Let me get this straight. It's perfectly fair for Barack Obama and his cohorts to repeatedly disparage President Bush's foreign policy as "cowboy diplomacy" but unspeakably horrific for Bush to analogize the Democrats' approach to foreign policy to appeasing Hitler?
When Obama compared Hillary Clinton's threats against Iran to President Bush's threatening "bluster" and "cowboy diplomacy," no one batted an eye.
But when Mr. Bush, in addressing Israel's Knesset, compared those who want to negotiate with today's terrorists and tyrants to an American senator in 1939 who lamented that Hitler's march into Poland might have been avoided "if only I could have talked to Hitler," Obama, other Democrats and the mainstream media went ballistic.
What's wrong with the president assuring our major Middle East ally that, under his watch at least, America will stand by it against our common enemies, such as the Holocaust-denying Iranian regime?
Well, plenty, if you listen to Democrats and the MSM. If President Bush is articulating a position with which they don't agree, he is politicizing foreign policy -- an unforgivable sin. Never mind that Democrats not only have been politicizing foreign policy for the past seven years but also undermining our official policies in the process. Jimmy Carter's intermeddling with Hamas, Nancy Pelosi's junket to Syria, and trips to Iraq by other Democratic members of Congress to sabotage U.S. policy are but several egregious examples.
CNN immediately went into overdrive to protest President Bush's "smearing" of Obama. They also likened it to John McCain's alleged smear of Obama in accurately reporting that Obama was Hamas' choice for president.
Democrats including Tom Daschle, Joe Biden, John Kerry and Dick Durbin were outraged that Bush inserted himself into the presidential campaign. There go these projecting Democrats again -- always accusing Republicans of committing sins they invented. While Bush is free to politic all he wants to, I don't believe that's primarily what he was up to here.
Unhappily for Democrats, Bush is still president, and it remains his job to quarterback American foreign policy. In making a foreign policy speech in Israel, it is wholly appropriate, indeed necessary, for him to make his strongest case in support of his policies.
In making his case to stand tough against terrorists -- a case he has been making without interruption since 9/11, during and in between election cycles -- it is perfectly logical and essential for him to mention -- and refute -- the opposition party's criticisms of his policy. It's part of how you sell your position.
Democrats can choose to interpret everything through their partisan prism, but Bush was wearing his presidential cap in Israel and was stumping not for John McCain, but for the United States of America. It's too bad, but understandable, that Democrats so often find themselves on the wrong side of our national interests. President Bush was acting abundantly presidential and in furtherance of our national interests when assuring Israel and warning Iran that we will stand by our closest Middle Eastern ally.
Not only is it fair for President Bush to make this point but also it is late in coming. Democrats have been enjoying a free ride on this issue for years, and it's time they were confronted on it -- aggressively. These are the people who can say whatever they want about President Bush, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan but cry foul when anyone even hints at holding them accountable for their recklessness.
They are rarely taken to task for their irresponsible "plans" to withdraw our troops from Iraq -- no matter what our generals say and absolutely irrespective of the deathly consequences that inevitably would follow.
Though Obama's pacifist armies object to characterizing him as an appeaser, he proved it again this week in his remarks to Democrats in my hometown of Cape Girardeau, Mo., in saying NATO hasn't provided enough troops to help us in Afghanistan because "they are still angry about us going into Iraq." Implicit in his statement was his opinion that NATO is justified not only in being angry at us but also in not helping us in Afghanistan.
Shouldn't we expect our American leaders not to defend NATO in this situation, regardless of its misplaced "anger" about Iraq? Shouldn't NATO's decision to help in Afghanistan be governed solely by whether it's the right thing to do? Shouldn't Obama be condemning, instead of providing cover for, NATO's dereliction of duty here?
The answer is an unqualified yes, but Obama's instinct -- in line with that of the entire Democratic leadership -- is to blame America first. That's not just a bumper sticker; it is the sad reality, proved time and time again.
If I were President Bush and Democrats accused me of labeling them as appeasers, I'd say: "Guilty as charged. And I'm just getting warmed up. And I fully expect John McCain to follow my lead. Let's have this debate out in the open. Nothing is more important to America's future."