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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.

~McQ

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

  • Obama/Clinton “soft (read–”limp”) power” will, if not radically altered, result in the death of millions.
    Like the economic condition we are in, this is predictable.

  • Let’s see if I’ve got this straight.

    First, Iraq was almost entirely done by Bush, with the little done by Obama mostly aping Bush and carrying out his schedule. But Obama gets the credit for anything good that comes out of it.

    Second, Obama has done TARP II massive stimulus, Government Motors takeover, complete revamp of financial regulation, imposed dramatic new rules and mandates on the healthcare industry, the Democrats have controlled Congress and budget since early 2007… but the blame for the bad economy goes to Bush.

    The flaws in this are clear to a bright six year old. They’re not even trying to sound credible any more.

    • Nobody’s giving credit to Obama for Iraq. Sure, he may claim it, but he won’t get it.

      • “Nobody’s giving credit to Obama for Iraq.”

        Oh, I think we can count on somebody commenting here on Obama’s triumph in Iraq.

  • If the media treats the withdrawal from Iraq as Obama’s work, the public will believe it. Most Americans have never heard of SOFA. The administration will swear up and down that they reversed Bush’s Iraq policies and by doing so won the war, the media will pass it along without comment, and the Democrats will almost certainly get a boost from it.

    • Gawd, I hope you are wrong. I think people will remember that things got better in Iraq before the elections.

  • Forty-eight percent (48%) of U.S. voters now regard President Obama’s political views as extreme.

    Just 38% say Palin’s views are mainstream, while 55% regard them as extreme.

    And that’s the good news.

    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.

    Not so much.
     
    Looks like we’re going to be blessed with a little more rain.
     
    Cheers.

    • The basic issue is that, as Dale and many others have pointed out, we no longer agree on what is mainstream and reasonable, and therefore the corollary is that we also disagree on what is extreme. Both sides now see the other as extreme. That’s where those numbers you cite come from.
       
      There isn’t any way to resolve this amicably that I can see.

      Sure, many foolish people counsel that we ought to just talk it out and compromise, and such, but that’s just another way of saying that we ought to give in to the left, because the left *never* actually compromises about the direction of society, only the speed at which we go towards collectivism. Any reversal, such as welfare reform, is done in spite of the left, not by compromising with them.

      Freedom-oriented people have now exhausted their patience in going towards collectivism at any speed. Government-oriented people apparently won’t be satisfied until government can guarantee that every single citizen is rich, happy, fulfilled in their work, and completely free of hearing or seeing a single thing that upsets them. So there is no compromise possible.
      Many conservative/libertarian types are deluded about this. They counsel education. “If we just explain it to them…”

      No, it doesn’t matter how much you explain to a leftist, or even a mushy moderate that has bought into leftist axioms, that their religion-disguised-as-a-political-philosophy simply does not work in the real world, and that there is no way to make it work. They will forever cling to the unfalsifiable tenet that we just need to keep trying with different people, different policies, different something. After all, those rich people still have *some* money. The left wi’ll keep to their delusions about collectivism until they bring modern society down around them, and then blame others for the failure.

      So that’s why you see the “extreme” percentages high for just about anyone who actually has a position other than “muddle through”. The ideas about what to do are near polar opposites. The conservative/libertarian right wants to drastically cut spending, cut regulation, cut taxes, and generally rein in government. The left wants to expand spending, regulate anything that moves unless it has something to do with sex, raise taxes on “the rich” (that ever-expanding class of people who money to loot), and make government responsible for more and more of society.

      It looks like Republicans will be lucky enough to take advantage of the Democrat’s unerring aim at their own feet and their ability to demonstrate the deficiencies of collectivism in amazingly short time spans to regain control of congress. They should realize at that point that any change they want to make – any change at all – will be slammed by the left as extreme. We no longer have a spectrum of policies; we just have a binary choice, according to most of those involved in politics. Black/white, with us/against us, racist-climate-denying-heartless-selfish rightists vs. clueless-emotional-busybody-power-lusting leftists.

      If the Republicans were smart enough to realize this, the would pull out the stops on trying to reverse government. After all, as the Bush administration showed us, compromise of any form or amount buys them nothing. Federalize education, create a new collectivist program for seniors’ drugs, help out steel unions, talk nice about leftists while they’re calling you a fascist – none of that gave Bush an iota of credit with the left or the media. Not. One. Iota.

      So might as well be damned for something worth being damned for. The last chance we have to avert the coming meltdown is for the Republicans to be extreme, at least as seen by the left, the media, and probably just under half the country.

      Fat chance they’ll do it, of course.

      • It means nothing with Obama around to veto everything

        • Fine. Let him veto spending cuts and tax cuts. Let him veto the repeal of Obamacare. That shows that there is, in fact, a difference between the two parties and sets up a real choice for 2012.

          Also, let him figure out how to get his grand schemes in place without funding.

          Of course, the legacy media spin will be how the GOP is extreme, obstructionist, mean, and all the rest. So what? That’s been the spin for years. I think, or at least I hope, we’re about ready to get past it.

