Is Obama stuck in the 80s?

posted at 12:45 pm on November 22, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

“I personally came of age during the Reagan presidency,” Barack Obama wrote in his first book The Audacity of Hope, and Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl wonders whether Obama hopped a DeLorean DMC-12 equipped with flux capacitor from that time directly to the present, at least in terms of foreign policy.  Obama now wants to push hard for a treaty that addresses a Soviet nuclear threat that no longer exists, and at the same time has disrupted what little progress stood to be made in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by pressing for construction freezes in areas that hadn’t really been in serious dispute until Obama’s intervention.  Obama’s world view appears trapped in a Cold War paradigm last relevant 20 years ago:

For help understanding the foreign policy headlines of the past week, let’s return, briefly, to the spring of 1983, when Barack Obama was a student at Columbia University. What were the burning international issues of that time?

Well, first was the “nuclear freeze” movement, which was prompting mass demonstrations around the world by people worried about the standoff between the Soviet Union and the United States. Obama published an article about it in a campus magazine in which he invoked the vision of “a nuclear free world.”

The Middle East, meanwhile, was still reeling from the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon – which was the apotheosis of the Zionist right’s dream of creating a “greater Israel” including all of the Palestinian West Bank.

Back to November 2010. The Obama administration is devoting a big share of its diplomatic time and capital to curbing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank – most recently, offering Israel’s right-wing government $3 billion in warplanes in exchange for a 90-day moratorium. Meanwhile, it has committed much of its dwindling domestic political capital to pushing a new nuclear arms control treaty with Russia through a reluctant Senate.

So has nothing changed in the past quarter-century? In fact, almost everything has – especially when it comes to nuclear arms control and Israel’s national objectives. What hasn’t changed, it seems, is Barack Obama – who has led his administration into a foreign policy time warp that is sapping its strength abroad and at home.

In March of this year, while Obama negotiated the START treaty, I made the same point.   Russian nukes are a considerable problem, but mostly for the Russians, who can’t afford the necessary modernization efforts it will take to maintain its massive deterrent.  Verification of a reduction in missiles is desirable, but far less critical than when the Soviet Union aimed them at the US.  Russia is much more of an economic and diplomatic adversary than a military enemy, and the reason the Russians want this treaty so badly is to be able to compete better on the economic field.

We have other, more pressing issues than Russian nukes, not the least of which are the Iranian effort to get its own nukes and the new North Korean uranium-enrichment plant that will add to theirs.  In the face of those threats, rapidly reducing the deterrents in the US and Russia may not be the smartest strategy to play.  In addition, the new treaty puts up more barriers to the missile-defense systems that would allow us to protect the US and its allies against rogue nations with small numbers of nukes and the missile technology to launch them.

Israel is another example of this Forward to the Past mentality.  The Israelis have acknowledged the necessity of a two-state solution and have withdrawn from Gaza and Lebanon.  In return, Israelis in the south and the north have missiles rained down on their heads from the regions where Israelis withdrew.  The problem in finding peace isn’t the construction of apartments around Jerusalem but the lack of a serious partner for peace from the Palestinian side.  Obama made this problem worse by insisting on a construction freeze in areas where even the Palestinians didn’t demand one as a prerequisite for talks and all but ignoring the continuing provocations of Hamas and Hezbollah — both funded and directed by Iran.

It seems that Obama the college student wants to prove that he made a better President than Ronald Reagan.  Reagan, however, addressed the actual pressing issues of his own time.  It’s akin to having Reagan invade Vietnam to prove he could have run the war better than LBJ and Richard Nixon.


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If he’s THAT out of touch, we are going to have serious problems with this guy until we can give him the boot. No wonder he seems incapable of believing in tax cuts affecting the economy. Thanks Media for greasing the skids in order to get this fool into office.

Mord on November 22, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Stuck in that wilted 80′s warp that bloomed in the 60′s

Eren on November 22, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Funny, when I saw the previous thread about the power of Drudge, I thought of “The Power of Love” sung by Huey Lewis in Back to the Future. And now this thread, with that picture…

zmdavid on November 22, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Looking for boogieman in all the wrong places.

Kini on November 22, 2010 at 12:52 PM

The Middle East, meanwhile, was still reeling from the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon – which was the apotheosis of the Zionist right’s dream of creating a “greater Israel” including all of the Palestinian West Bank.

No, they just got tired of the PLO hold up in there and trying to kill them.

Blake on November 22, 2010 at 12:53 PM

It’s akin to having Reagan invade Vietnam to prove he could have run the war better than LBJ and Richard Nixon.

Which I have no doubt that he could have.

Monkeytoe on November 22, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Obama is Max Headroom.

portlandon on November 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM

rock the casbah!

cmsinaz on November 22, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Great Giggawatts Marty!!!
We got to get the Kenyan to the clocktower!!!

abobo on November 22, 2010 at 12:56 PM

He wants to refight the cold war because he didn’t like the outcome.

zmdavid on November 22, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Those of us who harbor “Red Dawn” fantasies have no problem with this.

Bishop on November 22, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Is Obama stuck in the 80s?

No, he’s stuck on stupid.

