Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Have the Republicans Discovered Obama’s Achilles Heel?

Is President Barack Obama a realist, or is he just another naïve liberal dolt?

According to Politico’s David S. Cloud, Republicans think they might have stumbled upon a winning formula in their battle against the president – portray him as “overly apologetic about U.S. misdeeds and naive about engaging unfriendly regimes abroad.”

In other words, the Right is going to try to convince the public that for all his talk of hope and change, Obama is, in reality, nothing more than a repeat of one of America’s worst presidents – Jimmy Carter.

However, in order to counter this image and avoid being Carterized, the president and his homeboys are arguing that the American people voted last November for an administration open to positive engagement with not-so-friendly regimes and taking responsibility for past mistakes. If Americans had wanted to continue the aggressive and confrontational policies of the Bush administration, say Obama & Co., then they would have voted for the Republican candidate in 2008.

”So for now, Republicans may find little political headway by bashing Obama for his cordial handshake with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the release of so-called torture memos and other recent moves that have been criticized by Vice President Dick Cheney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and some Republicans on Capitol Hill,” Cloud writes.

Although Cloud acknowledges that Obama’s humble pie approach carries some risks, he also points out that it could yield some beneficial results as well. In any event, it will be months before we know either way.

Fortunately for the president, the American people are still awarding him high marks for his performance in the geopolitical arena.

“Right now, the weight of public opinion is still with the administration and not with the Republicans,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “Americans are open to the idea that negotiations are part of our future,” although, he added, “they are looking for what comes after the handshake.”

I have mixed feelings about Obama’s approach. Personally, I don’t like the idea of cozying up to Left-wing tyrants like Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega. However, I realize that there are times when it is necessary and even beneficial for a president to reach out to unsavory leaders. Richard Nixon, one of my personal favorite presidents, established a rapprochement with one of the greatest mass murderers of all time, Mao Zedong, and as a result, he managed to exploit the Sino-Soviet rift to America’s benefit.

I also think much of the criticism being leveled at Obama from the Right is monstrously hypocritical. I didn’t hear any conservatives complaining when former President Bush continued and strengthened our government’s alliance (which began during the Clinton administration) with Islam Karimov, the brutal dictator of Uzbekistan. Since September 11, 2001, Karimov has used his position as a close U.S. ally to jail, torture and, murder dissidents and political opponents. No one on the Right made a sound when Bush (and Clinton) gave all kinds of military aid to Karimov, but now conservatives are up in arms because Obama shook the hand of President Chavez.

Some would argue that Karimov may be a son of a bitch, but, unlike Chavez, he is our son of a bitch.

True, but he’s still a son of a bitch. I’m just sick of the hypocrisy. If we as a nation want to support democracy around the world, then let’s actually do it. If we are okay with rubbing shoulders with ruthless dictators who give us what we want, then we should stop pretending that we care about the freedom of others.


  1. It is too early to tell what we will be reaping from his efforts. Survey says not good but results matter and for those we'll have to wait.

  2. The reason that the Taliban has almost taken over the whole of the Punjab is because they appropriated the grievances of landless peasants against medieval landlords. For whatever reason, we, America, never seem to be able to do that. For years we supported the rich families that owned 90% of the wealth in South America against the landless poor possibly out of fear that forcing the rich to spread the wealth around the actual productive members of South American society would smack of communism. Yet the rich landholders of South America and, indeed, the rest of the developing world, are NOT what most Americans envision as Capitalists. They are medieval barons with no connection to Capitalism at all. Consequently, we always find ourselves on the wrong side of things, supporting people we don't actually like.

    We all know that Chavez is something of a jester but he is a popular jester that has taken the side (at least outwardly) of the poor of his nation against the rich bastards from the north (totally ignoring the rich Venezualean bastards of course). But, as has been said many times by many people (but not by Newt the Grinch or Boss Limburger) ignoring a bit of sand eventually kills the oyster. Bush preferred to ignore Chavez thus lending him even more credence than a simple handshake ever could. I think the American people see that.

  3. The thing that disgusts me is the fact that the GOP is spending so much time and energy on attacking the President. He has been in office for 100 days in the midst of one of America's worst times and instead of working together to resolve these numerous problems, they continue to take these pot shots at him. As far as Cheney and Gingrich are concerned; it is difficult for me to lend credence to anything that comes out of their mouths.

    On the other hand; I have also seen corrrelations between Obama and Carter. I have also seen huge differences between the two. Carter sole focus was on foreign policy which led to the domestic demise. In my opinion, Obama has done a good job of juggling the two which is no easy task. As far his shaking the hand of Chavez; get over it! Truth be told; the issue of human rights has actually improved since Chavez gained power. It's not great; just better. Bush's hardass approach accomplished nothing but creating more enemies for the US. Perhaps a different approach will prove to be fruitful.

    The GOP should really think before they attack-how ironic is that? The litany of questionable alliances that Big George and Little George had is rather extensive. In closing; I am still waiting for that alternative economic proposal promised by the GOP. Instead of following the leads of a disgraced loudmouth and a money grubbing war monger; their focus on addressing the problems our country now faces might be a better idea. How bout it boys-just do your job which is supposed to be looking out for the welfare of their constituents. Leave the finger pointing to the pundits who are accustomed to be seen as fools.



blogger templates | Make Money Online