Globe & Mail’s Margaret Wente Slams Obama as a ’98-Pound Weakling’ Over Syria Policy

Globe & Mail's Margaret Wente Slams Obama as a '98 Pound Weakling' Over Syria Policy

Globe & Mail’s Margaret Wente Slams Obama as a ’98 Pound Weakling’ Over Syria Policy (White House/Pete Souza)

Margaret Wente wrote a scathing column in the Globe & Mail, dismissing President Obama and his handling of the Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons in an August 21 attack as “a 98-pound weakling.” Ouch. Most people are surprised that he seems to be talking in circles on what to do about the dictator. The fact is that the U.S. has softened its line. We are no longer hearing any talk about Assad being forced out of office, but simply to take away all his chemical weapons. Here’s an excerpt from Margaret Wente’s article:

The moral imperative is clear, he argued. We cannot let dictators get away with this. On the other hand, the United States can’t be expected to solve all the world’s problems, either. Therefore, the way ahead is to outsource U.S. foreign policy on Syria to … Vladimir Putin!

So much for the credibility of the world’s only superpower. Mr. Obama’s staff have been tweeting that this delaying tactic is an incredible display of smart diplomacy. But to most of us, it just makes him look gullible. The President has allowed himself to be hog-tied and hornswoggled by Lilliputians. He was determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past, when a blundering giant threw its weight around and only wound up showing the world how incompetent it is. But if there’s one thing worse than being a blundering giant, it’s being a 98-pound weakling. Source: Globe & Mail

Let me be clear, I don’t interpret Wente’s column as an attack on President Obama’s masculinity or his blackness. He came off as being punked by Vladimir Putin, of all people, and looks very weak on the international stage. As far back as I can remember, there has always been unrest in the Middle East. The U.S. simply can’t march in and attack country after country in order to liberate the people. That only creates more animosity towards the U.S.

Like most everybody else, I’m confused as hell over Syria. The trouble is, Mr. Obama is confused, too. This is not reassuring. He appears to be making it up as he goes along. The only thing that’s clear is that he hates – really hates – being commander-in-chief. He was the guy who was going to get the United States out of all of George W. Bush’s messes. And now this!

Mr. Bush’s problem was that once he made decisions, he never second-guessed himself. Mr. Obama’s problem is that he overthinks. He changes his mind and paints himself into a corner. At first, he said Mr. al-Assad had to go. Then he said regime change wasn’t in the cards. He said there was a red line Mr. al-Assad mustn’t cross. Then, when Mr. al-Assad crossed it, he said it wasn’t his red line, it was the world’s – even as it became excruciatingly clear that the world wasn’t about to do a thing about it.

He said Syria poses no threat to America, but also that attacking it would be in the national interest. On his own, he decided to seek Congressional approval – then trapped himself when it turned out Americans had no taste for another foreign (mis)adventure of the kind he had promised to extricate them from. Source: Globe & Mail

I am very surprised that well into his second term President Obama can’t seem to find his footing on the Middle East. He’s coming across as a neophyte next to the biggest bully in the world — Vladimir Putin, who would like to be seen as a world leader. He’s coming across as a peacemaker on the world’s stage. The fact is, President Putin will be on the hook if Bashar al-Assad uses chemical weapons again.

Separately, President Obama appeared on ABC’s ‘This Week’ with George Stefanopolous and seemed to destroy the Republican myth that Putin got the better of him. Here’s the transcript of that interview (H/T Politicususa):

President Barack Obama…with respect to Mr. Putin- I have said consistently that where the interest of the United States and Russia converge, we need to work together. And I had talked to Mr. Putin a year ago- saying to him- the United States and Russia should work together to deal with these chemical weapons stockpiles, and to work to try to bring about a political transition-



GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: -he has the same goal? Do you really trust that?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Oh, I don’t think that- Mr. Putin has the same- values that we do. And I think- obviously, by- protecting Mr. Assad- he has a different attitude about- the Assad regime. But what I’ve also said to him directly- is that we both have an interest in preventing chaos, we both have an interest in preventing terrorism, the situation in Syria right now is untenable, as long as Mr. Assad’s in power, there is gonna be some sort of conflict there, and that we should work together to try to find a way in which the interests of all the parties inside of Syria, the Alawites, the Sunnis, the Christians, that everybody is represented and that there is a way of bringing the temperature down so that- that horrible things that are happening inside the country…

GOP Immigration Nightmare Could Recur, Giving Democrats White House in 2016

GOP IMMIGRATION NIGHTMARE:  As we inch closer and closer to the 2014 elections, the Republican Party is faced with a dilemma — immigration. This will also play out in the 2016 presidential elections, where demographics won’t be on their side, once again. The immigration reform put forward by Republicans is troubling and the rumblings of a schism in the party are getting louder and louder. The outcome will be far worst politically, even if the bill is defeated. The mother of all right wing backlashes will result that will take the more friendly Republicans with the party.

“We are really balanced here on a little precipice and if this, pardon the pun, goes south, we could be in very serious trouble,” said Republican media strategist Paul Wilson, citing the increasingly intense attacks on the immigration bill coming from the right. “If [the legislation] stalls or is killed off by conservatives, we could take the Hispanic community and turn them into the African-American community, where we get four percent on a good day… We could be a lost party for generations.”

Establishment Republicans don’t have to reach too far back in recent history to find precedent for this political nightmare scenario: It would look a lot like the last time Congress pursued comprehensive immigration legislation. Source

The Republicans should also take a look at the last presidential election, in which all the voter suppression tactics employed in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania backfired. The massive black voter turnout was clearly not what they hoped for, but it helped President Obama win a second term. Hispanics, Asians, women and gays also helped Obama’s reelection.

The conservative backlash provoked a new militancy among immigrants, as well: advocates for the undocumented began holding massive counter-protests in Los Angeles, Dallas, and other cities with large Latino populations.

But the conservative campaign to kill the immigration bill in Washington ultimately succeeded — at a high electoral cost. Whereas exit polls in 2004 showed Bush receiving upwards of 40% of the Latino vote, that figure plummeted to about 31% for John McCain in 2008, and 27% for Mitt Romney last year. The reasons for the Hispanic exodus are complex and varied, but few Republican strategists these days will argue with the notion that the 2007 culture war on immigration reform stained the party’s brand.

Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry truly believe Texas won’t go blue. If immigration reform fails, think again. That could be a very real possibility. The Republicans should realize, President Obama won’t be blamed for the demise of immigration reform — they will. The GOP immigration nightmare is taking shape already….

Romney Campaign Releases Ad Highlights Bill Clinton’s Fairy Tale Dig at Obama

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...

Romney Campaign Releases Ad Highlights Bill Clinton’s Fairy Tale Dig at Obama. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ROMNEY CAMPAIGN DESPERATE:  Mitt Romney and his campaign are in a tailspin. How else can you explain their latest campaign ad, featuring Bill Clinton, who obliterated both he and Paul Ryan during his speech at the Democratic Convention Wednesday night? The Romney campaign ad praises Clinton saying he’s a “good soldier, helping his party’s president.” But then highlights what Clinton said of Obama in 2008: “Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” I’m sorry has former president George W. Bush or Dick Cheney showed up to campaign for Mitt Romney? Oh wait, they can’t because the bottom of the economic bucket fell out under their watch.

Um, Mitt Romney candidacy is the biggest fairy tale the Republican Party has ever seen, considering he was never their first choice as a presidential nominee. You see, Mitt Romney is once again taking Bill Clinton’s words out of context, but isn’t that what the Romney campaign is synonymous with? Lying and twisting the truth? They should be worried about how they plan on responding to the obliteration they suffered from Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Deval Patrick, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and all the other speakers at the DNC so far this week.

Nice try Romney, blacks still won’t run from Obama to you nor will dredging up that ‘fairy tale’ comment net you a bounce in the polls. If anything, it shows how desperate the Romney campaign is.

