August 10th, 2013

Obama’s opponents

What an odd offering from Frida Ghitis.

I wasn’t previously familiar with Ms. Ghitis, but her bio indicates a liberal—all those years at CNN—as does her article’s excuses (“There is no question that Obama was dealt a difficult hand”) for what she sees as Obama’s foreign policy failures even as she describes that foreign policy as going into a “tailspin.”

Ghitis seems unaware—or unwilling to admit—that Obama may have different goals for his foreign policy than we usually assume for presidents. A strong America in a stable world may not really be what he has in mind.

All these are things we’ve discussed here many times before. But what caught my eye in Ghitis’ article and caused me to write about it was this [emphasis mine]:

America’s foreign policy has gone into a tailspin. Almost every major initiative from the Obama administration has run into sharp, sometimes embarrassing, reverses. The U.S. looks weak and confused on the global stage.

This might come as happy news to some opponents of the administration who enjoy seeing Barack Obama fail, but it shouldn’t.

So not only does Ghitis not recognize that the U.S. looking “weak and confused on the global stage” may in fact be Obama’s goal, and that it would be Obama who’d be enjoying this spectacle, not his opponents, but she also doesn’t seem to realize what actually does motivate his opponents.

I don’t know whether Ghitis actually believes what she wrote there (the old “fool or knave?” question), but it hardly matters. Whether she believes it herself or not, it’s what she would like her readers to believe. And what she’s saying is that Obama’s opponents are driven by an animus that has nothing to do with principle but is just opposition for opposition’s sake. Whether that opposition arises because of Obama’s race (the accusation so many of his supporters make) or because of his liberalism or is merely reflexive political opposition for the sake of gaining power themselves Ghitis does not say. But she displays no realization or acknowledgement that the reason Obama’s opponents are so opposed is what Obama has actually been doing, and that this most definitely includes his foreign policy which was clearly on track to be a disaster to the U.S. from the start.

In other words, a great many of these “opponents” are patriots with the good of the country in mind. They see what the damage has been and what the further damage could be, and many of them saw the potential for this foreign policy disaster from the start of Obama’s administration and probably even before.

I certainly did. Most commenters here certainly did. Thing is, it wasn’t hard to see.

But demonizing his “opposition” allows Ghitis to observe (correctly) how bad things have gotten under Obama’s watch, simultaneously blaming him and exonerating him by accusing his opponents of ill will. She closes the article by encouraging Obama to do better, and by chiding those opponents:

It is time for Obama to spend some time thinking about what America stands for, what its goals are and then explain it in a clear and credible way. Even if we disagree with his conclusions, at least there will be a North Star guiding his policies.

Obama’s supporters and his critics should hope he can pull America forward.

Poor dear beleaguered Obama’s just a bit confused. He just needs to think and explain more clearly. And then those nefarious opponents should start hoping the results are good for America even though it’s Obama doing it. They should finally put their country’s welfare above their animus against Obama.

This would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that writing like this is everywhere in the MSM, and it influences people. Most people just swallow what they read and don’t think too much or too critically about it. They’re busy with their lives; they’re doing well to even take the time to skim it in the first place.

And besides, people like Ghitis have been declared experts. They write about this stuff, and they’ve been doing it for most of their adult lives. Some are actually experts at writing propaganda. Some are experts at divining what they’re supposed to write and doing so. And some are experts at following and echoing what others write. But to step outside the box and say “wow, it seems Obama’s critics were correct” would be just too difficult and just too threatening—both to psyche and to career and to the liberal cause.

23 Responses to “Obama’s opponents”

  1. Michael Adams Says:

    It does seem to me that the Left-leaning media, and even their hapless gulls, give their slogans the status of facts, and build their theories on those ‘facts.’ Garbage in/garbage out.

    If I may offer just one example, people oppose Obamacare because we “don’t want people to have health care”. They surf right over the huge body of complaint literature that we have produced, saying, in essence, that we oppose Obamacare because it will produce LESS healthcare. The Left-gull teacher who visits my patient twice a week actually believes that the reason her health insurance benefits are being reduced is that “Republicans don’t want anyone to have health care,” not that her small school district is responding to the pressure of Obamacare, and doing what we predicted that they would do, in 2010. They give a whole new definition to Invincible Ignorance.

