Saturday, October 24, 2009

Victor Davis Hanson: Obama is "The mouth that roared"

Victor Davis Hanson pens another priceless column. This one on President Obama's propensity to shoot himself in the foot--making big promises and keeping none of them.
President Obama keeps roaring out deadlines like a lion - only later to meow like a little kitty.

Remember, for example, how he bellowed to cheering partisan crowds that he would close down the detainment facility at Guantanamo within a year?

The clock ticks - and Guantanamo isn't close to being shut down. It once was easy for candidate Mr. Obama to deplore President George W. Bush's supposed gulag. Now it proves harder to decide between the bad choice of detaining non-uniformed terrorist combatants and the worse ones of letting them go, giving them civilian trials or deporting them to unwilling hosts.
Professor Hanson goes on to note President Obama's problems with:

2. Getting troops out of Iraq immediately
On Iraq, candidate Mr. Obama also railed that "the American people have had enough of the shifting spin. We've had enough of extended deadlines for benchmarks that go unmet."

Talk about "unmet" deadlines and "spin" - here we are in October 2009, and there are still 120,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. The reason why Mr. Obama fudged on his promised deadline is that the surge in 2007 worked. American deaths plummeted. The theater is quiet. Iraqi democracy is still there after six years. Mr. Obama cannot quite admit these facts, but on the other hand he does not want to be responsible for undermining them.
3. In July Obama said Iran had to prove compliance with non-proliferation protocols by September or face the consequences. September and most of October has come and gone. No consequences.

4. Health care reform had to be passed by the August recess.

5. The Afghanistan war would finally get attention it deserved and get won.
Afghanistan: This was once Mr. Obama's promised war to win - the one we had to refocus on after supposedly taking our eye off the ball to fight in Iraq. Now, instead, we are suddenly blaming the eight-year-old Karzai government for not being the stable partner we need to finish the job.
6. Ethics reform: Candidate Obama pledged to keep lobbyists out of government, post legistlation online and have negotiations on C-SPAN. (None of it done.)

Hanson sums up:
Mr. Obama ran on the accusation that Mr. Bush missed promised targets and deadlines. Yet when the loud reformer Mr. Obama himself proves even emptier in his promises than Mr. Bush, he suffers an additional wage of theatrical hypocrisy.

But there is an even greater problem. Overheated rhetoric got Mr. Obama into these jams - and he seems to expect that his dramatic flair can always get him out as well. So we all await more of the empty hope-and-change hocus-pocus - as Mr. Obama explains how he never really promised to get out of Iraq "now!" or to "take further steps" against Iran in September 2009.

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