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Southern Baptist’s Richard Land Says Rick Perry is George W. Bush Without Education, Compassion, Intellect & Fancy East-Coast Upbringing

If you haven’t figured out a reason not to take Gov. Rick Perry serious as a presidential contender, a recent column penned by the Richard Land president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Commission should remove all doubt. He explained the key differences between George W. Bush and Rick Perry is: Perry is Bush without the education, compassion, intellect, or fancy East Coast-upbringing. Um, that’s enough to have people running the other direction. Here’s an excerpt from his column:

It is clear to those who know former President George W. Bush that he has great respect and affection for the average man and tremendous appreciation for those who have risen through the meritocracy from humble beginnings. However, as one of those “up from the ranks” individuals, I don’t believe George W. Bush or any such son of privilege can as fully identify with the average family that lives from paycheck to paycheck as Perry can. Bush loves and appreciates them, Perry is them.

Their different backgrounds make them different men. Perry is less subtle. While both are men of genuine faith, Perry (life-long evangelical) is going to be more overtly Christian in his faith statements than the former president, who became a Methodist but was raised by New England Episcopalians. Perry is more conservative than Bush. He would be the most conservative president since Calvin Coolidge both fiscally and in foreign policy. He would be less interventionist in the latter and far more frugal than “compassionate” in the former. Perry also has a well-deserved reputation in Texas as being a less-forgiving political opponent than Bush. If you cross Perry, he will get even.

It would be a mistake to underestimate the appeal of this candidate’s conservative populism. Perry has never lost an election and while he would be offended if you called him an intellectual, Perry is far more shrewd than people assume. Source

This has to be the craziest thing I have read in a while. I’m sorry, but I think I’ll look the other way and run from Rick Perry, especially when a right wing evangelical is singing his virtues. The ghosts of Bush past are still haunting us.

Paul Krugman Says Former President George W. Bush & Rudy Giuliani "Fake Heroes of 9/11 Rushing to Cash In" on Terrorist Attacks

Paul Krugman pens scathing column, “The Years of Shame,” calling former President George W. Bush and former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani “fake heroes” of 9/11 terror attacks, who rushed to “cash in on the horror.”

Paul Krugman “Years of Shame” after 9/11

Paul Krugman wrote a scathing column, “The Years of Shame,” criticizing former President George W. Bush & former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, “fake heroes” of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He claims both men “rushed to cash in on the horror.” I wouldn’t say both men rushed to cash in on what was one of the worst days in America’s history but I do think that the love-affair people developed with Rudy Giuliani, calling him “America’s mayor” was misguided at best. Any other mayor in a similar position would have reacted the same way. That was a part of his job. He couldn’t run and hide. He had to be visible.

The Years of Shame

Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?

Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons. Source: NY Times

This isn’t the time to point fingers at who cashed in and who didn’t. Many innocent lives were lost at the hands of people who wanted to hurt us in the worse way. This isn’t an occasion for shame, but to be proud of all those first responders who died doing their jobs. It is an occasion to be proud of those passengers who  stopped the terrorists from carrying out their plans by downing that plane in Pennsylvania. Paul Krugman has clearly missed the mark in his commentary on those “fake heroes” of 9/11. My maternal grandmother always said, if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything. Mr. Krugman, that applies to you as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I know the Republicans, including President Bush and VP Dick Cheney, rammed down  our throats the events of 9/11 and tricked many who would have voted for John Kerry to vote for their party out of fear of another terrorist attack. Bush and his team used the events as political capital leading up to the 2004 elections. They also used fear-mongering to fight an unnecessary war in Iraq, with no end in sight years later. The same fear-mongering was used to force Americans to support President Bush’s largely unpopular agenda, that has left this country mired in debt and a hot mess. Yes, I do agree that the Republicans have used 9/11 as a fear-mongering tool, but can we just have one day to commemorate the lost lives and honor the victims and survivors alike?

