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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Obama: Wrong on Kissinger

Some from the left feel that Arizona Senator and Republican Presidential hopeful, John McCain got caught in a falsehood regarding Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's stance on presidential negotiations with Iran without preconditions. Allow me to clarify the situation.

It was Barak Obama, not John McCain, who was incorrect on this issue.

Their statements from the debate:

OBAMA: "Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, who's one of his advisers, who, along with five recent secretaries of state, just said that we should meet with Iran -- guess what -- without precondition. This is one of your own advisers..."

MCCAIN: "Look, Dr. Kissinger did not say that he would approve of face-to- face meetings between the president of the United States and the president -- and Ahmadinejad. He did not say that.

He said that there could be secretary-level and lower level meetings. I've always encouraged them. The Iranians have met with Ambassador Crocker in Baghdad.

What Senator Obama doesn't seem to understand that if without precondition you sit down across the table from someone who has called Israel a 'stinking corpse,' and wants to destroy that country and wipe it off the map, you legitimize those comments."

Here's the video:

The entire point of McCain's statement was to say that Kissinger did not support the idea of a US PRESIDENT meeting with Iran without preconditions. He was right.

McCain never disagreed that there should be negotiations and discussions with Iran. In fact, he explicitly stated that we are already meeting with, and should continue to meet with Iran at lower levels.

McCain simply said that there should not be negotiations between the US PRESIDENT and Ahmadinejad without preconditions, and that Kissinger never said otherwise.

Obama mischaracterized Henry Kissinger's stance, and McCain called Obama on this. This is what the current post-debate conflict was and is about.

Let us review the record. The statement in question was made by Henry Kissinger during a CNN special with five former secretaries of state, where he said the following:
KISSINGER: "Well, I am in favor of negotiating with Iran. And one utility of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East, of a stable Middle East, and our notion on nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it. And, therefore, I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level."
If this statement is not conclusive enough, let us review Kissinger's take on the dispute ex post facto:
ABC News' Kirit Radia Reports: Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger came to the defense of longtime friend Sen. John McCain following Friday's presidential debate saying he "would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level."

"Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality," Kissinger said in statement issued by the McCain campaign.

During the debate, Obama pointed to Kissinger to defend his position because the former secretary of state supports direct talks with high-level Iranians without preconditions. Kissinger does not, however, support the U.S. president personally engaging in those talks, a point which McCain sought to drive home during the debate.

While it appears Kissinger and Senator Barack Obama disagree on what level those talks should occur, they do agree talks should begin, in Kissinger's words, “at a very high level” and without preconditions.

During the debate, McCain said that Kissinger would not endorse Obama's position that he would meet on a presidential level with leaders of enemy countries. "I guarantee you he would not say that," McCain said of Kissinger.
Quote courtesy of ABC News: Fact Check

If all of this wasn't convincing enough, Henry Kissinger also spoke on FOX News, and not only did he reaffirm his stance as I've stated it above, he also stated that he agreed with McCain's argument in that a President meeting with the leader of Iran in the first term of his presidency without preconditions was not only a bad decision, but it would legitimize the Iranian leader in the eyes of the world, our people, their people, and it would undercut our credibility with our allies. Further, Kissinger argues that if negotiations at the Presidential level fail, there would be no other recourse available to us afterward. Kissinger also stated that Obama had mischaracterized his statements on the matter.

In politics we rarely get a chance to see black and white, in text, rightness and wrongness to these debates. With this one instance, that's exactly what we have. McCain was right and Obama was wrong.

Palin: The flame for liberal moths

Oh liberal media, of thee I sing…

After the interview with CBS’s Katie Couric, the liberal media set upon Palin like a pack of rabid hyenas on a three legged cat.

To what has their scathing criticism aimed?

Apparently Palin, the governor of the only American state with two international borders, had the audacity to defend her foreign relations experience in her meeting with Couric.

According to Palin’s critics, overseeing border and coast control between the Alaskan/Canadian and Alaskan/Russian borders is a far less relevant foreign relations experience than traveling, as Obama did, to Europe for a week.

Palin’s critics have said that her response to the experience question in the Couric and Gibson interviews lacked substance. The fact of the matter is that Palin and her supporters have regurgitated the above-mentioned specific leadership qualification ad nausea. Why didn’t Palin do so again in these two nationally broadcast interviews? According to Palin:

“The Sarah Palin in those interviews is a little bit annoyed. Because it's like, no matter what you say, you're going to get clobbered. If you cease to answer a question, you're going to get clobbered on the answer. If you choose to try to pivot and go on to another subject that you believe that Americans want to hear about, you get clobbered for that, too.”
In other words, she had given her credentials before and didn’t know what else to say in response to the same question she had gotten over and over again.

What could she have said that hadn’t already been said and then spun by the liberal media? What answer would appease them? No answer would have sufficed.

