Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 15, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

MUNICH! MUNICH! MUNICH!....Over in Israel today, George Bush got right down to business and compared Democrats to the Hitler appeasers who sold out Czechoslovakia just before World War II. Barack Obama shot back that this was a "false political attack" and that Bush was a liar. Christopher Orr thinks this is great:

I'm struck by how politically foolish this assault appears to be. Bush attacking Obama, and Obama counter-attacking Bush, while John McCain sits on the sidelines, is a disastrous dynamic for the GOP. The more Obama can frame this race as him vs. the most unpopular president in modern history, the easier a time he'll have in the fall.

As it happens, McCain didn't sit on the sidelines. He and his pal Joe Lieberman chimed in to say that Bush was absolutely spot on. But I suspect that this is even worse: after all, Democrats are going to do everything they can to promote the "McBush" meme this year, and diving in feet first to say "Me too!" when Bush hauls out artillery like this is just going to make their job easier. If McCain wants to sign on with Mr. 28%, who are we to complain?

On the other hand, Obama's response seemed slightly off to me. "It is time to turn the page on eight years of policies that have strengthened Iran and failed to secure America or our ally Israel" sounds a little rote, doesn't it? I guess a presidential candidate can't afford to sound unpresidential, but I still think I would have preferred something like a Reaganesque shake of his head followed by "It's always Munich with these guys, isn't it?" There are times when mockery is the best policy.

Kevin Drum 4:44 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (114)

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Comments

When Obama gets attacked, his default setting is to become rigidly rational.

Posted by: LJ on May 15, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

The response was disappointingly tepid, but at least it led with the point that Bush's policies have made things worse, not better. Better to emphasize that than to sound like you're complaining about being unfairly criticized. This way, Obama sounds like a fighter (or critic), not a whiner. Some of the other responses come a little too close to sounding like whining.

Posted by: tom on May 15, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

There are times when mockery is the best policy.

Agreed. 100%
Hey, do you troll blogs too? Maybe we can get an evening together, some sort of fundraiser, where we all sit in the Farmer's Market and troll pretentious bloggers and their groupies....

Posted by: jerry on May 15, 2008 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever you do, you must avoid any discussion of the substantial policy point which Bush raised.

Let's concentrate on the politics and personality stuff instead, right?

Oh, except for when it's damaging to Democrats. Then we must rigidly adhere to the thou-must-stick-to-policy gospel.

You guys make a sane person's head spin, you really do.

Posted by: a on May 15, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

don't lieberman and mccain remind you of the Sunshine Boys, two fading vaudville actors with their tired schtick? Like the other day when Joe went checking for John's bearings, wasn't that just embarrassing for all those who watched?

Posted by: larrybob on May 15, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Hitler! Hitler everywhere!

Begs to be taken seriously.

Posted by: John McCain: More of the Same on May 15, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Um, no. "It's always Munich with these guys, isn't it," would have been interpreted as a reference to the murder of the Israeli olympic athletes there in the 70's.

Rational and presidential is the way to go.

Posted by: phleabo on May 15, 2008 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

I too thought his response was tepid. Given that his position stated in debate and on web site, etc. is that he is willing to talk with leaders of unfriendly states without precondition, he is going to be facing this issue over and over and over again in the fall. He needs to come up with something better.

And having Pelosi, Biden and Dean turn to outrage and fire back responses I don't think helps him. It kinda makes it look like they are protecting their innocent puppy.

This JMHO and others can (and will) disagree.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 15, 2008 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Biden nailed it.

Posted by: Ara on May 15, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

It looks like Obama's strategy is to let his surrogates like Reid, Pelosi, and Biden unload on the president.

Posted by: Tyro on May 15, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin -

Are you insane? When I read your comment, my first thought was of the Israeli athletes murdered during the 1972 Olympics. Why on earth would you want Obama to EVER mention Munich - given the perception he already has problems with Israel and/or Jews?

Jeez... you're usually not this tone deaf.


Posted by: EddieInCA on May 15, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever you do, you must avoid any discussion of the substantial policy point which Bush raised.

Or failed to. And any discussion of nazi appeasement that doesn't include both of der shrubenfuhrer's grandfathers is weak tea.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on May 15, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

a Reaganesque shake of his head followed by "It's always Munich with these guys, isn't it?"

Plenty of chances for that in the months to come.

Posted by: Will Divide on May 15, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that his response could have been spliced up a bit, but why waste your best rhetorical ammo on a comment from a lame duck that will be forgotten by the weekend? This will come up in the fall campaign, and he should have a crisp rebuttal at the ready. Also, Obama's personality is just relentlessly reasonable-a Biden like response just isn't going to fit him.

