. It will be a cold, long winter."

More on point, what are we to make of Obama's ignorance regarding relevant historical events? Mind you, these are historical events that he chooses to talk about. I realize the senator is the victim of an Ivy League education, but he's had decades to repair that damage.

Truth be told, in yesterday's comments, Obama showed trademark characteristics of a callow, young Ivy League grad - he thinks he knows more than he does, and has the audacity to lecture others when he doesn't know what he's talking about. Obama seems perversely intent on transporting an old adage regarding Harvard over to the Crimson's law school: "You can always tell a Harvard man, but you can't tell him much." A few exit questions for you to mull:

1) Seriously, Obama's a bright guy - how is it possible that he doesn't know such basic facts of American history?

2) Is there any chance Obama really isn't so ignorant but instead misrepresents historical events to better suit his political arguments? (I doubt it, but I figured I'd put it out there.)

3) Every time Obama opens his mouth, there's a chance he'll let loose a whopper like yesterday's. Will Obama say something so foolish before this campaign's end that it will dwarf all previous political blunders?


Obama Repeats Jamie Rubin's Lie On McCain

Jamie Rubin wrote a dishonest report in the Washington Post yesterday claiming that Senator John McCain holds the same position as Barack Obama on appeasing terror-sponsoring regimes and terror organizations such as Hamas.

But, later yesterday it was discovered that although Jamie Rubin was the one to interview McCain two years ago-- He had cherry-picked clips from the interview with McCain in his article. Here is what John McCain actually said:
"I think the United States should take a step back, see what they do when they form their government, see what their policies are, and see the ways that we can engage with them, and if there aren't any, there may be a hiatus."

Of course, this is very different from what Rubin reported and from Barack Obama's pledge on his website to meet with terror regimes without preconditions.

But, that did not stop Jamie Rubin and Barack Obama from repeating the lie on McCain today. Geraldo Rivera had Jamie Rubin on his show on FOX News on Saturday: Here is what Obama said today:
Barack Obama: The irony is yesterday just as John McCain was making these attacks a story broke that he was actually guilty of the exact same thing that he's accusing me of.

That, of course, is not true. It looks like Obama is just another cheap politician trying to bring John McCain down to his level. If he was not so ashamed of his positions he probably wouldn't have to resort to this dishonest tactic. Sad.



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