Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Barack Obama has said for months that he "looks forward to having that debate with John McCain", usually referring to issues where Democrats are perceived as weaker than Republicans. In this video clip (h/t TPM) Obama responds to George Bush's "appeasement" attack yesterday and John McCain's embrace of it and in so doing signals clearly that the debate on foreign policy is on. I have to say, watching this, that I'm starting to believe that in Obama's hands, we really can finally win this debate.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Barack Obama, George Bush, John McCain (all tags)



Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Fun, isn't it?

by thezzyzx 2008-05-16 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I LOVED that clip! I am so looking forward to the GE. Obama is going to make mincemeat of McCain.

by Mark Wallace 2008-05-16 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

The republicans have got to be terrified. It's about damn time!

by grasshopper 2008-05-16 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Please go to: thezzyzx's diary to follow earlier, ongoing discussion of this impressive speech: 36/582

by haystax calhoun 2008-05-16 09:48AM | 0 recs
Thanks :)

My thread did get invaded though by someone who wants us all to vote for McCain in the fall, so it's good to see it front paged too.

by thezzyzx 2008-05-16 10:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks :)

Yeah, I noticed the trolling.  Fuck em.

by haystax calhoun 2008-05-16 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks :)

Hey it made the rec list now (my first time), so thanks for your help!

by thezzyzx 2008-05-16 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks :)

If they can't get excited about a Dem hitting back HARD against a Repub attack... then I don't think they're Democrats anymore.

by Tatan 2008-05-16 10:36AM | 0 recs
Most of them probably weren't

Honestly, this place is crawling with trolls.

by Purplepeople 2008-05-16 10:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Most of them probably weren't


by fogiv 2008-05-16 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Most of them probably weren't

They are really stirring the shit. I think they are being pretty obvious about it too.

by spacemanspiff 2008-05-16 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Most of them probably weren't

Indeed.  It's more blatant as the desperation grows.

by fogiv 2008-05-16 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Most of them probably weren't

It's getting harder to disguise what they are. The primary war is winding down, so if you are going to troll on that its more difficult to pretend you are doing something other than trolling.

by Purplepeople 2008-05-16 11:07AM | 0 recs
What does he want to talk about?

Obama will have to tell the American people what he wants to talk about with the President of Iran (the one who says Israel should be eliminated, etc).  Does Obama understand that a President of the United States grants legitimacy to those he meets with?  Do we want to grant legitimacy and credibility to the President of Iran?

The Democratic response to President Bush's speech in Israel is an attempt to cut off debate on a issue that is a sure loser for them.

Let the debate begin! Let the people decide if we should negotiate with sponsers of terror! Can you handle that?

by minnehot1 2008-05-16 11:57AM | 0 recs
Tell That to Henry Kissinger

Who met with Le Duc Tho in Paris to discuss peace in Vietnam.  If they hadn't worked out a deal, McSame might still be rotting in the Hanoi Hilton.

And tell that to Chimpy himself, who writes "Dear Chairman" letters to Kim Jong Il.

by kaleidescope 2008-05-16 12:05PM | 0 recs
Don't engage the Republican troll

Facts and logic have no effect on them.

by Tatan 2008-05-16 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: What does he want to talk about?

So, for what it's worth I hold a degree in international relations and I know a bit about world affairs, foreign policy history, etc. And I just want to say that, based on my informed perspective,  you have no idea what you are rambling on about. Your faux concern is devoid of historical context and couched in right-wing talking points.

by LandStander 2008-05-16 03:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

He's really fine toned he's debating skills. And I never believed foreign policy was his weak spot. On the contrary, it's one of his strengths.

by duende 2008-05-16 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

That's not debating skills, as he's not debating. My number 1 hope in the general, though, is that he DOES hone his debating skills, as they are in serious need of improvement.

He's his own worst enemy in that regard, in a way. He's so good on the stump and in front of crowds, you just assume he's gonna be a good debater. SO expectations are always high, then he gets there and - doesn't exactly stammer listlessly - but goes way too far in that direction. Makes me cringe.

Priority place for work, there, IMHO.

by odum 2008-05-16 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain


by AlexScott 2008-05-16 10:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

You're beginning to see the birth, or renaissance, of his debating skills IMO. He's done stump speeches, and kid gloved Q&A with a democratic challenger, but he 'ums and aws' I think when wondering how far to push it, unsure about his many dual identities (biracial, poor Harvard grad, liberal post partisan).

I think this primary season has been a crucible of fire, and welded those disparate elements into a new alloy. I might be wrong, but I feel he will turn his rhetorical skills to zingers now.

Let's watch and see.

by duende 2008-05-16 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

The good thing is that the guy he's going up against is a terrible debater.  McCain looked weak even when he was up against losers like Romney, Huck, R0N P4U1, and Giuliani.

On the other hand, Obama's gone 20 rounds against one of the better debaters we've had on the presidential stage, and if you watch some of those early debates, it's clear he's made vast improvement.  It wasn't the debates that did Clinton in; it was the other stuff.

by mistersite 2008-05-16 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Obama not only had to survive the debates with Hillary where she really turned in her best performances of the campaign. He had to go up against the Clinton tag team, the most experienced and savvy campaigners in a generation.

Even without the pressure of the spotlight and an active campaign McCain has been stumbling having to have Lieberman rescue him when he blew an easy photo op in Iraq. At least Bush memorized his lines. Obama has already beat the toughest opponent this cycle.

by hankg 2008-05-16 10:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I totally agree that this is a place where he could use some work.  He too often sounds hesitant, which conveys a lack of confidence.

I love what he's saying, but I wish he could bring the conviction and fire of his prepared material to the debates.  

by ChrisKaty 2008-05-16 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain
He need 20 minutes to answer a question.
Remember early his staff said they really have a problem with getting him to make short answers, and to watch the words he uses. I wonder if it isn't really his hesitation, but the attempts to self edit.  Would be interesting to see what people that took his class had to say about the way he answered questions in class, where he did not have to watch his words.
by Tumult 2008-05-16 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

OH, it's DEFINITELY self-editing.  He knows he can give a great speech, so he tries to funnel that into a great answer.  But it's tough to give eloquent, inspiring debate answers.  I think if he took an approach more like Biden, where he confidently states his policy positions and reasons for them, he'd do much better than he does when trying too hard to make the debates as strong a performance as his speeches.

by freedom78 2008-05-16 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain
I guess it is his academic style. He doesn't want to oversimplify, he wants to reflect the various shades of his thought... I guess it's not the most appropriate approach to a TV debate.
Yet as many noted, Hillary is an outstanding debater,
and in comparison he was not bad at all. He did have the upper hand in Austin, in my opinion.. So his case is not totally desperate.
Perhaps she can give him a few private lessons starting from june 15... let's say 20 lessons, at 1M$ each... that should be enough, don't you think?
by french imp 2008-05-16 12:50PM | 0 recs
He is not bad at debating

He was refusing to go on the attack against other Democrats, and looked faltering when he took the time to think through how to answer without tearing down. I don't think you'll see the same hesitation against McCain.

by myddfree 2008-05-16 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: He is not bad at debating

I'm with you here.  Delivering prepackaged lines at the proper time is not debating.  Answering the question you want to respond to rather than the one that was asked is not debating.  Although that is what we've come to expect from politicians.

