- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 22, 2014

CLINTONS + OBAMAS = ACRIMONY

It’s uh-oh time. Sure to cause a stir Monday when it arrives on bookshelves: that would be “Blood Feud: The Clintons Vs. The Obamas,” a new book by Ed Klein, the former New York Times Magazine editor-in-chief who has already written exposes about Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Kennedy family. From Regnery Publishing, the 320-page volume from “an old school reporter” promises to reveal the deep rivalry between the two power couples, details on why Bill Clinton feels “betrayed” by Mr. Obama, the startling ambitions of both first ladies, further insight into Benghazi, plus “the secret Hillary Clinton is keeping that could make it impossible for her to be president.”

Yes. It could be uh-oh time. But high profile clashes are a popular theme. “Blood Feud” appears as the main title in at least seven other recent books, this according to Amazon.

YOU BREAK IT, MAYBE YOU BUY IT

Let the spectacle begin. Journalists, politicians and pundits are now in full parlor game mode, examining who is at fault — or not at fault — for the uncertain future of Iraq. Talk shows and op-ed pages bristle with commentary. Former Vice President Dick Cheney blames Barack Obama, as does Sen. John McCain. Sen. Rand Paul faults former President George W. Bush. News organizations, meanwhile, bandy about the idea that the “architects of Iraq” are to blame, employing a catch-all term that includes Mr. Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice and others — depending on who’s reporting.

Much of it serves to provide a convenient outlet for Democrats intent on promoting a narrative of GOP divisiveness in an election year.

“The fact is, today’s Republican Party either longs for the days of go-it-alone, cowboy diplomacy that Mr. Cheney champions or would have America fully retreat into isolationism, abandoning our allies and obligations around the world,” observes Democratic National Committee press secretary Michael Czin.

Yeah, well. But what about Americans? The nation itself appears reluctant to take sides.

“Who is responsible for Iraq? When it comes to the current situation in Iraq, Americans give Barack Obama and George W. Bush roughly equal blame,” reports Kathy Frankovic, a YouGov analyst. The pollster has revealed some very close numbers.

Exactly one third of the public say both Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush bear most of the blame for the situation. Another 29 percent say Mr. Obama gets “some blame,” 27 percent say the same of Mr. Bush. But wait, there’s more: 19 percent say Mr. Obama gets “a little blame,” 17 percent say that of Mr. Bush. Fourteen percent say Mr. Obama gets no blame, 17 percent say that of Mr. Bush.

Confused? One YouGov reader summed up the situation with this summation on a message board: “Bush won the war, Obama lost the peace.”

THE SEMI-HAPPY MEDIUM

“I not only support, but expect that President Obama meets his constitutional duty to protect Americans in Iraq, so I fully support his efforts to protect our personnel and secure our embassy,” says Rep. Scott Rigell.

The Virginia Republican also can live with Mr. Obama’s decision to send 300 military advisers to Iraq, but would strongly object if the president deployed U.S. troops without proper congressional authorization

“I think we do, in this very difficult and complex situation, have a role to play. But the Iraqi people themselves need to be willing to fight for their country. There is a sense of war weariness in our country — and understandably so. It is not a question of willingness on our military’s part. Our men and women will give a smart hand salute, and they’ll march, and they’ll sail, and they’ll fly to wherever the President of the United States directs them,” says Mr. Rigell. “But the history of this conflict in the Middle East goes back to the death of Muhammad in 632 A.D. — and it will not be resolved by America today.”

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