3/24/2009

Fareed Zakaria, Moderate

Timing is everything. In the Age of the Obamessiah, a mild manner coupled with a third world visage are about all it takes to pass off liberal clich├ęs as received wisdom. Having been told by a liberal friend how moderate Fareed Zakaria is, I took a gander at his column in the March 23 edition of Newsweek and found a stew of reflexive Bush-bashing and Obama cheerleading, for example:

“Mainstream commentators almost unanimously agreed the Bush years had been marked by arrogance and incompetence.” Well, if that’s what mainstream commentators almost unanimously agree upon, then I guess that settles it. It’s also true that white supremacists almost unanimously agree that all Jews are scheming, clannish and rapacious.

About arrogance and incompetence, it strikes me, given the travails of the new administration, in the space of 60 days – including the several nominee vetting screw-ups; Reid/Durbin’s (with Obama’s[i] spoken support) flouting the Constitution by claiming Congress had the right to deny Roland Burris a seat; insults delivered to the British Prime Minister and President of Brazil; Hillary Clinton’s misplaced and bungled attempt at humor with the Russian Foreign Minister (and she was supposed to be the adult in the room); Obama’s default on his promise to make all legislation available to the public (with time to review) before a vote is taken, his promise to purge legislative earmarks, and his promise to purge lobbyists from administration positions; the AIG bonus fiasco; the gratuitous insult of every Caucasian citizen of the United States by the Attorney General of the United States; the rudderless Dept. of Treasury; the administration’s instigating a trade war with Mexico in the process of flouting our NAFTA obligations and paying off the Teamsters Union, by prohibiting border entry to 97 Mexican trucks (that happen to have a superior safety record to that of the U.S. carriers); the discovery (by the President) of a new financial metric, the “profits and earnings” ratio; Biden clueless regarding the “website number” of the TARP over which he had, with great fanfare, been given oversight responsibility; Obama’s inability to appear in public without a teleprompter at hand; false demurrals on signing statements; the (withdrawn) Charles Freeman appointment to head the NIC; the painfully embarrassing “Special Olympics” gaffe, the DOA trial balloon regarding moving veterans’ healthcare to private insurance plans (in a characteristically shameless contradiction of the administration’s, and let’s not forget the First Lady’s, solemn promises to “keep faith” with military families); and the incessant excuse-making and whining about George Bush, etc., etc. – if I were Fareed Zakaria, I would be a good deal more circumspect about slinging the “incompetence” arrow at Bush. Governing is a world apart from campaigning, and I would think that would have dawned on the likes of Fareed Zakaria by now and just maybe have earned George Bush a shred of retrospective respect in Fareed’s eyes – but apparently that headline is “too good to check”.

“There was hope that President Obama would abandon some of his predecessor's rigid ideological stances.” About those rigid ideological stances, this March 2008 WSJ editorial provides a convenient survey of some of George Bush’s “rigid ideological stances” – itself a liberal urban legend (while we’re at it, perhaps Fareed can explain how Obama’s rush to a several trillion dollar deficit in the service of a massive and unprecedented expansion of government comports with anyone’s definition of ideological flexibility and accommodation – please).

“He gave his first interview as president to an Arab network and spoke of the importance of respect when dealing with the Muslim world—a gesture that won him rave reviews from normally hostile Arab journalists and politicians.” Within days of the 9/11 attacks Bush traveled to a Washington D.C. mosque and publicly acknowledged Islam as a religion of peace. Bush’s close confidant, Karen Hughes, was brought out of retirement to tour Arab capitals (in a head scarf of course) to make nice to those leaders. The interview to which Fareed refers was a distasteful apology tour, by a President whose nation’s armed forces have gone to the defense of besieged Muslim populations three times in the last 18 years, deposed two tyrannical regimes, giving those oppressed peoples the opportunity to build a system of their choosing, and undertook numerous humanitarian missions. As well, among those with whom Fareed seems eager to curry favor are many who danced in the streets on 9/11. Only in the “moderate” precincts which Fareed occupies is it a given that the onus is on the U.S. to mollify each and every Arab journalist, politician and tinhorn mullah who happens to be pissed at us. (Aren’t they all?)

Fareed does not fail to trot out the most shopworn liberal jibe of all — “Ah, if we just kept in place all those Bush-era policies that were working so well.” I guess by my lights seven plus years of a successful defense of the homeland by George Bush, on the heels of seven years of neglect by Clinton[ii] culminating in the 9/11 attacks, is not a record of which I would be so quick to speak so derisively.

If Fareed chooses to spend all his time talking to people who agree with him, that’s his privilege – but, if not for those Bush-era policies that followed in the wake of those Clinton-era policies that worked out so well, chances are Fareed would be spending less time reprising liberal dogma and, with the rest of us, spending a lot more time (five times a day to be precise) bowing to Mecca.


[i] That would be the former Professor of Constitutional Law Barack Obama.
[ii] Michael Scheuer, head of the CIA bin Laden unit in the mid-90’s, and a strident critic of Bush’s policies, has stated many times that Clinton failed to take advantage of any of ten opportunities to kill or capture bin Laden.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Aug. 6, 2001 President’s Daily Brief contained the article “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US.” According to Ron Suskind’s The One-Percent Doctrine, the president reacted by telling the CIA briefer, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now.”