Category Archives: Obama administration

The recent protests destroyed Amy Klobuchar’s VP aspirations; have Susan Rice’s died, too?

Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar’s dreams of being Joe Biden’s running mate appear dead. When news broke last week of Klobuchar’s record of dealing with police brutality when she was a prosecutor, she became too toxic for liberal and African-American voters, which Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, must overwhelmingly gain support from if he’s to win in November.

Klobuchar’s own presidential campaign ended a couple of months ago, but she was gaining traction as a possible running mate because she appeared compatible with Biden’s preferred moderate policies.

Time for Biden to look elsewhere. Enter Susan Rice.

The death of George Floyd at the hands/knee of a Minneapolis cop and the (often violent) protests that have followed also might have doomed Susan Rice’s opportunity to run with Biden. Or have they actually increased because she hit the right note for those on the left?

Rice was a guest on a cable news program a couple of days ago when she suggested the protests in the U.S. could have come right out of ”the Russian playbook.” Of course, Rice was not asked to explain her comment by the compliant interviewer, but she might have been referencing a New York Times’ story alleging the Kremlin is eager to sow racial discord in the U.S. in the lead up to the November election. One person quoted in the newspaper’s report said,

“To put it simply, in this space, Russia wants to watch us tear ourselves apart.”

If Rice was looking to score political points with Democrats, she succeeded.

You’ll recall Rice was Barack Obama’s national security adviser (among other roles she had during his 8 years in office). She’s a compelling option as a running mate: a smart, experienced, well-liked, respected, African-American woman, and we know Biden is committed to having a high-ranking African-American woman in his Cabinet or on the Supreme Court.

Rice is the latest person to trot out the “Russia did it” trope. For Democrats, the hacking/interference/involvement of the Kremlin in the 2016 presidential election is a narrative they can’t get let go of, and their anger has only increased because a detailed report from Robert Mueller found any ties between the Russians and the Trump campaign weren’t provable.

The left’s dream of impeachment turned into a nightmare with Mueller’s report.

A reminder to everyone who dislikes what the Russians are/might be doing: An informed voter will take the time to assess the candidates and make a rational choice when stepping into the voting booth. The “I-like-memes-especially-when-they-support-what-I-think” voter will continue to be swayed by garbage, no matter the source of such useless information or its purpose.

If memes — and we won’t even bother talking about the special interests’ money that dominates American politics and is fare more damaging to democracy — determine who wins November’s presidential election, then every American citizen will deal with the effects.

If that means a repeat of the 2016 election results, then don’t blame the Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans or any other nation. No, blame the voter who refused to be a responsible citizen by being knowledgeable.

Quite an interview: Katie Couric interviews Russian embassy spokesperson Maria Zakharova

The Kremlin’s walls

A fascinating roughly 25:00 interview between Yahoo! News’ Katie Couric and Maria Zakharova, the Russian Embassy spokesperson in the U.S.

Among the highlights:

  1. Zakharova immediately challenges Couric for suggesting Vladimir Putin heads a “regime.”
  2. Zakharova bemoans the development of fake news about Russia in the U.S. during President Obama’s eight years in the White House; she doesn’t place the blame on Obama personally but makes clear her belief that fake news gained strength while he was the head of state.
  3. Zakharova suggests that in the absence of evidence, it is not fair to claim her country tried to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Moreover, she says that Russia has no interest in who wins an election in any other country but its own. (This article from the Atlantic suggests that Kremlin interference is clear to anyone who looks.)
  4. Zakharova called the recent airstrikes in Syria “unacceptable.”
  5. Zakharova draws parallels to the immediate judgment in the West that it was Syrian president Bashar al-Assad who ordered a chemical attack against his people to Colin Powell’s claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
  6. Zakharova says Russia is investigating whether gays are being tortured in Chechnya, though she desperately tried to dodge questions about the issue.
  7. Zakharova argues that it is the United States that continues to stoke aggression along the Korean peninsula. She insists that diplomacy is the way to solve the crisis.
  8. Zakharova says it is up to Edward Snowden to decide how long he wishes to remain in Moscow.

Rip Bush for Iraq, but he made Americans respect their military veterans again

I’ll put my cards on the table: I think going to war in Iraq almost a decade and a half ago was a mistake. I accept that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant. I accept that he did all he could to threaten, harm, hurt and scare his people. I accept he was evil.

But going to war with him and sending troops into that country was the wrong political and military decision, if for no other reason than believing that democracy can be exported as if it were a car is foolhardy. (Yes, I hear my friends on the left screaming “WMD” at this point. I’m not ignoring that.)

President Bush’s legacy is forever tied to Iraq. In much the same way that Lyndon Johnson “owns” Vietnam and FDR “owns” World War II and so on down the line, George Bush “owns” Iraq. His name and that war are interlocked in history.

But I think he owns something else, too: He made America again respect the men and women who wear the military uniform, erasing a roughly 40-year period in which many Americans adopted a dismissive attitude (at best) or a disdainful (at worst) attitude when it came to veterans.

Consider that it is now commonplace for us to smile at a man or woman in uniform, as we warmly shake hands with him or her. We are quick to say something like “thank you for your service,” knowing that the person we’re looking at might have never been sent into battle and might never in the future.

The “thank you” we receive often reflects that they appreciate what we’ve said to them but don’t want to be told their special simply because of the job they do.

You’ll regularly see local journalism outlets reporting the return home of a veteran; and if that homecoming involves surprising the veteran’s young son or daughter at school, then you really have a dramatic story to tell.

Sure, those stories are predictable. Sure, there is an element of staging to them. But remember that no veteran who came home from Vietnam was treated that way. In fact, they’d have more likely received a “(bleep) you” than a smile. And they never were allowed to show up at their child’s school for a hug.

Credit Mr. Bush for making that happen.

Yes, I know that so much of this appreciation is symbolism and that America has so much more to do to help veterans as they come home. Their physical wounds are easy to see; their mental ones are not. I believe that if we’re going to send them “over there” that we must give them the care they need when they come back over here.

I’ll let all of you argue how well the Bush and Obama administrations did that, and if you think the Trump administration will do better (or worse).