Monthly Archives: June 2010

HOW OBAMA BUNGLED THE OIL SPILL: AN INSIDE STORY

By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann

06.28.2010

It’s one thing to say that Obama’s Administration showed its ineptitude and mismanagement in its handling of the Gulf oil spill. It is quite another to grasp the situation up close as I did during a recent visit to Alabama.

According to state disaster relief officials, Alabama conceived a plan – early on – to erect huge booms off shore to shield the approximately 200 miles of their state’s coastline from oil. Rather than install the relatively light and shallow booms in use elsewhere, the state (with assistance from the Coast Guard) canvassed the world and located enough huge, heavy booms – some weighing tons and seven meters high – to guard their coast.

So, Alabama decided on a backup plan. It would buy snare booms to catch the oil as it began to wash up on the beaches.

But…the Fish and Wildlife Administration vetoed the plan saying it would endanger sea turtles that nest on the beaches.

So, Alabama – ever resourceful – decided to hire 400 workers to patrol the beaches in person scooping up oil that had washed ashore.

But…OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Agency) refused to allow them to work more than twenty minutes out of every hour and required an hour long break after forty minutes of work so the cleanup proceeded at a very slow pace.

The short answer is that every agency – each with its own particular bureaucratic agenda – was able to veto each aspect of any plan to fight the spill with the unintended consequence that nothing stopped the oil from destroying hundreds of miles of wetlands, habitats, beaches, fisheries, and recreational facilities.

Where was the president? Why did he not intervene in these and countless other bureaucratic controversies to force a focus on the oil, not on the turtles and other incidental concerns?

According to Alabama Governor Bob Riley, the Administration’s “lack of ability has become transparent” in its handling of the oil spill. He notes that one stellar exception has been Obama aide Valerie Jarrett without whom, he says, nothing whatever would have gotten done.

Eventually, the state stopped listening to federal agencies and just has gone ahead and given funds directly to the local folks fighting the spill rather than paying attention to the directives of the Unified Command. Apparently, there is a world of difference between the competence of the Coast Guard and the superb and efficient regular Navy and military.

Now, the greatest crisis of all looms on the horizon as hurricanes sweep into the Gulf. Should one hit off shore, it will destroy all the booms that have been placed to stop the oil from reaching shore. And there are no more booms anywhere in the world according to Alabama disaster relief officials. “There is no more inventory of booms anywhere in Earth,” one told me in despair.

The political impact of this incompetence has only just begun to be felt. While Administration operatives are flying high after a week in which the president’s ratings rebounded to 49% in Rasmussen after his firing of General McChrystal, the oil is still gushing and the situation is about to worsen.

The obvious fact is that Obama has no executive experience nor do any of his top advisors. Without a clear mandate from the top, needed efforts to salvage the situation are repeatedly stymied by well meaning bureaucrats strictly following the letter of their agency policy and federal law. The result, ironically, of their determined efforts to protect the environment has been the greatest environmental disaster in history. But some turtles are OK!

Obama Finally Accepts Help « Thomas Jefferson Club Blog

Obama Finally Accepts Help

By thomasjeffersonclubblog

It only took 70 days for the Obama administration to finally accept help from other countries regarding the BP oil spill and its cleanup. More than 30 countries and organizations have offered help, but the administration allowed the gushing oil to reach our shores and continue unabated before deciding that outside help would be accepted.

Perhaps the “crisis” of the oil spill had to be politically squeezed before its damage could be addressed. This administration showed how fast they could bail out financial institutions and ram a hastily-written health care bill through Congress, so procrastination on the oil spill seems purposeful. The current efforts to rush an energy bill through Congress certainly seem to indicate that this administration is putting a political agenda ahead of crisis management.

There is, however, another reason this crisis has not been handled more expediently. Obama had absolutely no executive or business experience before becoming president and he has surrounded himself with others who lack business experience. An administration engaged in on-the-job training cannot respond quickly and does not have the executive decision making capability learned in business.

Bush was lambasted for a lack of “situational awareness” after hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and he was personally blamed for a slow response from FEMA and local government officials. That delay of a few days is a sharp contrast with Obama’s 70-day delay in accepting much needed assistance in the massive clean-up efforts in the Gulf.

