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McBush This Week, Part II: Hypocrite Edition

May 17th, 2008

As much as Bush & McCain made fools of themselves in the last week, nothing they did could touch the inappropriate, hypocritical, bullying remarks Bush made addressing the Knesset to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary of nationhood. Bush not only violated the general protocols that say you don’t use foreign podiums nor official appearances at major events to toss out political attacks, he also got his facts wrong and made a baldly hypocritical accusation against Barack Obama:

“Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ”Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.“ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”

Oh, where to start. First of all, Bush apparently is not aware of what the word “appeasement” means. In short, it means to “pacify or placate someone by acceding to their demands.” Not talking to them–giving in to them. If Bush thinks that talking to someone is the same as appeasing him, then he has just accused Ronald Reagan, not to mention countless other American leaders, of being filthy appeasers.

Second, Bush is clearly trying to attack Barack Obama here. There is no parsing necessary to figure that out: Bush uses the weasel words “some seem to believe,” which he routinely uses when he wants to refer to Democrats without being held responsible. It is clear who he is talking about–Obama is the only prominent politician currently in the spotlight for talks with countries like Iran and Syria (though he balks at Hamas). Bush claimed he was not attacking Obama specifically, but with Obama the only prominent voice, and with the White House press secretary letting slip that she was “not going to get into ’08 politics” in reference to Bush’s remarks, it appears clear to just about everyone on the planet that this is exactly what Bush was trying to do. If, by some wild chance, Bush’s remarks had no relation at all to Obama, the remark was still incredibly inappropriate because any rational observer would have instantly made that connection–as just about every observer, including most right-wingers gleeful at high-level Obama attacks, immediately saw.

Not to mention that, as Laura Rozen points out, Bush has–by his own definition–been a serial “appeaser”:

Beyond the fact that Bush’s own administration has repeatedly offered to negotiate with Tehran should Iran suspend uranium enrichment, and that his top diplomat in Iraq has talked with his Iranian counterparts, as well as his former ambassador to Afghanistan, both with the White House blessing, as well as the ongoing negotiations with Pyongyang, Libya, and the Syrian deputy foreign minister’s visit to Annapolis; beyond those recent demonstrated exceptions in action to Bush’s rhetoric (I guess the word for it is “hypocrisy”): It’s also worth pointing out, as several Israeli security officials and political observers have recently done to me here, a bit of recent history Bush neglected to mention at Israel’s parliament. That Israel and the Palestinian Authority have chiefly him to thank for Hamas having a degree of political legitimacy it otherwise would not have had. After all, they point out, it was the Bush administration that “twisted the arm” of Israeli and Palestinian leaders against considerable resistance and skepticism on their part to allow the Palestinian militant group Hamas to run in 2006 Palestinian elections that Hamas won — an outcome to its policy interventions that the Bush administration once again failed to anticipate.

So, not only did Bush approve of “appeasement” with many “terrorist and radicals,” but his own ham-handed and actual appeasement to Hamas in 2006 allowed them to win their current place in power.

Apparently fearing that he would be left out of the publicity that Bush generated, McCain took the opportunity to take an “unrelated” potshot at Obama:

Meanwhile, in Columbus, Ohio, McCain said he took the White House at its word, but then he weighed into the spat himself, saying: “This does bring up an issue that we will be discussing with the American people, and that is, why does Barack Obama, Senator Obama, want to sit down with a state sponsor of terrorism?”

Asked if Obama was an appeaser, McCain said Obama must explain why he wants to talk with leaders like Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and added that Obama’s position was a serious error. “It shows naivete and inexperience and lack of judgment to say that he wants to sit down across the table from an individual who leads a country that says Israel is a stinking corpse, that is dedicated to the extinction of the state of Israel. My question is, what does he want to talk about?

The hypocrisy: Not only has Obama insisted that he would not speak to Hamas, John McCain has said that he would. While McCain seems to have forgotten that he favored talks with Hamas, the reporter who interviewed him has not:

RUBIN: “Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?”

McCAIN: “They’re the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it’s a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that.”

APPEASER!!! So, is this a flip-flop? Or hypocrisy? Could be both. Video of the interview:

An Obama spokesman further detailed McCain’s hypocrisy:
It is the height of hypocrisy for John McCain to deliver a lofty speech about civility and bipartisanship in the morning and then embrace George Bush’s disgraceful political attack in the afternoon. Instead of delivering meaningful change, John McCain wants to continue George Bush’s irresponsible and failed Iran policy by refusing to engage in tough, direct diplomacy like Presidents from Kennedy to Reagan have done.

McCain’s lapdog Leiberman later joined the fray, backing Bush and McCain, making for a perfect McBush day.

UPDATE: CNN has the story, that White House officials privately confirmed Bush’s statements were about Obama:

The president did not name Sen. Barack Obama or any other Democrat, but White House aides privately acknowledged to CNN that the remarks were aimed at the presidential candidate and others in his party.

Just confirming what we all already knew.

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