Obama Foreign Policy in a Tailspin

December 29, 2007

First one of Obama’s top foreign policy advisors, Susan Rice, criticizes Hillary Clinton for not being tough enough in regard to the Musharraf dictatorship in Pakistan. Then, another Obama advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, said that “the United States should not get involved in Pakistani politics.” And then, to put the proverbial icing on the proverbial cake, after Clinton called for an independent, international investigation into Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, Obama himself disagreed with her (H/T: TalkLeft):

Clinton also called for an independent, international investigation into Bhutto’s death, “perhaps along the lines of what the United Nations have been doing with respect to the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri in Lebanon.” Obama said he doesn’t share that view. “It is important to us to not give the idea that Pakistan is unable to handle its own affairs,” he said.

Could Obama’s foreign policy be any less consistent? It seems that it is based simply on disagreeing with Hillary Clinton. This is the kind of reckless politicizing that one might expect from someone who has virtually no foreign policy experience, and it seems that Obama is proving everyone who has mentioned his lack of experience as a concern exactly right.

More beneath the fold…

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Edwards Chastises Obama

December 29, 2007

John Edwards is chastising Barack Obama for politicizing Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Asked about the Obama campaign’s attack on Hillary Clinton, in which they implied that her vote for the Iraq War made her indirectly responsible for Bhutto’s death (twice!), Edwards said:

“It’s ridiculous,” Edwards said. “It’s a ridiculous stretch. I think in times of international crisis — which this clearly is — what America needs to be doing and serious presidential candidates need to be doing is providing an atmosphere of strength and calm. We need to be a calming influence and not stoking the fire and certainly not be talking about the politics of this.”

Edwards’ criticism of Obama is much more valid than Clinton’s, since her campaign too has been guilty of politicizing Bhutto’s assassination. John Edwards is the only candidate who has risen above the temptation to politicize this assassination, as Obama has done, or worse yet, to use this assassination to terrorize the American people into voting for them – as all of the Republicans and Clinton, in her own way, have done. Edwards is right that we need strength and calm in times of crises, and he’s the only one who hasn’t been running around like Chicken Little since Bhutto’s assassination.

Edwards Rising in Iowa

December 29, 2007

From the Politico:

A new Strategic Vision poll released Friday finds that the former North Carolina senator has the support of 28 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers, his best standing in Iowa over the past six months. Edwards now trails Clinton by only one point and Obama by two points, well within the poll’s margin of error of 4.5 percent.

And from the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier:

A new Iowa caucus poll from Lee Enterprises newspapers shows the Democratic race in a virtual three-way tie, with John Edwards rising to tie Barack Obama for the lead and Hillary Clinton rising to just one point behind.

I’ve thought for some time that Edwards might win Iowa, because of his strong support in rural areas and because I felt that Clinton and Obama would tear each other apart sufficiently to allow another candidate to move into first place. It looks like that could happen. Meanwhile, Edwards is still competing with Obama for the anti-Clinton mantle. On the heels of news that Hillary Clinton has stopped taking questions at campaign events, this announcement from the Edwards campaign represents the polar opposite point of view:

On day two of John Edwards’ 38-county “America Rising: Fighting for the Middle Class” tour, the Edwards campaign announced the “Ask John” program — giving undecided Iowans the opportunity to ask questions about any issues that concern them and get answers before they caucus. With just one week to go before caucus night, the program reflects Edwards’ commitment to discussing his bold, specific agenda directly with Iowa caucus goers and answering their questions about the issues that are important to them.

“I believe that anyone running for president has an obligation to listen to the voices of regular people and answer their questions directly,” Edwards said. “In these final seven days, I want every Iowan who has a question to know exactly where I stand and what I’ll do to take on the special interests and give middle class Americans a voice in Washington.”

Sounds good to me.

And Again

December 28, 2007

Just in case you weren’t sure, Obama foreign policy advisor Susan Rice says that Hillary Clinton is indeed indirectly to blame for Benazir Bhutto’s assassination (H/T: TalkLeft):

“Those who made the judgment that we ought to divert our attention from Afghanistan to invade Iraq and allow al-Qaeda to reconstitute and strengthen are now having to assess the wisdom of that judgment as we may be seeing yet another manifestation of al-Qaeda’s potency,” said Susan Rice . . .

Rice also hints that the Obama campaign is in favor of regime change in Pakistan, contradicting Obama advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski who has said that “the United States should not get involved in Pakistani politics.” Well, that’s as clear as mud.

Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself

December 28, 2007

AMERICAblog is linking to a news story in which it is revealed that economic issues and health care are taking priority as the issues that matter to Americans during this election cycle. Voters are concerned that the middle class is disappearing and that America is increasingly divided between the rich and the poor.

The fact that voters are waking up to economic reality in this country is good news for Democrats, but The Scanner points out that the left could still be in trouble unless it comes up with a comprehensive and comprehensible message:

So why do I say that the new progressive movement is fucked? Because they have no ideology. They lack any semblance of a creed. Now, naturally, the progressives would vigorously dispute this. Of course we have a creed! We believe in universal healthcare, combating global warming, protecting the right to abortion… [etc., ad infinitum] But that’s not a creed, it’s a list of policies. And of course, what happens when you have only a list of policies as your lodestar is that crafty politicians come along who loudly proclaim to embrace your goals before quietly vitiating them with a lobbyist’s scalpel and reams of fine print.

I agree that the absence of ideology within the Democratic party is a serious problem, and I propose that the basis for forming a new ideological message should be socialism. That’s right: socialism.

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Evan Bayh, Loading the Gun for Them

December 28, 2007

Not to be outdone, the Clinton campaign* has decided that they too must use Benazir Bhutto’s assassination to attack other presidential candidates, just as the Obama campaign did. Clinton supporter Sen. Evan Bayh had this to say about the Bhutto assassination (H/T: TPM Election Central, TalkLeft):

“When there are unfortunate calamities like this, the Republicans [will say], ‘See. See what we told you? We have to have someone who’s strong to defend America at a time of concern.’ Well, Senator Clinton is strong,” he said. “And she’s experienced. And she’s tough enough to defend this country and do it in a way that’s true to our values, the civil liberties we cherish, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m supporting her.”

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The Politics of Hope!

December 27, 2007

Most of the presidential candidates have been shamelessly capitalizing on Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, but Barack Obama moves beyond the realm of shameless self-promotion and into the category of despicable. This, from Time (H/T: TalkLeft):

Bhutto’s death will “call into issue the judgment: who’s made the right judgments,” [Obama advisor] Axelrod said. “Obviously, one of the reasons that Pakistan is in the distress that it’s in is because al-Qaeda is resurgent, has become more powerful within that country and that’s a consequence of us taking the eye off the ball and making the wrong judgment in going into Iraq. That’s a serious difference between these candidates and I’m sure that people will take that into consideration.”

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