Posted by: CT on May 15, 2008 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Another issue here might be the reaction to Bush's message on the non-college educated/blue collar workers that Hillary claims are a key constituency of the Dem party. The way the message was phrased may resonate well with these groups, i.e. defeating terrorists vs appeasing them, which would suggest that Obama's response may well have to be tempered to not appear as an "appeaser" in their minds.

Just a thought...

Posted by: pencarrow on May 15, 2008 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Munich?

It has certainly been eight years of Oktoberfest for ExxonMobil.

Posted by: skimble on May 15, 2008 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Obama doesn't have to say much. MSNBC and CNN are having conniption fits for him...

Posted by: Anonymous on May 15, 2008 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

"It's always Munich with these guys, isn't it?" will work chiefly with people who (a) know what's being referred to, and (b) understand what's wrong with the analogy. While I can't exactly speak for My Generation, I do think that for those of us who grew up in the shadow of World War II the Munich analogy was one to conjure with--and, given the outsized proportion of people my age and older who'll actually make it to the polls in November [Think Obama Girl will show?], we're a bloc to treat gingerly. And that's not even to mention that influential segment of the population for whom a renewal of the Holocaust must be guarded against with eternal vigilance. Yes, it's getting increasingly ridiculous to use it; but it's impolitic to confront it head-on.

Posted by: David in Nashville on May 15, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

When I saw the Munich headline, I thought of 1972. Appeasers and Chamberlin will not mean much to many Americans, even the most hysterical ones.

Mock W. Bush with Osama bin Laden's freedom.

Posted by: Brojo on May 15, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever you do, you must avoid any discussion of the substantial policy point which Bush raised.

What policy point? Here's what Bush said:

"We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

That's not a policy point. That's a smear. I realize that the Republican policy is to smear their opponents rather than come up with actual policies, but you look awfully stupid when you try to claim that a smear is a policy.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 15, 2008 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with two previous posts, that a reference to Munich would remind voters of the Olympics shootings, whose history was recounted recently in a major motion picture. Who under the age of 70 remembers Neville Chamberlain? I do, but Im a wonk.

However, I agree with Kevin that BO should start practicing some clever put-downs. Sometimes its the punches that you slip that weaken your opponent most.

Posted by: troglodyte on May 15, 2008 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Part of McCain's appeal is his sense of humor. It's too bad Obama doesn't have one, at least not in public. Come to think of it, Kerry didn't have one either. I guess since so many of us get our news from comedians, we expect a punch line.

Posted by: searcy on May 15, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

I getting a sense of the malaise that afflicted John Kerry's 2004 run. To avoid Kerry's fate. Dems need to attack, not merely respond sort of weakly to Bush nonsense.

Attack points: some examples.

1.Bush grandfather worked with the Nazis. (true)
2.Bush too chicken to hunt for bin Laden (posible)
3.McCain collaborated with captors in Vietnam , will do so again with the Iranians. (possible)

The attacks need only be marginally true: Remember, the Cheney doctrine--something need only have a chance of being 2% true to be true.

Don't wimp out Dems like before!

Posted by: Dr Wu, I'm just an ordinary guy on May 15, 2008 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Better to reference the age, in the form of a question: "Have these guys learned anything since 1939?"

Posted by: urban legend on May 15, 2008 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

I think you all are too buried in election material and are missing the bigger point. He's not talking about Obama, he's talking about the UN and other global powers who want to continue to negotiate with Iran. He is in Israel, after all, and politicians always direct their speech to their audience. (Hence all the Nazi references) Bush probably doesn't care all that much who succeeds him as the next President so he's no interest in commenting on the election too much. As such he's not arguing a case, he's giving advice. He's rationalizing an U.S. backed, Israeli strike to take out Iran's nuclear facilities before he leaves office. It also explains the recent developments in Lebanon, as Hezbollah is simply a proxy of the Iranians. Get ready or long oil.

Posted by: Hinjew on May 15, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

4. W. Bush appeased bin Laden by removing US military bases from Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: Brojo on May 15, 2008 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Bush said: "As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.'"

Is that true? Did any "American senator" ever actually say that in 1939?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on May 15, 2008 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

"There'll always be Munich." And there'll always be Democrats who have no real reply.

How about: Your grandfather sold guns to the Nazis.

If only you guys supported Republican Spain when it was attacked by Hitler, we could have stopped the bastard cold.

You guys appeased Bin Laden when you let him escape in Afghanistan.

Why did you let Pat Tillman get killed?

How come after 5 years of war, trillions spent and hundred of thousands dead, you still can't walk around Baghdad?

Can't the democrats hire an attack dog?


Posted by: Dr Wu, I'm just an ordinary guy on May 15, 2008 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Is that true? Did any "American senator" ever actually say that in 1939?

If one did, it was most likely a Republican. The Republicans were very much the party of isolationism in WWII.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 15, 2008 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

I would comment but all the McCain ads on this page have got me transfixed. Must... join... McCain campaign...

