l’Affaire Giuliani, or, “Does Obama love America?” No, and yes.

February 22, 2015
x

He loves one of these Americas

So, late last Wednesday, the MSM and the Left (I know, I’m repeating myself), exploded in outrage at comments made by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at a dinner for likely presidential candidate Scott Walker at New York City’s “21 Club.”Speaking before the assembled guests, Giuliani stated with no equivocation that President Obama does not love America:

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

With Walker sitting just a few seats away, Giuliani continued by saying that “with all our flaws we’re the most exceptional country in the world. I’m looking for a presidential candidate who can express that, do that and carry it out.”

“And if it’s you Scott, I’ll endorse you,” he added. “And if it’s somebody else, I’ll support somebody else.”

Naturally, the airwaves exploded as Obama’s defenders rushed to express outrage: “How dare he question Obama’s patriotism?” (Conveniently forgetting that Obama did just that to George W. Bush) There were demands for apologies and, of course, cries of “racism!” I’m only surprised no one screamed “lèse–majesté” and demanded Rudy’s head.

But, enjoying the furor he caused, Giuliani refused to back down. The next day on “Fox and Friends,” he went there again:

“I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents. And when it’s not in the context of an overwhelming number of statements about the exceptionalism of America, it sounds like he’s more of a critic than he is a supporter,” Giuliani said. “You can be a patriotic American and be a critic, but then you’re not expressing that kind of love that we’re used to from a president.”

Here’s video courtesy of Nice Deb:

If I understand that last sentence right, it sounds like Giuliani saying that a president cannot be critical of America and still love her. If so, then I respectfully disagree.

On the other hand, I think his general argument should be uncontroversial, when understood in a certain way: Barack Obama does not love America as she is. He does not love Americans as they are.

Bear with me for a bit.

To understand how it can be true that the President of the United States does not love the United States, we have to keep in mind his intellectual background:

  • His grandparents were very much on the Left (1), and his mother had a very left-wing education at her high school. She later married the Kenyan Barack Obama, the president’s father, who was himself on the far Left.
  • His mentor in Hawaii was Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA and a devout Stalinist who was savagely critical of America and its leaders. Davis was important to Obama, as one can see in his memoir “Dreams From My Father.”
  • As an undergraduate at Occidental College, we know from people who knew him that Obama was a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist.
  • Transferring to Columbia, and though his records are sealed, researcher Stanley Kurtz has made a strong case that Obama remained on the far Left, perhaps there first learning of community organizing, the profession created by “small c” communist Saul Alinsky, and becoming acquainted with James Cone and Black Liberation Theology.
  • In Chicago as a community organizer, again per Kurtz, Obama’s professional associations, direct and indirect, were all on the Socialist left: the crypto-Socialist Midwest Academy; his work with Socialist/communist community organizing groups ACORN and UNO of Chicago; his membership in the Socialist New Party; his close association –professional and personal– with former “small c” communist terrorist Bill Ayers; and the fact that he willingly sat for 20 years in the church of Reverend Jeremiah “God damn America!” Wright, a follower of Cone and Black Liberation Theology.
  • During his return to school at Harvard for a law degree, he was influenced by Professor Derrick Bell, the author of Critical Race Theory.
  • On his return to Chicago, he entered politics by running for the state senate seat of the retiring incumbent, Alice Palmer, a Socialist/Communist who was a great fan of the USSR. Palmer initially gave Obama her warm endorsement.

One could go on, but I think you the pattern: From the beginning of his life through his professional career to today, Obama’s intellectual and emotional world has been almost wholly on the “America stinks” Left, and there is no evidence that I know of that he has ever moderated or rejected those views, other than to go from revolutionary Marxism-Leninism to a vague democratic socialism or corporatism.

With that kind of background –strongly Socialist and racialist– why would anyone expect Obama to love a nation founded on principles of limited government, free markets, capitalism, and the sanctity of property rights? All  our strengths he sees as flaws, and our wrongs as our main legacy. Ace puts it nicely:

…our weaknesses are footnotes (and footnotes worth reading, as footnotes usually are) to our accomplishments.