Schadenfreude on November 22, 2010 at 12:57 PM

What hasn’t changed, it seems, is Barack Obama – who has led his administration into a foreign policy time warp that is sapping its strength abroad and at home.

What makes you think that is not Obamas main goal as POTUS?

pseudonominus on November 22, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Obama is Max Headroom.

portlandon on November 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM

heh

cmsinaz on November 22, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Awww he’s waxing sentimental. Missing his drugs, and ….well…he’s missing his drugs. But I’m thinking he’s still using, based on the way he’s running his presidency.

capejasmine on November 22, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Man, if the 80s were back, there would be a whole lot less of us unemployed and we would all be wearing satin MTV jackets. The first ex got mine, dagnambit.

kingsjester on November 22, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Bishop on November 22, 2010 at 12:57 PM


WOLVERINES!!!!

cmsinaz on November 22, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Funny, when I saw the previous thread about the power of Drudge, I thought of “The Power of Love” sung by Huey Lewis in Back to the Future. And now this thread, with that picture…

zmdavid on November 22, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Me too.

Of course, it IS the 25th anniversary of the first BTTF movie this month. (Wasn’t it released over Thanksgiving weekend back in 1985?) So it’s appropriate.

Also, Obama is a Butt-head who needs to make like a tree, and get outta here.

;)

wearyman on November 22, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Well, I wish he would fix MTV then. Back in the 80′s they played music videos. (I know that’s a shocker for you younger folks, but it’s true.)

ButterflyDragon on November 22, 2010 at 1:00 PM

The jug-eared sh*t stain “came of age during the Reagan presidency”. Too bad he didn’t grow up during it.

Extrafishy on November 22, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Matt Damon

J_Crater on November 22, 2010 at 1:01 PM

He is the DOTUS (inadvertantly or on purpose).

He sees the 80′s (as do other Progressive Ruling Classers) as a time of great excess. Americans’ are pillaging and destroying the worlds resources we must all stop this exploitation of the world and it’s resources.

In Obama……AMERICA IS GOING TO HAVE IT’S CHICKENS COME HOME TO WOOST (one way or a freaking other).

How do his actions show otherwise?

PappyD61 on November 22, 2010 at 1:01 PM

The President is not to be disturbed. He’s watching his Sony Beta tapes of the Us Festival.

forest on November 22, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Why did he jump into the Israel/Palestinian issue in the first place? Nothing significant had changed since the last failure and he had nothing new or original to bring to the table. I don’t buy that he’s a bumbling idiot like Biden. There’s a reason for his “madness”. What is it?

cartooner on November 22, 2010 at 1:02 PM

I want to throw in a little editing note that struck me as I saw this sentence:

“I personally came of age during the Reagan presidency,” Barack Obama wrote in his first book The Audacity of Hope

I’ve never read the Obama/Ayers book, but the phrasing struck me as odd with the redundant use of personally. Can you come of age impersonally? When you speak of yourself how can it be anything other that personal?

“I came of age during the Reagan presidency,” would have made more sense and had more punch.

So much for the smart man/ghostwriter.

INC on November 22, 2010 at 1:03 PM

I’m not really concerned about Russian military might and power, after seeing the Russian balloon company (Rusbai) selling inflatable tank, missile launcher, and fighter jet satellite dummies.

eigafan on November 22, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Can we just send Obama to the alternate timeline where Biff ran everything? He’s a catastrophe in this timeline.

Electrongod on November 22, 2010 at 1:03 PM

wearyman on November 22, 2010 at 1:00 PM

According to IMDB, it was released on July 3, 1985.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088763/

Today is the 21st anniversary of part II
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096874/

zmdavid on November 22, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Great Giggawatts Marty!!!
We got to get the Kenyan to the clocktower!!!

abobo on November 22, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Still drives me crazy how they mispronounced Giga-watts in that movie. For those that don’t understand, “Giga-watts” is correctly pronounced with a HARD “G” as in “giggle”. Instead it somehow ended up pronounced with a soft “g” that sounds like a “j”, as in “jiggle”.

So yeah, if you grew up in the ’80′s you may very well have been pronouncing it incorrectly for 25 years. Thanks Doc Brown!

wearyman on November 22, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Stuck in the 70′s is closer to the truth. Just need him to get out his old disco clothes and it would be perfect.

Corsair on November 22, 2010 at 1:07 PM

I’m younger than Obama and “came of age” during the Carter years.

I know the guy is immature but wasn’t he about 20 when Reagan was elected?

JammieWearingFool on November 22, 2010 at 1:08 PM

wearyman on November 22, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Yeah, I didn’t learn the correct pronunciation until “gigabyte” came into common use.

zmdavid on November 22, 2010 at 1:09 PM

If it were the 80′s, both Sam Kinnison and SRV would still be alive. If only.

Bishop on November 22, 2010 at 1:09 PM

On a tangent, I think we should use metric prefixes for money, eg: this year’s budget deficit is 1.5 teradollars (T$).

zmdavid on November 22, 2010 at 1:12 PM

This is nothing more (START) than an attempt to give Obama any kind of victory.

catmman on November 22, 2010 at 1:14 PM

I see Bammie as more stuck in the 60′s, not because of his age but because all the mentors in his life have been burned out marxist hippies from the 60′s.

slickwillie2001 on November 22, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Maybe Barry missed the part where the Progressive Soviet Union collapsed, maybe he thinks it can still work.

