Commentary Magazine


RE: Obama, Bush, and War

Rick, you are in good company. Ambassador (and maybe presidential contender) John C. Bolton had this to say about the “turn the page” rhetoric:

That may satisfy the left wing of the Democratic party, but it’s impossible to turn the page on Iraq given the continuing strategic interest we have there. I think it’s indicative of the isolationism that forms a big part of his philosophy. It reminded me of George McGovern’s 1972 Convention speech when he kept saying “Come home America.”

As many of us have commented today, what particularly concerns him is the Afghanistan remarks. “I think this is a decision driven by his domestic political consideration and I think we’re going to pay for it down the line. I still see him as having no strategic vision, no real understanding what the implications of these steps are, but continuing to play the playbook that he’s been following since his campaign.”

And no, he really didn’t think much of the Bush references either. (“It just shows how far we’ve come that saying a nice thing about the troops cheers people up. Even George McGovern had the wit to do that.”)

Well, that is what makes Bolton such an effective, and amusing, spokesman for a robust U.S. foreign policy. And a final note on the budget numbers:  this chart is compelling. You do wonder whether the president misunderstands the facts or simply thinks he can slip by the American public very large fibs (e.g., ObamaCare will save money, the stimulus created jobs).

If Obama really is to step up to the plate and shed his campaign persona, he would do well to be honest and accurate. He’s not going to listen to Bolton’s advice, but he can and should at least operate from the same set of facts.