  2. blert Says:

    This is a crisp example of “battered true believer” syndrome.

    She might benefit from reading Eric Hopper’s “The True Believer.”

    But, it’s a slim chance.

  3. Ann Says:

    I’m sitting here trying to think of any liberal journalist who’s written anything acknowledging that most of those against Obama’s policies are not doing so simply out knee-jerk opposition and hopes for his failure.

    Unless it’s those who think some of his opponents do have “the good of the country in mind,” but are of the “neocon” variety and it’s a different country, Israel, they’re rooting for.

  4. sdferr Says:

    It’s actually kind of fun to watch Obazmite sycophants and apologists write, un-write and re-write their own fantastic accounts, often within one and the same prodigious effort. Witness Julie Pace, to Bret Baier just last night:

    Pace: I think that no one wants to capture the people responsible for the attack in Benghazi more than the White House, if for no other reason than it may put an end to the questions of why they haven’t been able to capture any of these people, and hopefully from their point of view put an end to some of the questions about who was responsible and what actually happened that night.

    ‘twould be hilarious if it weren’t so depressing.

  5. Ymarsakar Says:

    If we could put these hamster propagandists on a wheel, we wouldn’t need oil or gas any more to power our cities and cars.

  6. Paul A'Barge Says:


  7. rickl Says:

    This Belmont Club post is a bit disturbing.

    The Counsel of Fear

    And yes, if a major terrorist attack occurs or a war breaks out, I can easily see the Left blaming those who opposed Obama. They can’t un-drink the Kool-Aid.

    We are all Kulaks now.

  8. Eric Says:

    I keep beating this drum:

    Ghitis’s fatally and fundamentally flawed premise is that Bush’s foreign policy was wrong. The rest follows.

    In honoring and upholding America’s long-standing liberal leadership posture, Bush merely, if audaciously, rationally matched means to American liberal leadership ends in reaction to 9/11. What Obama has done is ostensibly preserve America’s liberal leadership posture while moving away from Bush’s rationally matched means. Ie, whether purposely or incompetently, Obama’s every move away from Bush has set up American liberal leadership for failure.

    Bottom line. In order to return to the right track while retaining America’s liberal leadership posture, then Bush’s legacy must be rehabilitated and the popular and political understanding established where Bush’s decisions were fundamentally right and Obama’s decisions have been fundamentally wrong in contrast.

    Until the Ghitises repent of their BDS, reject Obama and lionize Bush, they will be unable to reconcile their own worldview with the necessary matching rational course to achieve it.

    But they can’t reverse themselves on Bush-Obama because they all sold their souls when they chose the parochial partisan political prize over the good of the nation.

  9. Eric Says:

    Add: When Bush was trying to lead the nation in a war against real enemies and compete internationally against real competitors, the Democrats totally sold themselves on the propaganda that Bush was the real enemy and the Republicans the real competition.

    My hope was it was only a cynical front to make a political power grab. But it’s become apparent the Democrats and their water carriers truly bought into the propaganda narrative, and their core cognition has been corrupted.

  10. Ann Says:

    Looking at this again, I note that Ghitis does use the term “some opponents”, rather than a blanket “opponents”:

    America’s foreign policy has gone into a tailspin. Almost every major initiative from the Obama administration has run into sharp, sometimes embarrassing, reverses. The U.S. looks weak and confused on the global stage.

    This might come as happy news to some opponents of the administration who enjoy seeing Barack Obama fail, but it shouldn’t.

    Plus, the overall approach of her article, it seems to me, is not on battering the right, but lays much of the blame for the foreign mess on Obama.

    And although she undoubtedly has imbibed much of the liberal kool-aid, she did write this back in March of this year:

    Too many people are living in echo chambers, surrounded by the sound of their own views and beliefs reverberating from all directions, from television newscasts, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages.

    “You are so smart,” say those carefully selected people we have chosen because they confirm our views, because they see the world through the same lens, with the same biases.

