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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Appeasement, The Democrats and Shakespeare

I normally try not to dwell on things that are fairly trivial, however the food fight between the President in Israel and what started with Obama warrants some further thoughts. First, here is what the President said again,

“some people” believe the United States “should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along."

"We have heard this foolish delusion before," Bush said. "As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is—the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

Now, Obama interpreted the comments to mean an attack on himself. Here is how he responded.

It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack," Obama said in the statement his aides distributed. "George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the president's extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel."

Now, several media observers have pointed out that not only was Obama not mentioned by name but that the much more likely recipient of the comments was Jimmy Carter, who recently met with Hamas.

Of course, that hasn't stopped several prominent Democrats from responding. Here is how Senator Biden responded.

This is bullshit, this is malarkey. This is outrageous, for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, to sit in the Knesset . . . and make this kind of ridiculous statement.”


“He is the guy who has weakened us,” he said. “He has increased the number of terrorists in the world. It is his policies that have produced this vulnerability that the U.S. has. It’s his [own] intelligence community [that] has pointed this out, not me.

Now, while Biden was long on crude and inappropriate language, what he was short on was exactly what about the statement it was that he didn't like.

John Kerry was next.

(Bush) is still playing the disgusting and dangerous political game Karl Rove perfected, which is insulting to every American and disrespectful to our ally Israel. George Bush should be making Israel secure, not slandering Barack Obama from the Knesset.

Then, it was Dick Durbin.

There is no escaping what the president is doing," said Durbin, who supports Obama. "It is an attack on Sen. Obama’s position that we should not be avoiding even those we disagree with when it comes to negotiations and diplomacy.

Tom Daschle said this.


I am shocked and, actually, very, very saddened by what the President has done,” Daschle said during an interview he gave to Fox News.

“This is an unprecedented political attack that we’ve never seen a president do before.”

Finally, the Speaker of the House had her say.

would hope that any serious person that aspires to lead the country, would disassociate themselves from those comments.”


The tradition has always been that when a U.S. president is overseas, partisan politics stops at the water's edge. President Bush has now taken that principle and turned it on its head: for this White House, partisan politics now begins at the water’s edge, no matter the seriousness and gravity of the occasion. Does the president have no shame?”

Now, a few things come to mind when listening to all of the protests of the Democrats. The first is this Shakespeare line

me thinks thou dost protest a bit too much

The President didn't directly call anyone out. He simply spoke at the Knesset and said that he believed that those that think that negotiating with evil folks are wrong. He put it into historical context by using the Hitler example. If they see their version of foreign policy as that which tries to negotiate with terrorists, then that is their problem. Hitler should have proved to everyone for all time that negotiating with evil only leads to disaster. If that simple if not obvious reference exposes the futility of Obama's foreign policy strategy, then with all due respect, the problem isn't the President's but Obama's.

Second, the Democrats show an unbelievable amount of chutzpah. Suddenly, they are all proclaiming that going overseas to fight domestic disputes is beyond the pale. I agree, however they are coming to the game rather late if that is their belief. I must have missed the righteous indignation when Congressman Jim McDermott said this from Baghdad.

Interviewed on ABC's "This Week" last Sunday, McDermott, while in Baghdad, said, "I think you have to take the Iraqis on their value-at their face value." He also said, "I think the President would mislead the American people."

Here is what Jimmy Carter said from England in 2005.

Former President Carter said Saturday the detention of terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay Naval base was an embarrassment and had given extremists an excuse to attack the United States.

Carter also criticized the U.S.-led war in Iraq as "unnecessary and unjust.""I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A.," he told a news conference at the Baptist World Alliance's centenary conference in Birmingham, England.

"I wouldn't say it's the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts."

Here is what Al Gore said in England to a British newspaper.

If you have a renegade band of rightwing extremists who get hold of power, the
whole thing goes to the right.”

When Nancy Pelosi took her rogue diplomatic trip to Damascus she said this...

The road to Damascus is a road to peace.

By her unbelievably sensitive standards, we could take that as a veiled swipe at the Bush administration's policy of trying to isolate Syria, and say that she went overseas and criticized a fellow politician. So, if Democrats are so concerned about politicians criticizing American policies from abroad, they should start by looking at their own party first.

