Thursday, December 3, 2009

Two Opposites Who Need Defending

The past week has not been kind to two people: President Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (I could add Tiger Woods but I prefer to only include people who work for a living and are not billionaires in this post). Though they are opposite ends of the political spectrum, both have been unjustly lambasted by the media for recent events beyond their control.

Obviously, Mr. Obama inherited two wars. I will concede that he knew when he ran for president that he would get them if he won the election. He also made some promises that anyone who is rational knew he could not keep, but we can understand that he made those promises with the naivete of one who had not yet sat in the oval office and been briefed by those who really know what's going on.

His decision this past Tuesday was a difficult one, and a valiant effort. He wants to get our troops home, but he wants them to bring victory home with them. He acknowledges that the cost is time, money, and sadly, the lives of more troops from the 30,000 that he is sending to Afghanistan. He is right that, had we concentrated on Afghanistan instead of going after Saddam (Red Herring) Hussein, we could have made a permanent difference in Afghanistan. We also need to remember that close to 500 legislators at the time thought we needed to go to Iraq, so this is not one person's "mistake," or whatever we want to call it. However, we have now been in Afghanistan twice as long as the Russians were, and we boycotted the Olympics over the Russian occupation.

We can debate the propriety of those two wars at some other time, but just or unjust, these wars were not started by the current administration, and I'm hoping that like Richard Nixon, Barack Obama can end a war he inherited. He might not like being compared to Mr. Nixon, but he has a lot in common with him. He's about to get blamed for the deaths and destruction of war, if the political cartoons of today are any indication. His popularity has declined over this, and an ABC commentator I listened to during the speech on Tuesday (I think it was Stephanopoulis, but I'm not sure), said that Obama had made this war "his war."

Obama very intelligently addressed those who call Afghanistan "another Vietnam." He presented three reasons it wasn't. First, he said, this is a response to a direct attack on our country; second, our enemies are not waging a popular war in their own country with the support of the locals, as the Viet Cong did. I would have replaced his third reason with the following: We are fighting this war with an all-volunteer armed forces.

We must never forget that in these current two wars, no one has dragged anyone out of college, job, or family and forced them to go overseas and wage an unpopular war against an unknown enemy for an ungrateful non-ally. Obama did well on Tuesday night in presenting his case, and he deserves a chance to finish what someone else started.

Unlike the war, I do think he is responsible for the economy, and he did not "inherit" our current economic situation, which is a couple of trillion dollars past the point he stepped in. But the war is another matter, and the worst thing he could have done would have been to do what he naively promised in 2008, pulling out all our troops and letting both countries figure out what to do next. Had he done that, we would not only be hated by the legitimate governments of Iraq and Afghanistan and their neighbors, but also by our NATO allies who have sacrificed time, money, and lives in what is really "our" war. I will also back up and say that he mentioned intensifying the efforts in Afghanistan while campaigning, so this should come as no surprise to anyone. Nevertheless, he did not begin this war, and unfortunately, the last administration put the Afghanistan war on a sort of "standby" for several years while our nation went after a more visible opponent. I always wondered about the Iraq thing, but was sure that our president at the time, and 400-500 legislators knew more about it than I did. Apparently, they did not.

Now we pass on to Mr. Huckabee, who has shown the hand of the media in two ways this past week. First, they have revealed how much they despise him, which is no surprise since he is way too far to the right for most of the media. The second one surprised me, though. They obviously consider him a legitimate, viable threat to win the presidency. They must, because they are pulling out the "big guns." Economically, Huckabee is very close to Ron Paul, but the media leaves him alone because they don't see him having a chance. The sad and unfortunate coffee shop murders of last Sunday are a tragedy; everyone agrees about that. But if you just read CNN, MSNBC, ABC, et al, and especially if you are just a headline reader, you would think that Huckabee walked around Arkansas with a master key, letting criminals go.

Mike Huckabee let no one go. Not even close. He commuted the sentence of a teenaged offender from 105 years to about half that, and left the rest up to the proper agency to decide who stays and who walks, a parole board. The man who killed four officers in a coffee shop had been through the revolving doors of courts and jails of at least two states, and judicial irresponsibility was the reason he was walking free last Sunday. He was free on bond after attempted child rape. Huckabee commuted the sentence of a teenager, hoping to give him a life; a Washington court let a child rapist walk free.

Huckabee noted that if the youth had been from a middle class white family, there would not have been a 105-year sentence handed out. Hey, wait a minute. Social justice! According to the media, a Republican has no business meddling with that! I've noticed that nothing has really been said about Huckabee's compassion toward a young African-American that he felt had been a victim of imbalance and injustice. In the same state, I'm sure Mr. Clinton would have been applauded for this.

It's hypocritical of the press to even bring this up. We only need to remember th 1988 Willie Horton incident. The press cried "foul" over that one. Some mindless sheep even painted it as a racist issue, though I, as one citizen, only knew Horton was a murderer who had been granted a weekend vacation. I had never seen his picture, and had no idea what color he was, even if that mattered. Dukakis had allowed Horton some "time off" from prison, and he killed someone during that time little vacation. If it was wrong for the Bush 41 campaign to make a note of this, how much more has it been wrong for the press to exaggerate the Huckabee commutation into a pardon. I saw a San Francisco Chronicle headline online this morning that said, "Huckabee Handed Out Pardons Like Candy." Not only is that irresponsible and amateur journalism (I hate to cheapen the word by using it here), it is outright vilification. By the way, I did read the article as well, and the writer had no idea what had really happened. She had read a few press clippings, less than I have read on the issue.

Huckabee has been -- and is -- a decent man, whether he is fit to be president or not. He was the most honest candidate the Republicans had to offer, and did not resort to the lowly attacks of his colleagues in both major parties. He does not deserve the slander that is being passed as "news." It's obvious that the media does not want him as president.

And on this, I agree with the media, but for entirely different reasons. I have seen what they do to presidents and candidates. I have seen the outright vilification they have even given the "darling of the media" this week, and realize now that even Obama, if he refuses to be their puppet on a string, will be crucified by the left-leaning press. I don't want to see them do it to a fellow human being like Mike Huckabee. I would like to see him continue where he is now, a public figure with the ear of a vast multitude of people, making sense out of nonsense, and always doing it like a decent human being.

A president cannot be a decent human being anymore. Our society won't let him. Mr. Obama is finding that out now. If he disappears in 2012, I fear that he will be replaced by a cold, unconcerned robot who takes marching orders from shady characters in dark rooms. That's the only type of person who can now survive a US Presidency.

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