Debating is about knowing your facts and being convincing.  It's also about being quick-witted and the ability to win over your audience.

For example 0w

by enozinho 2008-05-16 11:58AM | 0 recs
Nobody beats Hillary at debating

That's one of her great strengths.  Obama's strength is the stump speech, and McCain's is town-hall meetings.  Neither McCain nor Obama are that great in debates, though occasionally McCain can shine when he speaks from the heart (the torture question with Romney was a pretty great moment) or speaks with humor (something that Obama really lacks in debates).  Obama has to get a sense of humor in debates against McCain.  

by maconblue 2008-05-16 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Key seems to be to tie McCain and Bush as tightly together as possible, then run against Bush. Could well be a winning strategy. Given the R loss in MS this week, even when Cheney went and campaigned, I bet you don't see a lot of the prez/vp on the campaign trail this year. Wonder how big their convention role will be?

by notedgeways 2008-05-16 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

"Could well be will be a winning strategy"

Fixed that for you.

by semiquaver 2008-05-16 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

It's about time. Not only Obama. Yesterday most of our leaders pointed their barrels and fired direct shots at the pugs. Pelosi, Biden, and especillay Hillary. It's not just Obama who will be firing back. We are ready to take them on. It's a great time to be a Democrat.

by spacemanspiff 2008-05-16 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

This is so much fun.

Game on, McSame.  Game on.

by Pat Flatley 2008-05-16 09:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

It doubles our strength to have a candidate who wasn't for this from the start and who can point back to statements which said then exactly what he is saying now.  That consistency at the top of the ticket allows all the surrogates, no matter what their record, to strike back just as forcefully.

by Piuma 2008-05-16 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I am I alone when I say I want to say thank you to HRC for "toughing" Obama up?

she ran a republican style attack followed by a appearance on  Oreilly and Mcauliff praising fox news ... she was just training him and he is a stronger candidate now because of it

the republican playbook was used already now they are shitting their pants because they don't know what to do

by wellinformed 2008-05-16 09:55AM | 0 recs
You are right on...

and I believe far from alone.

by tonedevil 2008-05-16 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I agree - Mojo

Without Clinton's tough stuff, Obama would be a weak er nominee by far...

Clinton has him primed, focused, and determined to push through whatever obstacles are placed in his path.

by NYMinute 2008-05-16 10:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain
I don't think we would have been weak without her, but she's been an excellent -- and extremely tough -- sparring partner for him and, in that respect, has made him a stronger candidate. I think she also deserves kudos for speaking out yesterday in Obama's defense. That said, I still wish both sides in the primary had held their tongues a few times when they didn't. My calculus says that was more often for Clinton and her team than Obama and his, but both sides have plenty to be sorry about.
by OaktownDad 2008-05-16 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

She forced him to campaign in places he might not have. She forced that Wright thing to come out in March and not 5 days before the general. She enabled Obama to put together ground support in more states than he would have. And she made him demonstrate and perfect his ability to come back from attacks. Those are some of the ways that the prolonged primary season will benifit us in the Fall.

by kitebro 2008-05-16 10:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Jesus.  You make it sound like she attacked him out of the goodness of her heart.

by mikeinsf 2008-05-16 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain


I don't think she attacked him from the goodness of her heart, but unintended consequences can be a good or bad thing.  Hillary's campaign while maybe a bit too hard hitting at times, she did force him to elevate his game.  Kerry would have been better served to have to deal with some of the issues that confronted him in the general earlier on by a more substantial competitor during the primary.  There is obviously a point of diminishing return but many of Hillary's attacks were substantiative and by fighting so forcefully may have helped better prepare him for the general.  That's a good thing.

by GobBluth 2008-05-16 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Actually, I agree that the primaries made him a better candidate.  Some of her attacks were over the top, in my opinion, and might end up causing trouble in the general (particularly the CIC crap), but, yes, he's come out of this a stronger candidate.

by mikeinsf 2008-05-16 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

No, you are not alone.  What she did has helped make Obama into a better candidate, and I thank her for it.

by Reaper0Bot0 2008-05-16 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Todd: "I'm starting to believe that in Obama's hands, <u>we really can</u> YES WE CAN finally win this debate."

Unity is just a word for everything still win...

by Lettuce 2008-05-16 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

"They're trying to fool you. They're trying to scare you. And they're not telling you the truth."

Can I get a 'Hell yeah!!'

I want to hear some version of this every day until the election.

I agree with Todd...I am beginning to believe that we really can finally win this debate.

They're trying to fool you. They're trying to scare you. And they're not telling you the truth.

by Kysen 2008-05-16 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Their attempts to fool us have been criminal, and I'm eagerly awaiting the investigations.  The tactics used to manipulate the media, from leaking reports then referring to those leaked reports as support on the air, to the military analyst scandal, are all actionable, and only the tip of the propaganda campaign of the Bush administration.

The tone has changed, and we can win the debate because the jingoism, the drumbeats of perpetual war, has faded, so the neocons just cannot shout us down this time.  The flak machines that we usually see come out to counter the democratic response are no longer in point, the imbecile Kevin James.

I'm looking forward to the Obama-McCain debates, and I hope Bush keeps spouting off too.  Having someone with his meager abilities and abyssmal approval rating go against Obama is only a good thing for us.

by obscurant 2008-05-16 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I thought he could have been a little stronger rhetorically, but it was nice to see him throw a couple of barbs.

by unionfield 2008-05-16 10:03AM | 0 recs
Taking one moment

to thank HRC - putting aside the talk of "how long it took" (thats a little silly) - she came to bat with the rest of the Dems against this.  Everyone has his back, extends the story, and makes Dems and Obama look tough.  Good times.

by quixote27 2008-05-16 10:07AM | 0 recs
It's going to be so great.

