A nice catch by BuzzFeed, but wasn't finding a clip like this entirely inevitable? Self-serving "do as I say" political hypocrisy is this president's calling card. Andrew Kaczynski has the background of Team O's ironic broadside against Romney:
The Obama campaign hit Mitt Romney for using the “tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya” to “launch a political attack.” On a July 2008 appearance on CNN, then-Senator used the death of U.S. troops in Afghanistan as talking point to ding John McCain and President Bush for their support of the Iraq War.
Of course, Romney's missive on the Cairo embassy's statement was issued before anyone knew the full extent of the horror in Benghazi -- but as we learned last night, Romney's furious reaction was shared by top officials at the White House and State Department. It just took the administration a lot longer to fix their internal problem than it took Romney to recognize it and call it out. As Kaczynski notes, candidate Obama had no qualms about seizing upon the deaths of several US troops "to launch a political attack" against his opponent in 2008:
Setting aside the larger point -- dissent is the highest form of patriotism...when a Republican is in office -- I'm interested by Obama's characterization of the controversial troop surge in Iraq. "The surge," he said, "has no doubt reduced violence, and I think all Americans are thrilled." Let's recall what Senator Obama -- in his infinite foreign policy wisdom and surpassing understanding of the intricacies of warfare -- predicted about the surge (that "no doubt reduced violence") prior to its implementation:
He thought the surge would plunge Iraq into deeper sectarian violence. Where has that pristine judgment gotten us now that he's the Commander-in-Chief? It certainly looks as though Egypt is slipping away from the community of civilized nations. Here's NBC's Chief Foreign Correspondent expressing shock over Obama's new declaration that he doesn't consider Egypt to be an ally of the United States. I guess Richard Engel missed the "it's all Mitt's fault" media memo:
David Frum makes a very smart point about what's going on inside Egypt in the wake of the Arab Street provocation du jour: An obscure American-made film disrespecting Islam. Now that strong US ally Hosni Mubarak (an "our S.O.B." sort of character) has been deposed, the resulting power vacuum has been filled by much harder Islamist elements, and they're moving to seize on a flashpoint of public outrage to shut down their opposition:
More serious is the exploitation by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood president of the incident as support for anti-Islam blasphemy laws. It's important to understand that Morsi is concerned with Egyptian, not American, laws. Morsi is taking a page from the 1979 Khomeini playbook, fabricating an international incident to mobilize religious passions as a weapon for his political grouping against more secular blocs in Egyptian society - the Egyptian military very much included. As the US government responds to Morsi, it's important for American commentators to understand : at issue here is not the threat of Sharia law in the US. (As if.) At issue is an attempted coup against America's dwindling band of friends inside Egypt.
Once again, the Mohammad-insulting film has been shown to be a red herring that higher-level, nefarious Middle East actors are strategically exploiting as a means to a larger end. Ed Morrissey also sees 1979 parallels and worries that we've lost Egypt:
Who lost Egypt? Barack Obama. His administration waited eight whole days when those demonstrations erupted to demand Mubarak’s ouster, and then insisted on immediate elections — even though the only opposition organized well enough at that point in time for elections was the radical Muslim Brotherhood. In both Egypt and even more in Libya — where Obama applied military force to dislodge and topple Moammar Qaddafi — the White House left power vacuums that allowed the most radical elements to seize control. Critics of Obama’s policies in both regards warned of this very outcome eighteen months ago, to no avail. It looks like the media may have finally decided that Mitt Romney’s criticism of an embassy statement that even the Obama administration ended up disavowing isn’t the biggest issue at stake here. We’re watching the collapse of decades of diplomacy and the Pax Americana within a few short weeks. Engel’s not the only one who has to sit down over the stunning declaration that we’ve lost Egypt as an ally.
Very troubling stuff. We should either massively fortify our embassies across the region or pull our diplomats out. We all know how this could end.