Obama doesn’t see our failings as footnotes. He sees them as the main text. He sees America doing a few good things here and there (most importantly: electing him) as the footnotes.

A president who loves the “America that is” accepts her for what she is, acknowledging her faults but seeing her good works, her greatness, and her exceptionalism as far outweighing the bad, marking her as indeed something special in the family of nations.

Obama, on the other hand, loves an America, but it’s not the same America most of us know and love. You don’t really love something or someone you want to “fundamentally transform.”

Barack Obama loves the America of his leftist dreams: statist and corporatist, where equality of result is guaranteed through the pervasive intervention of the only real arbiter of fairness, the government. A nation wherein people are treated as members of groups, not as individuals.

So, the answer to the question “Does President Obama love America,” is both “no” and “yes.”

The president we should look for is the one who simply and honestly answers “yes.”

RELATED: Moe Lane on why the Left is really upset. Kevin Williamson, who says Obama not only doesn’t love America, he doesn’t even like it.

Footnote:
(1) Kengor, “The Communist,” p. 229, Kindle location 4412. And, before someone accuses me of picking on his family, their potential influence on his future views is very much germane.


American political scientists downgrade our fourth-greatest president ever

February 17, 2015
"Tell me you love me!"

“Tell me you love me!”

Via The Washington Examiner, the results of this survey should have Obama running to his mirror for reassurance:

According to a Brookings Institution survey of American Political Science Association scholars, they put Obama on the worst, not best, list by a margin of nearly three-to-one. Here’s how Brookings wrote it: “Those who view Obama as one of the worst American presidents outnumber those who view him as one of the best by nearly a 3-1 margin.”

And, the friendly think tank added, “nearly twice as many respondents view Obama as over-rated than do those who consider him under-rated.”

Overall, Brookings said, “Few think of Obama as an excellent president, while many more rate his presidency quite low, with the bulk of experts appearing to give him a passing grade but not one that would get him on the Dean’s list.”

The survey was sent to 391 members of the American Political Science Association’s Presidents & Executive Politics section, the premier organization of experts of the American presidency, and 162 participated online.

First, let’s note that Brookings is not what one would call a “conservative” institution, so, if they have any bias, it likely runs in the other direction. Second, the APSA itself has a very liberal bent, so we can imagine that while it hurt to ding Obama, some of that criticism probably came from the Left, disappointed that he hasn’t gone far enough. Regardless, it’s a far cry from the fawning euphoria felt by those who greeted him as the second coming of FDR and those halcyon days when he was granted a Nobel peace Prize before he had done anything. (1)

Then again, FDR’s economic policies were largely a failure, so maybe the comparison was apt, after all.

Still, “the worst” by a 3-1 margin? There can be only one explanation: racism.

Don’t they know he’s the fourth-greatest president, ever?

Footnote:
(1) Then again, that is likely to be remembered as the high point of his administration….

UPDATE: Changed the headline from the original, since, the more I thought about it, the more it seemed tendentious.


Obama, the Un-War President

February 13, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

I’m kinder to Mr. Bush than Mr. Schindler is, but what he says about President Obama below is on-the-mark. If the Bush administration was too inclined to use force , a position I have some disagreements with, the Obama administration is almost mindbogglingly unwilling to recognize or admit to situations when force, or at least the credible threat of force, is the rational answer. Well-worth reading.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

It’s been a tough week for anyone seeking to defend President Obama’s record, particularly in foreign policy, against rising accusations of fecklessness. Seven days ago, the White House unveiled its overdue National Security Strategy, five years after its last edition, to understated fanfare, with National Security Adviser Susan Rice mostly complaining that nobody understands how great things are going globally — minor incidents like the rise of the Islamic State and the aggressive war waged by Russia against Ukraine notwithstanding — and that national security is, you know, a tough job.