It's going to be so great to take on McCain without Obama having one hand tied behind his back by fighting without tarnishing his opponent, as he's tried to do with the primary race. I'm so looking forward to the stark contrasts between Obama and McCain instead of the subtle policy arguments we've been having. This should be a really clear choice for the American people. They won't be able to say there's no difference between these two candidates.

by Travis Stark 2008-05-16 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

very incoherent in my view .

Isn't he the one who said he is going to sit down one on one with that holocaust denier.

Now he has to back away from the dumb idea and policy.

I won't bet on him winning any foreign policy / National Security debate .

By the way with the whole gas tax debate thing in which Clinton was being asked to find a serious economist that backed her proposal.

Can someone ask Obama if he can find any serious foreign policy /national security expert that would suggest it is a wise course of action for a president to meet with these dictators one on one without preconditions in your first year in office.

I have predicted for the past 1 year that he would have to back away from that position and if he is the nominee he would have to continue backpedalling on it.

If he is accused of wanting to sit down with terrorist he has only himself to blame because Ahmadinejad is heading a terrorist regime in Iran.

Thats my opinion.

by lori 2008-05-16 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Listen again -- he pointed out that both Reagan and Bush's Secretary of State supported direct negotiations with Iran.  He's de-boning their arguments against his position.

by jere7my 2008-05-16 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

There is a difference between talks at the cabinet level and talks at the presidential level.

Most people would not argue with the former but the latter is just stupid.

Obama has been trying to find a way to finesse or wiggle out of it as he gets closer to the nomination.

What once sounded like a novel idea with his supporters which was a pander is now become a problem for him.

It is going to keep him on the defensive all through the fall because there are tapes of him saying it , its even on his website .

His attempts at finessing it makes him sound incoherent and unsure.

by lori 2008-05-16 10:23AM | 0 recs
Please tell us more

about how drawing a contrast with Bush is a loser in the fall.

by JJE 2008-05-16 10:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Please tell us more

don't fall over yourself drawing contrast.

drawing contrast is fine , infact some of us have been arguing that bush would be on the ballot in 08 while Obama had gone out of his way to say otherwise.

Try to draw contrast on something that is a credible course of action that you would not have to be finessing.

Its just not a credible policy for a president to meet with ahmadinejad one on one without achieving some conditions.

You can send your cabinet to do that not the president himself.

by lori 2008-05-16 10:41AM | 0 recs
&quot;It's just not a credible policy&quot;

Is your opinion.  Why is it not a credible policy?

by JJE 2008-05-16 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Please tell us more

If you do not engage your enemy on the diplomatic front you are fighting with one hand tied behind your back. It is a weapon and you don't keep any weapon unused unless like Bush you don't have the mental capacity to be able to deploy it effectively.

It is a sign of weakness that Bush is afraid to engage our adversaries with anything but bluster and tough talk from the oval office. No wonder the Iranians have more influence in Iraq despite our military occupation of the country. Bush has to sneak in at night and the Iranian president rides around Baghdad on his state visit like he owns the place. He has Maliki standing next to him smiling like a flunky while he trashes the US in a speech from the Green Zone.

Statecraft and negotiation are essential elements in the wielding and projection of power. Shock and Awe has been a miserable failure making both the US and Israel less secure. It's about time we had a smart grown up foreign policy and left the juvenile postering and bluster behind.

by hankg 2008-05-16 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Please tell us more

None of us support Bush's foreign policy in any way, shape or form.

What Lori is saying - and she's said it several times now - is that you can "engage your enemy on the diplomatic front" without having the President doing face-to-face meetings, without preconditions, during the first year of his administration.

Agree or disagree with that as you please, but no one is arguing that we shouldn't "engage our enemy on the diplomatic front."  It's a bit of a strawman to say that anyone who disagrees with Obama's position is therefore opposed to diplomacy just like Bush is.

by Steve M 2008-05-16 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Please tell us more

I did not say that anyone who disagrees with Obama's position agrees with Bush. However if you lay down preconditions which essentially are demanding that your enemy run up the white flag before you will engage you have essentially abandoned the weapon of diplomacy.

by hankg 2008-05-17 05:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I agree.  What sort of leader would hold direct talks with our enemies?


by map 2008-05-16 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

You've been picking up some skills from Al Rodgers, I see. (i.e., great pics in your "back pocket" to whip out at the perfect instance).

by DPW 2008-05-16 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

It's an homage.  


by map 2008-05-16 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I personally would've gone with something along the lines of...

Just to make the Republican's heads explode.

by TCQuad 2008-05-16 10:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

So it's okay for surrogates to talk, but not for the head honcho?

Why the hell not?  You act as if we are somehow better then other countries, that we would be lowering ourselves to meet with them.

That's bullshit.  Obama has the balls to tell people to their face what they need to hear.  The whole idea that it's a mistake to talk to these people is ridiculous and NOBODY has provided a good reason why you shouldn't.

by Lawyerish 2008-05-16 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

your argument is far more in line with the republicans point of view, you should hop on the "straight talk Express" Mcsame is gonna be feelin very lonely soon

by cdnminer 2008-05-16 10:48AM | 0 recs
Jimmy Carter...

... would undoubtedly support him.

by Purplepeople 2008-05-16 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Your opinion is fine, if you want it. But your facts are wrong.

And there are scads of experts, including Clinton supporter and Amanpour spouse Jamie Rubin, who in his McCain-crushing op-ed pointed out that OF COURSE you meet with your enemies. It's the option of conflict resolution other than war.

Frankly, if we stopped giving terrorists the PR pull of being bona-fide "enemies of the US" as if cave-rats like Bin Laden were somehow equal to the Soviet Menace, and instead treated them like the criminals and thugs they were, we'd a) get more support on the world stage b) stop this system where we attack these thugs, they get more powerful, and end up running the country. (See Iran (remember, Mahmoud started doing well when Bush took him on), Lebanon (Hezbollah), Gaza (Hamas) and Iraq (al Sadr.)