Posted by: drodbert on May 15, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

From BlueGirl's blog.

The quote cited by President Bush and Krauthammer is attributed to a Republican, Idaho Senator William Borah (1865-1940).

http://bluegirlredmissouri.blogspot.com/

Posted by: ckelly on May 15, 2008 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and add me to the list of people who saw "Munich" and thought "Olympics." Not a good idea, especially when we're talking about a speech in Israel.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 15, 2008 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Add me to the list of people who saw "Munich" and thought "beer".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on May 15, 2008 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Yup. We don't talk to terrorists... like Menachim Begin and Yitzak Shamir? These two gents were on the 'most wanted' posters of their era. Bombers and assassins. Later they became PM's and had dinner in the White House (cough).

Of course, the Brits don't talk to Sinn Fein either... and we didn't negotiate with Khaddafi of Lybia and we didn't sponsor the Contras when they torched schools and hospitals and we didn't pardon Orlando Bosch, and our 'Freedom Fighters in Afghanistan weren't really the Taliban and we...

Unfortunately, 95% of Americans have no clue about the above. The fact that they don't really teach history in American schools is not an accident.

Posted by: Buford on May 15, 2008 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Is that true? Did any "American senator" ever actually say that in 1939?

It must be true if Bush said so. (gag)

Anyway, what does it matter, Hillary opened the door to using made-up "facts" to embellish her campaign points. Can't see it as much different than dodging sniper fire...

Posted by: pencarrow on May 15, 2008 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Add me to the list of people who heard Muenchen (Munich) and thought of buying some dinner to munch.

Posted by: absent observer on May 15, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

The quote cited by President Bush and Krauthammer is attributed to a Republican, Idaho Senator William Borah (1865-1940).

Priceless! This stuff just writes itself.

Posted by: junebug on May 15, 2008 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Point of Order: Bush is the one that talks to terrorist, aka, North Korea. In fact, Republicans are very good at that, ie, Reagan and Iran-Contra.

Wow, Bush, and McCain, sure are stupid people!

Obama should have brought examples up to smack Bush and McCain hard.

Posted by: James on May 15, 2008 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Junie, the comparison gets better!

In an attempt to revitalize the progressive wing of the Republican Party, in 1936 a 71-year-old Borah ran for President of the United States, becoming the first Idahoan to do so. Borah's candidacy was opposed by the conservative Republican leadership and dismissed by Roosevelt.
We are wagering that the irony of the comparison was lost on aWol. Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on May 15, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

**blushing** - I see ckelly already posted the link.

Thanks!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on May 15, 2008 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Munich or Masada

Posted by: Ross Best on May 15, 2008 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Add me to the list of people who saw the headline and read "munch! munch! munch!"

Blue Girl should win the neologism of the day award with "Der Shrubenfuhrer"

Posted by: thersites on May 15, 2008 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever you do, you must avoid any discussion of the substantial policy point which Bush raised.

This would be a lot more compelling if Robert Gates & Condi Rice hadn't both suggested the US find a way to talk with its enemies. Did Bush fire them for being appeasers? How's about those multiparty talks with North Korea? Is Bush himself an appeaser?

Or perhaps when that notorious appeaser Ronald Reagan sat down with the Soviet Gorbachev to talk disarmament. APPEASER!!!!

It's always Munich with these guys. These would be the same guys who, damn near SEVEN YEARS after 9/11 still can't catch Osama bin Laden.

Posted by: anonymous on May 15, 2008 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Why does Bush throw Jesus under the bus when talking to Zionist? Is he embarrassed to state that Jesus existed? Does W. know that his grandfather supported the Nazi party and his very own College fraternity was founded on NAZI principles? That is probably the only reason he got excepted in Skull N bones, was the work his Grandfather did financing the Nazi party. Why do republicans hate out soldiers and are trying to cut off the funds for their support?

Posted by: JoeSixPack on May 15, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Add me to the list of people who saw "Munich" and thought "beer".

Mmmmm .... beer ....

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 15, 2008 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

We are wagering that the irony of the comparison was lost on aWol.

Stop, Blue Girl... you're killing me over here!

Posted by: junebug on May 15, 2008 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

And any discussion of nazi appeasement that doesn't include both of der shrubenfuhrer's grandfathers is weak tea.

Similarly, Obama talking about family values and morality is pretty weak tea unless he condemns his father's bigamy and the statutory rape of his mother.

Interesting standards you live by.

Posted by: TangoMan on May 15, 2008 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

... and never mind recognizing the irony. To paraphrase Roger Staubach on Terry Bradshaw, aWol couldn't spell *irony* if you spotted him the i and the y.

Posted by: junebug on May 15, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, it Obama who has the weak position here. He says he'll talk to Iran and Syria, but avoid talking to Hamas and Hezbollah. This is just another example of the wishy-washiness that has plagued Dems for the last 30 years.

