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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stupid and curious things the Democrats said last night 


The transcript of last night's debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is far more painful than the event itself. Nobody will read it from beginning to end, because simply getting through the 16 minutes of squabbling over health care plan minutia will cause most people to regret their literacy. I did scroll through it, though, looking for nuggets of stupidity that I thought I heard last night while responding to (literally) 272 unread emails. There are at least two that impressed me.

Clinton, who is worried about Democrats seeing her as in favor of free trade:

So what I have said is that we need to have a plan to fix NAFTA. I would immediately have a trade timeout, and I would take that time to try to fix NAFTA by making it clear that we'll have core labor and environmental standards in the agreement.

So, National Mom, we are all going to take a "time out" from "trade" while you convene 500 experts to "fix NAFTA" according to the interests of the unions and environmental activists. What are we supposed to do when we are not trading and you are flapping your gums. I understand, you know, the five minute "time out" that you give your kid who is acting up, but how long is this trade time out supposed to go on? Is this part of your economic growth strategy, Mrs. Clinton?

The simple fact that the audience did not erupt in laughter and catcalls tells you something scary about the people who actually attend these things.

In quick response, we did get this comedy gold from Barack Obama, which I do not dare hope he actually means:
We can't have medicines that are actually making people more sick instead of better because they're produced overseas.

Of course, if you reimport drugs, how do you know they were actually produced here?

Then there was this bit of geopolitical brilliance from Barack Obama:
So on Pakistan, during the summer I suggested that not only do we have to take a new approach towards Musharraf but we have to get much more serious about hunting down terrorists that are currently in northwestern Pakistan.

And many people said at the time well, you can't target those terrorists because Musharraf is our ally and we don't want to offend him. In fact, what we had was neither stability in Pakistan nor democracy in Pakistan, and had we pursued a policy that was looking at democratic reforms in Pakistan we would be much further along now than we are.

Actually, back last summer Obama did not say that he would get "much more serious" about hunting down terrorists in Pakistan, or if he did that was not the point of controversy. He said he was willing to attack terrorists in Pakistan without the government's consent -- that is, he was prepared to violate Pakistan's sovereignty -- "[i]f we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act...". The objection at the time was not that an attack would "offend" Musharraf, but that it would weaken him or result in his overthrow. Does Obama actually not understand this?

The best part, though, is the sentence in bold, which is right out of the original Bush playbook for the entire Middle East. From Condoleezza Rice's much-reviled but nevertheless brilliant speech delivered in Cairo on June 20, 2005:
For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East -- and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people.

As something of a neocon in these things, I am delighted that Senator Obama supports the Bush administration's democratization strategy, which it has effectively abandoned under pressure from the American left, European cynics, and Arab dictators who oppose it even for Iraqis. It is strange that Obama would say this, though, because it isolates him within his own party. One would be hard-pressed to find a Democratic foreign policy expert who thinks that democratizing Pakistan is good for American interests in the region. That sort of optimistic idealism is now the province only of the neoconservatives who built the Bush administration's post-9/11 foreign policy, and we know how unpopular they are among Democrats.

Or maybe Obama was just spewing nonsense he does not really believe, and Tim Russert and Brian Williams were too deferential or too clueless to call him on it.

15 Comments:

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 27, 09:22:00 AM:

We can't have medicines that are actually making people more sick instead of better because they're produced overseas.

Of course, if you reimport drugs, how do you know they were actually produced here?


I believe he simply misspoke TH. He was referring to the news story of two weeks ago, covering a new China problem. Instead of saying "drugs", perhaps he should have said "drug ingredients".  

By Anonymous Bird of Paradise, at Wed Feb 27, 10:34:00 AM:

wasnt it demacrat BILL CLINTON who signed that NAFTA treaty? hose demacrats forget easly  

By Anonymous elixelx, at Wed Feb 27, 10:35:00 AM:

Is Obama suggesting that China is TRYING to kill Americans?

