(Alternate Title: If The Foo Shits…)
There’s an old Bill Cosby bit that deals with shop class. One of the kids thought it would be funny to put a bullet in the furnace. Then, in the middle of class, the bullet explodes quite loudly.
The shop teacher, wanting to find out who did it, starts insulting the student who’d do it. “You’d have to be pretty low-down to put a bullet in the furnace.” When that doesn’t work, he starts in on the student’s mother. “You know, it says something about the mother of a person who would put a bullet in a furnace…”
At that point, one student stands up and shouts at the teacher. “I didn’t do it, and stop talking about my mother!”
I was reminded of that yesterday when I heard that President Bush had denounced appeasing terrorists and the states that back them, without naming names, and everyone immediately leaped to Senator Barack Obama’s defense.
And there are those who say Bush is a lousy communicator? Here he was, talking about Neville Chamberlain, but EVERYONE knew he was really talking about Senator Obama.
And even if he was (OK, he was talking about a whole bunch of people who hold that position, the most prominent proponent of that being Senator Obama), what did he say that was so wrong?
I don’t think so.
No matter his (and his proxies’) protestations, Senator Obama’s proposed foreign policy is a hell of a lot closer to the beliefs and positions of Mr. Chamberlain and not at all like those of the presidents he says he would emulate — especially presidents Roosevelt and Truman. When confronted with implacable enemies, Roosevelt and Truman did not negotiate, did not meet their enemies without preconditions, did not seek accommodation and understanding and compromise. Both men issued demands for unconditional surrender — and won it.
What we are seeing now is the “Swift-boating” of Barack Obama. Despite attempts by liberals to redefine the term, what is unfolding now is the attempted unraveling of a politician by the sneaky, underhanded, devious, unethical tactic of speaking uncomfortable truths about that person — and at its best, simply repeating the person’s own words.
If Senator Obama doesn’t like people saying such things about him, then perhaps he shouldn’t say the kinds of things that give those remarks credence.
Another aspect that has some folks’ knickers in a not is President Bush apparently using a foreign trip — especially in an address to the parliament of a foreign government — to “attack” an American politician and presidential candidate.
As a general rule, I don’t like American politicians taking our political clashes abroad. “Politics should stop at the water’s edge” and “don’t air your dirty laundry in public” and all that.
Here, though, President Bush was addressing not an individual, but a political position that he thinks (and I agree) poses a great danger to the world in general, and to our ally whom he was addressing specifically. Saying that we should stand firm against Iran — who has been pulling the “cheat and retreat” game with their nuclear program for years, who have repeatedly vowed to wipe Israel off the map, and is actively and heavily supporting terrorist groups attacking the legitimate governments in at least two Middle Eastern nations — is sound policy.
Also, as Richard Nixon once said in different circumstances, “when the president does it, it’s not illegal.” It didn’t apply to the circumstances Nixon was attempting to apply it to, but it does in many other areas. For example, releasing classified information — it’s the president who ultimately has the authority to decide what should and should not be classified, so he is simply incapable of violating official secrecy laws.
Likewise, foreign policy is the providence of the Chief Executive. When Jimmy Carter goes to the Middle East and holds meetings with Hamas, he’s violating the law. (See the Logan Act, as well as the laws governing dealings with recognized terrorist organizations.) When Nancy Pelosi meets with foreign heads of state and assures them that things will be different when a Democrat holds the White House, that’s contemptible. When Jay Rockefeller informs Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria that the United States is about to attack Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from office, that’s borderline treason.
But when President Bush goes to Israel and tells people who suffered tremendously from Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement and faces similar threats to their very existence from another and says “doing the same thing today that they did back then would be bad,” why that’s just so beyond the pale that outrage is the only appropriate response.
Of course, considering all the other things Bush has been accused of, “saying something mean about Barack Obama in Israel” is incredibly small potatoes, so I don’t see what the big deal is. Remember, this is the man who either encouraged or allowed the 9/11 attacks, outed Valerie Plame, rounded up thousands of innocents and locked them up for eternal torture in Guantanamo, made up a whole bunch of lies to justify a war that’s killed hundreds of thousands of people, and decided to let Osama Bin Laden go free (have I missed any Nutroots talking points?), and THIS is the most outrageous thing he’s done?
Some people need a sense of proportion.
And a slightly thicker skin.
And, above all, a frickin’ CLUE.