Roger L. Simon

Fear of Obama

Much as I am disgusted with the Clintons and the other “monarchs” detailed below, I am more fundamentally scared of Barack Obama because I don’t know what he stands for other than “hope,” “change” and other truisms. He has done a brilliant job of avoiding the nitty-gritty and now with this welter of big time endorsements and the wind at his back we are not likely to get any specificity soon. He is certainly a charming main. Why not rely on that and not rock the boat with ideas subject to debate or thoughts that might reveal lack of preparation or experience?

But, as we learn from Noah Pollak who has been doing some interesting digging at the contentions blog, we have serious reason to be wary of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy advisor Samantha Power, just as we have reason to be disturbed by the idolatrous support of the racist Louis Farrakhan by Obama’s minister.

My own suspicion… and at this point it is only that… is that Obama himself actually doesn’t know what he thinks in the foreign policy area. He speaks in generalities, claims he was against the Iraq War and then voted to fund it (like Hillary) – the usual hypocrisy that makes for moral and psychological confusion. So all is reduced to slogans or brainless competitions like who will pull out of Iraq faster when everyone knows that when confronted by the reality of decision making all will be different.

And, like most people when getting the approbation of the crowd, I imagine Obama is loathe to alienate it and finds himself agreeing with it as the line of least (temporary) resistance. But Obama’s particular crowd is partly a dangerous rabble that has not thought through the times in which we live on any serious level and responds in the most generic peacenik manner. As a single issue voter – the War on Terror – I am more than a little bit concerned.

Meanwhile, there is not much consolation on the Republican side. I just read an interesting article by Fred Barnes in the latest Weekly Standard – How Bush Decided on the Surge. Barnes has good contacts and I imagine much of the reporting here reflects Bush’s view on how this occurred. Here’s a telling paragraph:

After the bombing [in Samara], NSC officials were increasingly dubious. They weren’t alone. General Keane kept in contact with retired and active Army officers, including Petraeus, who believed the war could be won with more troops and a population protection, or counterinsurgency, strategy–but not with a small footprint. At the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, a former West Point professor (and a current WEEKLY STANDARD contributing editor), Frederick Kagan, was putting together a detailed plan to secure Baghdad. But the loudest voice for a change in Iraq was Senator John McCain of Arizona. He and his sidekick, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, traveled repeatedly to Iraq. McCain badgered Bush and Hadley with phone calls urging more troops and a different strategy. Together, McCain, Keane, Petraeus, the network of Army officers, and Kagan provided a supportive backdrop for adopting a new strategy.

According to this article at least, the loudest voice for change in Iraq was Senator McCain. And yet he is the man we see reviled again and again by conservative Republicans. Well, I guess they have different priorities from me. Can’t say I’m really surprised. Rigid party politics is boring to me – and regressive. But I am very sad.