The problem is that she’s not a seasoned politician (notice I said politician, not leader). Palin has yet to learn that she need not worry about answering the question ‘correctly,’ but rather look and sound good while she’s saying it. Hey, if Obama can get on top of the democratic ticket without ever actually doing anything, there must be something to this theory.

Despite the fact that Senator Barack Obama did not visit the Middle East for 900 days until after he had won his party’s nomination; despite the fact that he currently heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on European Affairs, but hasn’t convened a single policy hearing since he took over two years ago; and despite the fact that, as even democratic senator John Kerry admits, Obama’s foreign policy experience is entirely limited to “traveling abroad” (most of which was not work/ politically related), Palin has come under fire for her limited foreign policy experience.

So let me get this straight, Palin, the republican VICE presidential candidate, oversees border control with two countries, chiefs a national guard that has several thousand troops deployed for the current wars (and yes, National Guard deployments require a Governor's consent), and recently met with multiple heads of state from across the world at the UN Convention in New York; but she’s out of line for citing her proximity to Russia as foreign relations experience?

“Good lord in heaven! Palin said she could see Russia from her house and that Putin flew in her air space! How dare she use that as a reference? She’s clearly out of her league.”


Palin’s leadership of Alaska is an entirely relevant citation of foreign relations experience.

Anyone who thinks otherwise clearly has no idea what an executive does when they oversee military branches in such situations. Though Palin’s attempts to use imagery to paint a discriptive picture were less than perfect in her interviews with Gibson and Couric, that does not change the validity of her qualifications.

Perhaps this all says something as to why Obama supporters have jumped on the hateful propaganda bandwagon aimed at assassinating Sarah Palin's chances for success. If those followers are willing to support the junior senator from Illinois, who has spent most of his first and only term as senator running for president, never proposed or co-opted a major national bill, and retained the most liberal, non bipartisan voting record in the entire senate, then it stands to reason that those same supporters would not value the experience warranted from being a governor of a state such as Alaska.

But then again, Bill Clinton, who was originally dismissed by the media for having no foreign-relations exposure himself as the governor of the land-locked state of Arkansas, was eventually portrayed as experienced enough to be president… but he was a man… a left-leaning man who gave the liberal media the answers they wanted. Right? Right.

“But Seth,” you might say, “conservatives such as Kathleen Parker have even spoken out against Palin’s qualifications!” Yes, yes. And Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, said that Obama was not qualified to be president and that the position did not leave room for “on-the-job training.” And Hillary Clinton said that McCain had “a life time of experience that he would bring to the white house and Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.”

The long and short of the matter is that regardless of what some rogue Republican(s) might say of Palin, or how much exposure the liberal media gives those rogues in an attempt to validate their claims, Governor Sarah Palin is qualified to be the Vice President of the United States. Those who gravitate towards the media that suggest otherwise likely already had their mind made up about Palin before she even opened her mouth. It’s called the uses and gratifications theory folks; look it up.

What do the liberal media stand to gain from attacking Governor Sarah Palin in these ways? The 2008 presidential election.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Palin: McCain Chess Move, Worthy Candidate, or Both?

McCain has come under fire, by some, for his selection of Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential nomination. The suggestion is that his selection of Palin represents nothing more than a political chess move, aimed at swaying Hillary Clinton voters who remain undedicated to democratic presidential nominee, and junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. This politically savvy move, according to some, is proof that McCain is no longer the maverick he once was and is, instead, doing whatever is necessary to rally his party’s support.

Apparently, the critics miss the fact that athe appointment of a candidate can be BOTH a wise political move and a valid choice. It’s not as if McCain went and added a Hollywood celebrity to his roster to garner empty fanfare support and votes; nor is it as if he selected a Washington insider for the sole purpose of bringing his party together - like Obama did. Instead, he went and found the one republican, perhaps the only one in the entire country, that both accomplished his political ambition to attract more voters AND fulfilled his need for a proven reformer.

The recent media frenzy circling Palin is the result of a few basic fears. One, liberal-leaning media darling Obama, stands to lose ground if Palin comes off as a ‘good’ appointment; hence the untruthful reporting regarding her record as governor and mayor. Second, Palin is a staunch conservative who has rallied the Republican base; hence the untruthful reporting regarding her personal life. Third, like Obama, Palin is seen as ‘new blood’ and a ‘Washington outsider;’ hence the ‘gotcha’ questions in recent interviews aimed at discrediting her knowledge and experience.

Let’s look at these criticisms individually, shall we?

Regarding her record, several complaints have been raised regarding the claim in her speech that she said, “Thanks, but no thanks to that bridge to nowhere.”

Liberals argue, “Yeah, she was for it before she was against it.”

Yes, yes she was. Before she was appointed governor of her state, congress offered to give Alaska a couple hundred million dollars to build a bridge that would connect a small island with about 50 inhabitants to a nearby airport. When asked about the project, she seemed to think it was a good idea.

Who else thought it was a good idea?

Senators Biden and Obama, of course!