The mantra attached to the new NSS is Strategic Patience, which was met with guffaws, since it seems to be more a rationalization of Obama’s (in)actions over the last six years than any bona fide strategy. Mostly, it appears to be “don’t do stupid shit,” the administration previous foreign policy mantra, dressed up in grad school IR cliches.

To…

View original 1,358 more words


Obama: “Don’t criticize Islam because Christians did terrible things, too!”

February 5, 2015

satire does not equal 02

Sigh. While speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama warned against insulting religions, just because one has the right to do so. In the process, he engaged in some intellectually lazy moral equivalence:

“Humanity’s been grappling with these questions throughout human history, and unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place — remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ,” Obama said.

“…So it is not unique to one group or one religion; there is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. And God compels us to try.”

Obama advocated starting with “some basic humility.”

First, let’s all take a moment to clean up after the spit-take we all experienced when Barack “I’m the 4th greatest president, ever” Obama advocated some basic humility. Better, now?

The President was speaking in the context of the horrific murder of Jordanian pilot Lt. Mu’adh Yusuf al Kasasibah by burning him alive. And Obama, always supposing himself to be the only reasonable man in the room wanted to warn others, “Hey, Christians have done some nasty things, too, so let’s not go overboard in reaction.”

This is called a tu quoque error, Latin for “you, too,” or arguing the accuser is a hypocrite for being just as guilty as the accused. Not only is this an error of relevancy –what happened centuries ago has no bearing on the atrocities committed by ISIS nor our condemnation of them– in this case Obama is showing an all too common ignorance of both history and the religions he presumes to lecture about.

Put bluntly, when a Christian commits “terrible deeds” while invoking the name of Christ, he is acting against Christ’s teachings. On the other hand, when a Muslim does something similar, he is often acting in accord with the teachings of the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the recorded deeds of the life of Muhammad. Writing at Victor Davis Hanson’s site, Bruce Thornton puts it so when criticizing another example of historical and theological ignorance:

This point makes [Harvard Professor Kevin Madigan’s] argument a false analogy, for there is nothing in traditional Islamic theology that provides a basis for making violence against heretics and non-believers un-Islamic. The professor wants to argue away these inconvenient truths about traditional Islam by arguing that the faith can evolve away from them, just as Christianity did. But again, whereas historical Christian violence could find no scriptural justification, and much to condemn it, Islamic violence and intolerance––and of course slavery and Jew-hatred––are not the result of fringe or extremist misinterpretations. Rather, they are validated in the Koran, the Hadith, and 14 centuries of Islamic theology and jurisprudence, all regularly and copiously cited by today’s jihadists and theologians.

Thus the doctrine of jihad against infidels––the notion that such aggression is a justified form of the defense of Islam and necessary for fulfilling Allah’s will that all people become Muslims––is the collective duty of those dwelling in the House of Islam. The Koran instructs, “Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth.” Nor can there be any “tolerance” or “mutual respect” for those who reject Islam, especially Jews and Christians: “O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” The professor’s dream of a “broad-minded form” of Islam would require an extensive reinterpretation or rejection of some of Islam’s fundamental tenets.

That whole article is worth the time to read.

While I was raised in a Catholic household, I’m not a religious person. And while I have a great deal of respect for (most) religions, I have none for the kind of shallow, intellectually indolent and sanctimonious ignorance Obama displayed in his remarks. The fact is, while Judaism, Christianity, and Islam arose in roughly the same region and have some similarities, what is valued as right and good and a religious duty in Islam is far different than in the former two faiths, as anyone who takes more than a superficial glance at them can see.

If we’re to fight this war successfully, we have to understand accurately the beliefs of those fighting on the other side. Sadly, we’ll have to wait for the next president to have any hope of that in our leadership.

