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Works and Days

If Only Our Foreign Enemies Were Republicans

June 25th, 2013 - 12:00 am

I cannot recall, in the last five years, Barack Obama ever identifying the Iranians, Hezbollah, or the late Hugo Chavez as among our “enemies,” in the fashion that he once urged Latino leaders to punish conservatives at the polls: “We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.” If only the president would treat those who don’t like the United States in the same manner that he does those who do, he might bring great clarity to his now listless foreign policy. Indeed, why waste his rich vocabulary of teleprompted invective on fellow Americans, when there is an entire world out there that wishes the United States ill?

Imagine if Obama declaimed of the Iranians in Tehran that “those aren’t the kinds of folks who represent our core American values,”  in the manner he once attacked John McCain for calling for border security in 2008. Could not a worldly Obama at least go after the intolerant Saudis for spreading Wahhabi-hatred worldwide and for sending subsidies to radical Sunni terrorists, in the detailed way he once deconstructed rural conservative voters of Pennsylvania? He might have taken apart these dogmatic religious absolutists in the following manner: “It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” All such invective seems to sum up current Saudi society far better than it does the people of Pennsylvania. Could not the president finish by noting that their madrassas encourage divisions and discourage cooperation, just as he boldly lectured an Irish audience about the problems with Catholic parochial schools?

As far as these hyper-rich Persian Gulf sheikdoms go, could not the fearless Obama urge these “fat cats” to share their riches with poorer countries, in the manner he once sermonized to Americans in no uncertain terms: “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody”?

When Obama deals with the Palestinians, could he not say of them, as he once did without hesitation of the Republican Congress, “Even though most people agree … I’m presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow do a Jedi mind-meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right”? Of the Gaza flotilla incident that was used against ally Israel, Obama at least could offer one of his accustomed blunt retorts like “there is no there there,” as he did to his own domestic critics of Benghazi. Or better yet, he could have flipped it off as a “sideshow.”

Trouble in Syria? Tough Chicagoan Obama should warn Assad that America was bringing a gun to a knife fight, or that Americans were going to get in the faces of their enemies, just as the street-fighting candidate Obama once urged his supporters to confront Republicans.

Of natural disasters in Pakistan, the historically minded president might also see it as a metaphor of a sick society, in the way he said of Katrina that the hurricane catastrophe “was a powerful metaphor of what’s gone on for generations.” Greece is in shambles, its socialist/siesta culture unsustainable. If the candid president is going to lecture Americans with “we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades,” and with “this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades. We need to get back on track,” then perhaps he might extend that tough love to the bankrupt Greeks as well.

Egypt? Could not no-nonsense Obama say of Mohamed Morsi and his destruction of that country that he “was acting stupidly,” in the fashion he did with the Cambridge Police Department? Could not Attorney General Eric Holder be enlisted to talk down to the Libyans, who will not turn over the killers of our government personnel, by claiming they are abject “cowards”? Many Islamists in Nigeria are slaughtering Christians; could not an empathetic Obama express solidarity with the victims the way he did so poignantly with Trayvon Martin: “If I had a son, he’d look like a slain Christian Nigerian”?

Speaking of Christians, might Obama order his NASA chief to praise Christians for their contributions to civilization, in the manner Charles Bolden was ordered to redirect NASA’s mission to Muslim outreach: “Third, and perhaps foremost, he [Obama] wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering”)?

Perhaps Obama could teach the grasping and cash-rich Chinese that now is not the time for them to profit and that at some point their rapacious international companies should cease the money-making, in the same manner he instructed Americans: “I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” The Chinese are said to have the dirtiest air and water on the planet – might a green Obama remonstrate with them about their duty to planet Earth, in the way that he damned his Republican opponents for wanting to “have dirtier air, dirtier water”?

To a hostile Vladimir Putin — reported to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars — the statist Obama might remark that the Russian leader did not build his fortune, at least not without the help of the state. Or more directly, civil-rights organizer Obama might remind polite society of the often-bigoted Putin that he was “a typical white person,” in the manner he once derided his own grandmother. If only Putin was BP, Obama would have him worried about the president musing over “whose ass to kick.”

Obama could also from time to time enlist First Lady Michelle Obama as well. She would be wonderful in courageously reminding a bullying China that it is “just downright mean.” To the corrupt United Nations, a no-holds-barred Michelle could confront its members by reminding them that she had never before been proud of that organization. Perhaps to the Europeans who piggy-back on American defense expenditures, the tough-love first lady might remonstrate as she did with American voters: “Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.”

Turning to more concrete action, the IRS has global reach. Could it not turn on Hezbollah the way it has gone after the Tea Party?

Instead of inflammatory language like “patriots” and “tea party,” might the agency fixate on “terrorism” and “jihad”? And just as the FBI did not detain Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Major Hasan, or Anwar al-Awlaki after these suspects came to their attention, could it not finally let go of the poor video-maker Mark Basseley Youssef, innocent of inciting the al-Qaeda related terrorists in Benghazi?