Right Wing Website, Immigration Buzz, Calling for Americans to Fly the US Flag Upside Down as a Universal Signal of Distress

United for a Sovereign America, AKA as Immigration Buzz, is at it again. This time they are calling President Barack Obama the Fuehrer and calling for Americans to fly the flag upside down a universal signal of distress until the president “understands that we will never accept socialism.” Really, that’s funny. When President George W. Bush was in power no one from the right wing seem to have a problem with his many questionable actions, including torture, illegal wire tapping, running this country in the ground and invading Iraq on a lie.

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R.-MI) To Offer Resolution Demanding Formal President Obama Apology To Cambridge Police

It is absolutely unbelievable that the Republican Party continues its petty attacks on President Obama as the country is going through the worst economic distress in decades, two wars, a stalled health care reform effort, rising foreclosure rates and a collapsed auto industry, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) could have the nerve to introduce a bill calling on the president to formally apologize to the Cambridge Police department. To go out on a limb here — was President George W. Bush ever pressed by Rep. McCotter to formally apologize for the eavesdropping activities that extended to civilians and not alleged terrorists? Or did they press President G. W. Bush for the inadequacies of the government in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? I don’t think so and this is a waste of everyone’s time. This move by Rep. McCotter is nothing more than a political ploy to take attention away from health care reform, among other issues. President’s Obama’s apology to Sgt. Crowley and the CPD is the least of McCotter’s worries, considering that his state is literally imploding around him — highest unemployment rate in the country. He is clearly an obstructionist and he is one misguided politician.

Though falling short of a formal apology, as far as I am concerned, President Obama’s comments on Friday were widely seen as conciliatory and accepted by the CPD and Sgt. Crowley. “I want to make clear that in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically,” Obama said, “and I could have calibrated those words differently.”

Here is the full text of his resolution:

Whereas on July 16, 2009, Cambridge, Massachusetts Police Sergeant James M. Crowley responded to a 911 call from a neighbor of Harvard University Professor Henry Louis (“Skip”) Gates, Jr. about a suspected break-in in progress at his residence, which had been broken into on a prior occasion;

Whereas on July 22, 2009, in responding to a question during a White House press conference President Barack Obama stated: “Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don’t know all of the facts involved in this local police response incident;”

Whereas President Obama proceeded to state Sergeant Crowley “acted stupidly” for arresting Professor Gates on charges of disorderly conduct;

Whereas, as a former Constitutional Law Professor, President Obama well understands that all Americans are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and their actions should not be prejudged prior to being fully and fairly judged by an appropriate and objective authority after due process;

Whereas, President Obama’s nationally televised remarks may likely detrimentally influence the full and fair judgment by an appropriate and objective authority after due process regarding this local police response incident and, thereby, impair Sergeant Crowley’s legal and professional standing in relation to said incident; and

Whereas, President Obama appeared at a daily White House Press briefing on July 24, 2009 to address his denouncement of Sergeant Crowley and stated: “I could have calibrated those words differently” but “I continue to believe, based on what I have heard, that there was an overreaction in pulling Professor Gates out of his home to the station.”

Whereas, President Obama’s refusal to retract his initial public remarks and apologize to Sergeant Crowley and, instead, reiterate his accusation impugning Sergeant Crowley’s professional conduct in the performance of his duties;

Now therefore be it, Resolved, That the House of Representatives — Calls upon President Obama to retract his initial public remarks and apologize to Cambridge, Massachusetts Police Sergeant James M. Crowley for having unfairly impugned and prejudged his professional conduct in this local police response incident. Source: Huffington Post

Here’s my parting question, does this incident rise to the level of a congressional resolution? Didn’t right wing nutjob Michelle Malkin and others criticize Sheila Jackson Lee for introducing a legislation to honor the late Michael Jackson for his humanitarian service? This seems like a complete waste of time and the voters in Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s district need to remind him to whom his is accountable and that he can be voted out of office for not meeting their expectations.