      • After all, as the Bush administration showed us, compromise of any form or amount buys them nothing. Federalize education, create a new collectivist program for seniors’ drugs, help out steel unions, talk nice about leftists while they’re calling you a fascist – none of that gave Bush an iota of credit with the left or the media. Not. One. Iota.
         
        Don’t make the mistake of believing that Republicans are actually principled conservatives merely compromising with the Left.
        It’s as though you believe that the Bush administration and the Republicans controlling congress at the time did these things to appease or compromise with Leftists.  Truth is, they did those things for their own electoral benefit.
        It’s easy to get people to like you when you both cut their taxes and increase entitlement spending.
         
        If the GOP takes control of either the House or the Senate, it will be only for short term advantage – the ability to slow or halt the Obama agenda.  But if and when they take control of both legislative and executive, don’t think for a second that they will play a different tune.
        It’ll be the same old song and dance.
         
        Cheers.

        • Don’t make the mistake of believing that Republicans are actually principled conservatives merely compromising with the Left.

          Oh, I don’t, far from it. There have only been a handful of such in my lifetime.

          However, when talking to their base, they speak as if they actually believe in limited government. They want to pretend to the base that they’re just chomping at the bit to rein in government, but unfortunately {sigh} they just have to compromise with the those Democrats to get anything done. Then they go to the audiences that benefit from the Collectivist Program Act of 2005 or whatever, or the organizations/communities that benefit from earmarks, and talk about how they brought home the bacon. They’re shameless hypocrits.

          They even convince themselves of the necessity of their governing style. “Well, we can’t do anything if we don’t stay in  power. And those risky, risky limited government things you want would cause us to lose power because they would anger the people who like the government programs we would be eliminating, and we would probably never get our reforms passed anyway, yada, yada, yada.” 

          So the bottom line is that they never actually do anything with their power except… work on holding onto it. I’d like to see an end to that kind of attitude among Republicans. Not that I expect it. I’d just like it. Plus, I’m hoping that their base is just about past the “won’t get fooled again” point where the usual self-serving establishment GOP behavior just won’t be accepted.

  • Does anyone get the impression that Obama is merely along for the ride.  The thrill and excitement of being POTUS just doesn’t hold the luster it once did and it is becoming more and more of an 8-to-5 drudge job.

    I get the impression Obama is merely “phoning it in” regarding the reality of the job of POTUS.  What is left to accomplish out there for him – beyond some “save the planet” rhetoric associated with climate change and energy, there really isn’t anything sexy left to accomplish. 

    Card check and other union proseletizing actions are left dangling but with a legislature growing more and more disenchanted with his vision, I see more and more Obama being the first President to willingly forego the opportunity for a second term.  Why bother to chase the prize?  He is already at the top and pushed a button further than any other Progressive in history.  Why bust his ass for the continued aggravation of the job?  And he has shown no real willingness to preserve the power for the party that put him there, not to mention an electorate that has turned against him.  He even mentioned his disillusionment with the great unwashed recently when, in a speech, he said “They should be thanking us!”

    Maybe I am wrong – who here can even trust his own feelings toward a President that noone really knows.  With Clinton you saw unbridled lust for the continuance of power.  With Bush II you saw the desire to see an event to fruition.  But with Obama, you see him seemingly becoming more and more distant to the job at hand.  Maybe it is wishful thinking but to me it shows me a man looking for an exit.

    • You are not alone in your speculation.

      I see…Obama being the first President to willingly forego the opportunity for a second term.

      LBJ dropped out of the 1968 election after Tet.

  • I  think the only things that Obama likes about politics are the trappings of the office, the life style, and campaigning. The job itself doesn’t much interest him.

  • Two things.
    1)  Did anyone else laugh out loud at this one?

    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.

    It is not oddly out of step.  The last thing Obama and the Democrats want to talk about is the economy.  The reach for foreign policy, where the administrations track record is dubious at best, reeks of desperation.
    2) In another jaw-dropping sprint for the surreal, we get this:

    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.

    This is the guy who previewed ObamaCare in Massachusetts.  His ‘extreme’ rating should be off the charts.
     
     

  • 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.

    This is where MiniTru comes in.  Witness the coverage a year or so again when The Dear Golfer last tried to bring peace to the Middle East: “Well, NOBODY can do it!!!  You can’t blame him!!!” Further, there will be lots of coverage of him looking oh-so-presidential: meeting with foreign leaders, delivering speeches about what everybody else needs to do, looking thoughtful and wise as he lectures various ambassadors and heads of state, etc.  Hey, it’s better than images of him taking ANOTHER vacation or playing ANOTHER round of golf.

    Unless he manages to start a war, it’s really a “heads I win, tails you lose” situation: if there is progress, it’s BECAUSE of his efforts, but if there is no progress, it’s IN SPITE of his efforts (and because of the hateful Jooooooos).

    Anyway, tkc is right: at this point, the LAST thing the dems want to talk about is the economy.

  • They’re counting on the Media having more of a free hand in falsely attributing success to Obama concerning foreign policy.  They can make stuff up out of thin air and most Americans aren’t in a position to check it out meanwhile people can look around them and see the homes not selling and stores closing.