Why those...those...those inscrutable oriental gentlemen....!!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 27, 10:41:00 AM:

Just a point of meaningless reference from another right-wing polka dancer, but our presence in Afganistan is entirely predicated on the goodwill of Pakistan, as the vast percentage of our supplies to the soldiers in Afganistan come through Pakistan by ground, and something like 80% of the gas and diesel that our troops use in Afganistan (something like 500,000 gallons a week?) is purchased from refineries in Pakistan.
Bush's relationship with Musharaf might seem odious to some, but otherwise our position in Afganistan would be completely untenable.
Is that the point, after all?
-David  

By Anonymous Dr. Mercury, at Wed Feb 27, 12:21:00 PM:

If one had to sum up the entire past six months from a conservative point of view in one sentence, I would nominate the following:

"The simple fact that the audience did not erupt in laughter and catcalls tells you something scary about the people who actually attend these things."

Amen.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 27, 08:36:00 PM:

Actually, Obama meant to say that it was wrong to use medicines to eliminate undocumented aliens who were produced overseas. This would be not at all humane.  

By Blogger Montagne Mointaigne, at Wed Feb 27, 09:36:00 PM:

Didn't we kill the Al Qaeda # 3 last week in a Predator drone RAID ON PAKISTAN... last week?

Why did you not criticize the Bush administration for endangering Musharaf with this violation of sovereignty?

Oh, maybe it's because you're a Republican? I'm shocked.  

By Blogger Darren Duvall, at Wed Feb 27, 10:19:00 PM:

Just gonna hazard a guess here, Montagne, but I'm guessing it was Musharraf's folks who fingered al-Libi (he was taken out in January, BTW, not last week) and provided us the information that made it possible to pull off a successful Predator attack.

That would imply tacit agreement with the strike on the part of Musharraf, I'm pretty sure everyone involved would know we weren't going to air-drop a tea set, or a strongly-worded letter.

Obama would have us believe that he would order a strike without Musharraf's assistance (it's a big country) or permission.

It is 'Change', talking to our enemies and bombing our friends, but I'm not sure if that's really the kind of change we want. It's closer to incoherence.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 28, 12:01:00 AM:

Within 24 hours of Clinton and Obama's little confab, the Minister of Trade for Canada said in a speech, if they would be willing to open up NAFTA the first item up on the Canadian side of the agenda would be oil export gauruntees. Hope the Dems have fun with that one.  

By Anonymous pee wee the kiwi, at Thu Feb 28, 12:27:00 AM:

How about repealing NAFTA and ending illegal imagration andquit lying all the time  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 28, 06:13:00 AM:

Hope Canada's Minister of Trade has fun when he finds out that oil is a fungible commodity.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 28, 10:33:00 AM:

"He said he was willing to attack terrorists in Pakistan without the government's consent -- that is, he was prepared to violate Pakistan's sovereignty -- "[i]f we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act...". "

See? Under an Obama presidency, the era of "cowboy diplomacy" will come to an end!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 28, 11:18:00 AM:

Gail Collins has a great comment on Hillary today that captures her problem vis her primary opponent, while also describing well why she may appeal to a broad swath of voters in my native Ohio:

"There she sat, one of the best-known human beings on the planet. The first woman ever to be a serious United States presidential contender; the face that launched a thousand books; a former first lady, current U.S. senator and survivor of the most famous sex scandal of the century. And yet she has managed to become the boring candidate in this primary."

Ohio doesn't mind boring; it may even be an election advantage to be boring. Ohioans discuss foreign trade a lot, a subject which bores the heck out of most people, because the State once had a manufacturing economy, and still thinks it has one, so trade matters. Our new junior Senator wrote a book on trade, and how much he hates NAFTA (and his wife is a nearly-socialist columnist for the Plain Dealer), but most people I know think NAFTA is both inconsequential and ancient history: China is far more concerning. China combines the low labor costs of Mexico with the money and technology of America, and nearly everyone is very worried about competing with China.

Yet, Ohioans are an optimistic sort. McCain's straight talk should play well here. We all know lots of jobs that were formerly done in Ohio are gone forever, as he likes to say, but voters also want to hear what can be done to revitalize the Ohio economy (particualarly the northern tier of the state). Hillary's message of jobs, jobs and more jobs sounds like a familiar union election refrain, and should also play well here.  

By Anonymous Dawnfire82, at Sat Mar 01, 01:39:00 PM:

If the strike that killed al-Libi had actually been an unwelcome violation of Pakistani sovereignty, as Montagne implies, *we wouldn't have been bragging about it.* It would have remained secret, consigned to the library of special operations, not plastered across every news ticker in the country.

And you surely would have heard an outcry from Pakistan.  

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