Barack Obama, Mere Hours from Becoming Our 44th President of the United States, Change Has Come

Barack Obama is on the verge of making history in America and the world at noon tomorrow. I can only express my deep gratitude to all the people who realized that a change was desperately needed in America. All I can do is echo the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during that historic speech in Washington, and I will put the words into my own thoughts:

Free from Bush,
Free from Bush,
Thank God Almighty we are free from Bush.

I will be happy when I see President Bush, First Lady Laura and First Dog Barney board the plane that will whisk them away from Washington D.C. Yes, we will be free at last from eight years of Bushanomics.

On a serious note, Barack Obama and his family have made history in a major way. I pray for his success during the next four years. Yes, indeed, a change has come. January 20, 2009, will indeed be a good morning.

A Montage–President Bush’s "Historic Speeches," Compared to John F. Kennedy

I must admit, I am very sad to see President Bush go because the late night humor from Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel and Saturday Night Live will change. He will no longer be the butt of so many hilarious takes on his speeches and his mannerisms. Barack Obama simply cannot rise to the level of hilarity as the outgoing president.

President George W. Bush’s Farewell Speech was Nothing But Spin to Influence How He is Treated by History

To echo the words of Arianna Huffington, President Bush, during his farewell speech last night, was delusional from the beginning to the end. So, as he was bidding us his “fondest” farewell on television, he was sticking us with a $20 billion, secret middle-of-the-night bailout for Bank of America and an additional government backstop of $118 billion for its assets — all on top of cutting a deal with Barack Obama to give away the second $350 billion of the TARP Big Business bailout. That’s a helluva goodbye. At least Obama has committed, in writing, to using some of the funds to address the current mortgage foreclosure crisis.

President Bush is one of the most unpopular presidents in America’s history, and certainly since I started voting in this country. He was classic Bush, unbowed as he defended his tumultuous two terms in a farewell address to the nation. He claimed a series of successes at home and aboard. Reaching back to the Sept. 11 attacks, when the public rallied behind him, Bush declared the United States will “never tire, never falter and never fail.” Wait, where did the victims of Hurricane Katrina factor into his successes? It was a glaring failure and is still an albatross around the necks of the residents from Louisiana and the gulf coast.

He is leaving office with the highest disapproval rating since Richard Nixon, Bush said, “You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made, but I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.” Really, President Bush, you hope we can see that you were willing to make these tough decisions? They did not benefit this country one bit. We are mired in an economic crisis of untold proportions and an unclear duration.

It is rather tragic, that he had to spend his farewell address to the nation, which I might add many people did not even bother to watch, defending his position. A clear sign that he is worried about his legacy and how he will be portrayed in the history books. Bush’s eight-year term is indelibly marked by terrorism, two wars and recessions. He spoke from the East Room of the White House with just 112 hours left in office. I seriously doubt his farewell speech will do much to change the minds of Americans. President Bush spoke in glowing terms about our accomplishments in Iraq, as though we are best friends. But in reality, Iran is more likely the best friend of Iraq than America, which is reviled in parts of the Middle East. Afghanistan is a death trap, where no-one in their right mind would dare venture out without ample protection. News flash– the Taliban is running around the country once again! What would Hamid Karzai do if his American bodyguards left? He’d be assassinated or would have to leave the country himself. President Bush claimed that America’s “air, water, and lands are measurably cleaner.” Really President Bush? Who is doing the measuring? I suppose the same eco-unfriendly companies to which he handed his environmental policies. We entered the Spin-Zone with President Bush’s farewell speech.

This will be his final public appearance until he greets President-elect Barack Obama on Inauguration Day at the White House’s North Portico. Thank God. Bush called the inauguration of Obama, the first black president, a “moment of hope and pride” for America. “Standing on the steps of the Capitol will be a man whose story reflects the enduring promise of our land,” he said. That much I agree with him on. Sorry President Bush, I don’t think that history will be as kind to you as you have been to us. I am being sarcastic of course. January 20th can’t come fast enough for me. The real shame is that his father was a better president in his one term than he was in eight years. Thanks President Bush, for sticking it us one last time before you really say goodbye.