Talking with Iran

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has taken note of the hullaballoo surrounding President Bush’s recent remarks to the Knesset in Israel. First the required prelimiaries… Your Maximum Leader thinks that Bush could have made his points more eloquently if he had either the talent or had engaged better speech writers. By having either rhetorical talent or a better speech writer(s) Bush could have also avoided the whole situation (and still made his point about talking with terrorists or rogue nations). Alas, the President did not do that and here we are with a President injecting himself into politics while on a visit overseas. Which is something he should not have done. The President’s glib comments about his policies not changing but the political calendar changing were poorly done and he and his staff should have tried to act more presidential on their visit. (Of course, begging the Saudi’s for more oil doesn’t lend itself to being presidential.)

These comments have put the President in a bad place; nor have they helped Senator Obama. But frankly there are a few things that seem to get overlooked in this whole matter. First off, Barack Obama has not tried hard enough to clarify his position about talking to Iran or any other nation we (the US that is) doesn’t like. In this Senator Obama does sound hopelessly naive. You can trot out all the lines you like about Nixon and China and Reagan and Gorbachev. But Obama still seems to adhere to his early statement that he would talk to anyone. Before Nixon went to China you had years of secret negotiations at different levels. The talks worked their way up to Nixon. They didn’t start with Nixon. Additionally, Nixon had a reputation and experience in foreign affairs. Senator Obama has no significant foreign affairs experience. While having no significant foreign affairs experience shouldn’t preclude one from being president; sounding like a fool when you speak about foreign policy should. Now on one level your Maximum Leader is certain that Senator Obama knows that you just can’t speak with any leader at any time. But for all his oratorical skills he handled this subject like as badly (in a bizzaro universe way) as George W. Bush. These two seem to fight over the poles of badness on this issue. Bush boldly declaring that we will never talk to the bad guys and Obama saying that he’ll invite them over to the White House for an all night bull-session.

Now, if you bothered to read that last bit you will see something else that is being overlooked here. No matter what anyone (Democrat) says about John McCain being George W. Bush’s third term - it is not going to be so. McCain is no George W. Bush. No matter who is elected we will get change. It is unfortunate that McCain’s comments on this don’t seem to get as much play as they should (except perhaps on Fox News). McCain is right to point out that Obama’s comments (once attacked by Hillary Clinton) are striking in their naivete. But the Democrats (and political hacks in general) prefer to make this about Obama and Bush and not about Obama and McCain. Your Maximum Leader sees the potential political benefit of this. But eventually one would hope that the Democrats will do more than run against George W. Bush. (Although in all honesty, George W. Bush running against Bill Clinton worked out pretty well. Okay… Almost pretty well.)

All in all your Maximum Leader agrees with Bush’s sentiment - there isn’t any argument or turn of phrase that will convince Iran or Al Queda that they are have been wrong all along. But this is a perfect time for candidates to espouse a clear vision for how they would conduct their diplomacy. John McCain appears to be trying this, and Barack Obama has opted to attack Bush and McCain instead of elevate the discussion.

Carry on.


Of course, there’s the unprecedented matter of a sitting president engaging in partisan political attacks from foreign soil. Can you imagine if Bill Clinton did this to Governor Bush in the spring of 2000?

It’s also interesting that the attack comes from a president with a 69% disapproval rating. You know, that’s about the same disapproval rate John Wayne Gacy had. And Gacy was better with kids than Bush. He had baloons.

From an operative level this attack was monsterously stupid as well. All it accomplishes is elevates Obama to the point where he’s seen as worthy as being engaged by the president of the United States. It also bypasses McCain entirely, which can’t make McCain happy.

Bush seems almost determined to make himself and his legacy of ashes the central issue of this campaign. And only doom lies that way. The GOP might very well lose 50 seats in the House this fall and face a filibuster-proof Senate. McCain has a much better shot at winning than any Republican should expect to given the party’s performance over the last eight years. If the president wants to be front and center, this could be a Goldwater-style blowout at the top of the ticket as well.

Furthermore, who in the hell is George W. Bush to criticize anybody on foreign policy?

Card said:

On a slightly more pleasant note, my Maximum Leader, I thought you would be interested in knowing that I will be attending the opening game of the Stanley Cup finals this Saturday here in Detroit — aka: Hockeytown!

I will be sitting a few rows behind the Wings bench drinking Stoly (the Queen of Booze) from a Sprite bottle. I only wish that you could be in attendance with me, Maximum Leader. I would even provide you with a fine single malt to sip from a Vernors Ginger Ale bottle.

If you watch the game, look for me four rows behind the Wings bench. Look for the over-animated guy in the McCarty jersey holding the “Pittsburgh Sucks!” sign (he’s a very violent though dedicated fan) and count over four people to the left. That’s me.

I intend to speak with Nick Lidstrom about having the Wing’s first goal dedicated to Your Villainy. And the second, of course, dedicated to bobgirl, whom, I feel certain, will be home in front of the tube watching the finals in her four-inch spiked heel hockey skates and sipping a martini or four.

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