Obama has been displaying “political awareness” rather than “situational awareness” because political maneuvering is the only experience he has. If he had experience in any executive position, he would have at least immediately called experts from around the world to the White House for a conference on how best to handle the oil spill. Instead, he waited 70 days to even accept help from those who were offering it.

Does anyone still believe that experience isn’t necessary?

David J. Hentosh

via Obama Finally Accepts Help « Thomas Jefferson Club Blog.

An open letter from actor Jon Voight to President Obama:

June 22, 2010

President Obama:

You will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when you said that you would defend Israel, the only Democratic state in the Middle East, against all their enemies. You have done just the opposite. You have propagandized Israel, until they look like they are everyone’s enemy — and it has resonated throughout the world. You are putting Israel in harm’s way, and you have promoted anti-Semitism throughout the world.

You have brought this to a people who have given the world the Ten Commandments and most laws we live by today. The Jewish people have given the world our greatest scientists and philosophers, and the cures for many diseases, and now you play a very dangerous game so you can look like a true martyr to what you see and say are the underdogs. But the underdogs you defend are murderers and criminals who want Israel eradicated.

You have brought to Arizona a civil war, once again defending the criminals and illegals, creating a meltdown for good, loyal, law-abiding citizens. Your destruction of this country may never be remedied, and we may never recover. I pray to God you stop, and I hope the people in this great country realize your agenda is not for the betterment of mankind, but for the betterment of your politics.

With heartfelt and deep concern for America and Israel,

Jon Voight

DOJ Attorney Resigns Over Dismissal of Philadelphia Black Panther Intimidation Case

By thomasjeffersonclubblog

Damning editorial by a DOJ attorney who resigned over the dismissed Black Panther intimidation in Philadelphia during the 2008 election. By J. Christian Adams in The Washington Times.

On the day President Obama was elected, armed men wearing the black berets and jackboots of the New Black Panther Party were stationed at the entrance to a polling place in Philadelphia. They brandished a weapon and intimidated voters and poll watchers. After the election, the Justice Department brought a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and those armed thugs. I and other Justice attorneys diligently pursued the case and obtained an entry of default after the defendants ignored the charges. Before a final judgment could be entered in May 2009, our superiors ordered us to dismiss the case.

The New Black Panther case was the simplest and most obvious violation of federal law I saw in my Justice Department career. Because of the corrupt nature of the dismissal, statements falsely characterizing the case and, most of all, indefensible orders for the career attorneys not to comply with lawful subpoenas investigating the dismissal, this month I resigned my position as a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney.

Read the rest here: Inside the Black Panther Case: Anger, Ignorance, and Lies

Obama in Crisis

By on 6.25.10 @ 6:09AM

Crisis exploitation has been President Obama’s chief political strategy from Day 1.

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told the Wall Street Journal in November 2008, before the administration had even entered the White House. “Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.”

But what about a crisis that provides no political opportunities?

This administration is brilliant at using a perceived crisis to advance pre-existing political goals. There’s a recession? Expand government, impose new regulations, dole out money to favored groups, and say the universal health care proposal is really a “jobs bill.” People don’t see the need to jump to universal care immediately? Tell stories of individuals confronted with personal health care catastrophes and claim that only the health care bill can solve them. Pass this bill now or the cancer patient gets it!

The administration showed us how to exploit crises: Propose swift action — any action — and structure proposed remedies so their success or failure cannot be measured in real time, then accuse critics of supporting the status quo.

Patience, Obama repeatedly said. Patience. Fixing the enormous mistakes of the Bush years would take time. There would be no quick fix. Don’t look for immediate results, keep gazing into the horizon. Here, I’ll show you how, just tilt your head this way, slightly squint your eyes… there, now hold that position for the next three years.

Then, without warning, a pocket of methane gas exploded on an oil rig roughly 50 miles offshore. Suddenly we had a crisis that demanded a real-time solution, not a promise of rewards to be reaped after the next election.

The president was paralyzed. He could not talk the oil back into the well. He could not stop the leak by convincing Congress to pass a bill that would go into effect four years from now. A president whose sole skill set is confined entirely to the world of politics found himself just about impotent to deal with this emergency.

“The president doesn’t get down here in the middle of this…. I have no idea of why they didn’t seize this thing,” James Carville said on ABC’s Good Morning America on May 26, more than a month after the explosion. “I have no idea of why their attitude was so hands off here.”

