I don’t buy the argument circulating on righty blogs that because Bush didn’t specifically name anyone in his “appeasement” remarks before the Israeli Knesset he was not really talking about Obama, or Democrats. It’s pretty disingenuous not to acknowledge who exactly Bush had in mind when making the comment. Indeed, the American people know full well who Bush was referring to because they believe the same thing about Democrats and Obama – that they are hopelessly naive when it comes to the true nature of our enemies and that Obama’s careless remarks about meeting with those nations who harbor us ill will without preconditions smacks of nothing less than a Chamberlainesque eagerness to engage in diplomacy simply for diplomacy’s sake.
The fact that everyone knows who Bush was referring to and the fact that the substance contained in the remark reflects the widely held belief of a very large percentage of voters should have given Obama an opening to retract the remark and share his thoughts on engaging Iran, Syria, and other terrorist supporting nations in a useful dialogue.
Instead, Obama and the Democrats hit the ceiling, calling Bush every name in the book and whining about their hurt feelings. Their reaction reminded me of a line from the movie All The Presidents Men where the Washington Post has published an article accusing the White House of wrongdoing and the reaction to that article from the Nixonites. Ben Bradleee observes “They doubt our ancestry, but they don’t say the story isn’t accurate.”
Obama called Bush’s words “an appalling attack,” “dishonest,” divisive, “fear-peddling,” fear-mongering,” but for some reason, never got around to responding to the substance of Bush’s charge; that Obama and the Democrats cannot be trusted with running American foreign policy because their outlook on the world is is based on false assumptions about, our friends, our allies, our role in the world, and most of all our deadly enemies.
Bush actually did Obama a favor. He gave him a golden opportunity to lay out his “realistic” ideas on American foreign policy so that it would get the widest possible hearing. The problem, as Obama and the Democrats well know, is one of perception – a perception they try their best to finesse rather than tackling head on. It’s not about talking tough and making threats. It is about calling our enemies, well, enemies . They could try that for starters.
And it doesn’t help when Obama gives an interview to David Brooks of the New York Times and talks about satisfying the “legitimate grievances” of Hamas and Hizbullah as if giving one inch to those terrorists wouldn’t put our “friends” (another word the Democrats have a hard time annunciating) in Israel and Lebanon in danger. To even recognize those terrorists have anything “legitimate” in the way of an agenda is as close to appeasement as you can get without going over the line.
After all, that was Chamberlain’s problem. He believed (like Seattle Times editor Bruce Ramsey) that all Hitler wanted was to unite the “German speaking people of Europe” under one flag. The problem, of course, is that those pockets of German speakers lay outside of Germany’s borders – in fact, had always been separate from Germany – and therefore made Hitler’s claim on the Sudetenland and Danzig illegitimate if Chamberlain had bothered to check.
Actually, it wouldn’t have made any difference. Chamberlain was bound and determined to give Hitler everything he wanted in what has to be considered the most spectacular misjudgement in the history of diplomacy. The British Prime Minister believed there was a limit to Hitler’s appetite for conquest. Too late, he realized the truth.
As far as Obama, he seems to have an enemy identification problem – as do most Democrats. They reserve their harshest criticism for their own president while taking it relatively easy on the beasts and thugs who should come in for the bulk of their disapprobation. Do they have a clue how warm and fuzzy that makes people like Hugo Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad feel? With their over the top, exaggerated, bitter attacks on Bush’s policies and Bush the man, (deserving of plenty of criticism but not the personal hatred thrown his way by so many in the Democratic party), the Democrats play directly into the hands of our enemies.
Do they think the American people haven’t figured this out already? Evidently no. So instead of responding to Bush like adults, Obama and the Democrats whine about how Bush hurt their feelings by calling them “appeasers” which he didn’t but for the sake of Democrat’s high blood pressure, we’ll grant them that small point.
And the obedient servants of Obama and the Democrats in the media are beside themselves with joy. Here is a Democrat who “hits back.” Here is a Democrat who won’t take these “smears” lying down. The media is so pleased at Obama’s tantrum that they can barely contain their glee.
But while they are hugging themselves perhaps they should ask why the candidate couldn’t have hit back and rebutted the charges made by President Bush? Substantively, the charge is still out there, hanging over the campaign and the Democratic party. And until someone, somewhere in the party starts talking about defending America’s vital interests in a way that doesn’t sound like we would sacrifice some of them on the altar of being well thought of by the rest of the world, Obama and the Democrats will continue to have their national security bona fides called into question.