The Machiavellian Clintons?

February 28, 2010

Are Bill and Hillary (and their vassals) deliberately trying to bring down Barack Obama and the Left wing of the Democratic Party? Tom Bowler at Pajamas Media thinks so, and he presents an interesting argument based on an odd inconsistency in the behavior of Bill, himself, and the writings and urgings former (?) Clintonistas:

It’s bizarre. Why does President Obama insist upon driving public option health care legislation through Congress when voter opposition to it is at an all-time high?

Unhappiness with Obama and the other leading Democrats is so high that a national tea party movement has virtually brought the Republicans back from the electoral grave. The president’s job approval numbers have been in a year-long slide. In almost every election since he took office, Democrats have gotten trounced.

Yet he continues to push extraordinarily unpopular policies. Could it be the advice he’s been getting?

In the face of this disastrous performance by President Obama and the Democrats, the Clinton team has been actively advising that they keep doing what they’re doing. It’s as if Bill Clinton has just discovered that his beloved party is firmly in the clutches of the extreme left, and he’s decided to encourage their leaders to drive themselves into the proverbial ditch.

First there’s the behavior of the former President himself: in 1994, in the wake of a crushing defeat in the midterm elections grounded largely in the public’s rejection of his own administration’ statist health care plan, Bill tacked to the Right and became a moderately successful centrist president. Yet, when the public is again rejecting a statist takeover of health care, Clinton pushes his party’s now far-Left leaders to go to ramming speed.

Then there are the actions of former top aides to the Clintons. Lanny Davis, the former President’s “fixer” during his sex scandals, has laid the groundwork for attacking the Progressives and a return toward centrism. James Carville pushes the administration and the congressional leadership to continue blaming George W. Bush for everything, a tactic the public has grown tired of and something that diminishes the credibility of those who use it. Meanwhile, others echo Bill Clinton by urging the Democrats to pass the health-care bill, even by using reconciliation, even though all polls show the public hates the idea.

Cui bono? To whose benefit is this? Bowler argues that the Clintons are baiting their rivals into a trap, paving the way for Hillary to run for President in 2012, when she can present herself as the moderate, pragmatic savior of the party, rescuing it from the demagogic clutches of Obama, Pelosi, and the hard Left.

Bowler may be right, though it sounds like something out of a political thriller novel. But there’s no doubting that Lady Macbeth Hillary wants desperately to be President, and that Bill himself wants to return to the center of power. He is one of the great players of Survivor: Politics Island, and this could be his way of getting back into the game. And don’t forget the revenge angle: during the last campaign, Team Obama beat Bill Clinton, effectively playing the race card against him and neutralizing his efforts for Hillary. Encouraging the progressives’ worst instincts as they head for that cliff might well be his form of payback.


Conflict of interest? Surely you jest!

January 1, 2010

Just because foreign governments gave tens of millions of dollars to her husband’s charity is no reason to assume the Secretary of State might be compromised in the performance of her fiduciary duties toward the United States.

Really. Uh-hum. Sure. You betcha.

(hat tip: Dan Collins)


Honduras, perhaps not as bad as we thought?

November 1, 2009

Earlier I went on a tirade about the Obama administration’s foreign policy and its alliance with Latin American dictators against constitutionalism and the rule of law in our ally, Honduras. While I maintain my criticisms of US policy under the President and Secretary Clinton, the situation in Honduras may not be as bad as first thought in the wake of the agreement between the legitimate Honduran government and deposed President Zelaya. Otto Reich at National Review’s The Corner blog explains why:

Contrary to press reports, Zelaya is not in any way automatically returned to office by the accord.  First, there must be a vote by the entire Honduran congress on whether Zelaya is fit to return to office.  Prior to that, the Honduran supreme court, which ruled against Zelaya in June by a vote of 15 to 0, must issue an opinion on the same.

In other words, Zelaya must pass two big tests which he failed before: a judicial review by the highest court in the land, and approval by the legislature.  While Zelaya’s Liberal party has the largest faction in the congress, it is also the party of Micheletti.  According to my Honduran sources, there is no way that Zelaya can win a free and transparent ballot.  At the present time Zelaya can count on less than 25 percent of the congress.  In June, the same legislative body voted 122 to 6 against him.  There will doubtless be a battle this time, and the anti-Zelaya forces fear that Hugo Chavez will try to buy votes for Zelaya.  They are also concerned that the U.S. government not involve itself in the legislative process, especially U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens, who is widely seen as favoring Zelaya.  The accord was facilitated when Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon reportedly promised Micheletti that Llorens will not attempt to influence the vote.

If Reich is right, then he correctly calls this a defeat for the leftist ideologues in the White House, something anyone who cares about democracy should be grateful for. He worries that Venezuela’s dictator Hugo Chavez might try to buy-of votes in the Honduran Congress to get a majority to restore his protege Zelaya to power; let’s hope that the Hondurans, who’ve shown great resolve and commitment to the integrity of democratic institutions so far, continue to hold their ground.


