Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Obama vs. Howard

Power Line tells us of Barack Obama’s response to Australian PM John Howard’s criticism, about which you can find more here. Since Democrats constantly tell us how much the world disdains us because of our Iraq policy, you’d think Howard would be entitled to praise it and blame its critics. But as the piece in The Australian notes, there’s a double standard: only Bush and his policies [and, I would add, allies who support it] are eligible for criticism.

Obama probably should have just shrugged it off, defending his policy rather than attacking a loyal American ally. This is evidence that he’s not quite ready for prime-time, as is his telling remark, quickly retracted, about the American lives "wasted" in Iraq.

Update: More Howard:

He said the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq early next year would be seen as a U.S. defeat that would “encourage and give succor” to terrorists in the Middle East and Asia and be “catastrophic for the West.”

“I hold the strongest possible view that it is contrary to the security interests of this country for America to be defeated in Iraq,” Howard said.

“Let me make it perfectly clear, if I hear a policy being advocated that is contrary to Australia’s security interests, I will criticize it.”

Please note that the AP story says that Howard is "lagging badly" behind his rival in the electoral race. Last I checked, being down 48-43 isn’t "lagging badly."

Update #2: I missed this the first time, but Obama refers to Howard as "one of George W. Bush’s allies," not one of America’s. That’s a very political and very undiplomatic way of stating it. I can’t say that I’m impressed by his level-headed grace and savoir faire under fire. Power Line’s Scott Johnson calls these slips Obamanations, which I wish I’d thought of first.

Discussions - 4 Comments

I think it shows a necessary fortitude: he is willing to fire back when someone makes a false and stupid comment about him rather than allow Fox News and the blogs to run with it the way Kerry did with the Swiftboat nonsense (and McCain and Gore before him). This is what prime-time has become post-Bush/Rove, and it looks like Obama is more than ready for it.


Just to be clear, attacking the good faith of our allies is now fair game in presidential politics? And does this domestic corollary follow: you can only support the war if you volunteer to go to Iraq?

Of course, the other extension is that anyone who says that the real war is in Afghanistan has to volunteer to serve there.

By the way, so far as I know, there are still Australian troops in Afghanistan, albeit probably not enough by Obama’s standards. Or would they be "wasting" their lives there too?

Wrong question. Obama is certainly "ready for prime time." In the exchange with Howard he is saying exactly the right things -- for the Democratic electorate. He is probably smart enough and polished enough not to say them in a general election, if it comes to that. Howard is 100 percent right here and Obamessiah is 100 percent wrong, and grossly irresponsible. Can’t we have some clarity here, people? Does everything have to be about this "medium is the message" fraud whose sole appeal is a rather shallow kind of novelty?

Funny you should bring this up, Joe, because Drudge has a link up to the president of the Czech Republic calling global warming a myth and questioning Al Gore’s sanity. Of course, when the liberals complain about the rest of the world thinking unfavorably of America they really just mean France and Germany (and the UK when they’re not acting silly and American).

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