Obama Gets What He Wished For
12:36 PM, May 21, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
I hope that President Obama is enjoying this debate, and one certainly hopes that he will continue to embrace it, because it is a debate that he has been asking for since he decided to run for president. From a series of reckless positions on national security while serving as a United States Senator -- including efforts to cut off funding for soldiers fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, setting an arbitrary deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq, fighting to stop the surge, opposing the incarceration of terrorist suspects and enemy combatants without providing them with the full liberties and rights guaranteed to American citizens under our Constitution, opposing domestic intelligence gathering against terrorists through measures such as wiretapping, and failing to speak out in any manner in the face of scurrilous personal attacks on General David Patreaus, President Obama now has the opportunity to match his rhetoric with his responsibilities as President of the United States.
Much has been written in recent weeks about the loss of direction in the Republican party. Liberal commentators and White House spokesmen have smugly dismissed Vice President Cheney as yesterday's news, and his visibility as a further sign of Republican collapse. Well look who's squirming now. Once again, and now under a Democrat President, Democrats find themselves in a panic over being seen as weak on terrorism.
In the environment created by President Obama's hasty decisions, selective release of documents from his predecessor's administration, and constant droning on about the miserable legacy he inherited, Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to cover up her own participation in the Congressional-Executive consultations on terrorist interrogation -- and then attempted to deflect evidence to the contrary by dismissing the US intelligence community as serial liars. Not a single, credible observer believes her account, she was rebuked by her own party's CIA Director, and her number two in the House leadership openly discussed the need for a independent review of her comments. Just yesterday, President Obama's hasty and ill considered deadline to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center and relocate hardened terrorists to U.S. soil was overwhelmingly rebuked by the United States Senate. One cannot imagine the Democrats are enjoying the argument their president started.
Each day the Democrat's angst seems to deepen, and each day the confusion of President Obama's policies becomes more evident. Despite all the rhetoric of his presidential run, he has now embraced the Bush administration policies on the commitment of troops to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He now supports the wiretapping he threatened to filibuster. He has denied the release of photos that the Bush administration likewise recognized as a propaganda gift for our enemies, and a danger to our troops serving in Iraq, and has revived the military tribunals he once scorned. And on those issues where his record has matched his rhetoric -- such as the commitment to close Guantanamo, he is not even supported by his own party.
One wonders what comes next. I bet he tries to change the subject -- and quickly.