For that matter, if controversial films are supposedly catalysts to hate-filled violence, could not the exasperated Obama condemn his powerful friend Recep Erdogan for airing on Turkish state television the anti-Semitic and anti-American Valley of the Wolves? Was not the multimillion-dollar slick Turkish production that played throughout the Islamic world more detrimental to U.S. interests than Youssef’s cheap video farce?

The Associated Press and James Rosen are small-fry leakers in comparison to the things al Jazeera says about America. Why not monitor that new agency’s phone banks, or perhaps even the parents of al Jazeera reporters? If Obama goes after Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Fox News by name, cannot he conjure up at least something like his earlier slur “teabaggers” for the anti-American Islamist media?

Is al Jazeera all that less subversive than Fox News? If EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson can use a fake name and adopt a phony alter ego to evade accountability from her domestic critics, can’t our own government operatives do that abroad to confuse Islamists? Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius shook down American companies to pony up money to promote Obamacare; can’t she similarly coerce our allies to help pay more for the joint venture in Afghanistan?


American politics is historically a rough-and-tumble business, characterized by invective and slurs. What is different with the Obama administration is not that it goes after its critics, but rather that it does so in an extreme fashion that it does not employ for those abroad who oppose the United States at almost every turn. Diplomacy is one thing, but being far harsher with domestic than foreign critics is a peculiarity we have not seen since the Nixon era, when an “enemies list” did not reference Red China or Leonid Brezhnev’s Russia as much as those who worked for the Washington Post.

Barack Obama received a Nobel Peace Prize, not for anything concrete that he did, but in the eyes of the award committee for his rhetorical efforts to bring the world together. Obviously, the Nobel judges did not think that included half of Obama’s fellow Americans. For Obama, the problem is not so much foreign radicals, revolutionaries, authoritarians, and dictators who hate the United States as it is those within America who, he thinks, cause such odious folk abroad to justifiably despise us.

In other words, if not for our conservatives, the NRA, the pro-lifers, the traditional marriage bunch, the one-percenters, the crazy House Republicans, and the Tea Party/Sarah Palin sorts, our enemies abroad might have become our friends.

And that depressing ideology explains why the president of the United States saves his best invective for his own.

Related: Don’t miss Ed Driscoll’s interview with VDH on his latest book, The Savior Generals.

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Top Rated Comments   
In my country for all of my now nearly 60 years, I stood ready to line up shoulder to shoulder with my defend US...from THEM.

Today, I stand in the same place, having not moved an inch...and woke up one morning to find that "THEM" is defined as those I am standing with...and US, defined as those I have been standing against.

A Supreme Court justice has announced that our Constitution is not one anyone should model theirs after. Our head of United Nations openly lies about invasions and murders of our foreign dignitaries and their protectors. Our NSA and IRS invade our privacy and liberties, our Homeland Security scoffs at the need to protect our borders and one of our major parties boos God and assaults the dignity of Jerusalem and the country that contains the Holy City...and has been our staunchest ally.

We return Winston Churchill's bust and bow to despots and dictators.

My feet have remain planted and my shoulders touch a patriot on each side...but the Pledge of Allegiance must have been changed behind my back when I was distracted. Because my allegiance...and that solemn pledge...carry no echo in the halls of my government.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I live in Chicago and have always considered Obama to be an idiot and incapable of independent thought. When his stardom began, I wondered who was getting all the glowing attention--that guy who wrote the two autobiographies? That lame back-bencher who never utters a word? He swims in his own personal sea in his own personal universe and the rest of us suffer for it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“And that depressing ideology explains why the president of the United States saves his best invective for his own.”

It's also because he doesn't view the American people as being “his own”. So, living amidst what he saw as aliens, it's not surprising, then, he got bitter. He clung to authoritarianism or Liberation Theology or antipathy to people who love freedom, or unsecured borders or anti-capitalism as a way to explain his own failings.

It's too bad. He has a lot of innate talent, but he doesn't apply it a way that communicates a genuine love of America, so eventually the shine wears off. He could have gone down in history as one of the truly great Presidents, instead of the first one to be tried for high treason.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (52)
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Great idea on the top 100 books, especially regarding our suggestions. I started my "liberty shelf" a couple of years ago, and it's small but growing.

So far:
Wealth of Nations - Smith
Democracy in America -Tocqueville
The Law - Bastiat
Basic Economics - Sowell
Road to Serfdom - Hayek
Capitalism and Freedom - Friedman

And in the "Know thine enemy" category:
Rules for Radicals - Alinsky

I'd love to hear other suggestions.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Guys I have seen this same tired argument for years, if not decades. Republicans vote on principles. The leftist vote on whims. One requires thought, the other does not. The Republicans will eat their own in short order if they go one iota off base about 80% of the time. Which explains Mc Cain, Rubio, and now (God Forbid) Ryan.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Dr. Hanson:

I have resigned myself to go into research mode for the rest of my natural life. There is not a person I more respect in intellectual matters save maybe Bolten than you. This said I have a request:

Could you please prioritize and rank the 100 most important books necessary to function as a normal human being in this day and age?