The aptly named ‘Bridge to Nowhere,’ came to vote in the senate twice. Both times, Obama and Biden supported the earmark. In fact, the second time the measure came to a vote, there was a request to redirect its funding to a bridge in New Orleans that had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Yet, Obama and Biden voted to keep the money in Alaska and neglect New Orleans.

Flash forward a couple of months and Palin is now Governor of her state and the Bridge to Nowhere has become the epitome of pork barrel spending, and has, as a consequence, lost support in congress. What does Palin do? SHE puts the final signature on the bill killing the project but manages to keep the money for other projects in Alaska.

What’s the significance?

When Obama and Biden were asked to sign off on the Bridge, they did. When Palin was asked, she didn’t. That is, quite literally, saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

But why did she still keep the money after she stopped the project?

The responsibilities of a governor are very different from those of a senator. Her job is to advocate for her state, and she has done that exceedingly well. The Senator’s job is to wisely allocate national funds. Obama and Biden failed at their objective, Palin did not. She has the highest approval rating of any governor in the country, all while cutting her state's spending 80%. She spent nearly half a billion less than her fellow Republican predecessor, and continues to cut spending at every turn. That's unheard of. That's reform. That's change. That’s a proven record of reform.

Let us also remember that there is a distinction between wasteful spending (pork barrel earmarks) and basic earmarks. Palin has cut half a BILLION in WASTEFUL earmark spending since becoming governor of Alaska. Further, McCain has never, in his 30 years in Washington, asked for a single earmark.

“But she still has the highest per capita earmark spending in the nation.”

Yes, yes she does. First, it takes time to reduce a budget and an administration’s spending. Though she’s been cutting spending incredibly fast, she can’t snap her fingers and make the wasteful projects of past governors instantly vanish. Second, again, there is a difference between a common earmark and a pork earmark. Palin has denounced wasteful earmarks, and McCain has denounced earmarks all together.

So, her record for reform stands.

Second, in regard to her reputation as a conservative, liberals felt the need to attack her unwedded, impregnated teenage daughter. Nice.

Really? Because her daughter went out and made a mistake, Palin is not fit to be vice president?

How can people in this country support Bill Clinton, who was cheating on his wife in the White House while actually serving as President of the United States with white house employees… but shun a woman, who has been with one man her whole life, because her daughter made a mistake? This doesn’t add up.

Palin was straight forward about her daughter's pregancy. The two young adults are getting married… what’s out of control here? The kid made a mistake that was out of Palin’s hands. Further, why should this blame fall on the working mother, rather than the husband, who was the 'stay at home dad,' if indeed we are to place unnecessary blame on anyone?

Perhaps you should see what Palin had to say on the subject instead of believing the tabloids…

Sarah Palin: "We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us. Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support."Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates."

Well said mom.

Finally, in regards to her ability, experience, and knowledge, the media has tried going for Palin’s jugular. But let us not forget that Clinton was also a governor when he was elected president. Let's also remember that a governor and mayor have similar responsibilities to that of the president: they manage a budget, chief their respective military, oversee a cabinet, etc. Neither Obama nor Biden have done this. McCain, in his work as a diplomat and military leader, has had some executive experience.

Obama has been a community organizer (and left that community in massive debt), a state congressman (and voted 'present' 180 times instead of making a vote one way or the other), and a US senator (where he has spent most of his term running for president, never proposed or co-opted a major national bill, and has retained the most liberal voting record in the entire senate - that's isn't working across the aisle, that isn't change, that's more bipartisanship).

By contrast, McCain has voted against his party more than any other Republican senator, and co-opted several bills (with and without democrats).

If Palin is not qualified to be vice president, how in the world can anyone vote for Obama?

Even if McCain dies, god forbid, as early as day five of his presidency, Palin would have those 5 days preparation and exposure before being put in the oval office. That's five days more than Obama would ahve, if elected. She would have this, of course, on top of her previous executive experience.

Conversely, Obama has NO, I repeat NO, executive experience. If he's elected, not only does he have no executive experience and no military leadership preparation, but he will be taking his paper thin resume into the oval office on day one. So, unless McCain drops dead as soon as he's elected, Palin, by virtue of being the VICE presidential candidate and watching McCain as he executes in the presidential position, will have more exposure to Presidential responsibilities than Obama (even if we ignored that fact that she is already more qualified than Obama).

As Biden said himself, Obama isn’t ready to be president because the position does not leave room for “on the job training."

Face it critics, you’re going to have to debate the actual policies. McCain’s appointment of Palin WAS politically savvy. It WAS a political chess move. She HAS energized the base and attracted more female and independent voters. But she is also qualified for the position, at least as qualified as Clinton was when he took office and more qualified than Obama currently is. She is also an exact personality fit for McCain.

It’s the best of both worlds, folks. McCain made a smart pick that was conducive to his values. The two features of decision making need not be mutually exclusive and, in fact, are characteristic of the choices made by great leaders.

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