Frankly, at this point, I'll settle for anything other than what we're currently doing. How could it go worse?

by Lettuce 2008-05-16 10:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

i am not saying you shouldn't meet with your enemies thats what your cabinet is for but its not a wise course of action for president obama to hop on a plane to tehran to meet ahmadinejad or invite the guy to the whitehouse without conditions.

apparently obama even spelt out conditions today for tehran , so what is he talking about

by lori 2008-05-16 10:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Bush has had negotiations with North Korea, Libya (both terrorist threats) and China, Russia and Iran on occasion.

by hootie4170 2008-05-16 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Once we have the White House, the President can do whatever they damn well want.  But I think Obama has no need to draw contrasts over meeting with terrorists - that is something you do in quiet once you are elected.  Politically, it is a losing argument.  He will need to turn red states blue - this doesn't help.

by mikes101 2008-05-16 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

What are you talking about??  Biden and Dean were hammering this exact point home all day yesterday.

by hootie4170 2008-05-16 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I'm talking about winning a GE.  You think Joe Voter gives 2 cents what Joe Biden thinks?

by mikes101 2008-05-16 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

It's a Democratic stance...It's pure hypocrisy on Bush/McCains part to say we shouldn't talk to leaders of terrorist countries when they have done so in the past in regards to North Korea and Libya.  

"President Bush's own actions demonstrate that he believes negotiations - at the right moment, under the right conditions and with the right leaders - can both show strength and produce results. He has relied on negotiations with North Korea and Libya, two state sponsors of terror. And by conducting discussions with Russia, China, Libya, North Korea and Iran in recent years, President Bush has demonstrated his belief that negotiations can be a tool to advance America and Israel's national security interests. I call on the President to explain the inconsistency between his Administration's actions and his words today."

Harry Reid

by hootie4170 2008-05-16 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

My point is:

Perception is key.

How many times in the GE campaigns of 2000 and 2004 did George W Bush stress that he would negotiate with Libya?  I bet around 0.  Because that position is potentially dangerous.  Arguing that you may meet with Hamas or Iran is even more foolhardy.  If you want to do it - fine - but please can we get elected first?!

by mikes101 2008-05-16 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

No, I'm sick of backing off shit because we should be afraid that the GOP is "perceived" as stronger in Foriegn Policy.  Screw that, we go at em and challenge them on everything.. The reason the Iranian government and threat is worse today than it was eight years ago is because of a failed Bush/McCain/GOP Foreign Policy period.

by hootie4170 2008-05-16 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Damn straight! The reason we're in this situation  in foreign policy is because wussy Democrats never have the fortitude to set the terms of the debate and put THEM on the defensive for their reckless and dangerous policies.

by brimur 2008-05-16 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Challenge them on everything?  I think that's a recipe for loss in November.  We should challenge them on Iraq, health care, the economy, domestic issues, etc.  Not on negotiating directly with Ahmadenijad.  Unfortunately, that issue is still a winner for the Republicans, and national security can still be the Republican trump card - if you don't believe me that's fine but at this rate it will be another loss this November.

by mikes101 2008-05-16 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

We're not afraid of predictions or the GOP...

by hootie4170 2008-05-16 04:02PM | 0 recs

All current polling shows the Republicans are not the most trusted party on national security at this point. Perhaps 7+ years of egregious failure in this area has taken its toll, eh?

by Purplepeople 2008-05-17 07:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Your entitled to it.

I think you're wrong.

That's my opinion.

by spacemanspiff 2008-05-16 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I am very passionate about Obama's engagement position.  We have a history of sitting down with our 'enemies', and discussing differing positions, trying to forge consensus and common ground. When these discussions occur, generally, much of the global and fringe chatter dissipates and we find some agreement. See FDR/Stalin, WW2 ends; Nixon/China, China opens; Reagan/Gorb, Cold War ends. When did we become afraid of our own greatness? Since the Cold War, it seems we have stuck our head in the sand, and waited for the world to engage US. To me, what better way to show the true strength of the American experiment than to engage those that openly and vehemently despise you?

So - historically, we HAVE sat down with our enemies ... why is this any different?  Hamas disgusts me, but - they ARE DEMOCRATICALLY elected.  What to do ... but have a conversation?!?

by stryan 2008-05-16 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Again I have no problem with having direct talks with Iran , I am against the president himself doing that without some conditions kicking in.

I expect there should be intense diploatic efforts at the lower level and some change in behaviour before a president jumps in head first.

by lori 2008-05-16 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain
Preconditions for .... what exactly?!?  
Did we have preconditions with Khruschev, in regards to the Monroe Doctrine and Cuba?  Or - Ghorbachev to eliminate war heads in Poland?!?  No ... to create conditions, you have to have a dialogue ... and we have NO dialogue except name-calling.  
The President LEADS ... not follows.  
by stryan 2008-05-16 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

It's disappointing to see Dems buying into the Neocon world view on this. Was Kennedy incoherent when he sat down one on one with Khrushchev? Was that raging leftist Nixon incoherent when he sat down with Mao? Surely, the leader of Iran is no worse than those leaders, in fact not even close! In retrospect, we view those as moments that helped increase our safety and push the dialogue with those countries forward.

by animated 2008-05-16 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: National Security debate

Jamie Rubin and John McCain:

RUBIN: "Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?"

McCAIN: "They're the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it's a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that."

So how does McCain win this debate now?

by haystax calhoun 2008-05-16 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: National Security debate

Let me put it this way.  Is McCain right or wrong in that answer?

by Steve M 2008-05-16 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: National Security debate
Re Hamas, nobody is clearly 100% right, because Hamas is uniquely BOTH an elected entity AND an organization that engages in terrorism.  
Any debate on Palestine is a mine field that renders all Western political posturing futile.
by haystax calhoun 2008-05-16 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: National Security debate

I agree with you that there's no slam-dunk clear answer, but at the end of the day, we have to either talk with them or not talk with them.  I happen to think what McCain said back in 2006 was right and he knows that what he's saying now is just typical Republican blustery BS.  I mean, we talked with the IRA, didn't we, and that worked out better than anyone expected.

The point I'm making is that it may be tough for McCain to win the debate because he flip-flopped, but it's also tough for us to win the debate if we're taking a position that is actually wrong on the merits.  I mean, we may win the battle but lose the war, if our goal as progressives is to get the American people to understand the value of diplomacy.

I also think, as I discussed in an exchange with DPW further down the page, it muddles the message for Obama to be making a strong, forthright case for diplomatic engagement with Iran, North Korea, etc., but then undermine that by saying "but we won't talk with Hamas, that's different!"  Even if they ARE different, which they kinda are but not really, it's like we've gone and done all the hard work to make a case for diplomacy and now we're undercutting it.

