Over the weekend, the New York Times described the split between Barack Obama and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, over U.S. reaction to the Egyptian revolution:
A president who himself is often torn between idealism and pragmatism was navigating the counsel of a traditional foreign policy establishment led by Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Biden and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, against that of a next-generation White House staff who worried that the American preoccupation with stability could put a historic president on the wrong side of history.
But Republicans, too, have been all over the map. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was asked what he thought of the Obama administration’s handling of the matter. Said Boehner:
”I think they’ve handled what is a very difficult situation about as well as it could be handled.”
Yet on his second trip to Iowa this year, former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich disagreed:
”He warned that by publicly supporting the ouster of [Hosni] Mubarak, a longtime U.S. ally, when political winds turned against his iron-fisted rule, the White House may have sent a message that discourages other leaders in unfriendly parts of the world from cooperating with American interests.
“There are a lot of things that you say in private that you don’t say in public,” Gingrich said.
Taking an opposite point of view was Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition and state GOP chairman, who declared that Obama didn’t dump Mubarak soon enough. From Salon.com:
“I think we should have made clear earlier than the administration did that we are on the side of the protesters,” he [said].
Then there was U.S. Rep. Tom Price, who didn’t mind Obama siding with the protestors – but faulted the president for not doing the same when Iran erupted in 2009:
”[T]he Obama administration was remarkably absent when those who have lived under that oppressive regime cried out for change. It is an inconsistency that the administration has yet to sufficiently explain.”
As it turned out, one person made uncomfortable at last week’s CPAC meeting in Washington by all the Muslim-bashing was Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform. His wife is Muslim.
“It’s very important to recognize that each of these faiths is completely consistent with the U.S. Constitution and a free and open society,” Norquist said, adding it’s also important “for the conservative movement to have many doors open.”
He said that the right has to “marginalize” Islamophobia within its ranks and “knock that stuff down and just make it clear that there’s no place for that in the party of Reagan.”
Referring to Gingrich’s anti-Muslim fervor, ThinkProgress asked whether there is a place for Islamophobia in the GOP 2012 presidential primaries. “I don’t think there is,” he replied.
After CPAC adjourned on Saturday, Politico.com issued its list of winners and losers. Georgia’s own Herman Cain appeared on the wrong roster:
The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO is in a category of his own, even among the obscure candidates of 2012. Cain, who hosted a radio show in Georgia and has never held public office, has traded on his reputation as a dynamic speaker to win attention as a long-shot presidential candidate.
Cain didn’t live up to that reputation at CPAC. He had one or two memorable lines, such as: “Stupid people are ruining America.” But one or two middling zingers do not a credible candidate make.
Given his flat performance, Cain’s going to have to work extra-hard going forward to win a place in the 2012 process.
Just in case you hadn’t heard, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. If you chose to sleep in, here’s the clip:
Over the weekend, U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County, was passing around a C-SPAN video clip in which he asked the nation’s top intelligence chiefs whether the nation’s debt posed a national security threat.
All of them said the debt was indeed a worrisome issue. But none who testified before the House Intelligence Committee hearing suggested raising taxes to address it:
Finally, Doug Richards is doing some funny stuff for 11Alive on Sunday morning. But I wonder who at the state Capitol the fellow with the cigar is supposed to be:
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider