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Posts For: June 7, 2010

You Don’t Want Him in a Foxhole with You

Juan Williams — to the amazement of some of his co-panelists — let it rip on Fox News Sunday. The subject was nominally the Sestak and Romanoff scandals, but Williams found the bigger theme:

I think the problem here is this is an administration that, as Hillary Clinton famously pointed out, you may not want to have answer the 3:00 a.m. call.

These are guys who have tremendous vision about legislative achievements and specific things like health care, going forward on immigration, those difficult issues for America that America so far has failed to deal with.

But when it comes to the crisis, when it comes to the gulf oil spill, the wars, the recession, they feel as if it’s being imposed upon them, rather than taking the helm. I think that’s what Americans are sensing right here. And I think it’s the source of their problem at the moment. Are you able to handle a crisis in a convincing way that inspires confidence? And so far, the president hasn’t done that.

Now, some say he should just go into a rage. I don’t think that’s who Barack Obama is. I think he’s a pretty cool character, fairly analytical, and I think we all admire as part of the meritocracy in America. Those are people who are really smart. But you know what? They don’t know how to deal with this crisis, and I think lots of Americans therefore are blaming the president, fairly or unfairly.

Well, that’s sort of a problem, since we live in a world filled with crises. Frankly, that’s what being president is all about. The day-to-day issues and the mundane problems don’t make it to the president’s desk. And the crises that have occurred during this administration and with the president front and center — bombing attempts, incidents in the Middle East, a popular revolt in Honduras, the gulf spill — have been bungled.

Even when the time frame for decision-making is not that tight, Obama has agonized and made things far worse. Recall the interminable Afghanistan seminars at the White House. Delay created the appearance of indecision, and the final announcement was a mishmash of the useful (more troops) and the destructive (a timeline). Then on the job scandal, Mara Liasson commented:

But the fact is that was a kind of ham-handed political act. It’s something that’s been done by every single administration in the past, to clear the field for an incumbent or a favored candidate. Then they proceeded to wait a very long time, an inexplicably long time, to explain what happened. And then when they did explain what happened, at least in Sestak, they didn’t answer all the questions. And it’s morphed — and we’ve all seen this movie before. It’s now morphed into this call for an investigation. And this is what happens in Washington.

Obama was comfortable when running for office, when he could get by on rhetoric and as a legislator — where no one is really responsible for anything. What he’s ill-equipped to do is govern and lead. Plenty of people are hired for jobs beyond their abilities and outside their areas of competence. Unfortunately, the damage done by placing someone of that ilk in the White House is grievous and in some cases irreversible.

Juan Williams — to the amazement of some of his co-panelists — let it rip on Fox News Sunday. The subject was nominally the Sestak and Romanoff scandals, but Williams found the bigger theme:

I think the problem here is this is an administration that, as Hillary Clinton famously pointed out, you may not want to have answer the 3:00 a.m. call.

These are guys who have tremendous vision about legislative achievements and specific things like health care, going forward on immigration, those difficult issues for America that America so far has failed to deal with.

But when it comes to the crisis, when it comes to the gulf oil spill, the wars, the recession, they feel as if it’s being imposed upon them, rather than taking the helm. I think that’s what Americans are sensing right here. And I think it’s the source of their problem at the moment. Are you able to handle a crisis in a convincing way that inspires confidence? And so far, the president hasn’t done that.

Now, some say he should just go into a rage. I don’t think that’s who Barack Obama is. I think he’s a pretty cool character, fairly analytical, and I think we all admire as part of the meritocracy in America. Those are people who are really smart. But you know what? They don’t know how to deal with this crisis, and I think lots of Americans therefore are blaming the president, fairly or unfairly.

Well, that’s sort of a problem, since we live in a world filled with crises. Frankly, that’s what being president is all about. The day-to-day issues and the mundane problems don’t make it to the president’s desk. And the crises that have occurred during this administration and with the president front and center — bombing attempts, incidents in the Middle East, a popular revolt in Honduras, the gulf spill — have been bungled.