Here's another way to look at it:  is it politically riskier to advocate direct talks with Hamas, or to advocate direct talks with Iran?  I frankly think both of them are about equally susceptible to Republican demagoguery.  So if you're going to take heat either way, why try to cover yourself by saying you won't talk with Hamas?  I don't think there's any political benefit to be had.

by Steve M 2008-05-16 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: National Security debate

I'm inclined to agree with you on Hamas, and I supported Carter's overture, but I think Obama can make a case that Hamas is an exception to the rule.
Iran is more facetted politically than Hamas, so it makes sense to think that there are more opportunities there to appeal to certain progressive elements.

If Obama is going to make a case for himself that is is important to engage "rogue states", perhaps in the interest of encouraging reform, I don't think it damages his position much, if at all, to say that he sees these sessions as opportunities.  
Hamas, being the exception to the rule, may come up again in the form of a debate on Palestinian statehood.  Maybe that debate begins to define what opportunities may arise from statehood.  Hopefully he's ready for that debate, though I'm pretty sure McCain is not.

by haystax calhoun 2008-05-16 01:19PM | 0 recs
uprated for TR abuse.

by Rumarhazzit 2008-05-16 10:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Here are some serious foreign policy/national security experts who support Obama's position:

Colin Powell, Brent Scowcroft, James A. Baker, Robert Gates. Anybody want to add anyone I missed?

Oh, by the way, Israel regularly talks with its enemies though they tend not to admit it publicly.

by batgirl71 2008-05-16 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Also Zbignew Brzezinski (from the Carter Administration)

by edparrot 2008-05-16 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Can you explain why it's bad to negotiate with Iran, but is good to do so with North Korea?  I mean, they're essentially doing the same thing, which is pursuing nuclear weapons, right?  In fact, with their occasional firing of missiles into the Sea of Japan and by attempting to detonate a small nuclear device, you can make a serious argument that NK has gone considerably further than Iran in pushing the envelope.

So why one and not the other?      

by freedom78 2008-05-16 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Sane foreign policy is based on open communication - ESPECIALLY with one's enemies. This is such a basic precept of global affairs that I can only assume you are feigning ignorance out of spite for Obama.

by LandStander 2008-05-16 03:21PM | 0 recs
Not exactly oratorical splendor

He's a little boring to listen to in a question and answer format with the press.  Too many uhs.  Does anyone else think he looks tired and like he's already aged 5 years?

I am a Hillary supporter, but I am trying to be an unbiased listener.  I just think he needs a little work.

by badu 2008-05-16 10:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Not exactly oratorical splendor

Compare to McCain, unscripted... or even Hillary unscripted. No more or less uhs. You just don't hear them if you're not pre-dubious.

Exception to the rule: Wes Clark. Guy doesn't even blink. I imagine to him hummingbirds move in slow motion.

by Lettuce 2008-05-16 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Not exactly oratorical splendor

what does pre-dubious mean?

by badu 2008-05-16 10:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Not exactly oratorical splendor

sorry for the snark - It just slipped out.  Like "sweetie."

by badu 2008-05-16 10:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Not exactly oratorical splendor

I guess pre-dubious is the same as dubious. But what I was going for was being dubious prior to the speech, which made the poster dubious. I guess if the word "prejudiced" wasn't linked to bigotry and simply meant "pre-judging" that would have worked too. "Bias" is too confrontational. I don't think "objective" works either, since the point I was going for was starting out distrustful, and "distrustful" wouldn't work because of, again, negative connotations.

Screw english. I'm posting only in Latin from now on. Verba volant, scripta manent!

by Lettuce 2008-05-16 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Not exactly oratorical splendor

Latin's even worse.  Many programs, including my school's, started with Caesar's De Bello Gallico.  It wasn't even until second year that we learned words that didn't have to do with killing, soldiers, or weapons.  It would be like learning German by reading Mein Kampf.

by semiquaver 2008-05-16 03:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Not exactly oratorical splendor

McCain looks like a fish out of water, he's so stiff and fake in his presentation...Obama gains votes everytime he is on the same stage as McAncient.

by hootie4170 2008-05-16 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Not exactly oratorical splendor

Just about all people who are careful with words say "uh." It shows they are thinking. And nobody likes a politician who shoots off at the mouth or drones memorized script.

by Nomo Clintons 2008-05-16 10:30AM | 0 recs
that sounds like

the republican trick of "some people say".  I don't think its too much to expect a professional poltitican to be able to avoid multiple uhs...  We don't expect this from Bush of course, but Obama is supposed to be articulate.

by badu 2008-05-16 10:34AM | 0 recs
Indeeed, you can train yourself

to simply use pauses instead of saying "uh", then you can work to shorten the gaps.

After I started noticing it, it got a bit annoying.  At least he doesn't do it with prepared speeches though, only interviews and debates.

It's true that saying "y'know" or "if you will" or even "now" is the same thing, because they're all meaningless filler words. But I hope it's something Obama can work on.

by corph 2008-05-16 10:41AM | 0 recs
Obama is articulate.

You're holding him to a false standard. One that is based on a predisposition of dislike. If he didn't pause occasionally you would no doubt say he's scripted, and therefor insincere.

by Nomo Clintons 2008-05-16 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re: that sounds like

If he got rid of his uhs, wouldn't you find that he sounds too uh... elitist?

by french imp 2008-05-16 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Not exactly oratorical splendor

I think at any given point a politician that has been campaigning almost non stop for five and a half months is going to look tired. Lord knows Clinton hasn't been looking all that fresh lately as well.

As to speaking... FWIW after nearly 8 years of Bush I think a weed whacker sounds better, again some days are better then others, true for any one.

by notedgeways 2008-05-16 10:37AM | 0 recs
Democrats owe Bush/McCain a debt of gratitude?

For uniting them with their nominee.

People, especially Democrats, are sick to death of 8 years of rovian attack, smear, wedge, politics. It won't fly this time, but it's all they've got.

So bring it on. Obama knows what to do with it -- return each lob with smash.

by Nomo Clintons 2008-05-16 10:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

 Hillary can still win this. Stop complimenting Obama!!!! It makes me so mad when people say nice things about him or vote for him and stuff!

by xdem 2008-05-16 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

After the first sentence I thought you were serious.  But after the third, I knew you were being sarcastic.

by tominstl 2008-05-16 11:12AM | 0 recs

This was a pretty darned good thread and then the bitterness showed up.