    It would do all of us much good to listen to the people with whom we disagree, not for the purpose of arguing with them, shouting them down and proving them wrong, but to deliberately listen to a different point of view, one that might widen our horizons and perhaps open our minds just a bit.

    She also wrote this very non-PC article last year: Are Israelis paranoid? Yes, and for good reason

    I get the feeling she’s a liberal hawk. Maybe we need to cut her some slack?

  11. sdferr Says:

    “Maybe we need to cut her some slack?”

    How to do that without undercutting one’s own ability to distinguish mere foolishness from thoughtless wish-casting? For Ghitis goes to the trouble to write:

    It is time for Obama to spend some time thinking about what America stands for, what its goals are and then explain it in a clear and credible way. Even if we disagree with his conclusions, at least there will be a North Star guiding his policies.

    Obama’s supporters and his critics should hope he can pull America forward.

    What dispassionate observer of Obazm’s career, movements and decisions to date could possibly believe him capable of such a thing? “. . . he can pull America forward?” It’s a nearer possibility that he’ll be bring back delectable chunks of green cheese from the moon.

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    The problem with the Left is that they are Leftists. It doesn’t matter what their policy is. Any evil person can make any policy into a horrible torture for human beings. That’s just how evil works.

  13. walkawayguy Says:

    My turn to the Right in ’08 was initially a reaction to the overt racism and misogyny I saw infecting prominent Obama supporters, which surfaced in the primaries. Then came a review of economic principles, etc. But the nastiness of leading Obama supporters is so blatant as to be overwhelming. It forced me to consider alternatives.

    That was ’08. The Titanic left the dock on its maiden voyage. Then came ’12. Iceberg time. “What iceberg?” say the Obamites.

    The Titanic is an appropriate metaphor because it may now be too late to save the country. The staggering stupidity of the hordes who’ve sent us toward dystopia will be a moot point. Of course, they plan to blame the intelligent for opposing their blindly suicidal decisions. Moot – all of it.

    Ultimately, I will be satisfied that I opposed them however I could.

  14. M J R Says:

    “It is time for Obama to spend some time thinking about what America stands for, . . . .”

    He already has his idea of “what America stands for”, based on spending many childhod and young adult years of marinating in a left-inspired hate-America milieu. He is much more inclined to spend time thinking on how he wants to “fundamentally transform” America, and into what he wants to “fundamentally transform” it.

    Ghitis is not one of the truest believers, in that she still thinks he means well, by the moral and political compass of many of us who respect what “America stands for”. Clue: he does not.

  15. IGotBupkis, "Faeces Evenio", Mr. Holder? Says:

    }}} And what she’s saying is that Obama’s opponents are driven by an animus that has nothing to do with principle but is just opposition for opposition’s sake.

    This is nothing new, they’ve been playing this card for a decade or so.

    When the Dems endlessly block Bush’s appointees, it’s “principle”.

    When the GOP blocks (even for a moment) Obama appointees, it’s obstructionism.

    As the line goes — the GOP believes they have a better idea. The Dems believe they are better people.

  16. Eric Says:


    As long as Ghitis retains a post-9/11 liberal worldview with a robust liberal leadership role for America but cannot or will not admit that Bush’s decisions were the correct decisions within that perspective, she is trapped.

    The only way she can break out of the trap is confess Bush was right.

  17. Wry Mouth Says:

    Obama: like Nixon, but without the foreign policy skills.

  18. southpaw Says:

    So again the argument that contradicts itself.
    Obama is confounding the liberals and lefties with his apparent incompetence, because he has an agenda they don’t understand or agree with, which is a weak, irrelevant America. Yet Obama is a devout leftie/liberal.
    Obama’s contemporaries in China and Russia exert their international clout whenever possible- and nobody would accuse them of being phoney lefties who don’t understand the true nature of socialism and control of the governed.

    So Maybe the simplest explanation is the right one – he’s an incompetent narcissist, in over his head, and there’s no secret plan or agenda. He’s no good with people, or forming relationships, nor does he posess the brains or finessse required to be handle tough, smart people, who have interests of their own, and who don’t fear him. In other words, they know a mirage when they see one.