Honduras: An Obama-Clinton disgrace

October 30, 2009

Today’s Times Online brings news of a resolution to the months-long crisis in Honduras, in which a constitutional democracy defended itself from a budding dictator, President Manuel Zelaya, by removing him from office, replacing him with the proper constitutional officials, and sending the would-be caudillo into exile. Elections would be held as scheduled and the interim president, Micheletti, had promised not to run. Because Zelaya refused to accept his ouster and had gathered allies in the hemisphere, a standoff ensued. Now that standoff is over, with the result that … Manuel Zelaya will be restored to power:

The interim government of Honduras has yielded to international pressure and agreed to allow the return to power of Manuel Zelaya, the ousted President who was toppled in a military coup four months ago.

The breakthrough came after renewed pressure from senior US officials who travelled to Honduras this week for a last-ditch effort to end the crisis.

“It is a triumph for Honduran democracy,” said Mr Zelaya after the rival sides agreed to a deal under which he may be reinstated as President within days.

Roberto Micheletti, the president of the interim government that took power after the coup on June 28, announced that he had agreed to reinstate his political rival.

“I am pleased to announce that a few minutes ago my negotiating team signed an agreement that marks the beginning of the end” of the four-month stand-off, Mr Micheletti said in a statement from the presidential palace.

Mr Zelaya was sent into exile at gunpoint on June 28 but returned secretly to Honduras last month where he has taken refuge in the Brazilian embassy.

For background on the crisis, see my earlier post.

This is another new low for American foreign policy under President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. Instead of gathering the facts and then backing the defense of constitutional order in Honduras, the White House and Foggy Bottom jerked their collective knees and condemned the legitimate government, demanding Zelaya’s restoration, which left them in the grotesque position of allying the government of the United States with its sworn enemies in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, who were backing their anti-democratic protege.

Not at all phased by this diplomatic cluster-frak, the administration kept beclowning itself by cutting off aid to Honduras, denying visas to its officials to visit the UN (while granting them to Burmese dictators), and supporting diplomatic missions meant to strongarm the Honduran democracy into surrender. At long last, it worked.  Congratulations on the win, Team Obama!

Let me make this as plain as I can: the President of the United States, the moral leader of the democratic  nations of the world, and his chief diplomat allied his administration with some of the hemisphere’s worst dictators in order to bully a constitutional democracy and ally into accepting the restoration of a man who is definitely anti-democratic, anti-constitutional, and probably mad. And all this was done in the face of a finding by the Law Library of Congress that the removal of Zelaya was legal under Honduran law (PDF). (For a strong dissent, see here)

Forget constitutionality, forget rule-of-law, and forget supporting a democratic ally defending itself from dictatorial neighbors. All that matters to Obama and Clinton is that they got what they wanted and once again showed that they prefer thugs and tyrants to genuine democrats. Israel versus the Palestinians, Iran’s mullahs versus Iran’s people, Russia versus our Central European allies and Georgia, and now Venezuela versus Honduras. In each case the administration has hugged the enemy and slapped the friend.

The only good in this is that Zelaya is bound by the agreement to honor the election results and that command of the Army is taken away from him. On the other hand, the Obama administration still has three years to go, yet it’s already an embarrassing disgrace.

LINKS: Power Line; Fausta (The best source on Honduras); Ed Morrissey; and Legal Insurrection.

RELATED: That staunch defender of democracy, Senator John “Don’t Question My Patriotism” Kerry wants the Law Library of Congress to retract its report as unhelpful. In return, the Law Library has told Kerry to drop dead.

UPDATE: Reader Karateka has posted a darkly funny (and sadly accurate) political cartoon at his blog, Innovation and Politics.


Quote of the day

October 16, 2009

Charles Krauthammer on the Obama Administration’s pathetic conduct of foreign affairs:

Henry Kissinger once said that the main job of Anatoly Dobrynin, the perennial Soviet ambassador to Washington, was to tell the Kremlin leadership that whenever they received a proposal from the United States that appeared disadvantageous to the United States, not to assume it was a trick.

No need for a Dobrynin today. The Russian leadership, hardly believing its luck, needs no interpreter to understand that when the Obama team clownishly rushes in bearing gifts and “reset” buttons, there is nothing ulterior, diabolical, clever or even serious behind it. It is amateurishness, wrapped in naivete, inside credulity. In short, the very stuff of Nobels.

It’s a stinging indictment based on the revelation during Secretary of State Clinton’s trip to Moscow this week that the Administration truly got nothing from Moscow in return for backstabbing Eastern Europe over missile defense – nothing, that is, other than a humiliating slap in the face.

And why anyone seriously thinks Hillary is more qualified than Obama is beyond me, particularly when it comes to foreign affairs. During the campaign, she looked accomplished only by comparison to the utter naif who eventually beat her to the nomination. Considered on her own… Well, her performance since taking office says all that’s needed.

Our nation’s foreign policy is in the hands of New Left, neo-McGovernite incompetents who would make Henry Wallace proud. It’s going to be a long few years until 2012, and I only hope disaster doesn’t strike in the meantime.

Nailbiting