Obama's speech was solid but not his best.  He's getting his wheels in motion for the GE and attacking back, much like Bill Clinton did in 1992.  Don't let anything go unresponded to for more than a few hours.  

by SpanishFly 2008-05-16 10:35AM | 0 recs
See how it feels

to have a discussion taken over by people who don't agree with you?  At least we have been a bit more polite than the people who comment on alegre and other pro-Hillary diaries.

by badu 2008-05-16 10:40AM | 0 recs
Re: See how it feels

"At least we have been a bit more polite than the people who"

I've got to be honest; I don't want to get into that type of debate.  I've been banned once before for being a bit too honest (although, admittedly, also being an ass.)  

To me, the GE race has started and it's time to focus on the real enemy.  Everyone is entitled to fight whatever fight they wish.  That doesn't mean I have to be a willing sparring partner.  I hope Obama does whatever it takes to bring all the pro-Hillary people into the fold.  He has some work to do in that regard but I seriously think he's more than capable.

In a few weeks (or months) I expect this site will be in full support of Barack and will be a strong voice for the party and its candidate.  I hope that support isn't grudging but rather boisterous and genuine, which will mean that Obama united the party.  Having Hillary's voters join the team rather than just having them voting against McCain will be of much more value.

PS.  Jerome, I apologize for the Cheney comparison I made in my previous user ID.  I was out of line and deserved to be banned.

by SpanishFly 2008-05-16 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Anyone watching the press conference right now? He's really doing a great job of framing the present Bush/McCain position as a recent, stupid turn in foreign policy. He's employing Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan pretty effectively. Also, it helps that he can recite the Bush record of failure in support of his opposition to the Bush/McCain approach.

I'm not sure how this will be appreciated by the wider electorate, but it refreshing to hear from my point of view.

by DPW 2008-05-16 10:35AM | 0 recs
&quot;... articulated a single difference&quot;

That. That is a particularly potent line of attack. Either McCain lets Obama club him with that or he bails even harder on the current hard line towards Iran and the war in Iraq. One ties him ever more tightly to President 28%, the other antagonizes the Republican base all over again.

by Purplepeople 2008-05-16 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Never mentioned Bush's biggest fuckup


Got bogged down in the middle.

I find it encouraging that he's making the attempt but this isn't gonna be good enough.

Just my opinion and now.....

Let the 'pile on' proceed!

by Pericles 2008-05-16 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

No.  There is not pile on needed.  Youo are entitled to be wrong in your opinion.  This is America!

by tominstl 2008-05-16 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I have felt all along that this is a losing position for Obama.

McCain will have an advantage on "national security".  The voters are not dumb - they do not want casualties in Iraq but nor do they want our President to sit down with Ahmadenijad.  McCain is promising victory by 2013.  What is Obama promising?  Direct negotiations with dictators.  I am not paying attention to the minutiae of this argument but nor will the American voters - and so far I think Obama is losing this.

For all the talk of running a crappy campaign, Clinton understands that the best way to beat the Republicans is to neutralize McCain's foreign policy advantage by acknowledging that voters want a change of course, but not a complete change of course.  I think Obama appears to have gone off the deep end with his willingness to talk with anyone at any level of government.

by mikes101 2008-05-16 10:42AM | 0 recs
Show me a single poll

that says voters don't want direct talks with Iran.

That's exactly the mistake Clinton made, assuming that Dems have to cede the foreign policy argument to Bush when the Bush approach is incredibly unpopular.

by animated 2008-05-16 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

Obama has said he wants direct presidential talks without preconditions.  I can't imagine a planet on which that would be the popular position to take.

McCain's position is also wrong.

Clinton got it just right - engage at lower levels and possibly hold presidential talks.

Bush is incredibly unpopular because not only is he wrong, but he is incompetent.  We should not assume that the public will conflate John McCain with George Bush.

by mikes101 2008-05-16 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

"without preconditions?"

AFAIK he never said that.  Got a quote?

by ChrisKaty 2008-05-16 11:04AM | 0 recs
by mikes101 2008-05-16 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

It seems he did not say "without preconditions".  Clinton and Edwards when after him and said they would, but only after diplomats did their work. It is not logical to impute that Obama would do it without under-diplomats work from a statement that he would be willing to meet opposing government leaders.

by tominstl 2008-05-16 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

Well, technically you are right - he merely answered a question in the affirmative.  But logically it is the same thing as if he had said it himself - same as

Q: "Would you go to the store?"
A: "I would"

Answerer might as well have said: "I would go to the store".

At the newfangled YouTube/CNN debate on Monday night--during which YouTubers posed questions to the Democratic candidates via video--a fellow named Stephen Sorta of Diamond Bar, California, asked,

In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since. In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

Obama took the question first. He replied,

I would.

by mikes101 2008-05-16 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

The crux of the argument is not about "willing to" vs. "wanting to".  In all of the Obama's other references he does not say "without precondition".  I think that he just did not catch the specific nature of the question (which was well asked by the questioner) and answered with his stump speach answer.  You might not be as willing to overlook this as an "overlook" as I am.  

Although I am willing to overlook the missed nuance, it should serve as a lesson to Obama. We want intelligent reasoned answers.  We also want direct non-nuanced answers.  He needs to learn to balance both.  We need no more Bush-speak lacking understanding. And we do not want Kerry (and to a large extent Clinton) wonk speach either. America wants to know that their leader is smart and "gets it", but we also want to have a beer with the dude and trust him.  (pronouns should be read as gender neutral)

by tominstl 2008-05-16 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

I really should proofread these before I post them. (slaps head after reading typos)

by tominstl 2008-05-16 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

Two observations:

1) He said he'd be "willing to", not that he WANTED to.  Somewhat of a difference there -- he's not ruling out meeting with them, but wouldn't necessarily seek out precondition-free meetings.

2) It appears to me, based on other comments that he made, that he simply misspoke, or overlooked the "without precondition" clause.  He's said a number of times that he's willing to talk to leaders of countries we don't like, though IIRC he hasn't said without precondition.

Seems a bit questionable to me to pounce on this one statement, in which he doesn't even explicitly say "without preconditions", when he's been very clear otherwise.

by ChrisKaty 2008-05-16 01:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

1) He said he'd be "willing to", not that he WANTED to.  Somewhat of a difference there -- he's not ruling out meeting with them, but wouldn't necessarily seek out precondition-free meetings.

This type of parsing is not a winning electoral college argument.  The bottom line is he did, and still does, want to meet with Ahmadenijad face to face.  To most of America, I think that's a big fat loser of an idea.

