Monday, October 15, 2012

Politicization: For Me But Not For Thee

It’s like a sinner finding religion.

The Obama campaign has just discovered that it's bad to politicize foreign policy.

The administration would much prefer that no one speak about its foreign policy record. 

After all, it distracts from discussion about Obama’s stellar economic record.

The please-don’t-politicize-Benghazi message is being sent in the name of a candidate who rose to national prominence by politicizing a WAR.

And, let’s not forget, our smug, supercilious vice president is so opposed to politicizing foreign policy that he sat there on national television last week and lied about having voted for the Iraq War.

Never let a fact get in the way of a good narrative... it should be the Obama campaign slogan.

The modern Democratic Party has been politicizing foreign policy, especially wars, for decades now. During the Vietnam War, when Democrats had to choose between supporting the war effort and politicizing the war, their guilty conscience made them politicize.

It worked so well, as a political strategy, that the instant the Iraq War turned bad, the Democrats rushed, not to the barricades to shore up the national mood, but to the microphones to intone, over and over and over again: Bush lied.

They may have voted for the war; but, presumably, they had all been suckered by that great thinker, George W. Bush.

People who have done nothing but politicize foreign policy are not well placed to complain if their management of foreign policy becomes an issue in a campaign.

Now, the Obama campaign has found support in the person of one Jan Stevens, father of slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

One sympathizes with a grieving father. Yet, the death of the American ambassador is not like the death of an average citizen. Chris Stevens’ death belongs to American history. In particular, it belongs to the foreign policy record of the Obama administration.

Unfortunately, Stevens’ father’s statement is filled with admiration for Secretary of State Clinton, the person who was responsible for ensuring the ambassador’s security. Isn't that another way of politicizing the event?

In its effort to limit the political damage from the assassination of Ambassador Stevens the best the Obama administration could do, at first, was to call it bad film criticism.

Beyond the fact that this is grossly insulting to the memory of a man who had died in a terrorist attack, it also revealed, yet again, an administration that is compulsively drawn to bow down to the delicate sensibilities and explicit threats coming from Islamist radicals.

Saying what it really was and admitting that Islamist terrorists had perpetrated it would contradict the administration’s party line: namely, that if you do not call Islamist terrorism by its name it will go away.

Mark Steyn noted this weekend that the administration immediately spun the story to promote its own narrative of events and its own narrative of foreign policy success in Libya.

In Steyn’s words:

But, alas, it was her boss who chose to "politicize" a security fiasco and national humiliation in Benghazi. At 8.30 p.m., when Ambassador Stevens strolled outside the gate and bid his Turkish guest good night, the streets were calm and quiet. At 9.40 p.m., an armed assault on the compound began, well-planned and executed by men not only armed with mortars but capable of firing them to lethal purpose – a rare combination among the excitable mobs of the Middle East. There was no demonstration against an Islamophobic movie that just got a little out of hand. Indeed, there was no movie protest at all. Instead, a U.S. consulate was destroyed and four of its personnel were murdered in one of the most sophisticated military attacks ever launched at a diplomatic facility.

Steyn explains how craftily the death of Chris Stevens was politicized, and thus dishonored:

Given that Obama and Secretary Clinton refer to Stevens pneumatically as "Chris," as if they've known him since third grade, why would they dishonor the sacrifice of their close personal friend by peddling an utterly false narrative as to why he died? You want "politicization"? Secretary Clinton linked the YouTube video to the murder of her colleagues even as the four caskets lay alongside her at Andrews Air Force Base – even though she had known for days that it had nothing to do with it. It's weird enough that politicians now give campaign speeches to returning coffins. But to conscript your "friend's" corpse as a straight man for some third-rate electoral opportunism is surely as shriveled and worthless as "politicization" gets.

One appreciates that Jan Stevens does not want his son’s death to become an issue in the campaign. No one approves of exploiting a private and personal tragedy for political purposes.

However, the predicate would more accurately describe what the pro-Obama PAC, Priorities USA Action, did with the death of Ranae Soptic.

Ranae Soptic’s husband Joe had worked at a steel plant that was taken over and closed by Bain Capital.

According to the pro-Obama PAC, when Bain Capital closed the plant, Joe and Ranae Soptic lost their health insurance. If she had had health insurance she would have had earlier treatment for her cancer and might be alive today.  looked over the ad’s assertions and found most of them to be inaccurate or misleading. Link here.

A sample:

Steelworker Joe Soptic’s wife, Ranae, died in 2006 — five years after the plant closed.

She didn’t lose coverage when the plant closed. Mr. Soptic told CNN that she lost her own employer-sponsored coverage a year or two later. She had no coverage after that.

And as we’ve reported before, when the plant closed Romney was running the 2002 Winter Olympics.

How many people were deeply offended that a pro-Obama PAC would politicize the death of an everyday American citizen? And how many were offended that the PAC resorted to lies and distortions in order to slander Mitt Romney?


Sam L. said...

I like the fact-checkers. I see that every fact they find, they toss away.

Anonymous said...

In the pro-gun world, we call this "dancing in the victims' blood."