Chalk up another embarrassing rebuff for a U.S. President at the Mecca of international socialism, the United Nations.
Barack Obama’s team let it be known that the President would be delighted to meet Iranian President Hasan Rouhani while the two were at the U.N. this past Tuesday. The two could shake hands, smile at each other and pose for an historic photo op. They wouldn’t even have to discuss anything of substance, merely look like they were prepared to get along.
“Thanks, but no thanks” was the insulting Iranian response. At least their rebuff was announced before Obama was left standing alone, with his arm stuck out and a stupid smile on his face.
Guess Obama’s peeps didn’t learn anything from history. Back in 2000, then-President Bill Clinton offered the same opportunity to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, another supposed moderate. Khatami also nixed shaking hands with the President of the United States.
Wouldn’t you think that someone on Obama’s staff would have made sure he and Rouhani would be smiling together for the camera before leaking news about it to the media? This is not only sloppy diplomacy, Mr. President; it’s downright embarrassing incompetence.
Please note that Obama is so eager to negotiate with Iran that he’s even willing to put up with some egg on his face. And Rouhani isn’t the only nasty ruler he’s been willing to make nice with. Heck, we’re even willing to sit down at a conference table with the lunatics who run North Korea.
And don’t forget about all of those cozy chats with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, who has been only too happy to step into the role of negotiator-by-proxy. No doubt Obama is hoping that the world will soon forget all that talk about military strikes, inviolable red lines and the need to see Bashar Assad kicked out of the Syrian presidency.
Is there anyone this President isn’t willing to negotiate with?
Yes, there is one group that is beyond the pale and one issue that Obama won’t discuss under any circumstances. Negotiate with Republicans over the fate of the U.S. economy? Not on your life!
Obama has made it clear he won’t give an inch over his demand that Congress raise the debt ceiling without attaching any conditions to it. No reduction in spending, no promise to balance the budget someday, no give-and-take under any circumstances. Here is the one issue on which he vows there will be absolutely no compromise whatsoever.
The President has the nerve to claim that this is how it has always been, that Congress has never attached non-budget items to legislation raising the debt ceiling. Here’s how he put it last week, when he spoke to the Business Roundtable:
You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt being used to extort a president or a governing party and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and nothing to do with the debt.
His claim, like so many other things he has said with such certainty, is total bunk. Glenn Kessler, the fact-checker for The Washington Post, didn’t have to dig very far to confirm that debt-ceiling legislation has been linked to such disparate causes as campaign-finance reform, Social Security, ending the bombing in Cambodia and voluntary school prayer.
A classic example occurred in 1980, when the House and Senate voted to repeal one of Jimmy Carter’s favored solutions to the energy crisis that existed then. Carter had demanded a fee on imported oil that would have raised the cost of a gallon of gas by 10 cents. Congress said “no way” in an attachment to legislation Carter very much wanted: authorization to borrow even more money he could spend.
When Carter vetoed the measure, the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to override him. The vote was 335-34 in the House and 68-10 in the Senate. So much for Obama’s claim that such legislation was “never seen in the history of the United States.” Kessler rightly gives the president four Pinocchios for his duplicity on this one.
So what could be attached to a new debt-ceiling bill? For starters, how about a one-year delay in Obamacare? Obama has already agreed to a one-year delay for many businesses; how about giving the same break to the rest of us?
Yes, I know. The House has passed a bill to halt all funding for this healthcare monstrosity. But there is no chance that the Senate will agree. And even if by some miracle the bill’s proponents could find five or six Democrats who would vote with them (something I give a 0 percent likelihood of happening), does anyone think there are any circumstances that would persuade Obama to sign it? Not on your life.
Looks like we’ll see another exciting game of Washington playing chicken, folks.
In the meantime, what did you think of Texas senator Ted Cruz’s dramatic, all-night speech on the Senate floor, listing all of the reasons to oppose funding Obamacare?
He talked about a lot more than the Affordable Care Act, of course. He narrated the classic Dr. Seuss book Green Eggs and Ham, described the incredible bravery of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence and even compared conservatives’ efforts today to the rebel alliance in the “Star Wars” films. All in all, the freshman Senator put on quite a show.
Despite some catty remarks from his opponents (Senate Majority Leader Harry Read called the near-filibuster a “massive waste of time”) and much mockery in the mainstream media, I think Cruz scored a lot of points for his cause. The response on Twitter and other social media confirms that opinion. So congratulations to him and the other conservative stalwarts who had the courage to stand with him.
And speaking of Cruz’s fellow Republicans, shame on those who have been trying to stab the Tea Party favorite in the back. The latest example of their despicable behavior came last week. After Chris Wallace announced that Cruz would be interviewed on his “Fox News Sunday” program, the TV host described what happened next:
This has been one of the strangest weeks I’ve ever had in Washington, and I say that because as soon as we listed Ted Cruz as our featured guest this week, I got unsolicited research and questions, not from Democrats, but from top Republicans.
Wallace said the reason for slipping him the negative material was obvious: so he could “hammer Cruz” when he appeared.
Ain’t politics fun?
By this time next week, I expect that some sort of funding for the Federal government will be approved by Congress and signed by the President. It may just be for a few months, but I don’t think the Republican majority in the House will agree to a government shutdown. Not yet. Too bad; if we could control who got sent home and who kept getting a paycheck, it could be the best thing to happen to our country in years.
We all know that Obama and his henchmen would make any shutdown as painful as possible for as many of us as possible — just as the Administration did with sequestration, but a thousand times worse.
But don’t despair. This just one battle in a long-range war, my friends. And there is no doubt we’re getting more warriors on our side every day.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.