PS: Regarding the Crusades, whatever wrong happened during them, let’s not forget that they originated in a Western counterattack against the Muslim conquest of two-thirds of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, including Christendom’s holiest sites.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Audio) Obama has spoken. Now listen to a real orator

January 20, 2015

President Obama has just delivered his State of the Union address Speech from the Throne. If you had the stomach to put up with that, then you deserve a reward: the greatest orator of the 20th century at the climax of his greatest speech.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Prime Minister:

No comparison.


Is the White House press office hiding Obama’s #Benghazi photos, @PressSec?

December 24, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

That’s the accusation made by investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson:

“If you know how the White House works, a photographer is omnipresent,” Attkisson said. “He would have been there taking photographs in the Situation Room. He would have been taking photographs of the president that night. So we asked for the photos, which in my view, are public information. They are paid for with tax dollars, and they release them when they want them released and they are positive . The photo office indicated initially, this was probably in October or November 2012, that we could have the photos at the end of the day and that never materialized. They suddenly started referring us a White House deputy press secretary, Josh Earnest, who is now press secretary. And they said Josh would have to approve it, and he would never return a call or e-mail. We would try to maintain communication with him or try to make communication with him over a long period of time, and he wouldn’t even answer. We would go to the press, photographer’s office and say you have given us an impossible task, you have told us to talk to someone who will not talk to us. You need to give us another route to follow to try and get these photos, and they would say no, you have to talk to Josh Earnest. So that just went down a dead-end road…”

Attkisson’s right, this is public property and should be subject to Freedom of Information Act rules. And it’s not as if the White House has ever been shy about releasing photos of Obama in other situations. Quite the opposite. There are, for example, well-known photos of Obama observing the mission to assassinate Osama bin Laden. And, if you think back there were plenty of photos of President Bush and the White House staff dealing with the crisis of the 9-11 attacks.

So why none of President Obama on what was arguably one of the most dramatic nights of his administration, when Americans in the nation’s service were fighting for their lives?

It’s just a guess, but I suspect the reason is that their revelation would seriously embarrass Obama, who (again, guessing) left it to Panetta and JCS Chairman General Dempsey to handle things while he “arranged things” with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in order to preserve their deal. Or maybe he just didn’t think it was important and just went to bed, which in its own way would be equally embarrassing. So, just as the LA Times sits on the Rashid Khalidi tape, the White House press office has deep-sixed those photos (1) to spare Obama public disgrace.

Someday they’ll come out. Just not while Obama is in office and Josh Earnest is his press secretary.

via Max Abrahms

Footnote:
(1) If they exist. Admitting they don’t would be just as bad for Obama, since it would also be an admission that he wasn’t doing anything worth recording that night.


Recognizing Cuba: what do we get out of the deal?

December 19, 2014
"Pues, yo venci."

“Yo venci.”

It was announced a couple of days ago that the Obama administration had concluded months of secret negotiations (facilitated by Canada and the Vatican) leading to the diplomatic recognition of Communist Cuba. The deal includes the exchange of ambassadors; the humanitarian release of an American held unjustly in Cuba; an exchange of captured spies (three of theirs for one of ours); and the easing of some economic and financial restrictions. President Obama will also ask Congress to end the half-century old embargo against the neo-Stalinist island.

Now, to be clear, I’m not unshakably opposed to opening relations with Cuba. Few policies are etched in stone, and, as circumstances change, so should policy if it no longer serves American interests. And there are rational arguments to be made in favor of relaxation. For example, my friend Jazz Shaw is of the “it wasn’t working, so let’s try something else” school, while analyst Tom Nichols makes “The Conservative Case” for normalizing relations. (For cogent rebuttals, please read Andrew McCarthy and Fausta)

So, like I said, there are rational arguments on both sides of the matter.

But, look at it another way. Try looking at it like a good capitalist would and ask yourself “What’s in this for us?”

A deal like this is a transaction in which each party gives up something of value to get something it values. What you’re getting is (or should be) worth as much or more to you than what you gave up. Otherwise, why are you making the deal?

