Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bush Pulls a Jeremiah - and Unites the Democrats

It's pretty obvious that Karl Rove has left the White House.

John McCain's association with George W. Bush is more of a concern to voters than Barack Obama's association with Jeremiah Wright: A Gallup poll conducted on May 1-3, 2008 shows that 33% of voters are less likely to vote for Obama because of the Wright association; however, more - 38% - are less likely to vote for McCain because of his Bush association. On top of that, 64% say that the Obama-Wright association won't affect their vote at all - significantly more than the 54% who say that the McCain-Bush association will not affect their vote.

Today, the reason for those dynamics is a little clearer.

Speaking to the Knesset (the legislature of Israel) in Jerusalem the morning after Israel's 60th anniversary of independence, Bush casually compared the intentions of Democrats, particularly Barack Obama - who support exercising diplomacy with the governments of countries like Iran and Venezuela - to those who wanted to "appease" the Nazis over sixty years ago.

The extremism of this allegation and its evident hypocrisy is reminiscent of the extremism and hypocrisy of Obama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright: Bush implied that Democrats will somehow be complicit in the imminent destruction of the United States or Israel because of their foreign policy strategy, just as Wright implied that America was complicit in the 9/11 attacks on its soil because of its foreign policy strategy.

The difference is, Bush said these words himself, in a foreign country, as the President of the United States, not the pastor of some church in Chicago. He has virtually handed the Democrats a loaded gun, with enough ammunition to last well into November.

Bush's comments have reportedly sent a wave of excitement through the Democratic party, particularly within the Obama campaign. He has not only managed to unite Democrats (many of whom didn't even agree with Obama's proposal to talk to Iran in the first place) and given them a platform to justifiably voice their outrage - including Joseph Biden calling the remarks "bullshit" - but also handed the Democrats an advantage in a debate in which most analysts felt they, especially Obama, were disadvantaged: foreign policy.

Here are the problems with what Bush said:

1. George W. Bush himself has not only held talks with, but openly negotiated with Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, who is alleged to have sponsored the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988. This diplomacy led to the successful end of hostilities between the two countries over Libya's nuclear program, which Gaddafi agreed to discontinue.

Also, among the three "Axis of Evil" countries Bush named in his State of the Union speech in 2002, North Korea is the only one that has openly conducted nuclear tests and possesses confirmed nuclear weapons. Again, the Bush administration has not only held talks with, but openly negotiated with Kim Jong Il, attaining reasonable success in the partial curtailment of the country's weapons proliferation program.

2. Speaking of the Axis of Evil, Iran is stronger now than it was before the Iraq war.

To go into Iraq - the only Axis of Evil member that actually did not have a declared nuclear program, not to mention a single nuclear weapon - all it took was a little unsubstantiated suspicion and a few convenience-based, selective intelligence reports. But despite several years of Iran's Ahmedinejad shooting off at the mouth about wiping Israel off the map, holding Holocaust denial conferences, directly threatening America, speaking at both the United Nations and Columbia University in New York, and most notably, adamantly continuing to pursue his country's nuclear program, America has barely taken any action.


Because the Bush administration has stretched the country's economic and military sources too thinly across the world, funding (on borrowed money, the majority from China) and fighting two wars, at least one of which can arguably be called a quagmire.

Ahmedinejad knows that no matter what he says or does, the United States is not in a position to do much more than slap sanctions on him, even that with restrictions, considering Iran's a pretty big oil producer. (By the way, China and Iran are strong allies - funding an intervention here won't exactly be a breeze.) So Ahmedinejad, Jong Il, and Hugo Chavez - also the head of a prominent oil-producing country just miles from the U.S. - can say all they want, as loudly as they want, and do all they want, because they know America can't come and get 'em. This has strengthened countries like Iran - and weakened the United States - probably indicating the need for a significant policy change.

3. Ronald Reagan, the darling of all of the Republican candidates this campaign season, helped bring the Cold War to an end through intelligent, tough diplomacy, not a stubborn refusal to speak to the USSR government.

4. Bringing up the Nazis wasn't a good idea on the part of Bush. Here's why:

The business dealings of Prescott Bush, W.'s grandfather, and father of George H. W. Bush, were the subject of a lawsuit brought forth against the Bush family a few years ago by two former Auschwitz slave laborers, alleging that Grandpa Prescott Bush, former Connecticut Senator and director of the Union Banking Corporation - whose assets were seized by the U.S. government during World War II - helped finance Adolf Hitler himself, aiding his rise to power.

