Amid the saber rattling, cat calls and assorted bombast that followed President Obama’s foreign policy-laced commencement speech at West Point comes a moment of practical lucidity from Rep. Michael T. McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
“The president proved once again that he is intent on picking his conflicts based on politics, instead of dealing with the problems at hand,” says the Texas Republican. “He has elected to pull out of Afghanistan based on arbitrary timetables, as opposed to building on the progress and sacrifices of both our Armed Forces and the Afghan people, and is choosing to leave too soon. Conversely, he has chosen to engage in Syria too late.”
The options for reaching out to moderate opposition forces are dwindling he says; “extremist rebels” are already heading for the front lines.
“This President must come to grips with the fact that Islamist extremism and al Qaeda linked groups are spreading, becoming more powerful and still intend to do us harm. Therefore America’s leadership, not its withdrawal, is more crucial than ever,” Mr. McCaul concludes.
THE POLICY AND THE PUNDITS
Journalists plot out every activity of President Obama as if they were creating an astronomical star chart. But one activity in particular has drawn the most interest this week, namely, the aforementioned commencement speech. The White House carefully released a few key, preliminary descriptors about the event, prompting news organizations to simultaneously conclude that Mr. Obama would deliver a major foreign policy speech. Did he? Headlines in the last 24 hours once again reveal that it’s all in the eye of the beholder.
“Obama’s West Point speech was not exciting” (Time); “Obama’s cynical foreign policy speech at West Point” (Washington Post); “Obama at West Point: ‘Because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail’ (National Review); “President Obama defends his foreign policy in West Point speech — but where do we go from here?” (Forbes); “Obama plays down military power, emphasizes diplomacy” (Los Angeles Times); “Obama outlines foreign policy vision of ‘might and right’” (CNN); “Obama delivered a full-throated defense of his foreign policy” (Business Insider); “America must always lead, Obama tells West Point graduates” (New York Times); “Karl Rove: President Obama arguing with himself” (Politico).
“What would Nixon do?”
— Bumper sticker spotted by an Inside the Beltway reader “near Lake Tahoe,” he advises. The lake spans California and Nevada.
“Fox News marked its 149th consecutive month as the most-watched cable news network in May, beating MSNBC and CNN combined in total viewers and ranking sixth among all ad-supported cable networks in both total day and primetime,” reports Merrill Knox, senior editor for TVNewser. “The network had the top 14 shows in total viewers and the top eight shows in the demographic in all of cable news.”
The ever-canny Fox News, incidentally, has hired Stacey Dash as a contributor and cultural analyst; she has been an actor of note for two decades, most famously for “Clueless,” and endorsed Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign, much to the dismay of Hollywood.
“Stacey is an engaging conversationalist whose distinctive viewpoints amongst her Hollywood peers have spawned national debates,” explains Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming for the network.
SOMETHING FOR CHRISTIE TO CONSIDER