The Corner

Obama Distilled

I’d like to cite one little passage from Obama’s State of the Union address. To me, it distills the man. First, some prelude.

There is a bill in the Senate, sponsored by Mark Kirk, the Illinois Republican, and Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat. It would impose new sanctions on Iran if Iran fails to conclude a nuclear agreement by the deadline: June 30. Obama has vowed to veto the bill (of course).

At a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats, he said he understood the situation of people like Menendez: They were facing pressure from “donors.” To this, Menendez took “personal offense.” That’s what he told Obama. His position on Iran, said Menendez, stemmed from his understanding of that country and the world, not from any pressure applied by “donors.”

Some of us wondered, “Why does Obama think that opposition to his Iran policy is based on ‘donors’? Is opposition to his Cuba policy based on donors? His Russia policy? His anything policy? Why this one area of Iran?”

Hmmm … Does it have anything to do with “rhymes with ‘choose,’” as Rick Brookhiser would say?

Anyway, I now get to the State of the Union address. Obama said that he would veto any new sanctions bill that “threatens to undo” his “progress.” Then he said, “The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom.”

So, you see? Support for sanctions — in the event of failed talks — equals support for war. Sanctions-supporter equals war-supporter.

That is untrue. And not a very nice thing to assert. And so, so Obama. Absolutely typical. Perfectly Obama.

And he’s right: The people elected him twice. Great.

P.S. His sentence — obnoxious as it was — would have been better with the “only” in the right place. Should have been, “The American people expect us to go to war only as a last resort …”

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