And that’s where I’m stumped; I can’t figure out what we got that’s worth anything like what we are giving away. Consider:

If the agreement is carried out, the US gives up:

  • Official recognition of the Castro regime
  • Permission to export to US markets, potentially worth billions
  • Access to US financial markets, see above
  • Lots of US tourists and the dollars they’ll bring

Cuba gives up:

  • An unjustly held American
  • A spy who had been working for us.

Cuba gets:

  • See what the US gives up, and remember this will probably strengthen and shore up the regime, since all those dollars have to flow through them, first.

The USA gets:

  • ???

In other words,”What, exactly?” American recognition and the end of the embargo is of incredible value to Cuba’s struggling totalitarian regime, possibly guaranteeing its survival for decades to come. Is giving all that up worth what amounts to an ornament for Obama’s legacy? I don’t think we’re getting a good deal for our side.

Jazz and others argue that times have changed and that Obama was right to change policies from something that wasn’t working.

My argument is that since the policy (embargo and non-recognition) was not significantly harming us; since lifting it probably won’t measurably help the Cuban people (what incentive to liberalize do the Castros have now?), but does reinforce the idea that we will bargain for hostages; and since we aren’t getting anything of equal or greater value, why not keep the policy in place? It isn’t as if we’re talking about China or Russia, where other factors would outweigh our outrage at their barbaric record on political and economic liberty. American recognition and trade is an incredibly valuable asset worth far more than what Cuba offers (even if they do make great cigars); the Castros need us far more than we need them. If they want it, let them give us something big. Here’s what I would ask for at a minimum:

  • The release of all political prisoners
  • An end to media censorship
  • Tolerance for and free participation by opposition political parties
  • Religious liberty

I suspect the Fidel and Raul would turn down my offer.

The making of bad deals, however, is a trademark of the Obama administration. Senator Rubio (R-Fl), who’s livid over the agreement, puts it succinctly:

“I think the people of Cuba have a right, if they are free, to choose any economic system they want. Nothing the president will announce today will further that goal. It is ironic a week after he imposed sanctions on human rights violators in Venezuela, we are lifting sanctions on the government that has taught the Venezuelans how to commit these human rights violations,” Rubio continued. “It’s absurd, and it’s part of long record of coddling dictators and tyrants that this administration has established.”

“It’s par for the course and administration possibly giving away unilateral concessions for Iran or Cuba in exchange for nothing,” said the Florida senator. “His foreign policy is, at a minimum, naive, and perhaps truly counterproductive to the future of democracy in the region.”

Barack Obama is the worst negotiator that we’ve had as president since at least Jimmy Carter, and maybe in the modern history of this country,” Rubio concluded.

Yes. Yes he is. Rubio could also have mentioned the bizarre trade of five vicious Taliban warlords in return for one alleged deserter, Bowe Bergdahl.

The question is, why? Why make a deal with Cuban oligarchs that gives away the store in return for bupkis? Aside from Obama’s general leftist affinity for Socialist tyrannies and aside from political changes in the younger generation of Cuban-Americans that leads then to care less and less about the issue, I have another sneaking suspicion. Way back in the 60s and 70s, the leadership of the Weather Underground were great fans of the Cuban revolution and, especially, of Che Guevara. One of those leaders was Bill Ayers, who became a professor at the University of Chicago and then became close with one Barack Obama.

And now, years later, President Obama showers gifts on Cuba.

Just sayin’…

RELATED READING: The Diplomad: “The Castros pull it off again.” Elliott Abrams: The triumph of ideology over US national interests. McCarthy: Rewarding Castro in return for nothing. Rubio: Not so fast with that embassy construction, bud. Sean Davis: Free trade with Cuba is a fantasy. Mike Gonzalez: Obama didn’t tell the whole story about Cuba. Legal Insurrection: Is this the opening of Rubio’s campaign for president?

UPDATE: Reader SteveInTN links to an analysis at Stratfor suggesting major problems for Venezuela arising from this deal. One can only hope.


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