You know, sometimes you just admit that the opposition has the better position and you hop on board. Sure, Mr. Bush has made a few mistakes, but at least his position with regard to negotiating with the enemy is consistent. Obama was foolish to battle him here.

Posted by: Mr. Liberal on May 15, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

I have never created a friendly fire casualty, so I'll go read a GAO report or something now...before tragedy unfolds.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on May 15, 2008 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

I guess a presidential candidate can't afford to sound unpresidential...

I have not quite figured out what this really means. Since every single word from every sentence uttered is ultimately twisted, spun and otherwise transmogrified ad nauseum, there is a part of me that just wishes he (or Clinton, for that matter), would respond with a calm, rational, “Well clearly, and quite typically, George W. Bush has no idea what he’s talking about. Once again he is so full of shit it is leaking out his ears.”

Not practical I know, but in a dream state…

It is such a pity that the R’s are such resolute pussies. If I was a betting man, I would bet that their approach will lead to more deaths, American and other, then by trying to avert war by working toward a peaceful solution by engaging with your…BOO! Enemy! It is crap like this that sadly reminds me that humans as a species really just might be too stupid to live.

It sometimes seems that the only approach the Repubs have to avoid war with Iran is to, well, go to war with Iran.

You guys make a sane person's head spin, you really do.

Riiight.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on May 15, 2008 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

throw Jesus under the bus

I don't remember that one from Gospel camp.

Posted by: thersites on May 15, 2008 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

"There are times when mockery is the best policy."
_____________

Senator Obama also had the option of ignoring the point entirely. The President's speech didn't mention anyone specifically, except for a long dead senator. A comment about appeasement would be a pretty stock part of any speech celebrating Israel's 60th anniversary.

If asked, Senator Obama could have said, "Well, he's not talking about me, of course.."

Posted by: trashhauler on May 15, 2008 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Where can I get the Bumpersticker? "Die ShreubenFeurer!!"

Posted by: absent observer on May 15, 2008 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

This dust up was strange. It is not clear that Bush actually intended to attack Obama, but Obama and the democrats decided to interpret it as an attack on him and make it a big deal. Kevin's point of making the fight between Obama and Bush sounds logical and probably was the strategic thinking of the democrats, but it does not seem like an issue that the democrats should highlight. Bush says appeasers are bad without naming Obama, and Obama comes back and says don't you criticize me -- it is as though Obama self identifies himself as an appeaser.

In addition to Kevin's point, I think the democrats probably want to follow the approach of trying to directly engage their own weakness and try to make the strength of the opponent into his weakness. But overall, I think Obama probably loses a debate in the general election on national security and terrorists. Only the true believers would give the young and inexperienced Obama an advantage on the issue, so the more emphasis on it, the worse for Obama. When you think about Obama's career to date, what is there about him that would make you confident in his ability to handle national security and terrorism?

Posted by: on May 15, 2008 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

I think I first sang "Throw Jesus under the Bus" in 1986. Christian Rock is not what it used to be. I can remember lazy night spent under the old chapel pillars singing "One Toke over the Line, Sweet Jesus" and oh, but the favorite was always "Throw Sweet Jesus under the Bus".

Posted by: absent observer on May 15, 2008 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

throw Jesus under the bus

I don't remember that one from Gospel camp.

Posted by: thersites


Maybe it would help if I hummed a few bars?

Posted by: JoeSixPack on May 15, 2008 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

But overall, I think Obama probably loses a debate in the general election on national security and terrorists. Only the true believers would give the young and inexperienced Obama an advantage on the issue, so the more emphasis on it, the worse for Obama. When you think about Obama's career to date, what is there about him that would make you confident in his ability to handle national security and terrorism?

Speaking of true believers, it looks like we have one right here. What you're saying might make perfect sense -- but only if you could somehow make the colossal fuck-ups of Afghanistan & Iraq magically disappear. When you think about McCain's career to date, particularly the fact that he never met a war he didn't love, what is there about him that would make you confident in his ability to handle national security & terrorism?

Posted by: junebug on May 15, 2008 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

. But overall, I think Obama probably loses a debate in the general election on national security and terrorists.

Maybe if he killed a lot of people between now and then, that would help. Because that's what people mean when they say 'national security' and 'terrorism'.

If John Kerry gave this speech in 2004, he'd have carried 43 states, and be cruising to a second term.

"Ladies and gentlemen, tomorrow John Edwards and I are taking a rental truck full of ammonium nitrate and dragster fuel up to Tonawanda, NY, where with the help of an old cellphone, we'll be levelling the local Islamic center.

The media is invited to accompany us, but are advised to stay far back, lest they be injured by flying debris.

God bless the United States, and nobody else."