That’s the same complaint Gen. Stanley McChrystal made to aides about President Obama’s handling of Afghanistan, according to the Rolling Stone piece that got McChrystal fired. “”Here’s the guy who’s going to run his f***ing war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed,” an unidentified aide reportedly said.

Barack Obama being hands-off and disengaged? Who would have thought?

We have a president who in April gave a 17-minute, 2,500-word answer to a woman’s question about taxes in the health care bill, but who cannot come up with an appropriate response to an oil spill. The reason is easy enough to see. One cannot spin an oil spill. One simply has to act.

Obama seems to have internalized an axiom from the Bhagavad Gita: “The wise man never initiates any action.” If nothing else, Obama imagines himself a wise man. There is nothing he can’t give a 17-minute answer to. But his attempts to portray himself as a man of action, necessary for anyone running for president of the United States, have been comical.

Asked during a 2007 South Carolina debate how he’d respond to a terrorist attack, he said, “The first thing we’d have to do is make sure that we’ve got an effective emergency response.” Hillary Clinton, not exactly a paragon of swift-acting machismo, showed him the right answer: “If we are attacked and we can determine who was behind that attack, and if there were nations that supported or gave material aid to those who attacked us, I believe we should quickly respond.”

When Obama said on Good Morning America that he was looking for an ass to kick, it made him look weaker, not stronger. He just isn’t the ass-kicking sort of guy. So he did what he knows how to do. He gave a speech. It was so awful, even the left panned it. Instead of acting to end the crisis, the president tried to exploit it. A huge oil spill? Use it to hype cap-and-trade! That’s not a response, that’s a sales pitch.

Americans put too much faith in the presidency. The federal government’s CEO is not a superman who can command the resources of the nation to fix any problem that might arise. But it is not unreasonable to expect him to take necessary and proper action to solve certain problems. The president cannot plug a leaking oil well that sits a mile under the Gulf of Mexico. But a good one would have the organizational and managerial skills to quickly set a swift and appropriate federal response in motion. Instead, this president uses the spill as the platform from which to launch a renewed appeal for the same old energy regulations he has been hawking for years.

Obama’s reaction to the Gulf oil spill has been so awful because he is incapable of transitioning from politician to manager. He sees the world only in terms of political opportunities. A crisis that requires action? Sorry, that’s not this president’s bag, baby.

Andrew Cline is editorial page editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Senators warn Obama: “No Amnesty by Presidential Fiat”

From World Net Daily:

Amid buzz that President Obama may be seeking to parole or “defer action” on millions of illegal aliens in the U.S., eight Republican senators are warning the president not to advance any such plan.

“There’s a lot we can agree on when it comes to dealing with the immigration problems in the United States, but this appears to be amnesty in disguise, and is simply an attempt to circumvent Congress,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement.

Grassley and Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; David Vitter, R-La.; Jim Bunning, R-Ky.; James Inhofe, R-Okla.; Thad Cochran, R-Miss.; and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., signed a letter to the president dated June 21.

The Thugs in the White House Keeping Potential Crime Under Wraps!

GOP fails in effort to get documents on alleged job offers

Posted: 06/24/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT

Updated: 06/24/2010 08:17:28 AM MDT

>WASHINGTON — House Republicans failed in a push Wednesday to force the release of White House documents related to potential job offers made to two Democratic Senate primary challengers, Andrew Romanoff in Colorado and Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania.

The Resolution of Inquiry failed on a party-line vote in the House Judiciary Committee, 15-12, leaving Republicans with a diminishing set of options as they try to force a wider investigation into White House efforts to entice Democratic challengers out of two key Senate races.

In the debate before the vote, Democrats insisted administration officials have already addressed the issues sufficiently and pointed to more pressing problems of concern to voters, including the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

But Republicans insisted there are still unanswered questions in both cases.

They want to know whether the White House Counsel’s Office signed off on job discussions between White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and Romanoff that took place the day after the former Colorado House Speaker filed paperwork to run against Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet.

Republicans say the contact is potentially a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal government employees from engaging in political activity while on the job, defined as activity directed at the election or defeat of a candidate.

In the Sestak case, Republicans say they want to know whether former President Bill Clinton was used as an intermediary in offering Sestak a high-profile but unpaid position because a more direct approach had been already ruled out as a potential violation of the federal law.