Clearly John McCain and even George W. Bush would love to play against Obama on this ground - which is why they are steering the debate here.

by mikes101 2008-05-16 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

This type of parsing is not a winning electoral college argument.  The bottom line is he did, and still does, want to meet with Ahmadenijad face to face.  To most of America, I think that's a big fat loser of an idea.

Hm, I'm unconvinced -- given the public's utter rejection of Bush's foreign policy, I think most people are quite inclined to support diplomacy.

Based on the media coverage of the last few days, Obama certainly seems to be getting the better of the debate.

by ChrisKaty 2008-05-16 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

He. Never. Said. That.

You can take his words and say "that's what he means" or try to spin it, but he never said that. My guess is you know it, just like you knew he didn't plagiarize or is a closet muslim or any of these ridiculous things that rational discussion would cure us all of.

It's like the people who argued that Kerry faked his war wounds. No one worth hearing from could possibly have believed that; especially since he had a freakin' silver star to go with the purple hearts, but because they wanted Kerry to lose so badly that's the story they pushed.

It's the same with the "Michelle hates America" and "Obama hate's white people" lines. It's crap, everyone knows it's crap, but it's fun to root for the idea to be true -- or at least believed -- if you'd rather the guy not win.

by Lettuce 2008-05-16 11:06AM | 0 recs
by mikes101 2008-05-16 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

Lettuce -

Repectfully - I don't believe any of the other stuff you mentioned, but I am concerned about Obama's foreign policy and I am worried that Americans will be worried about this type of engagement in foreign policy.  I want Obama to win if he is the nominee - and I believe his best advantage are specifically on changing course in Iraq and HUGE advantages on domestic policy.  I think he has done a great job emphasizing that the money we are spending in Iraq is money we could be spending at home instead.  But, I still say the less time he spends addressing how he would deal with Iran or Hamas the better - and the more hard-line he is on those issues the better.  Once he gets elected, I am fine with him doing whatever he damn well wants.  Tho' I would still prefer Clinton on this issue (along with others) since I think she understood this from the beginning, whereas Obama has not.

by mikes101 2008-05-16 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

The problem is alot of those leaders require a hostile America to stay in power.  There is no way we would not have regime change in Cuba and Iran if they did not have a hostile America to cast blame on.  The minute we sit down with those leaders they are done for.  Stating your going to have low level talks and preconditions, just gives those leaders an excuse to derail the process.

by Tumult 2008-05-16 11:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

Tumult, you have a good point here. Cuba is the only remaining hard core communist regime left on this planet (with the exception of North Korea - naturally China is now de facto a capitalistic dictatorship).

The cuban communist regime has been preserved intact, right under the US nose, for more than 25 years after the implosion of the soviet block.
How did the US achieve this remarkable feat?

by french imp 2008-05-16 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

Clintons wants to "obliterate" Iran.

by spacemanspiff 2008-05-16 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Show me a single poll

If Iran launches a nuclear strike on Israel first - yes.

by mikes101 2008-05-16 11:08AM | 0 recs
Obliterate: Just a poor choice of word

tha doesn't matter any more.

by Nomo Clintons 2008-05-16 02:04PM | 0 recs
McCain advantage on &quot;national security?&quot;

Only if lies, corruption, incompetence, and failure, are advantages.

by Nomo Clintons 2008-05-16 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I actually do want a government that is willing to talk with other governments.  I find it encouraging.  I also think that this "they are evil, shun them, bomb them" mentality should not be accepted or repeated.

I don't want a president who is going to beat the republicans by becoming them.

by Tantris 2008-05-16 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Pretty good stuff.  He was a lot better once he got off Bush and onto McCain.  The opening stuff about Bush was very process-based and weak.

Here's something I don't get about "winning the debate."  If Hamas is the duly elected government, in an election certified as fair by Jimmy Carter, then shouldn't we be talking with them?  I don't get why talking with the government of Palestine is different from talking with the government of Iran, other than, you know, Obama says they're different.

If the way we're going to "win the debate" on talking with Hamas is by running to McCain's right by saying, no no we don't want to talk to Hamas, but McCain did want to talk to them in 2006, that's gotcha politics.  We may "win" in the sense of making McCain look bad but we won't "win" on the merits by persuading people that yes, it is a good idea to use diplomacy with the "bad guys" of the world, including Hamas.

If the reason why Obama insists on taking a hard line on Hamas is that the subject gets members of my tribe riled up, then he might as well give up on talking with Iran as well.  I don't think people appreciate just how inconsistent Obama's position has already gotten, and the paeans in this comment section to how his consistency is his strength kind of illustrate that.

by Steve M 2008-05-16 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I couldn't have said it any better.

by lori 2008-05-16 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Well there's your problem. Palestine is not a nation-state. And Hamas is a terrorist group that became a political party.

by brimur 2008-05-16 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

And Ahmadenijad is what?

by mikes101 2008-05-16 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

The leader of a nation-state as much as we hate it. It's the reality we're dealt. We are the reality-based party.

by brimur 2008-05-16 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

There are some arguably material distinctions between Hamas and Iran. First, Hamas is the party elected to represent Palestine, which isn't technically a "state." They may not be a compelling distinction, but it arguably merits a different set of principles in relation to engagement. To be sure, it is always Hamas (a terrorist organization) that is referred to, not Palestine or some other non-partisan political description. Again, I wouldn't call it a compelling distinction, but I do think it's relevant.

Another distinction may be that Iran, N. Korea, etc. tend to be much larger powers with nuclear goals that potentially threaten the U.S. Moreover, Iran is involved in Iraq, which certainly involves our national security interests more directly.

Hamas' capabilities are considerably smaller and their hostile goals do not appear to involve the U.S. as directly.  

I personally have no problem with direct engagement with Hamas, so I'm inclined to agree with you for the most part. However, I do think lines have to be drawn to distinguish states from mere organizations. Hamas is probably somewhere in between a state representative and a terrorist organization, so it presents problems for those who wish to make categorical claims about how to deal with such different entities.

by DPW 2008-05-16 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I appreciate what you're saying.  I think trying to draw the distinction between a state and a terrorist organization kind of gets in the way of finding the right answer, truthfully.  I mean, there are factions in Iraq that are indisputably terrorist organizations, but we talk with them all the time.  The real question is whether they have something we want and whether diplomacy is helpful in obtaining that something.