They'd have lost MA, NY, CA, ME, CT, VT, and RI. They'd have carried the rest. Bush would have lost by Landon-sized margins.

American politics for the foreseeable future is poker, played with the bodies of dead brown people who worship the wrong God.

The GOP can point to real, extant hecatombs of infidel dead, and the Democrats can only promise.

You almost have to hope for a deep, deep recession, because this madness will rule American politics for a generation, until it burns itself out, until its major practitioners all die of old age, unless and until the major challenge confronting the national limbic-system-lizard-brain is hunger and not fear.

Posted by: on May 15, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, can you look up the IP address (and I used singular) for trashhauler, aka Mr Liberal, aka TangoMan, aka a, aka jerry. We all know it is BlueGirl fake-trolling pseudonymously (whew, that was a mouthful). Real trolls aren't this wonderful.

Posted by: absent observer on May 15, 2008 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

what is there about him that would make you confident in his ability to handle national security & terrorism?

Experience! they say. I say nonsense.

I've said this before, I'll say it again.
Jimi Hendrix was experienced.
I loved Jimi but I wouldn't trust him to run the country.

But I do remember when he did that psychedelic version of "Throw Jesus Under the Bus" at Woodstock. That beautiful white Stratocaster shining in the morning sun...

Posted by: thersites on May 15, 2008 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I would take the gloves off with McCain. If he called me "naive and inexperienced" I would suggest that he is a senile old coot who like all senile old coots is way to willing to start wars that young people die in while his buddies make obscene war profits. As to Dumbya everyone knows he is a complete failure so why would anyone give two cents for his opinion--I mean really everything he has done has turned out so well. The fact is Chamberlin was desperate to avoid war because the memories of WWI were too fresh and most of Europe was still recovering. In other words, politically Chamberlin wanted to avoid war. Does anybody really think a majority of the American people want to start a third war in Asia? Now if Dumbya had not insisted on going into Iraq or if Iraq and Afgahnistan had been handled more competently, then a good politician might be able to stir up support for a war with Iran. The simple fact is that because of Dumbya's incompetence the options the next president has are to talk to Iran, do nothing or order an air attack and get impeached and convicted the next day.

Posted by: Terry on May 15, 2008 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

When you think about W. Bush's and McCain's careers to date, what is there about them that would make any Amnerican confident in their ability to handle national security and terrorism?

They killed children.

Posted by: Brojo on May 15, 2008 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

If asked, Senator Obama could have said, "Well, he's not talking about me, of course.."

Because dismissing the swiftboaters with a "it's just politics" worked out so well for Kerry.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on May 15, 2008 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

I think putting the focus on how Bush has made things worse for America is exactly the right approach. Obama shouldn't be dismissive, or defensive, he should attack along the lines of Harry Reid by stating that Bush, the head of an administration with the worst foreign policy ever, is the last person who anyone should listen to when it comes to foreign policy.

Posted by: Jim on May 15, 2008 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Because dismissing the swiftboaters with a 'it's just politics' worked out so well for Kerry."
___________________

But the Swiftboaters specifically mentioned Senator Kerry. This fight was one Senator Obama could have avoided. Perhaps he didn't want to avoid it.

Posted by: trashhauler on May 15, 2008 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

So what? I hope he doesn't give any quarter from here on out. I want him to be at least this combative from here on out.

Fuck Bush, and the horse he was too afraid to ride in on.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on May 15, 2008 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

There was a recent poll that showed that some 65% of Israelis wanted talks with Hamas and 28% did not.

Well, the fact is Hamas is not Germany and they do not have the financing [appeasement?] that Germany did thru elite financial circles which included some American bankers.

So, I have a hard time swallowing the left appeasement bleatings going on. Talking is one thing, financing is quite another.

Posted by: Jet on May 15, 2008 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Well, so much for editing the repetitive phrasing out of my last comment.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on May 15, 2008 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and this surely makes McCain urr McSame nothing like Bush.


//Snark//

Posted by: Jet on May 15, 2008 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

The singularity collapses upon itself!

BlueGirl is attacked by BlueGirl pseudotrolling as Trashhauler. I know! Trashhauler is BlueGirl because she just can't do enough to hide that darling ring to her seductive little persona. I like you even better as Trashhauler, sweetiepie.

(BlueGirl, I'm just snarking -- taking the long way around to cast questions about trashhauler's manhood.)

It's a policy debate I'm having, about the relative diminution of Trashhauler's male genitals. It's not political, not even a wee bit.

Posted by: absent observer on May 15, 2008 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, I really disagree Kevin, I thought the line was great.

I guess it may depend on the hearer.

It's too often that the Republicans say to the Democrats, "You are (such-and-such bad thing)," and then the Democrats (and often rank-and-file liberals in this country) don't say right back, "No I'm not." It's a pretty confusing defense for most people to hear if it doesn't start with its simple thesis.