“That would show right there the White House was very cognizant of the gray line they were toeing and tried to get around it,” said Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who sits on the Judiciary Committee.

“If everything was aboveboard and nothing inappropriate happened, then why oppose the release of additional information?” Bardella said.

Republicans have been frustrated in attempts to keep the issue in front of voters, and the failed committee vote Wednesday scratches one more option off the list.

The party is still hoping for an investigation by the Office of Special Counsel, which is in charge of enforcing the Hatch Act, a violation of which can lead to the removal of federal employees from their jobs.

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., sits on the House Judiciary Committee but left before the vote. Polis spokeswoman Lara Cottingham said her boss had to attend a session of the Rules Committee and that he was opposed to the GOP amendment.

Obama: The Boy Who Would Be a Man

Posted 06/24/2010 ET

Barack Obama is, in the words of Rush Limbaugh, a “man-child.” He is a boy who would be a man, a weakling who wants to look strong, and an inexperienced politician who wants so much to be a venerated leader.

To the chagrin of our nation, he is also our President: a fact that sane people, including many who inexplicably voted for Obama, are starting to regret more and more as time goes by.

It was in December 2006, long before Obama secured the Democrat presidential nomination, that the American public got their first glimpse at the man-child’s weaknesses. He had just finished speaking in Manchester, N.H., to a gathering of Democratic Party members, when he took the occasion to “put [Maureen Dowd] on notice” for making fun of his ears.

Two months earlier, Dowd had simply commented on what everyone with two eyes had noticed about the man-child: namely, that his “ears stick out.” And upon seeing Dowd in Manchester, Obama made it a point to inform her that his ears were off limits for the press:
“I was teased relentlessly when I was a kid about my big ears.”

When news of this broke, common-sense voices around the nation immediately began to ask how a man who couldn’t handle criticism about his anatomy was ever going to handle fighting a war on terror against Islamofascists?

Since then, the answer has been crystal clear: The man-child is not going to handle the war on terror very well at all. The Los Angeles Times reported that after just ten weeks in office, the Obama Administration declared “the global war on terror…over, gone, kaput, finito.” Not that it was really over then, anymore than it is over now: rather, the man-child simply made it clear that we weren’t supposed to use the phrase “war on terror” anymore.
The refusal to call terror “terror” was recently complimented by the announcement that the administration will “no longer make references to radical Islamic extremism or jihad.”

There was no mention as to whether references can still be made about the fact that those guys who live in caves in the Middle East are fond of exploding car bombs, blowing up airliners, and cutting off the heads of infidels for religious reasons.

So instead of fighting to win, the man-child has taken Neville Chamberlain’s failing approach of appeasing to win. It is an approach that never has worked and never will.

Then there’s the economy that Obama was going to fix. He campaigned on spreading the wealth and instead has spread unemployment. In other words, he promised “hope” and “change,” yet his policies have put many in a position of hoping they have enough change in their pockets to get through the day.

As the bloggers at The Strong Conservative put it: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that Obama has no idea what he’s doing.”

The citizens around the Gulf Coast know these things better than anyone, as they watch not only their scenic beaches but their very livelihoods drown in oil.

It’s mindboggling to think that the man-child’s ineptitude is so great that a spill which began in mid-April still poses a real and incalculable danger to state economies around the Gulf of Mexico in June and far beyond. The incompetence behind this growing disaster is only highlighted by the fact that many countries offered their expertise in oil-spill cleanup within three days of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, yet the boy who would be a man declined the help.

Who knows, maybe one of the foreigners on the oil-spill cleanup crews made fun of Obama’s ears. Or maybe one of them actually took the war on terror seriously. Or maybe one of them is actually on record mocking the man-child’s floundering promises of “hope” and “change.”

Odds are the boy who would be a man just assumed he had everything under control.

Therefore he told them “no thanks,” then went out to play a few (dozen) rounds of golf while hard working Americans in Louisiana and elsewhere continued efforts to contain the oil before it reaches their shores.

Either the way the point is clear: Jonah Goldberg is right in saying, “the President is in over his head.”

HUMAN EVENTS columnist A.W.R. Hawkins holds a Ph.D. in U.S. Military History from Texas Tech University. He will be a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal during the summer of 2010.

MacArthur Defeats Truman: The Real McChrystal Message

FROM THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR:

By on 6.24.10 @ 6:08AM

Harry Truman was no dove.