Pretty sure I have most of them collecting dust in the library. But this would be a column on a slow day, and one hell of a benefit to those who seek understanding of just what is exactly is happening to the USA.

It would be cool if all the opinion writers at PJM could play along.

Again, this would be extremely cool.

I have spent almost 40 years studying the communist, it is time I relearned the flip side that compelled me to do such.

Really curious where the Bible, the Federalist Papers, and the 5000 year leap factors in with the paid contributors here at PJM.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's been pretty obvious that from Jan 20, 2009, Obama's main concern has been to cripple the Republican party, if not destroy it. Val and 'Chelle must have counseled him that Republicans were home-grown terrorists capable of using weapons of mass destruction. If blacks ever do become educated ast to which party exactly tormented them for 90 years+ and which party always stood for full citizenship for blacks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When Reagan's UN representative Jeane Kirkpatrick, said that the left was the "blame America first" party... she already sensed what Obama's brand of leftist is.

Something I've felt for decades too..

The democrat's hard left, treats opposing views on the right in America with far MORE open hostility than ANY foreign enemy we've ever had. They can openly hate us, smear us, call us every racist and vile name they can think of, then have the unmitigated gall to tell us,... We need to be "respectful" to Iran. North Korea.. the Islamic terror cults like the Muslim Brotherhood..

The American left, like Obama himself, would rather enthusiastically hate fellow Americans, than the folks who planned 911...

and they wonder in wide eyed amazement, why the idea that conservatives AREN'T the greatest threat to mankind, is not universally rejected.. To a committed leftist..

all enemies are domestic.. never foreign..

That kind of bassackwards logic is what ends up defeating them, time after time..
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Dr Hanson, you write as though President Obama actually knows of what he speaks. I don't think so. I think all he really knows is what idiotic ideologues whisper in his ear. Do you think he writes his own speeches? I don't. Do you think he cares more about his job than he does about the perks? I don't. Do you think he wrote his own book? I do -- but it's the one that's bad, not the good one. What we have here is a president who's not present, a president living in the past who's only aware of tired, worn-out ideas from the 1930s. A president who doesn't have an original idea in his head. Yes, he's great at trash-talking Republicans. Yes, he's great at campaigning. Yes, he's great at fundraising -- but that's it. He'll say anything and mean nothing. Remember, how Barry wanted to put the US in the forefront of technology by building a high-speed train in CA? WOW! France did that, what, 40 years ago. Know-
nothing Obama and his know-nothing advisers know nothing about technology. (Think Japanese maglev trains). They also know nothing about foreign relations -- which is why they can't bad mouth it. You have to understand something to attack it. You're right that Obama is a good attack dog, but only when he's able to use other people's words. His 'other people', like Valerie Jarret, are global morons. Their leftist fantasy world does not work in the real world. So, it's not surprising that Obama can't talk face-to- face with Putin or anyone else for that matter. They see right through him. Maybe, that makes him our first Invisible President, but that also makes him incapable of foreign policy, incapable of governing and incapable of doing what's right. He can only think 'left' -- if he thinks at all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama is still the community agitator, maow-maowing the flak-catchers and race-baiting the paler citizens. That's all he knows about being President, other than bashing his enemies and rewarding his home-boys with goodies from the public trough.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Anyone with relatively good vision would know that the Emperor has no clothes. If you think that all perception is relative, you will admire the thin golden clothing that does not actually exist.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
$100 sez that 20 years from now, today's MSNBC broadcast reels will show up in comedy spoofs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Classical liberals are enemy #1 of the Left, whether they may be.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama is simply reflecting his roots. Thus, it is best to examine his roots to understand why he hates America so.
His mother, father and one of his mentors were radical communists from the 60's who saw everything America had become under the GI generation as a profound evil. Though not a commie, Wright shares the same sentiments.
For them - children of the 60's - the postwar world as set up by the returning GI's HAD TO BE UTTERLY DESTROYED. They were convinced they had the moral high ground and intellectual superiority to determine that and make it happen.
Now, the hippie generation is fundamentally in charge, in both the political and economic spheres. Some of them wised up along the way, but enough of them haven't. They've also raised their kids to believe the same things and made sure their educational indoctrination reflected this worldview.
Hence, the majority of America sees most of what Obama does as logical and just.
Nothing will change this perception until the inevitable end-result explodes in their faces. Even then, a core minority will stick to their 'principles', in the same way Pol Pot kept a hardened core of Khmer Rouge loyalists around him after he was deposed.
We who grew up under the dissolution of the old order initiated and carried thru by the hippies in the 60's and 70's, and now brought to it's apex in the first part of the 21st century, can do nothing to stop or reverse this. All we can do is prepare ourselves and our kids for the disasters to come, and to find the means to pick up the pieces once the fires have burned out.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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