The whole thing is silly to the point of being ludicrous. The problem has absolutely nothing to do with what Bush said. The problem is two fold. First, it appears that any criticism of Obama is seen as beyond the pale even when he isn't directly criticized. Second, his policy of speaking with evil dictators is so absurd that even when President Bush makes a simple speech in which he lays out his vision of foreign policy and dealing with evil regimes, that can be taken as a criticism of Obama's policy. Maybe it should, but that's only because the policy is in desperate need of criticism.


Anonymous said...

There is no question that BHO's reaction is driven by a guilt of culpability. But more interesting, are the responses of the Democratic leadership, media and others, that any factual statements that can be construed as against BHO's policy positions are racist, inappropriate or mean spitited. I can see the play book from now until November!

Anonymous said...

It's just becoming harder and harder to have any respect for the Democrats.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Obama protested because he was specifically aimed. He opposed Mrs. Clinton's statement about Iran and Israel (nuclear attack on Israel by Iran will be followed by Iran's obliteration), in other words, he was in favor of an appeasement policy.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats should be reminded that one of their own said:

"No realistic American can expect from a dictator's peace international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion-- or even good business. Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors.

As a nation we may take pride in the fact that we are soft-hearted; but we cannot afford to be soft-headed. We must always be wary of those who with sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal preach the ism of appeasement."

That is a quote from FDR's State of the Union, January 6, 1941 (the "Four Freedoms" speech).

Anonymous said...

From now until November, anytime Bush is in the news, it will be bad for John McCain. It will just remind Americans that McCain supports all of Bush's failed policies.

Anonymous said...

Your presentation of quotations, facts ,and time lines proves what any parent already knows...when there is a gross over reaction , it indicates a guilty state of mind.

The D's know they are over a barrel with BO's current foreign policy, ...and because BO thinks everything is about him, of course he played this all wrong.

I did enjoy Chris Matthews's indignation tonight, while on this same topic, scolding guests about their poor knowledge of history...too true, all our kids learn now is about MLK.

It would be great if we had more people offering a perspective like yours, rich with detail.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Matthews was absolutely correct on his show tonight. Whoever that screaming parrot was who would not (actually could not) decribe what Chamberlain did to appease to the Nazis, is a perfect illustration of the ignorance of the generation of people who gain "information" (I didn't say knowledge) by reading the Internet without any critical thinking.

Chris said...

Well said. The level of indignation at the President's comments and supposed criticism of a Presidential candidate (that's right still a candidate, not President yet) is beyond comprehension. Frankly, even if Bush was referring to Obama's proposed policy toward Syria at least he had the decency not to name names. However as pointed out, Carter's recent trip and Pelosi's own trip to Syria could just
as easily have been the target of the comments. All he stated is that appeasement doesn't work. Agree with the sentiment or not, at least he's remained consistent in that message over the years. Nothing new here.

How presumptuous of the Dems to assume that their heir apparent was the target of the comment. Poor little Obama. Can't criticize his choice of Pastor...can't criticize his association with Bill Ayers...can't question his wife's comments that she was "proud in the first time of her adult life"...can't question his patriotism...can't question his foreign policy. Otherwise you're unfairly smearing or attacking him, race-baiting, etc.. Can't believe we're going to have to sit through another 6 months of this. Way to stay above the fray Mr Obama. Had you and your Democratic brethren not raised such a fuss over this perceived attack, the appeasement comment would have been nothing more than a blip in the news....not front page fodder for all. Way to stay above the fray and avoid partisan politics. Way to bring the nation together. :) Lord help us if this candy ass Kennedy wannabe makes it to the oval office....if he can't take legitimate (or perceived) criticism from political opponents in the US without crying foul, how's he going to handle criticism (or worse) from the world at large? Oh that's right...everyone will instantly love him and the US. He and the Dems will rebuild our image to the world.

Lastly, while there may be unwritten rules of etiquette with respect to our leader(s) when overseas, does anyone think these quaint notions of protocol really improve or detract from any other nation's opinion of us or our leaders? In an age of instant and always on communication, the notion that what's said on foreign soil carries more or less weight than what's said in the US is laughable. Every gaffe, criticism, and praise is dutifully reported the world over, regardless or where it happened. AP, Reuters, Al-jazirah, BBC, they all get the latest within seconds of it happening....and all of us get their spin on it moments later.


Anonymous said...

Once King Bush II mentions Nazis... He loses.