Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

GOP Jihad on American Power

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, with the credibility of a Bush holdover, makes the startling point that the President's victory on health care strengthens America on the world stage.

“When others see the president as a winner or as somebody who has real authority in his own house," Gates tells Thomas Friedman, "it absolutely makes a difference.

"All you have to do is look at how many minority or weak coalition governments there are around the world who can’t deliver something big in their own country, but basically just teeter on the edge, because they can’t put together the votes to do anything consequential, because of the divided electorate.” President Obama, Gates says, has had “a divided electorate and was still able to muscle the thing through.”

From that perspective, Republican wall-to-wall opposition to every Obama initiative has not only been tearing the country apart domestically but weakening us geopolitically in the War on Terror by attempting to reduce Barack Obama to an ineffectual Hamid Karzai or Nouri al-Maliki here at home.

The GOP, in effect, has been waging a more effective jihad against America than al-Qaeda, echoing Joe Klein's argument that "right-wing infotainment gasbags--people like Glenn Beck etc.--were nudging up close to the edge of sedition."

No one would argue against healthy opposition on issues, but the massive effort to discredit and demean the President personally has gone far beyond that. (See the Arizona legislature's vote yesterday to require him to show his birth certificate when he runs for reelection.)

"In politics and diplomacy," Friedman writes, "success breeds authority and authority breeds more success. No one ever said it better than Osama bin Laden: 'When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.'"

As they savor their potential gains in November, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner may want to ponder that. By continuing to toe the line of Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, they may even be betting on the wrong horse.

1 comment:

Fuzzy Slippers said...

You do have a point, but it might help a little if BO wasn't so intent on doing so much so fast and at such enormous cost. Surely he must bear some of the responsibility for the partisanship on the Hill . . . and the divisions within the country?