During the January 2008 meeting in which I shot this photo, then-Sen. Obama persuaded me he had a clear, correct conception of America’s proper role in the world. Today, I have my doubts.
Hillary Clinton is sounding better and better. I liked reading this:
Former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton has not yet said whether she will pursue the presidency. But for a candidate-in-waiting, she is clearly carving out a foreign policy distinct from the man she used to serve.
In the spring, President Obama articulated a philosophy for avoiding dangerous entanglements overseas that was modest in its ambitions and focused on avoiding mistakes. Don’t do stupid things, he said.
Now Clinton is offering a blunt retort to that approach, telling an interviewer, “Great nations need organizing principles — and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”…
She drew special attention to Obama’s determination to sidestep costly foreign interventions. The president and his aides have referred privately to that strategy in recent months as, “Don’t do stupid s—.” That approach has come under fire from some now that Islamist militants have gained ground overseas.
… she argued that the United States has to strike a better balance between overreaching in foreign affairs and being so restrained that conflicts can spiral out of hand.
“You know, when you’re down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, you’re not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward,” Clinton said…
Amen to that. That “down on yourself” think is particularly to the point. In this context, it refers to the president being down on his country (I haven’t noticed him being down on himself, personally), and seeing it as unworthy of trying to do any good in the world. Which is not an appealing trait in a POTUS.
In the same editions of The Washington Post (OK, maybe not in the actual paper, but on my iPad version, which is what I see), the paper’s house conservative, Jennifer Rubin, gives Mrs. Clinton a backhanded complement in the course of giving Rand Paul a good slap upside the head:
Will Americans want to replace President Obama with a candidate who thinks critics of his failed Middle East policy are “warmongers,” who thinks containment of Iran shouldn’t be ruled out, who opposed imposition of the Menendez-Kirk sanctions, who thinks Guantanamo Bay terrorists should be moved to the United States for trial, who wanted all troops pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and who didn’t want to take any action in Syria? It seems Hillary Clinton doesn’t think so, and I suspect she’ll start running from Obama’s Iran policy just as she has from his treatment of Israel and refusal to take action in Syria. Why then does Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) think the Republican Party will accept positions that even Hillary Clinton can’t stomach?
Oh, and to complete the hat trick on deriding Obama’s foreign policy, Dana Milbank had this to say today, in the same paper:
President Obama must really be teed off.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, his once-loyal secretary of state and his likeliest successor, has gone rogue, criticizing his foreign policy as too timid.
Obama responded with not one but two rounds of golf….
Obama stood on the South Lawn on Saturday updating Americans on the new bombing campaign in Iraq — and then he boarded Marine One for a two-week trip to Martha’s Vineyard. There, half an hour after arriving at his vacation home, he was already on his way to a golf course. He played again Sunday, then had a beach outing Monday followed by a political fundraiser.
Even presidents need down time, and Obama can handle his commander-in-chief duties wherever he is. But his decision to proceed with his getaway just 36 hours after announcing the military action in Iraq risks fueling the impression that he is detached as the world burns….
Aw, give POTUS a break. He needs a vacation from the strain of not doing stupid stuff around the world. Or smart stuff, either.