Even when the time frame for decision-making is not that tight, Obama has agonized and made things far worse. Recall the interminable Afghanistan seminars at the White House. Delay created the appearance of indecision, and the final announcement was a mishmash of the useful (more troops) and the destructive (a timeline). Then on the job scandal, Mara Liasson commented:

But the fact is that was a kind of ham-handed political act. It’s something that’s been done by every single administration in the past, to clear the field for an incumbent or a favored candidate. Then they proceeded to wait a very long time, an inexplicably long time, to explain what happened. And then when they did explain what happened, at least in Sestak, they didn’t answer all the questions. And it’s morphed — and we’ve all seen this movie before. It’s now morphed into this call for an investigation. And this is what happens in Washington.

Obama was comfortable when running for office, when he could get by on rhetoric and as a legislator — where no one is really responsible for anything. What he’s ill-equipped to do is govern and lead. Plenty of people are hired for jobs beyond their abilities and outside their areas of competence. Unfortunately, the damage done by placing someone of that ilk in the White House is grievous and in some cases irreversible.

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The Hamas Poster Girl

The Washington Post reports:

Journalist Helen Thomas was scheduled to be the graduation speaker at Walt Whitman High School later this month — until Sunday, when she was disinvited after comments that she made about Israel and Palestine made many in the community uncomfortable, Montgomery Board of Education President Patricia O’Neill said Sunday.

“We became aware that there are some unfortunate comments from her that are airing on YouTube,” O’Neill said. O’Neill said that especially given the large Jewish population at Whitman, the school was not comfortable with having Thomas speak at the graduation on June 14.

So, if she is not fit to speak to high schoolers, why is she fit to sit in the White House briefing room?

Now, there is one place where she is very welcome: she’s being lauded by Hamas. (“No doubt that Thomas Helen has told the truth that everybody in the world knows, but as American in a very important position , she was attacked by Zionists who went mad from the reality she mentioned in front of all people.”)

So what’s the White House going to do: show it has as much sense as local school administrators, or allow Hamas and other Jew-haters the thrill of seeing their gal treated with respect in the White House briefing room? I’m sure this is another difficult question for the White House, which finds it oh-so-hard to make moral distinctions and come down against those who launch repugnant attacks on the Jewish state.

The Washington Post reports:

Journalist Helen Thomas was scheduled to be the graduation speaker at Walt Whitman High School later this month — until Sunday, when she was disinvited after comments that she made about Israel and Palestine made many in the community uncomfortable, Montgomery Board of Education President Patricia O’Neill said Sunday.

“We became aware that there are some unfortunate comments from her that are airing on YouTube,” O’Neill said. O’Neill said that especially given the large Jewish population at Whitman, the school was not comfortable with having Thomas speak at the graduation on June 14.

So, if she is not fit to speak to high schoolers, why is she fit to sit in the White House briefing room?

Now, there is one place where she is very welcome: she’s being lauded by Hamas. (“No doubt that Thomas Helen has told the truth that everybody in the world knows, but as American in a very important position , she was attacked by Zionists who went mad from the reality she mentioned in front of all people.”)

So what’s the White House going to do: show it has as much sense as local school administrators, or allow Hamas and other Jew-haters the thrill of seeing their gal treated with respect in the White House briefing room? I’m sure this is another difficult question for the White House, which finds it oh-so-hard to make moral distinctions and come down against those who launch repugnant attacks on the Jewish state.

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Obama’s Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Eliot Cohen writes: “The Obama administration has managed to convince most countries around the world that we are worth little as friends and even less as enemies.” Obama’s squeamishness about standing up to enemies and disdain for allies are apparent in virtually all the world’s hot spots, and this approach is a failure in each. As Cohen explains, U.S. equivocation on Gaza is a recipe for conflict and chaos:

When the U.S. accepted last week, albeit with some tut-tutting, the recent conclusion of the 189-nation nuclear nonproliferation review conference that singles out Israel but does not mention Iran, it was obvious that something is seriously amiss.

