- - Wednesday, November 5, 2014


The Obama administration’s vulgar denunciation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was clearly no gaffe. (“Netanyahu fires back at reported ‘chickens — t’ slur from U.S. official,” Web, Oct. 29). It accurately conveys long-standing hostility toward, at the very least, the current government of Israel.

The administration’s noted lack of curiosity in pursuing the leaker indicates it came from the top. National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice and the president himself are noted for coarse private language and bitterness toward opponents. Such a style was scandalous when revealed about President Nixon 40 years ago. How we have “progressed.” Isn’t it ironic to question someone else’s courage while hiding behind the cloak of anonymity?

The administration’s own fortitude isn’t obvious. Where has the president confronted our burgeoning entitlement problem or addressed his own base’s tendency to racialize any controversy it can? Timidity certainly describes a national security approach that can’t say “terrorism,” “jihad” or “war.”

What does it say about an administration that regularly accuses its ideological opponents of cowardice? At the beginning of his tenure, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. denounced the entire United States as a “nation of cowards” on dealing with issues of race and he recently repeated this sentiment. The president hardly rebuked him, and it was no surprise since President Obama suggests his opponents act in bad faith, against science and out of partisan motives.

The insinuation of cowardice is intended to be unanswerable, an attempt to bully and stifle debate. It adds a vehemence that makes civility more difficult. This administration’s self-regard is notably high, but this is no way for a democratically elected leader to speak. Cowardice? No. Arrogance and hubris? Yes.



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