Don’t get me wrong: I like the rhetorical line of attack about how President Obama will negotiate with America-hating jihadist mullahs but has drawn a red line against negotiating with Republicans.
But (you knew there was a “but” coming), aren’t House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor the guys who told us that we had to support military action against Syria because the president had drawn a “red line” on chemical weapons, and because if the president reversed himself after making a bold commitment, this would be a catastrophe for American credibility and security?
At the time, some of us countered that there was an important difference between the president’s credibility and the nation’s credibility. That is, if the president recklessly draws a red line that is against the national interest, it would better for the country for Obama to retreat from the foolish red line than for the nation to rally behind a his recklessness.
What a nutty concept.
Now, I realize many will say the rules are different when we are talking about a red line in international relations versus one in domestic politics. And I even think that is, to some degree, a valid distinction. But I think pundits are kidding themselves if they think normal people compartmentalize a president’s credibility that way. Generally, a president who is reckless is reckless across the board. But happily, his credibility is not our credibility.