But Douglas MacArthur made him look like one.

And the political consequences for Democrats of Truman’s legendary dismissal of the iconic hero of World War II — at the height of the Korean War — were both dramatic and long-lasting. In fact, those consequences are part of the political baggage of the American left — and the Obama administration — to this day. It is a history that stirs yet again with the decision of President Obama to fire General Stanley McChrystal in the wake of the now infamous Rolling Stone interview with the General and his aides.

First, the history.

World War II was over, and the world celebrated. Within a month of Truman’s decision to drop two atomic bombs — the brand new weapon of the day — on Japan, the Japanese had finally yielded. General Douglas MacArthur, the hero of the Pacific Theater, had accepted the Japanese surrender onboard the battleship USS Missouri.

MacArthur was quickly installed as, in effect, the American Shogun of Japan in the aftermath of the war. Working effectively to keep the Japanese tradition of the Emperor yet melding it with a solid constitutional underpinning of democracy, the General played no small role in helping the Japanese people recover and thrive as the Asian democracy they have been ever since.

Yet while MacArthur was busy reconstructing Japan, Truman was coming to the recognition that the Soviet Union was turning from an American ally against Hitler to its central dream of imposing a Marxist-Leninist dictatorship on the world. The Cold War had begun.

Americans, still celebrating and trying to resume the joys of a normal civilian life, were finding themselves increasingly caught up in a bewildering if not frightening new world they simply hadn’t seen coming. It wasn’t the peace they thought they had won.

Startling accusations flew along with a host of new names.

Gone were FDR and the bulk of the household names that had filled the newspapers, radio newscasts and newsreels since 1932. In their place were tumultuous allegations of Communist spies in the government, secretly salted throughout the Roosevelt and now Truman administrations. A young California Congressman named Richard Nixon burst on the scene helping a Time magazine editor named Whittaker Chambers expose an ex-FDR aide named Alger Hiss as a Communist spy. A Wisconsin veteran styling himself “Tail-Gunner Joe” McCarthy was elected to the U.S. Senate in the 1946 elections and soon was making accusations of communists in government. Abroad, the United States was finding itself in one crisis after another with Communism. Berlin was blockaded, Greece was under assault, Mao Tse-tung toppled the Chinese government. Winston Churchill pronounced the reality of what he called “The Iron Curtain.” The Russians — with the help of American spies — had gotten their hands on The Bomb.

And inside the Democratic Party an at-first almost invisible fissure began to widen and show itself, separating Truman from self-described left-wing “progressives” as represented by his predecessor as FDR’s vice president, Henry Wallace. The dividing line? How to deal with the Soviet Union and its increasingly relentless drive to remake the world — by murderous force — in the Communist image of Marx and Lenin.

In this new era, on June 25, 1950, Communist North Korea invaded South Korea, stunning both Truman and the world. No slouch in taking action, Truman quickly arranged for the new United Nations — a decision from which the Soviets had deliberately absented themselves — to call for a police action and send member country troops to South Korea. MacArthur, the hero of World War II who had spent much of his career in Asia, was called from Japan to take command.

Which, in his usual and famously imperious fashion, he did. In MacArthur’s world Truman, while president, was little more than the failed haberdasher and crass World War I artillery captain that was the caricature of Truman’s political enemies. The notion that fate would have Truman giving orders to MacArthur simultaneously amused and infuriated.

There were increasing clashes between the two. Most behind the scenes, but increasingly some leaking into the media of the day. Even more irritatingly to Truman — and, in retrospect a sign of the historic division to come — MacArthur was picking up allies among prominent Republican conservatives in Congress.

In particular, the once isolationist-leaning GOP of the 1930s was now focusing on the new Communist threat. And what it perceived as the growing problem internal to the Democrats, as exemplified by Henry Wallace and his “progressives.” The problem? Weakness towards Communism, a philosophy that was, with increasing clarity, seen as a sworn enemy of America, freedom and democracy. A re-start of the war just ended by other means. In the vernacular of a day that was belatedly yet correctly sensitive to the rise of Hitler — Republicans saw this as appeasement. Appeasement of Communism. And this time, the GOP had no intention of sitting on the sidelines as many felt it had during Hitler’s rise to power and war.

