Our guide to the biggest flops in politics last week:
1. Presidential Fail: Your Credibility IS on the Line
The jury is still out on whether President Obama’s belated decision to go to Congress for the authority to intervene in Syria (something he does NOT need to get) was a good idea, his statement on Wednesday was not his finest hour. “My credibility is not on the line, the international community’s credibility is on the line. America and Congress’s credibility is on the line,” Obama told reporters in Stockholm at the beginning of a three-day trip to Sweden and Russia. “I didn’t set a red line — the world set a red line”.
No, Mr. Obama, your credibility IS very much on the line. This is your policy, own it. As goes your credibility so goes the nation’s.
2. Sarah Palin to Syria “let Allah sort it out”
Sarah Palin proved again this week how little she understands foreign policy (or any policy) when she took to Facebook to express her feelings about Syria. She wrote:
“Bottom line is that this is about President Obama saving political face because of his ‘red line’ promise regarding chemical weapons. As I said before, if we are dangerously uncertain of the outcome and are led into war by a Commander-in-chief who can’t recognize that this conflict is pitting Islamic extremists against an authoritarian regime with both sides shouting “Allah Akbar” at each other, then let Allah sort it out.”
Maybe someone should tell the former governor that when the world looks at the US president, they don’t differentiate between Democratic and Republican positions. American policy is just that — American. And on the question of how “uncertain” the outcome is, requiring a president to see the future is a pretty high bar to set. Maybe she can see more than Russia from her house…
3. Separation of What?
If you don’t believe in God, former press secretary to the faith filled President George W. Bush thinks you should just leave the country. Dana Perino addressed a lawsuit filed in Massachusetts about the pledge of allegiance by atheists who questioned the addition of “under God” and the impact it had on their children. She doesn’t think atheists have a place in the US. The FOX News host said:
“I’m tired of them…I remember working at the Justice Department years ago when I first started right after 9/11 and a lawsuit like this came through, and before the day had finished, the United States Senate and the House of Representatives had both passed resolutions saying that they were for keeping ‘under God’ in the pledge…If these people really don’t like it, they don’t have to live here,”
Of course, Perino’s knowledge of US history is pretty limited. When she was the White House Press Secretary, she admitted she had never heard of the Cuban Missile Crisis. When talking about her appearance on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me she said:
“I was panicked a bit because I really don’t know about . . . the Cuban Missile Crisis….It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I’m pretty sure.”
For the record, Dana, the United States constitution explicitly spells out the separation of church and state….
4. Rumors of His Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
This statement was released on behalf of former President George H.W. Bush:
“Barbara and I mourn the passing of one of the greatest believers in freedom we have had the privilege to know. As President, I watched in wonder as Nelson Mandela had the remarkable capacity to forgive his jailers following 26 years of wrongful imprisonment — setting a powerful example of redemption and grace for us all. He was a man of tremendous moral courage, who changed the course of history in his country. Barbara and I had great respect for President Mandela, and send our condolences to his family and country men.”
Problem is that Nelson Mandela is very much alive. The mistake was due to Bush’s spokesperson misreading a news headline. You’d think this is the sort of thing that warrants a call or two to verify its accuracy.
5. If We Think We’re Paranoid
An Egyptian man turned over a bird he thought might be a spy this week. The bird, the man thought it was a swan but the photo looks more like a stork, had a small device on its leg that turned out to be a tracking unit put on by a French agency studying their migratory habits.
Suspicions about what wildlife are up to did not start here, however. Earlier this year a police report was filed about a pigeon carrying microfilm and a series of shark attacks off the Egyptian coast were blamed on Israel. Guess Dr Evil was on to something after all…