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Daily Archives: August 24, 2010

Foreign policy the venue for Obama to regain “political momentum? Really?

A blurb from the Washington Post that I find somewhat ironic:

Obama’s return to Washington from 10 days in Martha’s Vineyard and a quick stop in New Orleans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina will begin with an address to the nation marking the end of combat operations in Iraq. Days later, he will preside over the start of a new round of Middle East peace talks in Washington.

Both events offer Obama some political opportunities to help end a frustrating summer on a more positive note. But each is fraught with expectations that could prove difficult to meet in the long run, especially as the White House begins planning a reelection campaign next year.

And a week-long focus on foreign policy — timing driven largely by events outside of the president’s control — could seem oddly out of step during an election season that has been dominated by concerns over the national economy.

I guess “political opportunities” is in the eye of the beholder.  The Post goes on to say that the timing of the foreign policy events is mostly “outside of the president’s control” meaning, obviously with the elections in November rapidly approaching, one would normally not look to foreign policy as a place he would gather “political momentum” as the Post’s title says.

There are a couple of reasons for that in Obama’s case.  First he’s probably the least qualified president we’ve ever had in the foreign policy arena.  Certainly the most inexperienced.  And to this point, it’s rather difficult to point to any achievements in that area.  So it seems to me to be a good deal of wishing and hoping by the Post’s Michael Shear if he thinks this is the arena in which lay Obama’s best chance for gathering “political momentum” again.

Secondly, Iraq can hardly be considered an accomplishment of his administration.  The drawdown has been accomplished there in accordance with a timeline negotiated and agreed to (the SOFA agreement) by the Bush administration, before Obama ever took office.  Ironically, we never hear Obama saying he inherited that.

As for the peace talks in the Middle East, it will most likely be the usual political theater with little accomplished.  Turkey’s entrance into the ME debate on the side of the Arabs has had, I would think, a very profound effect on the possibility of such negotiations succeeding.  I don’t think that impact is yet fully understood, but I suspect we’ll get an inkling of that when these talks begin. 

If foreign policy is Obama’s best hope for regaining political momentum, then he’s in real political trouble.

Speaking of irony, this also caught my eye:

Forty-eight percent (48%) of U.S. voters now regard President Obama’s political views as extreme. Forty-two percent (42%) place his views in the mainstream, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

By comparison, 51% see the views of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as mainstream. Thirty-five percent (35%) think Clinton’s views are extreme. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

Incredible to think that the person who first tried to nationalize health care is seen as less extreme than the guy who did.  The poll speaks to a possibility though.  If Obama’s job approval numbers continue to decline (now at 43%) and if the numbers that consider him extreme continue to climb, I can see a possible challenge from the left in 2012 from Hillary Clinton.

And, btw, if there are any “successes” in foreign policy, you can bet that Ms. Clinton will be sure that she gets her share of the credit.

But you have to chuckle a bit about the noted poll numbers – Hillary Clinton, who was certainly regarded by at least a plurality and possibly a majority of being an extreme leftist is now considered by the majority as being “mainstream”?  I guess that’s relatively true in the context of Mr. Obama, but I doubt that it is true in reality.  She’s hidden herself well – ideologically speaking – these last few years, you have to give her that.

Oh, and speaking of extremist views, the Rasmussen poll didn’t just concentrate on Democrats:

Among five top contenders for the White House in 2012, only former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is viewed as more extreme than the president. Just 38% say Palin’s views are mainstream, while 55% regard them as extreme.

Mitt Romney, the ex-Massachusetts governor who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, is considered mainstream by 45% and extreme by 33%. Twenty-two percent (22%), however, are not sure about his views.

Forty-four percent (44%) say the views of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, another unsuccessful 2008 GOP hopeful, are in the mainstream. Thirty-eight percent (38%) think Huckabee is extreme, and another 18% are not sure.

It’s important to note that the questions did not define “mainstream” or “extreme.”

Love the last line – yup, I guess “extreme” is something only an individual can define based on his personal ideology (and we all have them).  It is like pornography – you know extreme when you see extreme.

Anyway, back to Obama and foreign policy.  If I were him, I certainly wouldn’t bank on foreign policy being the area that pulls his political fortunes out of the ditch.  He’s certainly, to this point, shown us nothing that would indicate he has a grasp on the situations around the globe and much to demonstrate he hasn’t.  I can’t imagine how his political momentum is going to be restarted in an area in which he spends so little time and effort.


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Of course he’s an expert – he’s made a movie!

