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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nicholas Kristof, "President as Piñata": Where Did We Hear This Before?

In his latest New York Times ode to Obama entitled "President as Piñata" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/opinion/sunday/Kristof-President-As-Pinata.html?src=ISMR_AP_LO_MST_FB), Nicholas Kristof writes:

"Obama has done better than many critics on the left or the right give him credit for.

. . . .

The administration helped tug us back from the brink of economic ruin. Obama oversaw an economic stimulus that, while too small, was far larger than the one House Democrats had proposed. He rescued the auto industry and achieved health care reform that presidents have been seeking since the time of Theodore Roosevelt."

Sound familiar? It should. On Tuesday, Thomas Friedman wrote of Obama in his New York Times op-ed "Go Big, Mr. Obama" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/opinion/friedman-go-big-mr-obama.html?ref=opinion):

"He’s never gotten the credit he deserves for bringing the economy he inherited back from the brink of a depression. He’s fought the war on terrorism in a smart and effective way. He’s making health care possible for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, and he saved the auto industry."

Two great minds thinking alike?

Needless to say, neither Kristof nor Friedman mention that four months ago, Obama took us to the brink of a Treasury default. Meanwhile:

• Unemployment is at 9.1% versus 7.8% when Obama took office.

• In 2011, the US will have a deficit greater than $1 trillion for the third straight year.

• Under Obama, the US has increased its debt by $4 trillion.

• America's credit rating was downgraded for the first time in history under Obama.

For more "encouraging" economic data relating to Obama's stewardship over the US economy, read Peter Wehner's excellent Commentary opinion piece entitled "Answering Jonathan Alter's Challenge" (http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/08/26/jonathan-alter-challenge/).

Re Obama's foreign policy, Kristof is equally daft:

"In foreign policy, Obama has taken a couple of huge risks. He approved the assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, and despite much criticism he led the international effort to overthrow Muammar el-Qaddafi. So far, both bets are paying off."

Re the assassination of bin Laden, indeed Obama deserves much credit. However, Kristof is already rewriting history when he claims that Obama "led the international effort" to overthrow Qaddafi. Tell this to France and the UK. And is the bet so far paying off in Libya? The flag of al-Qaeda is now flying in Benghazi, and as aptly observed by Caroline Glick in her most recent Jerusalem Post column (http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=246922):

"In Libya, after facilitating Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow, the US is faced with the prospect of dealing with an even more radical regime that is jihadist, empowered and already transferring arms to terror groups and proliferating nonconventional weapons. If the Obama administration and the US foreign policy establishment acknowledge the hostile nature of the new regime and refrain from supporting it, they will be forced to admit they sided with America’s enemies in taking down Gaddafi."

Kristof concludes this gem of an op-ed:

"If we turn Obama out of office a year from now, let’s make sure it is because the Republican nominee is preferable, not just out of grumpiness toward the incumbent during a difficult time."

Indeed, let's not be grumpy. As the US struggles with horrifying economic data and with no respite in sight, all of us, particularly those who believed Obama's 2008 promises but remain unemployed, must now remain in good spirits (medical marijuana might help). Forget "Change we can believe in!" and put your faith in "We can't wait!" Sorry, but with the Procrastinator-in-Chief already in campaign mode, it's apt to be a very long wait.

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