On the other hand, Rich Lowry – editor of National Review and therefore a man who should know better – offers this pithy analysis of American under Obama:
[N]one of this should be surprising since the Democrats, despite the Clinton interlude, never stopped being a McGovernite party, and Obama is a McGovernite figure
For the love of god, this is poppycock on stilts. I have no idea how, as Daniel Larison says, honouring an agreement signed by a Republican president that promised to withdraw American troops from Iraq can be construed as any kind of "McGovernite" policy. Indeed, for this to make any kind of sense I think you have to conclude that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger must have once been "McGovernites" too since they wanted to end an overlong war too. And, of course, that famous "McGovernite" Ronald Reagan cut and ran from Lebanon.
So the suggestion is so stupid we have to assume it’s just a cheap crack thrown in to amuse the true believers. Which is fine as far as it goes except for the inconvenient fact it don’t go very far at all.
I think you can make plenty of legitimate criticisms of Obama’s handling of Iraq and Afghanistan but any critique that doesn’t acknowledge the difficult, even dismal, situation he was bequeathed by his predecessor is a shabby, partisan piece of hackery unlikely to be worth your time. The United States has been in Iraq for nearly nine years and Afghanistan even longer than that. There are risks to acknowledging reality but denying it is not cost-free either.
According to Lowry, however:
We could be looking at slow-motion defeats in two wars — and a drastic diminution in our influence in the Middle East and Central Asia — as the president of the United States prefers to focus on the fierce urgency of his spendthrift policy at home. In the contest between guns and butter, he wants butter so long as he can hector the rich to pay for it.
Again with the facepalming. Note too that American "allies" are not actually supposed to have a say in what they want or expect from the United States. They certainly can’t be allowed to suggest they don’t want thousands of American soldiers on their soil. Still, perhaps we should be grateful that Lowry suggests there have to be some spending choices and that you can’t have guns and butter all the time. Awkwardly, of course, Obama has not actually cut the defense budget. But why let that get in the way of anything?
Most importantly of all, if a Republican president had authorised the mission that killed Osama bin Laden or made it possible for Libya’s rebels to topple Colonel Gaddafi then I think we all know we’d never hear the end of it even if it might be thought unseemly to use bin Laden’s death for narrow, domestic political advantage. Doubtless we will have to endure some of that from Democrats next year but not nearly as much, I hazard, as we would have had it been a Republican president who eventually "got" bin Laden.
Indeed, I think you can make a decent fist of arguing that, despite some setbacks, Obama’s enjoyed more foreign policy triumphs than domestic policy victories. This is not, I think, how he imagined his Presidency would run but there you have it. Such domestic battles as he has won have delivered few tangible benefits and, instead, might most charitably be said to have forestalled even worse developments. Overseas, however, Obama is in credit and not overdrawn as he is at home. This makes the "McGovernite" label even more ridiculous.Tags: 2012, Conservatives, Foreign Policy, Hackery, Obama, Washington