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Opening Arguments

Attack of the blahs

George Bush: "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah appeasment."

Democrats: "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, false political attack."

Is it hopeless to expect that something useful might come of all this, or at least something more responsive than:

His top foreign policy adviser, Susan Rice, said this morning on MSNBC that Obama will deliver a "very vigorous response to what was an outrageous, unprecedented, and divisive attack from President Bush yesterday which was patently dishonest."

I don't think Obama is naive enough to just meet with anybody at any time with no conditions and expect that a rogue state or fanatic leader will just bend to his will. But he would obviously be more inclined to the "stay engaged" view than John McCain, so it would be helpful to know some of his thinking about the when and why and how of such meetings. And I likewise don't believe McCain would never engage hostile foreign leaders, so I'd like to hear his thinking, too.


Mon, 05/19/2008 - 10:21pm

On Oct 27, 1964, Ronald Wilson Reagan, in a speech at a Goldwater rally, had this to say about appeasement:

"Alexander Hamilton said, 'A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.' Now let's set the record straight. There's no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there's only one guaranteed way you can have peace -- and you can have it in the next second -- surrender.

Admittedly, there's a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face -- that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum."

Nothing changes but the players in the continuing portrayal of life as a morality play. Reagan did what Obama wants to do, he talked to the Soviets but only after he filled European and Turkish silos full of Pershing & Cruise missiles ...in other words, he got himself a bigger stick.

In the 1980's, Reagan was merciless in using the Cold War to attack the Soviet Union's economy. He raised our defense spending to 7% of GNP and for the USSR to match this, it had to spend something like 27% of their GNP on military hardware.

Perhaps you will remember that the Gipper did not stop there. The Dems had fits about SDI, but Reagan's "Star Wars" put the Soviets down without testing a single anti-missile missile. To add insult to injury, he tied up half of the Soviet army fighting American-supplied rebels in Afghanistan, of all places.

So far we have empty words devoid of concepts from Barry. Perhaps one day he will be able to match Dutch's speaking elegance but never his character ...

Harl Delos
Tue, 05/20/2008 - 3:10am

Perhaps one day he will be able to match Dutch

Wed, 05/21/2008 - 6:36pm

Harl ...

Immigrants to California are now and have been mostly illegals who are not entitled to any benefits when they cross the border. That, however, is certainly not the point of my post and it was a pretty weak argument on your part. I am not familiar with the promise made, but it seems to me that no single governor, without the support of a legislature, can change anything.

I covered Reagan's principled definition and condemnation of appeasement before he was president and his pursuit and follow-up to the Soviet threat while observing his principles. He talked to his enemies from a position of strength, showing no weakness. He even walked away from a ban nukes deal with Gorbachev in Reykjav

Harl Delos
Wed, 05/21/2008 - 11:14pm

The point you were trying to make was that Reagan had character, and that Obama didn't.

My point was that Reagan's character was not above reproach. Asserting that immigrants immediately get benefits the first time was a mistake. Having acknowledged that it was a mistake, making the same assertion again was obviously deliberate. It's a swindle if someone steals your money by deliberately lying when they sell you a used car. What is it when someone steals your government when they deliberately lie? An example of statesmanship?

Obama hasn't waffled on talking to Iran. He said he would talk directly to them.

Obama hasn't waffled on Wright's statements. He said he was not there when Wright made those statements, and he does not agree with them.

Obama has not waffled on supporting Hamas' positions. Having won the election, however, they are the legitimate government there.

You can go on and on, but you haven't named anything where he's waffled.

What's probably more important is that Ronald Reagan served two terms as President, and under the 22nd Amendment, he cannot legally be elected again. His current residence would seem to disqualify him under the 25th Amendment as well.

He's not the same person as John Kerry, who earned the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, and three Purple Hearts, in VietNam. Neither is John McCain the same person as Dubya, who deserted his cushy Air Force Reserves post because it was inconvenient; John McCain is a genuine hero, by anyone's definition of the term.

But John McCain isn't the candidate I liked in 2000. He's abandoned the straight-talk express in favor of some vehicle that does a lot of fish-tailing. He embraces the scum he once labeled "agents of intolerance" and he has abandoned his every principle, thinking that a weasel has a better chance of winning the White House.

Barack Obama isn't running on a platform of issues. He's running on a platform of process. He's not claiming to have better idea than everyone else, and he obviously can't create law out of whole cloth - but what he can do is talk to people, find out what they want, and broker a meeting of the minds that represents incremental change that everyone is pleased with. That worked in Chicago politics, and it can work in national and international politics.

We should all dial up YouTube for a rendition of