The folly here is to think that leaving the Israelis open to these kinds of diplomatic attacks will buy good will in a Middle East that gets its opinions from Al Jazeera and a venomous media that routinely prints outrageous lies and hate literature that echoes Nazi Germany. That part of the world, as Osama bin Laden once correctly observed, prefers a strong horse to a weak horse.

The still greater folly is to think that distancing ourselves from the Israelis will buy us leverage with them. When did the Israelis withdraw from Gaza? When they had a president in the White House upon whom they knew they could count. If, as is the case now, Israel is alone and desperate, is it more or less likely to conclude it has no choice but to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities?

But Israel is not the exception — it is only one example of Obama’s nonsensical approach to the world. Whether it is China or North Korea or Syria or Iran, Cohen reminds us:

There is no penalty for a foreign government crossing this U.S. president—unless you are the hapless prime minister of Israel visiting the White House, in which case, to paraphrase the deli bully in “Seinfeld,” “No dinner for you!”

The administration’s foreign policy, which appears to have sprung entirely from Obama’s textbook leftism (aversion to American power, contempt for Israel, revulsion at asserting American power and values, infatuation with multilateralism), is premised on the view that America is in decline and is so deeply flawed that it can only manage its descent, not reverse it. But in fact Obama’s policy is hastening that result. American power need not wane. What is needed is moral clarity, commitment to our allies, willingness to devote resources to our national security, and competent foreign-policy operatives. Obama has none of those. No wonder our enemies are on the march and our friends are exasperated.

Eliot Cohen writes: “The Obama administration has managed to convince most countries around the world that we are worth little as friends and even less as enemies.” Obama’s squeamishness about standing up to enemies and disdain for allies are apparent in virtually all the world’s hot spots, and this approach is a failure in each. As Cohen explains, U.S. equivocation on Gaza is a recipe for conflict and chaos:

When the U.S. accepted last week, albeit with some tut-tutting, the recent conclusion of the 189-nation nuclear nonproliferation review conference that singles out Israel but does not mention Iran, it was obvious that something is seriously amiss.

The folly here is to think that leaving the Israelis open to these kinds of diplomatic attacks will buy good will in a Middle East that gets its opinions from Al Jazeera and a venomous media that routinely prints outrageous lies and hate literature that echoes Nazi Germany. That part of the world, as Osama bin Laden once correctly observed, prefers a strong horse to a weak horse.

The still greater folly is to think that distancing ourselves from the Israelis will buy us leverage with them. When did the Israelis withdraw from Gaza? When they had a president in the White House upon whom they knew they could count. If, as is the case now, Israel is alone and desperate, is it more or less likely to conclude it has no choice but to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities?

But Israel is not the exception — it is only one example of Obama’s nonsensical approach to the world. Whether it is China or North Korea or Syria or Iran, Cohen reminds us:

There is no penalty for a foreign government crossing this U.S. president—unless you are the hapless prime minister of Israel visiting the White House, in which case, to paraphrase the deli bully in “Seinfeld,” “No dinner for you!”

The administration’s foreign policy, which appears to have sprung entirely from Obama’s textbook leftism (aversion to American power, contempt for Israel, revulsion at asserting American power and values, infatuation with multilateralism), is premised on the view that America is in decline and is so deeply flawed that it can only manage its descent, not reverse it. But in fact Obama’s policy is hastening that result. American power need not wane. What is needed is moral clarity, commitment to our allies, willingness to devote resources to our national security, and competent foreign-policy operatives. Obama has none of those. No wonder our enemies are on the march and our friends are exasperated.

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J Street Sides with Israel’s Enemies, of Course

In order to know how J Street is going to respond to any incident, you need only know what the Palestinian-UN (one and the same, usually) wants. And lo and behold, J Street tells us:

We urge that Israel immediately appoint a scrupulously independent commission to investigate the events onboard the Marmara and the decisions and circumstances surrounding the tragedy. We do believe that the government of Israel is capable of carrying out such an investigation but recognize its credibility is in doubt. Nothing but an immediate inquiry led by an impartial figure outside the government can produce a report that would be viewed as fair by Israel and the wider international community.

