Ah, gone, we hope forever, are the days when first Mike Dukakis, then Al Gore and then John Kerry responded to attacks by remaining silent! Dukakis said nothing as the elder George Bush hammered him with Willie Horton and disparaged his manhood in failing to respond to the hypothetical rape of his wife. Gore was actually hammered more by the media than he was by the younger George Bush. Constant repetitions of "I invented the internet" and complaints about his audible sighing as Bush told lie after lie dominated that campaign. Kerry was done in by the media collaboration with the Swift Boat Veterans and by Bush focusing the campaign on anything but his own record.
Presidential candidate Barack Obama has taken the speech given by President Bush in the Israeli Knesset (Their equivalent of the British Parliament) wherein Bush said:
Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century. Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history. (Applause.)
Of course, as (of all people, we lefty bloggers didn't expect words of wisdom to come out of this guy) Chris Matthews pointed out:
...there's a difference between talking to the enemy and appeasing. What Neville Chamberlain did wrong, most people would say, is not talking to Hitler, but giving him half of Czechoslovakia in '38. That's what he did wrong, not talking to somebody. . . . Appeasement is giving away things to the enemy.
But Obama has not stood silently by as Bush has questioned his wisdom and manliness:
"I'm a strong believer in civility and I'm a strong believer in a bipartisan foreign policy, but that cause is not served with dishonest, divisive attacks of the sort that we've seen out of George Bush and John McCain over the last couple days," he said.
Obama said McCain had a "naive and irresponsible belief that tough talk from Washington will somehow cause Iran to give up its nuclear program and support for terrorism."
And yes, Obama is very consciously and deliberately trying (successfully) to tie Bush and McCain together as strongly as possible. He's very clearly attempting to paint a John McCain presidency as a third Bush term. Oh, and by the way, there really isn't any doubt that Bush was speaking of Obama in the Knesset. CNN's Ed Henry reported that:
White House aides privately acknowledged the remarks were aimed at the presidential candidate and others in his party.
Is attacking a presidential candidate from a foreign parliament standard operating procedure? Not according to Democrats:
Democrats accused Mr. Bush of breaching protocol by playing partisan politics overseas. . . .
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic [Senate Majority] leader, called Mr. Bush's remarks "reckless and irresponsible." Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said Mr. Bush had behaved in a manner "beneath the dignity of the office of president."
Apparently, Republicans are rattled by this response and aren't quite sure how to answer a non-doormat Democrat. Governor Mike Huckabee "joked" (At least that's his explanation) about Obama having to duck a gunman. Huckabee quickly apologized, but it clearly shows a very scattered and confused GOP.
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