Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

Press secretary Robert Gibbs feels the need to hit back at former VP Cheney:
"White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fired back Thursday at the latest criticisms from Dick Cheney, and suggested the Bush administration did not send U.S. troops into foreign conflicts responsibly. "What Vice President Cheney calls 'dithering,' President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the American public," Gibbs said. "I think we've all seen what happens when someone doesn't take that responsibility seriously." Gibbs' comments come a day after the former vice president issued a blistering a wide-ranging critique of the Obama administration's foreign policy, saying Obama appears "afraid to make a decision" when it comes to troop levels in Afghanistan, and the president's indecision is "hurt[ing] our allies and emboldening our adversaries..."I think it is a curious comment," Gibbs also said, "I think it is pretty safe to say that the vice president was for seven years not focused on Afghanistan. Even more curious given the fact that an increase in troops sat on desks in this White House including the vice president's for more than eight months - a resource request filled by President Obama in March."

Two points: 1] What's curious is that Gibbs blames the Obama administration's present delay in making a decision on the Bush administration. Funny--military men who've taken great pains to assess the situation, such as Gen. McChrystal, don't seem to believe past administration actions are important now. 2] Back in 1966, when Richard Nixon was starting to gear up to run for president in 1968 against (he assumed) Lyndon Johnson, Johnson one day at a press conference blasted Nixon for Nixon's recent criticisms of him. Nixon and his team was delighted. "They HIT us," exulted Nixon press man Pat Buchanan. "They really hit us!" Nixon was pleased, because Johnson's need to hit back showed that Nixon was getting to him--his attacks were deemed effective enough to merit a response.

The same thing may be happening here. Cheney should be glad Gibbs hit back, no matter how misinformed his words were. Cheney's having an effect. Conservatives should be glad.

Once again, he lets it slip when speaking to a group of Democrat donors:
"In New York, [President Obama] said, “Democrats are an opinionated bunch. You know, the other side, they just kinda sometimes do what they’re told. Democrats, y’all thinkin’ for yourselves.” Last year, in San Francisco, he said of Middle Americans, “It’s not surprising . . . they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them . . .”

It's a real pattern. And what it tells us is that Mr. Obama believes some--perhaps many--of the hard left's talking points; and that, deep down, he's pretty liberal himself, and a hard-edged partisan. This shouldn't surprise us. Thomas Jefferson could be a brilliant thinker, and enjoyed botany, architecture, and fine wine. But he was deeply, deeply partisan and resentful when it came to his Federalist opponents. Franklin D. Roosevelt loved good company, had the capacity to inspire, and could be remarkably cheerful. But few went after Republicans harder than he did. There were a few conservatives last year who decided to support Obama; they thought he was different and not really such a liberal. The evidence has been building for some time that they were sadly, sadly wrong.