Barack Obama: Rockstar. Motivational Speaker. President???

Austin Hill

5/18/2008 12:00:57 AM - Austin Hill

Guess what? It’s “scrutiny time” for Barack Obama.

Mr. Obama was sworn into office as a Senator in January of 2005, and officially launched his presidential campaign in February of 2007. For most of his short, happy, 3 1/2 year life in national politics, he has spent his time and energy trying to “out-liberal” his liberal presidential opponents, and being the “most anti-war” candidate from which to choose.

And it now seems safe to call him the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee. Hillary could, of course, rise again from the political dead (and she‘ll likely remain in the race for the foreseeable future). But it is difficult to imagine that Obama will let what appears to be an impending nomination slip through his hands.

As such, it also seems safe to say that, based on what is known now, he may very well be our forty-fourth President.

So what does the prospective forty-fourth President really intend to do? Let’s start with foreign policy and national security.

Obama’s temper tantrum press conference in South Dakota last Friday, wherein he claimed that he had been “attacked” by President Bush, was very telling. On Thursday, the President had spoken before the Israeli Knesset (the nation’s legislative body), warning against those who would seek to diplomatically engage with terrorists and terrorist states, and calling such persons appeasers. In making these brief remarks, the President made no reference to any particular individual or group or country, and gave no indication as to who he believes the present-day appears to be.

Yet, less than twenty-four hours later, our prospective forty-fourth President was insisting that he was the target of Bush’s criticism. Why? Why would Mr. Obama personalize the President’s generalized and impersonal comments?

Perhaps it is because Mr. Obama has over the course of his campaign equivocated on the issue of dealing with terrorist states. At one point last year he stated that, as President, the use of nuclear weapons would be “off the table” in a conflict between the U.S. and Iran, only to end up changing his mind a day later. Elsewhere Obama has suggested that he would meet personally with President Ahmedinejad of Iran. If the shoe fits, Mr. Obama, …..

In his effort to “strike back” at Bush, Obama reiterated during his South Dakota tirade that “tough-minded diplomacy” and “engaging rivals” have been foreign policy approaches deployed by both Democratic and Republican Presidents, including Presidents Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan. This is true.

But the policy of non-negotiation with terrorist nations is not merely a “Bush thing” or a “McCain thing” - - it’s an “American thing.” And a “rival nation” and a “State Sponsor Of Terrorism” are not the same thing. President Carter understood this, and it was in 1979, during his Presidency, that the U.S. Department Of State began designating some countries around the world as “State Sponsors Of Terrorism.”

Syria was one of the first nations to receive this designation back in December of 1979, and it is still regarded as such today. Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, and Clinton, all understood the gravity of Syria’s status, and these Presidents refused to diplomatically engage this nation or its president.

But never mind thirty years of precedent and bi-partisan foreign policy wisdom. In April of 2007, Obama’s fellow liberal in the Congress, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, did what Carter, Reagan, Clinton and both Presidents Bush knew not to do - - and paid a diplomatic visit to Damascus, complete with photo op’s and video of her exchanging pleasantries with Syrian President Assad.

As for Iran, the U.S. Department of State has designated this country as a “State Sponsor Of Terrorism” since 1984. The past four U.S. Presidents have understood what this designation entails, and have constructed their stance with Iran accordingly. Yet Mr. Obama, caught-up in the fervor of “hope” and “change,” has had the “audacity” to flip-flop on how aggressively we would fight in a U.S. - Iranian battle, and has at times proposed that he meet with Iran’s dictator.

So what does our prospective forty-fourth President really have in mind for our future, and our future presence in the world? He looks and sounds fabulous behind the podium, eloquently stringing together cliché’s before stadiums full of adoring and fawning fans.

But Obama isn’t trying to replace Bono or Tony Robbins. He’s trying to be the President of the United States, and Presidents have to face really harsh realities.

The next President will have to grapple with the fact that some people around the world want to kill us - - and not because Bush is currently President or because of Republicans or because of “rich people” (Obama’s usual targets of wrath). No, some people want us dead for no other reason than because we are Americans, and because ours is not a “muslim” nation.

Worse yet, it is highly likely that the next President of the United States will have to face some kind of really ugly, scary crisis, like our current President did seven years ago.

If Mr. Obama is so easily un-nerved, and can so easily feel personally “attacked” by an impersonal comment made by the U.S. President, how would he handle a literal, physical “attack” on our own soil?