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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Maureen Dowd, "Less Bully, More Pulpit": Christie? Obama Has Just Hit Rock Bottom!

Yesterday, I visited one of my hi-tech customers in the Israeli city of Hertzliya, just north of Tel Aviv, and I observed to my wife, who accompanied me on this trip, how calm everyone seemed at the restaurant where we ate lunch after the business meeting: "You would never think that a US Cruise missile attack on Syria is approaching later this week and that the threat of a Syrian chemical warfare reprisal against Israel, although unlikely, looms in the back of everyone's mind." My wife, who was born on an Israeli kibbutz in the north of Israel, which was pounded almost every day by Syrian shelling during her childhood, shrugged and continued to eat her bream (not shellfish).

Yes, I'm talking about that "little" rebellion that has cost more than 100,000 Syrian lives and yesterday resulted in the shutdown over the course of several hours of The New York Times website (see:

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Less Bully, More Pulpit" (, Maureen Dowd ignores the Syrian nerve gas attack on a Damascus suburb held by the rebels, which killed more than a thousand civilians, and instead focuses on Chris Christie's 2016 presidential aspirations. Referring to a radio program on Monday morning, during which Chris Christie slammed reporter Manish Mehta for questioning the decision of coach Rex Ryan to play Mark Sanchez in a Jets preseason game, Dowd writes:

"But Christie’s latest flash of a mean streak served as a reminder after a long period of glowing post-Sandy publicity for 'The Boss,' as the New Jersey governor was hailed on the cover of Time, giving him the ultimate compliment of sharing a nickname with his idol.

. . . .

He clearly has not taken a lesson from his pal Obama that you can be an obsessive sports fan and still maintain class.

. . . .

'He’s got a big personality, it’s a combative personality,' [Washington Post political reporter Dan Balz] replied. 'That’s one of the reasons people were drawn to him last time around, a guy who would take on Obama in a way Romney seemingly wasn’t doing.

'There are times when it has worked terrifically for him, and there are moments when it threatens to go over the top. It’s an open question: If you’re running for president, can you do that very often and hope to be successful?'"

Yup, Christie should take a lesson from Barack "Milk-Toast" Obama, the first invertebrate ever to occupy the Oval Office, on how to make - or break - less wind. Recall how a touchy-feely Obama, who is guided by the proverb "Speak softly and carry a tiny twig," passed assurances, in an open microphone gaffe, to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin that he would be more "flexible" after the 2012 election.

Well that gambit surely paid off. Today, Putin continues to provide Assad with advanced weaponry and opposes any effort to bring the Syrian tyrant under control.

A US strike against Assad? Obama has already tipped off Assad that it will be coming later this week (Thursday, lasting three days?), but not to worry: The US president has made it known in advance that he is not seeking regime change (see:, and after this ineffective face-saving gesture, Assad and his Hezbollah friends can go back to murdering civilians.

Hmm. It's just like Obama's "surge" in Afghanistan, when he concurrently informed the Taliban that he would be withdrawing US troops by the end of 2014. Talk about telegraphing your punches . . .

In fact, the upcoming US strike on Syria is not about regime change; rather, it's about Obama's ego. By declaring a year ago that Assad's use of chemical weapons would constitute a "red line," he painted himself into a corner. He managed to ignore Assad's prior use of chemicals on civilians several months ago, but now, following the deaths of at least a thousand more civilians from nerve gas, most likely sarin, he must attempt to extricate himself from this nastly mess.

Obama never learned that when you ignore little problems, they have a way of turning into big problems. Obama also suffers from an IFF (identification friend or foe) problem.

Only blame Obama? No way. Hillary, who referred to Assad as a "reformer," must also share in the blame:

Sorry, but it is Obama who could take a lesson from Chris Christie's combativeness.

[At the bottom of Dowd's op-ed we are informed: "Thomas L. Friedman is off today." What a wonderful time for a would-be Middle East expert to take a holiday from his column . . .]

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