So there was strong support for MacArthur’s sentiments as he expressed them in a January 1951 interview with the New York Times, an interview that had this headline:

M’Arthur, Near 71, Bitter Over Reds:
Says He is ready to Fight Them the Rest of His Life.

Read a MacArthur quote at the beginning of the story:

“Democracy — the American way of life — is the most wonderful thing we have and it is worth fighting for when it is threatened.”

Four months later, with Truman fed up over the increasingly public nature of MacArthur’s comments, the condescension he felt his general was showing the presidency and the general’s tendency to freelance diplomacy that went against White House policy, Truman astonished the world.

He fired MacArthur.

At that moment — and more importantly for the rest of the almost half-century duration of the Cold War and now extending into the War on Terror — the template of a central conflict between the Left and Right, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives began to harden.

The Left was perceived as favoring appeasement or negotiation or acceptance of enemies sworn to destroy America. The Progressive Party, Henry Wallace’s soapbox, quickly issued a statement saying that firing MacArthur “makes a profound re-direction to peace possible.” Within days the party that symbolized the ideas that would come to dominate the American Left over the next seven decades — right up until today — was calling a meeting “to chart a course” for “peace” — a peace that was widely interpreted by millions of Americans as appeasement, pacifism, or worse. The Right, on the other hand — anticipating Ronald Reagan by four decades — favored outright victory over the Soviet Union and Communism itself. Period.

The impact of MacArthur’s firing was immediate, a political earthquake.

In California Truman was hung in effigy. The Los Angeles City Council adjourned, furious at it what it called “the political assassination” of General MacArthur. Cars suddenly appeared on city streets carrying homemade banners demanding “Oust President Truman.” Newspapers across the country were flooded with calls of protest. The American Legion, in post-World War II America some four million members strong, was outraged. Incongruously, the Chicago Board of Trade reported that prices for wheat, corn, rye and oats were plunging as a result of the firing. The President’s poll numbers tumbled, finally bottoming on the eve of the 1952 election at 22%.

MacArthur returned, fired, as the conquering hero. Half a million people cheered him on his arrival in San Francisco. Over a million New Yorkers turned out just to see MacArthur ride from Idlewild (now JFK) Airport to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. Five million turned out for New York’s ticker-tape parade honoring MacArthur, with a record 2,850 tons of paper littering the city afterwards. There was a famous address to a cheering Congress and the memorable line that “Old Soldiers never die, they just fade away.”

That is, effectively, what did happen — to MacArthur. History records that MacArthur’s potential presidential candidacy fizzled. It is commonly held today that Truman did the correct thing in asserting his rights as commander-in-chief.

BUT THERE WAS SOMETHING ELSE, a very big political something else, that the media and historians of today always miss about that famous showdown between MacArthur and Truman.

It was a something else so politically potent it would eventually explode the image of Democrats as fearless opponents of American enemies. The once seemingly invincible image created by FDR’s wartime leadership in the greatest war of all time — the fight against Hitler and the Japanese that was World War II — was eviscerated.

MacArthur’s refusal to bend the knee to Communism drew a vividly bright line between the American Left and Right that exists to this day. Damaged in the moment was the perception of Truman’s own adamant opposition to Communism, and his emergence as America’s first hard-as-nails anti-Communist Cold War president. Truman’s appointment of another heroic World War II general, Mark Clark — the David Petraeus of his day — to take MacArthur’s place in Korea ,did nothing to halt the sea-change in American politics that the MacArthur removal signaled.

The steady decades-long decline of the once immutable idea of Democrats as the party of national security had begun. Drop-by-drop, like an acid eating away at metal, the MacArthur firing in retrospect was a turning point, putting the American Left constantly on the political defensive when it came to national security issues.

The first political blow came almost immediately. In November of 1952, Americans rejected Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson, the Democrats’ nominee to replace the by now highly unpopular Truman. In a sign of things to come, they elected retired General Dwight D. Eisenhower — MacArthur’s one-time aide and the commander of D-Day — as president, along with a GOP House and Senate. Eisenhower ran as the anti-Communist’s anti-Communist, selecting the by now famously anti-Communist Senator Richard Nixon as his running mate.