This lawsuit from these two Holocaust survivors led to the unveiling of previously secret documents that shed light on the issue a short while before W. was up for re-election. Fortunately for W., the Dems didn't find it within themselves to Swift-Boat him at the time.

By the way - for those who are suspicious of this being left-wing propaganda, the network that was instrumental in digging out these documents, as evidenced on their own website, was Fox News: Click here.

Apparently, Senator Prescott Bush, founding officer, vice president, and director of the United Banking Corporation (UBC), was also managing partner for Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), a firm led by E. Roland Harriman - heavily invested in UBC, owning the majority of its shares - and his brother Averell, a former New York Governor.

BBH dealt closely with Fritz Thyssen, a German industrialist who significantly helped to finance Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, though he severed his relationship with him in the later part of the decade. The UBC was the primary hub for the US-based part of Thyssen's business, which is what led to the government's seizure of its assets during the war. Prescott Bush continued to work for the bank for long after America entered the war.

There is no more evidence that Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazis than there is evidence that Barack Obama is sympathetic to Ahmedinejad or Hamas. But the Bush family's association - by money and just one degree of separation, to Adolf Hitler, with an ensuing multibillion dollar lawsuit from two Holocaust survivors - probably appears significantly stronger than some Hamas leader saying Obama would be a good leader for America.

The Democrats couldn't have dug a deeper hole for John McCain than George W. Bush has.

5. Finally, William E. Borah, the Idaho senator that Bush quoted in his speech as saying, "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided..." and credited with harboring a "foolish delusion" - was known to be a progressive politician; a maverick so known for his independent thinking that President Calvin Coolidge once remarked about his horseback riding, "It's hard to imagine Senator Borah going in the same direction as the horse."

Borah was renowned and often fiercely criticized for occasionally deviating from the party that he belonged to: The Republican Party. Good luck, John McCain.

George W. Bush has singlehandedly thrust himself ass-first into the 2008 campaign season and, in collaboration with some very amateur speechwriter(s), done the Democrats a huge favor.

It's pretty obvious that Karl Rove has left the White House.


Ali A. Rizvi said...

Another source, thanks to Barb Miller:

stumblebum said...

Absolutely brilliant my friend. I laughed hysterically. It is are when a writer manages to get to the heart of the matter so openly and honestly as you do. Already I can't wait for your next piece. I am reminded of reading a great novel that I don't want to end because leaving the characters will be sad for me.

News Service said...

I too am reminded of a novel, because there is no relation between what you write and reality. Bush did not mention Venezuela. He did mention Hamas. Since Obama is against negotiating with Hamas, it is hard to make a case that he was aiming at Obama. Bush's positions on negotiating with Hamas and Iran have not changed in many years and were not formulated with Obama in mind.

Mycue said...

Well written, as usual. The only thing I don't like about your blog is that your posts are far too infrequent. Every time you share your thoughts, I feel better informed than I did before I read them. Keep up the good work.

Michael Hew said...

I've added our blog to my links. Keep up the good work.

Ali A. Rizvi said...

Thanks, Michael, for adding my blog to your links, and everyone else for your comments.

News Service: Thanks, first, for reading and commenting.

Obama has differentiated himself from all of his colleagues, Democratic and Republican, in his stance on using diplomacy with both Iran and Venezuela - which is why I mentioned them. Also, Jimmy Carter actually went and talked with Hamas, which both Obama and McCain were against.

When Bush said that "some" are of the view that we should talk to our enemies, the pronoun "some" can really only be directed, in the current political landscape, to either Obama or Carter, or both, plus Democrats in general.

Obama has ruled out "negotiating" with not only Hamas, but also Iran and Venezuela. He hasn't ruled out "meeting" with or "talking" to Iran and Venezuela, but has ruled out meeting/talking with Hamas. "Negotiating" is what Bush did with nuclear North Korea and wannabe-nuclear Libya - which seem to be two of very few foreign policy successes in the last eight years.

The word "appeasing" however, indicates a degree that's well beyond meeting or negotiating - and could only have been brought up with political motivation. Appeasing is what Neville Chamberlain did with Hitler, and what William Borah, who admired him, wished he had done. It's a far, far cry from the implicit allegations in Bush's speech - which is why it sparked such controversy, outrage, and paradoxically - glee - from the Democrats.

Finally, in talking about Hamas, I didn't just have the Bush speech in mind, but also John McCain and the Republicans making an issue out of a Hamas leader endorsing Obama.

Either way, foreign policy is the right issue to have a debate on - finally - and talking/not talking to the enemy is a legitimate ideological debate. I'm glad to see it happening.

Thanks again for your comments!