Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Obama's presidency:

An initial prognostication based on Obama's unusual comments since taking office, offered by Daniel Pipes:

It's bad enough that family connections to Islam perceived as a liability when campaigning are suddenly exploited once in office to win Muslim goodwill. Worse, as Diana West observes: "not since Napoleon has a leader of a Western superpower made so unabashed a political pitch to the people of the Muslim world."

To sum up, while Obama's retreat from democratization marks an unfortunate and major change in policy, his apologetic tone and apparent change in constituency present a yet more fundamental and worrisome direction.

I, too, noticed the change pointed at in the first paragraph. It is a change that his more scary supporters counted on early in his campaign.

Here is what I wrote back in October 2008:

In trying to explain Obama's more recent disavowal of these friends and their stated positions (whether antisemitic, anti-American or anti-Israel), these supporters state unabashedly that it is a temporary political ruse with the aim of getting to the White House. And this ruse, they say, is completely legitimate. Obama is allowed to lie in order to become president. It is what all politicians do. It is this kind of thinking that explains Jesse Jackson's more recent comments or Louis Farrakhan's continued adoration of Obama the messiah.

Still, more recently, I was wondering whether this obvious fawning upon the Muslim world was not just a Machiavellian gambit in Obama's chess playing mind:

Have we not seen this before, playing on the smaller stage of his election campaign? Remember Rev. Wright? Obama gave two speeches about Wright's excesses. In the first speech, he defended him, he even dragged his old and sick grandmother by way of mitigating for the Reverend's extravagant fulminations. It was only after the Reverend had gone on his damaging media rampage a few weeks later that Obama gave his second speech in which he distanced himself unequivocally from the Jeremiah who had been a father-figure to him.

So I wonder if the same first instincts for generosity and mollification that motivated Obama in the Wright's case are not calculatedly being displayed here in the much larger arena of global politics, and for much bigger stakes.

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