If we don't talk to Hamas, who are we ever going to talk to from the Palestinian side?  Abbas, the ineffectual figurehead?  It burns me up that we encouraged them to have this election and then, when the election had a wholly predictable outcome, now we refuse to deal with the winners.

We talked with the IRA, after all.  That ended well, which nobody thought would happen.

While the distinctions between Hamas and a nation-state like Iran are clear, I don't know if Joe Blow really gets why it ought to be an important decision.  Heck, I'm not even sure I get it.  What we're doing here is making a politically courageous and dangerous case that it's good for America to have direct engagement with bad guys like Iran, and good for us for doing so.  But I fear we're undercutting our own message by making that case, going through all the work to (hopefully) win the debate, and once we've persuaded the American people that diplomacy is the right solution, saying "oh, but of course we won't talk to HAMAS, that's totally different!"

Let me ask you this.  Do you think Obama says unequivocally that we shouldn't talk to Hamas because he feels strongly about the distinction between states and organizations, or because Hamas is a hot-button issue and he doesn't want to look weak on Israel?

by Steve M 2008-05-16 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I think Obama says we shouldn't talk to Hamas primarily because it's politically problematic (that is, I think he is personally not categorically opposed to it). But, I think one reason that's it's a political problem is the slippery slope arguments it welcomes. He can't really allow republicans to suggests that Obama wants to negotiate with Al Qaeda. So, he has to draw a line somewhere, even if the line is a bit arbitrary.

And, it seems reasonable to draw the line where he has, given the fact that folks like James Baker, Sec. Gates, and others appear to roughly agree with more open diplomacy with Iran. It also is more comparable to North Korea, with whom we are already negotiating.

All your points, though, are well taken about the IRA and terrorist organizations in Iraq. That's why I believe Obama isn't really categorically opposed to engagement of some kind with non-state hostile entities. He is doing his best to offer a more sensible vision of diplomacy while avoiding some of the political landmines. There's not perfect, principled approach, unfortunatedly--that is, if you want to get elected--but I like the present line he's taking. Based on the coverage today's remarks have been getting, I think he's winning the debate. Ultimately, winning may have more to do with the perception of who is in control of the argument rather than who is correct. And, Obama's aggressive approach has put McCain on the defensive a bit. That appears to be working in Obama's favor at the moment. We'll see how it continues to play out.

by DPW 2008-05-16 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I just am not sure that advocating talks with Hamas is more politically problematic than advocating talks with Iran.

It's like, if you're willing to take the heat for advocating talks with Iran, you might as well get two for the price of one.  If the concern is that some voters will say "oh no, he wants to talk with Hamas, he must not be pro-Israel!" - or that the Republicans will demagogue the issue in that fashion - I think the exact same thing happens if you talk about sitting down with Iran.  Talking strictly politics here, of course, not policy.  On policy I think we're in the same place.

by Steve M 2008-05-16 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

I see we're covering similar territory here.  Good debate.  One thing this thread makes clear:  The differences between the parties are enormous compared to the differences within.

by haystax calhoun 2008-05-16 01:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

You aren't displaying a very deep thought process in connecting Hamas and Iran, as Bush/McCain also do.

Iran is a sovereign nation which is claimed to be developing nuclear weapons. And the current process of disengagement and bellicisity obviously isn't helping to stop them or encourage dissent in that country.

Hamas is a political organization that controls Gaza, because of that very same policy of disengagemnt and bellicosity which scuttled the peace process with the Palestinian Authority (who now seem like friendly moderates by comparison) and set the stage for Hamas's success.

Iran and Hamas are different and need to be dealt with accordingly.

If you don't like Obama, fine. But please don't use the lame and manipulative canards of Bush/McCain against him. Having to kick them to the curb every 5 minutes is such a wasteful use of time and energy.

by Nomo Clintons 2008-05-16 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

So by 100% disagreeing with McCain, who says it would be terribly irresponsible to talk with Hamas, I'm using Bush/McCain talking points.  Gee, you nailed me there.

by Steve M 2008-05-16 11:32AM | 0 recs
Please accept my apology.

I either completely and inexplicably misinterpreted your comment or responded to it in mistake for another.

by Nomo Clintons 2008-05-16 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Please accept my apology.

Okay, no worries.

by Steve M 2008-05-16 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Lays it all out beautifully.  Am more than pleased with this response and am starting to really look forward to November.

by mady 2008-05-16 10:45AM | 0 recs
McCain wants to &quot;double down&quot;

Perfectly framed.     A losing gamble, that's the way to present the GOP policy for 2008.  I hope that becomes a meme, or whatever the cool kids call it.

by drowsy 2008-05-16 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Nice lapel pin.

by steveinohio 2008-05-16 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama

If people get the opportunity to hear Obama make those arguments in the debates, he'll wipe the floor with McCain.

Obama's looking sharp at the moment, he's filling me (a Hillary supporter) with confidence.

by liberalj 2008-05-16 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Jesus, this is getting really old.  For the first time in decades, you have a prominent democrat that can and will respond to republican attacks in a way that is both forceful and in line the principles of the party.

Until now, we've been stuck with the Jim Mcdermott/Sean Penn model or the Joe Lieberman/Hillary Clinton model.  The position of most Americans has been somewhere in between, and that is the line that Obama walks perfectly here.

Get over it.  This is what the American people want to hear.  Strength and wisdom.  Something that has been sorely lacking from the voices of our leaders for a very long time.

by enozinho 2008-05-16 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Just Imagine if Gore was pres during 911 Democrats would get blamed for a generation.  However, when the roles are reversed the Incumbent (BUSH) not only gets re-elected but also polls higher then DEMS on "which party will protect the country better."  What B.S!

by nzubechukwu 2008-05-16 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Todd---glad you are feeling like Obama might win this debate with McCain. Great to read you finding positive things to say about our nominee. Keep up the good work.

by wasder 2008-05-16 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

This was a nice smackdown.  Nice to see a positive post around here.

by probama94610 2008-05-16 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Has someone gone off script at MyDD? Remember, the Republicans will eat Obama alive. The Republicans will eat Obama alive. The Republicans will eat Obama alive. You're getting sleeeeeeepy....

by joeldanwalls 2008-05-16 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Barack Obama Responds To Bush and McCain

Well, I'm just glad to see front diaries going after Bush/McCain rather than Obama/Supporters and won't look a gift horse in the mouth.

by Nomo Clintons 2008-05-16 02:01PM | 0 recs


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