You see, Israel is denied the respect every other democratic country is afforded. J Street happily propounds the view harbored by those who seek the enfeeblement and destruction of the Jewish state that Israel is incapable of performing the functions of an ordinary government and is not a true democracy with ample checks and balances as well as self-scrutiny.

J Street’s recommendation comes right out of the Palestinian handbook: drop the Gaza blockade “of humanitarian and construction materials” (which J Street or the UN will determine, no doubt) and pressure Israel on a “two-state solution.” No need to point out the activists’ violence, Turkey’s and Iran’s roles, the terrorist activities and connections of those on board, or any other inconvenient facts. J Street (sometimes) says it’s pro-Israel, but it is not in favor of a robust state that can and will defend itself and maintain borders consistent with its historical and religious claims and security needs. The Israel that J Street favors is one that does not control its own affairs, does not deserve respect as a vibrant democracy, does not have defensible borders, and does not have the right to defend itself. And it sure doesn’t have Jerusalem as its undivided capital. In short, it is an Israel in name only, primed for destruction by its foes.

In order to know how J Street is going to respond to any incident, you need only know what the Palestinian-UN (one and the same, usually) wants. And lo and behold, J Street tells us:

We urge that Israel immediately appoint a scrupulously independent commission to investigate the events onboard the Marmara and the decisions and circumstances surrounding the tragedy. We do believe that the government of Israel is capable of carrying out such an investigation but recognize its credibility is in doubt. Nothing but an immediate inquiry led by an impartial figure outside the government can produce a report that would be viewed as fair by Israel and the wider international community.

You see, Israel is denied the respect every other democratic country is afforded. J Street happily propounds the view harbored by those who seek the enfeeblement and destruction of the Jewish state that Israel is incapable of performing the functions of an ordinary government and is not a true democracy with ample checks and balances as well as self-scrutiny.

J Street’s recommendation comes right out of the Palestinian handbook: drop the Gaza blockade “of humanitarian and construction materials” (which J Street or the UN will determine, no doubt) and pressure Israel on a “two-state solution.” No need to point out the activists’ violence, Turkey’s and Iran’s roles, the terrorist activities and connections of those on board, or any other inconvenient facts. J Street (sometimes) says it’s pro-Israel, but it is not in favor of a robust state that can and will defend itself and maintain borders consistent with its historical and religious claims and security needs. The Israel that J Street favors is one that does not control its own affairs, does not deserve respect as a vibrant democracy, does not have defensible borders, and does not have the right to defend itself. And it sure doesn’t have Jerusalem as its undivided capital. In short, it is an Israel in name only, primed for destruction by its foes.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

When you want clarity on the flotilla, watch Liz Cheney.

When you want moral sanity on Helen Thomas, follow Sarah Palin on Twitter: “Helen Thomas press pals condone racist rant? Heaven forbid ‘esteemed’ press corps represent society’s enlightened elite; Rest of us choose truth.” (When will liberal Jews admit they were conned by candidate Obama’s professed attachment to Israel? When they admit Palin is among the most pro-Israel political figures. Yeah, never.)

When you are prepared to scream and throw things, read Peter Beinart’s call for an end to “American dominance.” It does seem to prove the point that Beinart’s new anti-Israel bent is more about liberalism than about Israel. (A reader e-mails me: “To what does he owe his standard of living and his security?” Err … America’s superpower status? Yup.)

When reporters refer to the flotilla as “humanitarian,” you realize they are ignorant of or intentionally ignoring mounting evidence: “Accumulating evidence in the IDF’s investigation of the Gaza flotilla incident is pointing to the fact a separate group of Islamist radicals whose sole intention was to initiate a violent conflict was aboard the Mavi Marmara, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the opening of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. He said that a group of street-fighters ‘boarded the ship at a separate port, did their own provisioning, and were not subject to the same security check of their luggage as all the other passengers.’ The prime minister’s remarks followed IDF reports that a group of about 50 men — of the 700 on board — had been identified as being well-trained, and a ringleader who recruited them from the northwestern Turkey city of Bursa. The group was split up into smaller squads that were distributed throughout the deck and communicated with one another with handheld communication devices. The men wore bulletproof vests and gas masks and laid an ambush for the Shayetet 13 soldiers as they rappelled onto the ship’s deck from a helicopter. The members of this violent group were not carrying identity cards or passports. Instead, each of them had an envelope in his pocket with about $10,000 in cash.”

