05 December 2008

Obama, the Apprehensive Opportunist

After telling us in the Democratic primary debates he “questions her judgement”, that she “lacks experience” diplomatically, his staff even calling her a “monster”…suddenly, Hill’s OK now?

With flattery and plastic affection for the cameras, and in a substantial about-face, Obama this week nominated former rival Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. All this, of course, does nothing to change the fact that she's a seriously flawed and unqualified nominee, to say the least.

Apparently it doesn't matter that Clinton has not one iota of foreign policy experience. She also lacks basic diplomatic skills, is known for a violent temper, use of foul language when angry, and for berating those unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity when she
"loses it".

Other presidents-elect with no diplomatic background have brought in a Secretary with the requisite experience to the State Department. Ronald Reagan with Al Haig, Carter appointed Cyrus Vance...even Bill Clinton and Warren Christopher. Oddly, Barack Obama doesn’t feel the need for such abilities and qualifications in the nation's top diplomat.

And if Hillary were not married to Bill Clinton, would we have ever even heard of her? Perhaps, but I doubt it. This explains why she stuck-around through the numerous public humiliations he has delivered over the years. Such opportunism and cynical maneuvering contrasts sharply with Sarah Palin's credibility, self-made success story, and happy family life... a woman that Democrats can't disrespect enough.

While 2009 will undoubtedly be a challenging time for an abecedarian envoy on the world stage, Clinton also has a number of conflicts and personality flaws that should have automatically disqualified her for the position... but for some reason, did not.

Recall Hillary's theatrical opposition in the Senate to the Dubai Ports deal- Clinton was key in forcing this company from (US ally) the United Arab Emirates out of the contract. Subsequently, Bill Clinton was hired and paid millions of dollars by the UAE to clean up the resulting PR debacle... which was much his own wife's creation. No conflict of interest?

How about the additional millions Bill has received in donations to his foundation and consulting fees from Kuwait, Morocco, Kazakhstan, et. al.… no problem there?

In a pitiful effort to embellish her shallow experience in foreign policy, Hillary was caught lying during the primaries, when she claimed to have come "under fire" on a visit to Bosnia in 1996... until witnesses and video footage comprehensively debunked her version of events. What happened to honesty and integrity as selection criteria?

And any possibility of Obama controlling this self-promoting loose cannon? Of course not, the Clintons can’t even control each other.

Perhaps the biggest cause for concern is Hillary's judgement, which is often warped by her thirst for power and control. Because of this, she's developed a tendency to be manipulative and Machiavellian in her dealings with others- is this the kind of person who should represent the United States with foreign governments? And is Obama right to trust her to work for his (and the country's) agenda... rather than her own?

It has been reported that for several months he "envisioned" Clinton as his top diplomat. But more likely, the decision was actually made some time ago. The most logical explanation for this nomination is the fulfillment of a political deal struck during or after the Democratic Convention... in exchange for her support, of course. And Obama was not willing to let ethics or qualifications get in the way of a win-win deal that serves both his and Hillary's ambitions so well.

All this shouldn't surprise anyone who’s done any real due-diligence on this disingenuous serial opportunist Obama. He has long combined soaring rhetoric for the plebes with pragmatic, if unsavory, alliances... and cold political calculation. And one shouldn't rule-out the possibility he "envisioned" this to eliminate this rival once-and-for-all; take her from her senate stage, let her bungle something significant- then fire her... it's certainly not out of the question. Anyone who would expect Obama to put the country's interests before his own political security has not really taken a serious look at how he got this far in the first place.

And what might our enemies think? The Ayatollahs are elated, the Stolichnaya's flowing in the Kremlin, and they're slaughtering a goat at Bin Laden's cave, in all likelihood. What a relief and opportunity to put tyro diplomat Hillary in the trick-bag... sure beats facing down someone wise to their tricks and agenda, like a McCain appointee. And when someone has personality quirks such as Clinton's, it's not hard to construct a strategy that exploits them to your advantage at the negotiating table. Wouldn't it be interesting (and comical) to read the Russian intelligence profile on the Senator? There are reasons that Obama was all but endorsed by Russia, Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Venezuela.... and this is just the sort of thing they were hoping for.

Senator Obama had opposed the the Iraq Surge strategy vehemently… and continued to deny it’s progress for months during the campaign. When the positive results on the ground became apparent to all, he just dropped the subject. But now, Bush's Defense Secretary Robert Gates is OK for Team "Change", too? Didn't Obama base his whole primary campaign on an anti-Iraq-war, anti-Surge platform? Rapid retreat and withdrawal? ASAP?

The nomination of "safe" Clinton and Bush establishment types could be attributed to the very hollowness of Obama's campaign narrative - as he knows better than anyone that he's no Messiah. His considerable skill in taking vague positions supported by vacuous rhetoric, enabling him to be all things to all people, is not going to be quite so useful anymore after January 20th. The populist "blank canvas" strategy that served him so well to this point could boomerang soon, and produce quite a bit of dissapointment out there. Barack Obama apparently fears a comprehensive political collapse following the overblown charade of "Obamamania"... which has created quixotic expectations among many.

While the liberal agenda goes on the back-burner for now, Obama clearly feels the need to delegate policy to multiple big egos and known quantities... as-well as strike deals with the DNC establishment. Joe Biden as VP was an early indicator to the observant that "Change" was just a catch-phrase to exploit President Bush's low job-performance ratings... and little more.

As for the unruly, multi-polar cabinet he is creating, Obama's "The buck stops here" response last week sounds sufficient... until one realizes he lacks the stature to contain the Clintons; certainly Congressional leaders Pelosi and Reid too; Rahm Emanuel will be a handful; plus he's basically subcontracted the management of both wars to George W Bush's Defense Secretary for at least a year.

So, for all the lofty cloud-talk of "Change" and "Hope", Obama is now seeking only safe moves and continuity, basically an admission that he really doesn’t have anything like the whole new direction he’s been promising for over a year… nor the courage he once feigned.

Now we are already hearing Democratic Congressional leaders like Dodd, Frank, and Levin complaining about Obama's lack of commitment and specifics in dealing with the major problems of the day. The clock's ticking now Barack, and reality is waiting for you around the corner... with a truncheon. The time for hard decisions that not everybody likes is here... for the first time in Obama's entire political career.

Apprehension regarding the daunting circumstances waiting for him, after riding a wave of infatuation to victory, has promptly overshadowed other considerations already- six weeks before he's even taken the oath of office.

Change You Can Forget Was Ever Mentioned”

Simply put, Obama is in way over his head now- and he knows it.