Mockery like the sentence you suggested would have been lost on a lot of people and would have made Barack sound unrelatable.

Posted by: Swan on May 15, 2008 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is kind of an appeaser; he thinks he can actually sit down and negotiate with the Republicans.

Posted by: AJB on May 15, 2008 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Well carry on, absent observer. I'm enjoying it and letting some of my personalities that have been especially well behaved lately out on furlough to come read the thread.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on May 15, 2008 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK
It is time to turn the page on eight years of policies that have strengthened Iran and failed to secure America or our ally Israel

This sounds just exactly like John Kerry at his worst. Obama needs to pick up the tempo.

Posted by: little ole jim on May 15, 2008 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

"the fact is Hamas is not Germany"
_____________________

This is another good point. Talking with the enemy is not necessarily appeasement. Appeasement is coming to an agreement that is harmful to your interests in the hope that it will satisfy the tiger. The appeasement in Munich was especially craven in that it gave away another country's interests.

Senator Obama has never suggested anything like that and it would have been simple to point out the difference. Heck, he even could have agreed with the President. "I agree, appeasement has always been a basically stupid thing to do. That's why I promise clear-eyed and steadfast communication of our interests."

As it was, Senator Obama's team has conceded the point, whether it was intentional or not. Perhaps they felt directly confronting the President will work in their favor. That would probably be the conventional wisdom.

Posted by: trashhauler on May 15, 2008 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Can Lie-berman be written out of the party now? Please?!

Posted by: on May 15, 2008 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

What I would say if I were Obama: "I see that Bush and John McCain are still in lock step. They thought it wise to appease Bin Laden by turning our attention to Iraq. Bush and McCain don't even know the real enemy when he attacks us right here in America. Talk about appeasers!"

Posted by: little ole jim on May 15, 2008 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is too deadpan?

Posted by: Neil B. on May 15, 2008 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Appeasement is coming to an agreement that is harmful to your interests in the hope that it will satisfy the tiger. -trashhauler

Exactamundo.

Posted by: Jet on May 15, 2008 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meets with President Obama:

Mr. Dinner Jacket: President Obama, we deserve symmetry with respect to nuclear energy.

Barak:
Do you really believe some old guy is hiding in a well?

Its a problem.

Posted by: Matt on May 15, 2008 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

wouldn't agreeing to negotiations with Hamas give them the impression that their chronic murder of innocent Israeli civilians in rocket attacks etc is a politically successful tactic?

how can you negotiate with an enemy that refuses to recognize that your country even HAS A RIGHT TO EXIST?

Posted by: neill on May 15, 2008 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK
how can you negotiate with an enemy that refuses to recognize that your country even HAS A RIGHT TO EXIST?
Wasn't that Yassir Arafat's line? Posted by: kenga on May 15, 2008 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Not only should mockery be the best policy, but we need to tie that fool Bush around there necks till the hang themselves. When 70 percent of Americans have to have to hold there nose till the
stench of this administration is defeated. I say the Democratic Leadership beat him like a drum daily so what's left of the Republicans are forced to defend him. Nothing like reminding
their defending a fool.

Posted by: on May 15, 2008 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

How can a country push for elections that resulted in Hamas taking power in Gaza, even over the objections of Israel and the Palestinian Authority? I guess you'd have to ask President Bush.

Posted by: Tom S on May 15, 2008 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Lets not forget Reagan secretly sold missiles to Iran six years after they seized our embassy and that 9-11 happened on Bush's watch, after he was warned repeatedly about UBL. I know which political party is weak on terrorism and it ain't Obama's.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 15, 2008 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is, Obama opened himself up to this line of attack. He says he will negotiate with Iran and Syra, but not with Hamas or Hezbollah. Yes, there is a difference, but to majority opinion, it looks only as if Obama is trying to finesse a Kerryesque distinction. Obama looks just like the calculating politicians that he likes to smear here.

Posted by: Mr. Liberal on May 15, 2008 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

Obama should have simply invoked Godwin's Law and declared victory.

Posted by: RonK, Seattle on May 15, 2008 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Lets not forget Reagan secretly sold missiles to Iran six years after they seized our embassy

Building on an earlier business relationship....

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on May 15, 2008 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK


It could be that Chamberlin is getting a bit of a bad rap on this appeasement thing. He knew that England was not at all ready for war in 1938. His
"deal" with Hitler may have been what it took to give England enough time to build enough Spitfires and Hurricanes to hold off the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.

Posted by: Tom B on May 15, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

At least Obama’s grandfather didn’t help build the Nazi war machine like Prescott Bush.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 15, 2008 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, Obama could have avoided this. But that would have been stupid. Bush was making cowardly assaults on the Democratic candidate while overseas. Now, if Obama had done the same thing to Bush the Republicans and idiots like trashhauler would have been up in arms about how "politics stops at the water's edge." As a side, note, that's also stupid.

Obama was right to take on the Butcher of Baghdad. It is only too bad that he did not do so with greater force.

Posted by: the on May 15, 2008 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Say what you want, but he'd rather be golfing.

Incompetence and stupidity are also impeachable offenses.

Posted by: Sparko on May 15, 2008 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

I listened to clips of the speach and read the transcript.
Honest question: Why the assumption Bush was referring to Sen. Obama?

Posted by: majarosh on May 15, 2008 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

When the Republicans hit you, you have to hit back or suffer the “bitch slap meme” (if he can’t/won’t defend himself, how will he defend the country?). Besides, getting McCain and his favorite pet Chihuahua Lieberman lined up with Bush is nothing but gravy for the D’s.

Posted by: fafner1 on May 15, 2008 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

"It could be that Chamberlin is getting a bit of a bad rap on this appeasement thing. He knew that England was not at all ready for war in 1938. His
"deal" with Hitler may have been what it took to give England enough time to build enough Spitfires and Hurricanes to hold off the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain."


Wikipedia: Churchill's first major speech on defence on 7 February 1934 stressed the need to rebuild the Royal Air Force and to create a Ministry of Defence; his second, on 13 July urged a renewed role for the League of Nations. These three topics remained his themes until early 1936.

Had anyone, most certainly Chamberlin, listened to Winston, Hitler could have been stopped in his tracks in the 30's. But Churchill was thought of then as a militaristic crank.

Like America now, Britain and Europe would have been much better served by a political leadership that coolly and unsentimentally appraised the potential DOWNSIDE of its rival's provocations.

Instead of happy talk about can't we all get along.

Posted by: neill on May 16, 2008 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Neill, Germany wasn't ready for war either. Hitler was, at that time, the consumate gambler who outplayed all the European politicians and frayed the nerves of his generals.

After the still present experience of WWI, all feared war except one.

After Poland, and despite the declarations of war, everybody sat tight on the Western front for 8 months. All steeling nerve and building strength, and the Western allies hoping against hope to avert another disaster.

Hitler stayed true to character and gambled the war and then turned to fight the USSR and guide strategy there in. Everything went downhill when the table ran against him.

So, yes, if his bluff had been called with the retaking of the Sudetenland, or Austrian anschluss, or with Czech borderlands, or Czechoslovakia whole, war might have been averted. And that was where appeasement came in. Giving something for nothing. Hitler thought he held a winning hand.

Noone is saying that about Iran or anywhere else.

When did we start making progress with North Korea?

Happy talk has never been in it, and it's typical Repug talk that obscures reality and facts whenever it suits.

The difference between 1938 and 2002 is that we had a whole group of unreal idiots wanting war, led by a person we actually voted in (well, almost), with their hands on the levers of power thinking war could be a solution to essentially political problems.

Oh, and the second difference, they will not be tried for their crimes.

But they should be.

Posted by: notthere on May 16, 2008 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Don't worry, I don't think anybody relies on Bush's judgement anymore.

Posted by: Luther on May 16, 2008 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and it's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, I believe.

Posted by: notthere on May 16, 2008 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

"After the still present experience of WWI, all feared war except one.

After Poland, and despite the declarations of war, everybody sat tight on the Western front for 8 months. All steeling nerve and building strength, and the Western allies hoping against hope to avert another disaster.

Hitler stayed true to character and gambled the war and then turned to fight the USSR and guide strategy there in. Everything went downhill when the table ran against him.

So, yes, if his bluff had been called with the retaking of the Sudetenland, or Austrian anschluss, or with Czech borderlands, or Czechoslovakia whole, war might have been averted. And that was where appeasement came in. Giving something for nothing. Hitler thought he held a winning hand."

Who else thinks they have a winning hand these days?

Who else has the will to show that this is NOT the case. (something conspicuously absent in the leadership of 1930's Europe)

Had Churchill been in the position to act pre-emptively in the 30's, sacraficing lives in the process (and saving millions of lives that were tossed away), should he consequently have been tried for his "crimes"?

What IS the talk about other than desperately seeking to avoid (or delay) conflict with those who WANT conflict? Delaying conflict with those who want conflict only makes the ultimate clash far, far, far worse for everyone.

Based on their history, what makes you think that Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah want to resolve the current deadlock with anything but deadly confrontation?

Posted by: neill on May 16, 2008 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, the Bush family has its own Nazi past, as Kevin Phillips documented so well a few years back, what with Prescott hand in hand with Thyssen, et al. I see Deflator's got a story link posted. (Does anybody know what happened with the Auschwitz survivors' suit?_

Shrub, even more than normal, should just STFU.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on May 16, 2008 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Neill, seems like you are more desperate to go to war than consider reality. Like your bretheren.