When Obama ignores Iranian aggression and fails to come up with a reasonable plan to halt the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions, you will get more of this: “Iran would be willing to send its Revolutionary Guard members to accompany further aid ships to Gaza, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday in an interview cited by Reuters.” You see, it’s not about Gaza or humanitarians – this is about Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East and Obama’s failure to do anything about it.

When Chuck Schumer calls for an investigation of the flotilla’s terrorist ties to al-Qaeda, that’s further proof that Obama is increasingly isolated in his noxious stance toward Israel. When he asks the State Department — who was willing to go along with the UN resolution – to do the investigation, you wonder if he’s serious. How about letting Israel do the investigation? You know, like America does when there is a controversial national-security incident.

When an investigation needs to be done, there really isn’t anyone better able to do it than Israel, which has already identified five flotilla passengers with prior involvement in terrorist activities. How long (if ever) would it have taken Hillary to figure that out?

When you want clarity on the flotilla, watch Liz Cheney.

When you want moral sanity on Helen Thomas, follow Sarah Palin on Twitter: “Helen Thomas press pals condone racist rant? Heaven forbid ‘esteemed’ press corps represent society’s enlightened elite; Rest of us choose truth.” (When will liberal Jews admit they were conned by candidate Obama’s professed attachment to Israel? When they admit Palin is among the most pro-Israel political figures. Yeah, never.)

When you are prepared to scream and throw things, read Peter Beinart’s call for an end to “American dominance.” It does seem to prove the point that Beinart’s new anti-Israel bent is more about liberalism than about Israel. (A reader e-mails me: “To what does he owe his standard of living and his security?” Err … America’s superpower status? Yup.)

When reporters refer to the flotilla as “humanitarian,” you realize they are ignorant of or intentionally ignoring mounting evidence: “Accumulating evidence in the IDF’s investigation of the Gaza flotilla incident is pointing to the fact a separate group of Islamist radicals whose sole intention was to initiate a violent conflict was aboard the Mavi Marmara, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the opening of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. He said that a group of street-fighters ‘boarded the ship at a separate port, did their own provisioning, and were not subject to the same security check of their luggage as all the other passengers.’ The prime minister’s remarks followed IDF reports that a group of about 50 men — of the 700 on board — had been identified as being well-trained, and a ringleader who recruited them from the northwestern Turkey city of Bursa. The group was split up into smaller squads that were distributed throughout the deck and communicated with one another with handheld communication devices. The men wore bulletproof vests and gas masks and laid an ambush for the Shayetet 13 soldiers as they rappelled onto the ship’s deck from a helicopter. The members of this violent group were not carrying identity cards or passports. Instead, each of them had an envelope in his pocket with about $10,000 in cash.”

When Obama ignores Iranian aggression and fails to come up with a reasonable plan to halt the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions, you will get more of this: “Iran would be willing to send its Revolutionary Guard members to accompany further aid ships to Gaza, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday in an interview cited by Reuters.” You see, it’s not about Gaza or humanitarians – this is about Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East and Obama’s failure to do anything about it.

When Chuck Schumer calls for an investigation of the flotilla’s terrorist ties to al-Qaeda, that’s further proof that Obama is increasingly isolated in his noxious stance toward Israel. When he asks the State Department — who was willing to go along with the UN resolution – to do the investigation, you wonder if he’s serious. How about letting Israel do the investigation? You know, like America does when there is a controversial national-security incident.

When an investigation needs to be done, there really isn’t anyone better able to do it than Israel, which has already identified five flotilla passengers with prior involvement in terrorist activities. How long (if ever) would it have taken Hillary to figure that out?

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