And to the left that certainly suffices for expertise.  I mean, after all he and  Al Gore share that “distinction”.  I’m talking about Avatar’s James Cameron, of course.  It seems he believes that those who don’t blindly follow the false god of pseudo science as presented by Al Gore and his minions are, well, “swine”:

“I think they’re swine,” he said at the American Renewable Energy Day Summit, the Aspen Times reported.

The summit hosts such climate scientists of distinction as T. Boone Pickens, Ted Turner, James Cameron, Bill Ritter, Kristina Johnson and Thomas Friedman.  Yes, it is loaded to the gills with science.

Favorite quotes from the Aspen Times article:

“A lot of really good American people are being lied to,” added Peter Byck, the director of an upcoming climate change documentary called “Carbon Nation.”

Byck stressed that Americans’ hearts are in the right places, but that skeptics of climate change have such a vast infrastructure in getting what he called their false message out, many don’t know whom to believe.

No, don’t laugh – he probably really believes that.  The “vast infrastructure” spoken of are Glen Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.  Not the vast number of grants and huge amount of government money that has, to this point, been wasted on trying to prove what appears to be  the unprovable.  And forget Gore’s movie and massive propaganda campaign, it is the skeptics who, with a few blog sites and facts, have been able to successfully blunt the previous onslaught of activist “science” and the left doesn’t like it.

Oh, and after claiming this vast opposing infrastructure exits our precious crew criticized the media:

They also criticized the media for giving half of its attention to a very small — less than 1 percent, they said — portion of scientists who say global warming is not caused by humans.

Less than 1%?   Vast infrastructure?  Yeah, you reconcile the two.  But the important point to recognize is even if it is only 1%, skeptics have been able, through the use of facts and analysis, to stop the “global warming” farce in its tracks.

That brings me to perhaps my favorite quote of the entire Aspen Times story:

Greene, Cameron and a host of other climate-change activists said there needs to be a broad educational campaign, one aimed at convincing voters and politicians that not being able to prove that fossil fuel-produced carbon is changing the temperature of Earth is not a license for inaction.

Emphasis mine.  If ever the left was distilled into a paragraph, that’s it.  Scientific proof, we don’t need no stinkin’ scientific proof – we feel it in our bones.  And that’s reason enough to take mega drastic action that will ruin economies, cause poverty and, eventually, kill people.  Of course the “broad educational campaign” aimed at “voters” would be based on, well, nothing.  It would be propaganda in its purist form and about as “educational” as a lecture by Gore.

Cameron also apparently challenged the “swine” to a debate at the conference.  They invited skeptics and the news media to watch as, one supposes, Cameron and crew would take the “swine” apart.  Ann McElhinny, who was to be a part of the debate and was privy to the rules to be followed tells the rest of the story:

But then as the debate approached James Cameron’s side started changing the rules.

They wanted to change their team. We agreed.

They wanted to change the format to less of a debate-to "a roundtable". We agreed.

Then they wanted to ban our cameras from the debate. We could have access to their footage. We agreed.

Bizarrely, for a brief while, the worlds [sic] most successful film maker suggested that no cameras should be allowed-that sound only should be recorded. We agreed [sic]

Then finally James Cameron, who so publicly announced that he "wanted to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out," decided to ban the media from the shoot out.

He even wanted to ban the public. The debate/roundtable would only be open to those who attended the conference.

No media would be allowed and there would be no streaming on the internet.  No one would be allowed to record it in any way.

We all agreed to that.

And then, yesterday, just one day before the debate, his representatives sent an email that Mr. "shoot it out " Cameron no longer wanted to take part. The debate was cancelled. 

Marvelous.  So the man who said in a previous interview, “I want to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads," crumpled like a wet paper box when finally confronted with the reality of doing so.  And then made the “swine” remark. Yes, that’s right, after he had chickend out of a debate he had called for and organized, he called the other side “swine”.

It wasn’t like he was going to be confronted by real, honest to goodness scientists who didn’t believe in global warming.  The “skeptics” he was to confront were Marc Morano of the Climate Depot website and Andrew Breitbart, and film maker McElhinny (“Not Evil Just Wrong”).

However, according to Morano, Cameron decided not to take the stage after being warned off by a coterie of environmentalists that “debate with skeptics … was not in his best interest.”  Among them was Joseph Romm of Climate Progress who had engaged in such a debate previously with Marc Morano and was soundly and obviously trounced.

So, speaking of demigods, just like this movement’s demigod – Al Gore – they refuse to actually engage in debate, preferring name calling, puffery, pseudo science and propaganda as their tools of persuasion. 

And they wonder why fewer and fewer are listening to them.


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