Honestly, if this is as "nasty" as it’s going to get this election season, this is going to be a cakewalk for the Democrats, because in this exchange, there is no "there" there…
The question at Monday night’s Democratic debate was straight forward: Should the next president of the United States sit down,without preconditions, with the leaders of Cuba, Iran, Syria, Venezuela and North Korea during his or her first year in office, in an effort to bridge the sharp divisions between those countries and the United States?
Sen. Barack Obama said yes. Hillary Clinton said no. And those responses set off a tempest Tuesday between their two campaigns that later escalated into some pointed comments from the candidates themselves in interviews with an Iowa newspaper.
“I thought it was irresponsible and, frankly, naive to say that he
would commit to meeting with Chavez and Castro within the first year,”
Clinton told the Quad City Times, referring to the Venezuelan and Cuba
leaders. “I think Senator Obama gave an answer that I believe he’s
But if Obama had regrets, they weren’t evident in an interview he
later gave the same newspaper, in which he called the episode “a nice
fabricated controversy” and used some of his strongest language to date
in criticizing Clinton’s vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq.
“I do think it speaks to a larger point, which is if you want to
talk about irresponsibility and naivete, look at her vote to authorize
George Bush to send our troops into Iraq without an exit strategy and
then asking the Pentagon what the plan is five years later,” said Obama.
First of all, let me assure Democrats who have been getting all bent out of shape about the prospect of Obama losing Cuban-American votes for suggesting that we speak to Castro to, well, lighten up. Cuban-Americans won’t vote for a Democrat, no matter what, and haven’t since the Bay of Pigs.
But rather than being "naive," Obama brings up a great larger point. Why NOT meet with these people without preconditions? Why not meet with them, shake their hands, and let them know there’s a new sheriff in town, so to speak? By the time one of them becomes the new president, we will have spent eight years actively NOT talking to these people; it’s about time we opened up a dialogue with them. I mean, for Chrissakes; we’ve had sanctions on Cuba for 50 years — how’s that working out for us? it’s really worked like a charm, hasn’t it? As for Venezuela, while Chavez has a few rough edges, he’s not exactly a war monger, no matter what Pat Robertson thinks. Chavez spent $3 billion on weapons, and said outright that they were intended to repel an invasion by the United States over his oil policy. You see, he wants to actually COMPETE in the oil market, and is resisting attempts to dictate his sales price by cartels and oil companies… that bastard…
As for Iran and Syria, let’s get something straight; without those two, there will BE no peace in the Middle East. And North Korea has tp be dealt with, like it or not. I do agree that there will be preconditions with them, but of the group Obama mentioned, that’s the only one.
This is not to say that Clinton is completely wrong. It’s her opinion that one should wait until they’re in office before they decide on things like that. That’s fine; it’s clear that she and Obama will have different styles with regard to foreign affairs, but with the same goal.
I don’t think she should have used the word "naive," but other than that, at least they kept to the issues, and didn’t whine about who had the most expensive haircut and who wears too much makeup…