Well, obviously the Neocons and Bush thought they had a winning hand and ignored the facts and realities of war.

Hamas and Hezbullah can only survive, like any local rebel, with the support of the locality. If the people want peace, it will come.

Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Crete, Vietnam?

I think the last 5 years have proven the administration's incompetence just as Hitler's was. If the comparison survives, soon Bush will have committed suicide and the rest will be in trial.

I'm not holding my breath. But you are clearly out of touch with practical reality.

Posted by: notthere on May 16, 2008 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Entertaining Hardball discussion on "appeasement.."

What is appeasement?

Posted by: Andy on May 16, 2008 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

neill, Chamberlain was hell-bent on pursuing a single-minded strategy with regards to dealing with Hitler, disregarded outside information that conflicted with his worldview, and pursued his plans within a tight-knit like-minded inner circle that kept him insulated from reality.

Sound familiar?

Posted by: Tyro on May 16, 2008 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

neill, you need to read more and stop listening to the vacuous baritones on right-wing talk radio. Where did you get this crap, Michael Savage? Don't be like GwB, grow up, expand your horizons and at least try to get a sense of the other side. What clowns like you misunderstood was that Saddam was bluffing because that's all he could do. Now it's Iran is building nukes, we have to kill some of them to show we're tough enough!!
Maybe, just maybe, the Iranian leadership, tied down trying to appease an increasing young, restless populace which has access to western media, is pulling the chain of GwB and you're falling all over yourself to be taken in.
Sheesh, kids these days.
Here's one.
Here's another

Posted by: TJM on May 16, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Hitler was ready to go to war in 1936, even if his generals were not. The thought that if Hitler had been confronted he would have backed down and Germany would shortly have become an enlightened democracy is naïve. Given Hitler’s personality and views, the question was not if war was going to occur, but when. Even Chamberlain came to accept this, and as prime minister supported Britain’s declaration of war on Germany in 1939.

Posted by: fafner1 on May 16, 2008 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Based on their history, what makes you think that Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah want to resolve the current deadlock with anything but deadly confrontation?

neill is as stupid as the president. Revolutionary Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah have never invaded another country. All of their militancy has been defensive. Defensive against the aggression of the US, a US backed Saddam and Israel, which have used overwhelming force to subjugate defenseless civilian populations. If Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah did not protect themselves with arms, the people they represent would suffer the same fate as Germany's Jews, which would please neill, President Bush and racist ideologues everywhere.

Posted by: Brojo on May 16, 2008 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

>When Obama gets attacked, his default setting is to
>become rigidly rational.

Better rigidly rational than mind-bogglingly stupid, don't you think?

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on May 16, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Kevin -

Are you insane? When I read your comment, my first thought was of the Israeli athletes murdered during the 1972 Olympics. Why on earth would you want Obama to EVER mention Munich - given the perception he already has problems with Israel and/or Jews?

Jeez... you're usually not this tone deaf." Signed EddieInCA

Uhm Eddie

I believe the Munich reference was to the treaty signed in Munich between Chamberlain and Hitler, in which Chamberlain ceded (as if he had a right to)half of the Czech republic, to Hitler.

That act formed the basis of the conclusion that Chamberlain had "appeased" Hitler, a fact of which both you and Kevin James seem blissfully unaware.

Posted by: on May 16, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

neill is a paid detractor, dontcha know?

Posted by: on May 16, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

"how can you negotiate with an enemy that refuses to recognize that your country even HAS A RIGHT TO EXIST?"

No country or state has a "right" to exist.

That is silly nonsense and if true, no government could ever change.

Sheesh, beginning to believe America really does have a monopoly on teh stupid.

Posted by: on May 16, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

The appeasement in Munich was especially craven in that it gave away another country's interests.

Uh, what? The U.S. (and every other country in the world) gives away other countries interests when it appears to be in even the short-term interest of our country all the time. There is nothing "especially craven" about that, in a system of soveriegn nation-states, one nation-state isn't responsible for the interests of the others.

It was, of course, monumentally stupid and short-sighted because it was based on a willful failure to see the obvious consequences, but to call it "especially craven" in the annals of international diplomacy because it gave away another countries interest is truly bizarre.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 16, 2008 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Honest question: Why the assumption Bush was referring to Sen. Obama?

Other than the fact that we're in the middle of a presidential race where one of the Republican themes has been that Democrats are too wimpy to deal with terra-ists the way Big Manly Republicans can?

You could be right -- Bush could also have been referring to Sen. Clinton since he specified a senator in his remark. The fact that this is a continuation of a Republican drumbeat we've been hearing since at least 2001 makes it pretty obvious that it's directed at the Democrats, no matter which specific one you choose.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 16, 2008 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Grazia on March 12, 2010 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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