Another in a sometime series of virtual, or imaginary, conversations with Barack Obama....
Thanks for yet another discussion, Mr. President. You're good to make yourself so available.
Glad to. But before we go to your questions, here's one from me: How am I doing?
Not so well, sir. You'll dismiss it as yet another negative comment from your critics, but since the first of the year you've done just one positive thing -- moving swiftly in the McChrystal flame-out and naming General Petraeus as his successor.
The McChrystal flame-out was inexplicable --
Indeed. Why say such things within earshot of a free-lancer with an agenda working for a magazine that got its start as a shill for rock bands?
-- And we can't afford to lose. This is, as I have said memorably, "the war that has to be won." On dealing with insurgencies, Petraeus wrote the book.
Yes, sir. Still, he needs to fix key aspects of the rules of engagement. But good job in bringing in General Petraeus. Let's get on with winning.
What's on your list of questions?
Most of them are why questions, sir, that flow from a genuine sense of incomprehensibility.
Such as: If it wasn't because of your obeisance to unionist demands for union personnel on U.S.-flagged ships, why have you taken nearly three months to accept foreign offers of help to clean up the oil from the undersea gusher?
Well, I -- the Bush administration -- as I have said, "I can't dive down there and plug the hole. I can't suck (the oil) up with a straw."
Sir, you led the way in ripping President Bush for incompetence and delay in the aftermath of Katrina. Yet within three days of Katrina, he waived laws (for instance, the Jones Act) and regulations that were hampering the federal response. Only now are you beginning to waive some of them. Why?
Well, I --
And then there's your incessant blaming of the Republicans. The Democrats hold strong majorities in both houses of Congress. You got ObamaCare through Congress with no Republican votes. So how is it the Republicans' fault when cap-and-trade bombs, and immigration reform can't get out of committee, and Barney Frank's and Chris Dodd's finance "reform" falls short of passage (if it does)? And, if you're not trying to pad the Hispanic vote, why wage litigious war against Arizona?
Well, I -- Republican chairman Michael Steele is a gift to the Democrats.
He certainly isn't helping Republican prospects. But his stupidities do not explain Democratic failures on your legislative priorities.
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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