Archive for May, 2009
Asked why he was naming some of his rivals to top administration jobs, President Lyndon B. Johnson said it best: “I’d rather have them inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.” President Obama seems to echo Johnson’s management style in his handling of Bill and Hillary Clinton. By bringing them into his inner circle, he has marginalized them both and sharply reduced their freedom of action.
It may appear odd to describe a secretary of State as marginalized, but Obama has surrounded Hillary with his people and carved up her jurisdiction geographically. Former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) is in charge of Arab-Israeli relations. Dennis Ross has Iran. Former U.N. Ambassador Dick Holbrooke has Pakistan and Afghanistan. And Hillary has to share her foreign policy role on the National Security Council (NSC) with Vice President Biden, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, CIA chief Leon Panetta, and NSC staffer Samantha Powers (who once called Hillary a “monster”).
With peers who are competitors and subordinates who can deal directly with the president, Hillary is reduced to announcing foreign aid packages for Pakistan while Holbrooke does the heavy lifting.
Part of Hillary’s problem is the institutional shrinking of the State Department. During the Bush years, while war raged, the Defense Department became more relevant to the conduct of foreign policy. And, under Obama, the financial crisis has propelled the Treasury into the forefront. State, with its emphasis on traditional diplomacy, has been forced to take a back seat. Even though Obama appointed Hillary, he clearly has not been willing to make her a co-president and confines her to the diminished role of her department.
For his part, Bill Clinton has been asked to be a special envoy to Haiti. Yes, Haiti. Obama’s predecessor asked the former president to orchestrate the response to the Asian tsunami and then to Hurricane Katrina. Obama gives him Haiti.
Meanwhile, both Clintons are effectively muzzled and cannot criticize Obama even as he reverses President Clinton’s free market proclivities and budget balancing discipline. Hillary, the supposed friend of Israel, must sit by quietly and watch Iran get the bomb while trying all the while to stop Israel from preventing it.
Bill can’t even make money. Denied the ability to accept speeches from foreign governments or their organs and fenced out of continuing his profitable relationship with the Emir of Dubai, he and his wife must accept the loss of the $13 million they spent on her campaign and sit by passively, unable to earn the money to replace it.
Just as Lincoln buried his rivals Seward, Chase and Stanton in the Cabinet and then on the Supreme Court, and Wilson buried Bryan at the State Department, so Obama has hidden his predecessor and his rival in plain sight at the upper reaches of the government.
How long will Hillary subject herself to this discipline? Likely as long as Obama is popular. Should his ratings fade, she might move away from the president and could even consider a primary contest against him in 2012. But while he is on top of his game, she’ll stay loyal.
But she is shrinking by the day. Once Obama’s equal — and before that his superior — she now looks tiny compared to the president. She doesn’t look like a president in waiting; she’s more like a senior staff member hoping to rise in the bureaucracy. No longer at the head of a movement or the symbol of rising women all over the world, she has faded into the State Department woodwork. She is much less visible than her predecessors Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Baker, Madeleine Albright or Condi Rice. She is even less in the public eye than was Al Haig during his one-year tenure. One has to go back to the likes of Warren Christopher or William Rogers to find a secretary of State as far down the totem poll. This diminished status has got to grate on her and on him. But they are trapped in Obama’s web and cannot easily escape.- email from DvwS
If al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the rest of the Looney Tunes brigade want to kick America to death, they had better move in quickly and grab a piece of the action before Barack Obama finishes the job himself. Never in the history of the United States has a president worked so actively against the interests of his own people – not even Jimmy Carter.
Obama’s problem is that he does not know who the enemy is. To him, the enemy does not squat in caves in Waziristan, clutching automatic weapons and reciting the more militant verses from the Koran: instead, it sits around at tea parties in Kentucky quoting from the US Constitution. Obama is not at war with terrorists, but with his Republican fellow citizens. He has never abandoned the campaign trail.
That is why he opened Pandora’s Box by publishing the Justice Department’s legal opinions on waterboarding and other hardline interrogation techniques. He cynically subordinated the national interest to his partisan desire to embarrass the Republicans. Then he had to rush to Langley, Virginia to try to reassure a demoralised CIA that had just discovered the President of the United States was an even more formidable foe than al-Qaeda.
“Don’t be discouraged by what’s happened the last few weeks,” he told intelligence officers. Is he kidding? Thanks to him, al-Qaeda knows the private interrogation techniques available to the US intelligence agencies and can train its operatives to withstand them – or would do so, if they had not already been outlawed.
So, next time a senior al-Qaeda hood is captured, all the CIA can do is ask him nicely if he would care to reveal when a major population centre is due to be hit by a terror spectacular, or which American city is about to be irradiated by a dirty bomb. Your view of this situation will be dictated by one simple criterion: whether or not you watched the people jumping from the twin towers.
Obama promised his CIA audience that nobody would be prosecuted for past actions. That has already been contradicted by leftist groups with a revanchist ambition to put Republicans, headed if possible by Condoleezza Rice, in the dock. Talk about playing party politics with national security. Martin Scheinin, the United Nations special investigator for human rights, claims that senior figures, including former vice president Dick Cheney, could face prosecution overseas. Ponder that – once you have got over the difficulty of locating the United Nations and human rights within the same dimension.
President Pantywaist Obama should have thought twice before sitting down to play poker with Dick Cheney. The former vice president believes documents have been selectively published and that releasing more will prove how effective the interrogation techniques were. Under Dubya’s administration, there was no further atrocity on American soil after 9/11.
President Pantywaist’s recent world tour, cosying up to all the bad guys, excited the ambitions of America’s enemies. Here, they realised, is a sucker they can really take to the cleaners. His only enemies are fellow Americans. Which prompts the question: why does President Pantywaist hate America so badly?
- DvwS email from post by Gerald Warner, Telegraph.co.uk
Cross a media flack with a political hack about a recent shipping accident
– you get a version of Abbot & Costello.
- by Linda Butts
May, the month we remember to honor those who have fallen in defense of our country.
Bob Hope, legendary entertainer who lent his talent to entertaining our troops, was a man to inspire. And that, he did.
The other day GlennBeck talked about fear for US future economy. He was right, I think, when he said we shouldn’t be afraid. We would do better to be prepared.
If we know what we believe, about democracy, our country, our beliefs, our God; if we know where our ground is, we will know what to do. We can rise to be needed leaders, knowing where the ground is. Where, Glenn asks, are you grounded?
“In the world you will have tribulation. Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”
I thought this morning, in those early hours when night’s darkness lingers, about the proposed direction of US, the Change we were promised by the man who is our president. I thought about the opponent of that Change so ominous, AmericaFirst. While the promised Change scares me, AmericaFirst misses the ground that Glenn talked about.
Bob Hope last brought his troupe to Waikiki Shell (Honolulu) to commemorate V-J Day in 1995. Although Mr. Hope was weak, Hope’s strength radiated promise. Men and women related memories of that war before my birth. My memory of their voices have put thought to my current observations. They talked of planes and bombs, of fear and loved ones, of bodies and lives dismembered. Some, quite aged, shared their personal experiences while delegates relayed the words penned of soldiers laid to rest. They spoke eloquently and openly of love of their Country and their love of God.
Of the many who spoke their memories of that war, on that secular stage under Hawaii’s glorious blue sky, there was not one who omitted God.They prayed to God, some not even believing He is.
I was surprised by the freely spoken quantity of acknowledgement of God. Some said it was faith in God that let them cast out fear. Some said it was God’s strength that gave them focus. Some said it was their honor of God that taught them to honor US, our country. Some said a little of each, all included God.
Many men and women spoke that day of that war long ago, on Bob Hope’s stage in Waikiki. They remembered the days, the hours and minutes, fighting in that war. They recalled thoughts while flying high in the air, or lower to the ground, and seeing enemy planes attacking US. The didn’t talk about having courage. Rather, they talked about being grounded in God.
So, where am I grounded?
God first. Like for those who fought, lived and died, God is where the ground is.
A Canadian friend emailed that her spring gardening is on hold -
until after the snow stops. It’s May!!
Politically Correct terms for Cap and Trade = Carbon Tax, Global Warming Tax