Over and over and over again in the succeeding years, the question of how to deal with America’s Cold War enemies — the Soviet Union, the Communist Chinese, the Koreans, the Vietnamese, Eastern Europe, Berlin, Cuba and Communists in Latin America repeatedly surfaced the idea first writ large by the MacArthur firing: that Democrats could not be trusted with national security. Over time, the Truman Democrats — and their hardline successors JFK and Lyndon Johnson — would lose control of their party to the forces supporting Truman’s old intra-party foe, the pacifist-leaning ex-Vice President Henry Wallace. Their leader: South Dakota Senator George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic nominee who lost a 49-state blowout to Nixon but in the process began the finalizing of the party’s image as one of appeasement and military weakness.

WHY IS ALL OF THIS important politically today? Because the Rolling Stone article shows in vivid detail that the sentiments that first surfaced in the MacArthur firing are still alive, well and exceptionally powerful today in America’s fight against Islamic fascism. The banning of the latter phrase by an Obama administration that deems it politically incorrect is in itself a symbol of the politics launched by the MacArthur firing. Doubtless that kind of political correctness is one source of the derision that was carelessly expressed by McChrystal’s aides to Rolling Stone.

General Stanley McChrystal was wrong to be giving time to discuss his views with Rolling Stone, his aides unimaginably stupid to be so free with a reporter for a magazine with a considerable anti-war reputation. Ironically, the politics of Rolling Stone itself — indeed the magazine’s very existence — are a legacy of the anti-war sentiments that were first bubbling with progressives during the time of MacArthur’s firing.

Without doubt, the essence of what McChrystal so obviously believes — that the answer to al Qaeda is victory, not appeasement or negotiation — is what was once believed by those millions who thronged the streets of San Francisco and New York to cheer Douglas MacArthur. This is the political view that propelled the electoral careers of presidents who sided with MacArthur’s views in one form or another throughout the Cold War, from Eisenhower to George H.W. Bush. It has elected literally hundreds of senators and congressman.

From 1952 on through to the last Cold War election in 1988, the victorious candidate for the presidency was always the one perceived as the more MacArthur-like, which is to say an unrelenting foe of the Soviet Union and its various Communist allies. At a minimum the candidate had to be at least as tough as the other guy. Anything less and the candidate was simply un-electable. Even Jimmy Carter passed that test in 1976, campaigning as a tough ex-Navy officer with scorn for Gerald Ford’s supposed soft views on the Communist domination of Eastern Europe. When events proved otherwise after his election, Carter was out in an Eisenhower-esque landslide for Ronald Reagan. In addition to Carter’s failure in 1980 the MacArthur test was failed successively by Democrats Stevenson (twice), Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale and Dukakis.

Make no mistake.

The firing of General McChrystal — all constitutionally correct — will be hailed in some quarters for that reason.

But what is being missed is the real political message that came through loud and clear in the Rolling Stone McCrystal article.

The message?

That the American military thinks the Obama team is not up to the job of defeating Al Qaeda and winning a war which it is even terrified of calling by name. That those on the front line in a life-and-death struggle with a serious enemy think the President a wimp, the Vice President a blowhard, the national security adviser a “clown,” Ambassador Richard Holbrooke a man consumed by the need for relevance, and that the French act like…well…the French.

The spirit of Douglas MacArthur and his fury at what he perceived as a weakness in fighting Communism resonates through every last word of McChrystal and his impolitic aides. In fact, McCrystal himself, if you read the actual article, is extraordinarily reticent. But combined with the blunt, caustic sentiments of his aides, there is no doubt of what the troops think of the commander-in-chief and his team.

Yes, the history books give Truman high marks for firing MacArthur.

But ever after that dismissal Americans, beginning with the very next election, awarded the vast majority of political prizes of power and influence to those who echoed the heart of MacArthur’s message. Elections were won by those who, in word if not in deed, reminded them of the 71-year-old general’s headline vow: “to spend the rest of his life fighting communism.”

Yesterday, Barack Obama fired General Stanley McChrystal. Obama acolytes will hail him as another Harry Truman. Forgetting one very, very important political point at Obama’s peril. For decades to come after that fateful day in April of 1951, as winning and losing candidates came and went, there was always one very significant constant in the political results.

MacArthur always defeated Truman.

Letter to the Editor

Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author.

Cancelled: There Will Be No Congressional Budget This Year | Republican Leader John Boehner | republicanleader.house.gov

Cancelled: There Will Be No Congressional Budget This Year | Republican Leader John Boehner | republicanleader.house.gov.