  19. Eric Says:



    For instance, Vali Nasr, who served as senior adviser to Richard Holbrooke when he was ambassador to Pakistan and Afghanistan, said this of Obama’s Afghan policies: “Their primary concern was how any action in Afghanistan or the Middle East would play on the nightly news, or which talking point it would give the Republicans. The Obama administration’s reputation for competence on foreign policy has less to do with its accomplishments in Afghanistan or the Middle East than with how U.S. actions in that region have been reshaped to accommodate partisan political concerns.”

    Anne-Marie Slaughter, director of policy planning at the State Department from 2009 to 2011, said this about Obama’s Syria policy: “Obama must realize the tremendous damage he will do to the United States and to his legacy if he fails to act. He should understand the deep and lasting damage done when the gap between words and deeds becomes too great to ignore, when those who wield power are exposed as not saying what they mean or meaning what they say.”

    And Rosa Brookes, a former senior adviser at the Pentagon, attacked Obama for his failure to outline a broad, sweeping foreign policy strategy. “The Obama administration initially waffled over the Arab Spring, unable to decide whether and when to support the status quo and when to support the protesters. The United States used military force to help oust Libya’s Muammar al-Qaddafi, but insisted at first that this wasn’t the purpose of the airstrikes — and without any clear rationale being articulated, the use of force in seemingly parallel situations seems to have been ruled out.”

    All three no longer work for the president. But all of their criticisms share one central theme – Obama does not have the personnel in place to outline and execute a broad international strategy. At the heart of this problem is a disconnect between the State Department and the White House’s national security team.

  20. southpaw Says:

    Eric – I agree. An inability to select a team capable of carrying out any policy, whatever it is, is inexperience and incompetence, and whether or not the latter is what caused the former is irrelevant.
    And the inability to manage a team to produce your goals, whatever they are, are signs of inexperience, laziness, and incompetence; all of which Obama has in great supply.
    The man appoints political lackeys, never has staff or cabinet meetings, and spends most of his time campaigning and talking about trivial issues, playing golf, or vacationing.
    The idea that he’s got some sinister plan to destroy America – that is, other than his overt socialist and Alinsky crap — is laughable. Outside maintaining power and his own personal interests, it’s hard to find evidence that Obama is doing anything at all. Obama read the manual on how to acquire power himself, but he’s out of his league in what to do with it outside of our borders.
    All his attention is focused inward, and exerting power here, where he has allies in the media, an IRS to bully his political enemies, and a spy agency, are all at his disposal. The rest of the world knows he’s a nothing.
    Obama’s foreign policy plan was already deployed. That was to run around the world in his first term, apologizing for all of us, for all of our mistakes and our existence. In his mind, that was the end of it. The reset button and all the other crap about the USA being under new leadership was in itself supposed to signal to the world that we good guys now, and peace would break out everywhere. Once everyone saw the USA was under the brilliant and rational leadership of himself, the world would heal itself.
    Now that it hasn’t worked out that way, he’s not about to admit he wasn’t prepared or wrong, he’s just going to withdraw and do what he’s comfortable doing —
    campaigning, blaming, and giving empty speeches . That’s all there is. There’s no man behind the curtain. Just a petulant, inexperienced manchild with a massive ego.

  21. blert Says:


    At the heart of the ‘problem’ is the President: he’s a Gonnabee.

    AKA Reactive Dependent personality type.

    Plainly by these missives, the DC apparats have never come to recognize the Type.

    They need to read Wareham’s Business Types.

    Then they shall know terror.

  22. Ray Says:

    Eric Hopper’s “The True Believer.”

    That’s Eric Hoffer. He wrote many fine books. See here.

  23. Richard Saunders Says:

    Southpaw, c’mon — Why should he bother to select a competent team, when he’s the smartest man ever to be President!

    Did you ever see anyone who more epitomized the opposite of Teddy Roosevelt’s (who may actually have been the smartest man ever to be President) foreign policy rule — “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

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