Chip on November 22, 2010 at 1:19 PM

1.21 JIGGAWATTS???!!!

Tony737 on November 22, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Frankly, Obama’s time-travel analogy is less “Back To The Future”, and more “Mr. Peabody and Sherman”!

pilamaye on November 22, 2010 at 1:20 PM

So instead of getting us out of the ditch, Obiffy is dumping a truck load of sh!t on us.

bluemarlin on November 22, 2010 at 1:20 PM

OT – Am I the last one to find out the Dream Act is scheduled for a vote one week from today???

Eren on November 22, 2010 at 1:21 PM

He wants to refight the cold war because he didn’t like the outcome.

zmdavid on November 22, 2010 at 12:56 PM

There is that factor plus those of O’s generation and younger never accepted that the cold war really existed, that it was some “right wing” fabrication.

onlineanalyst on November 22, 2010 at 1:23 PM

OT – Am I the last one to find out the Dream Act is scheduled for a vote one week from today???
Eren on November 22, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Say What?

Er…. that would be no, you aren’t the last, BTW.

Chip on November 22, 2010 at 1:25 PM


What were the burning international issues of that time?

Don’t forget the Libyans … And they can be worked into the BTTF analogy …

“They found me, I don’t know how but they found me.”

“Who?”

“Who do THINK? The LIBYANS! RUN FOR IT MARTY!!!”

Tony737 on November 22, 2010 at 1:30 PM

I wonder who Obama likes better? Tesla or GnR?

Tony737 on November 22, 2010 at 1:33 PM

I heard that everyone is freaking out from the WH to the CIA and beyond. All trying to figure out what they can do to get this guy to step down or be removed from office.

Scary times indeed.

Key West Reader on November 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM

I’m younger than Obama and “came of age” during the Carter years.

I know the guy is immature but wasn’t he about 20 when Reagan was elected?

JammieWearingFool on November 22, 2010 at 1:08 PM

To Obama “coming of age” is sometime after you are 26, working for a non-profit and telling dissatisfied people why they should rabblerouse to squeeze more allowance from their paternalistic government.

chaswv on November 22, 2010 at 1:37 PM

.I heard that everyone is freaking out from the WH to the CIA and beyond. All trying to figure out what they can do to get this guy to step down or be removed from office.

Scary times indeed.

Key West Reader on November 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM </

I guess showing up late is better than not showing up at all. Where we these people in 2007/2008!

bluemarlin on November 22, 2010 at 1:39 PM

reminds me of an interview I saw with BO during the run up to his election. When he was asked how he felt about his position on the Iraq surge being wrong, BO responded, paraphrasing, that he wasn’t wrong because his idea wasn’t tried.

I found that statement very telling.

Everybody should know by now the left beleives BO is their Reagan, and BO will attempt to undo everything Reagan did and the opposite of Reagan got done.

This, I beleive is why the left is so freaked out about Palin. If Reagan had a political daughter, it would be Sarah.

booter on November 22, 2010 at 1:41 PM

If the US and Europe had fully embraced the “nuclear freeze” movement, START would never have occurred and there would still be even larger numbers of nuclear devices “frozen” now in our present.

J_Crater on November 22, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Mr. Obama, I knew Ronald Reagan. He is a friend of mine. Mr. Obama, you are no Ronald Reagan.

MeAlice on November 22, 2010 at 1:46 PM

The Middle East, meanwhile, was still reeling from the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon – which was the apotheosis of the Zionist right’s dream of creating a “greater Israel” including all of the Palestinian West Bank.

Lovely bit of fiction.

Ben Hur on November 22, 2010 at 1:51 PM

I was under the impression that Biden was supposed to be ‘the foreign policy guru’. Given Barry’s inexperience in almost everything.

GarandFan on November 22, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Those with substance abuse problems never fully mature beyond the point at which they began their abuse.

darwin-t on November 22, 2010 at 2:03 PM

I was under the impression that Biden was supposed to be ‘the foreign policy guru’. Given Barry’s inexperience in almost everything.

GarandFan on November 22, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Nope. Joe is the ice cream czar and part time overseer of the stimulus. Nobody messes wif Joe.

Key West Reader on November 22, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Barack Obama: The Last Starfighter.

juanito on November 22, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Obama is Max Headroom.

portlandon on November 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM

That’s C C C C kewl….

Youngs98 on November 22, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Speaking of Back To The Future….this is pretty funny.

angryed on November 22, 2010 at 2:15 PM

dear leader livin’ in the eighties

cmsinaz on November 22, 2010 at 2:17 PM

This is what happens to incurious dopes with no critical thinking skills. They just keep working off the same playbook until a college professor gives them an update.

RadClown on November 22, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Marxism doesn’t age.

tarpon on November 22, 2010 at 2:38 PM

If it were the 80′s, both Sam Kinnison and SRV would still be alive. If only.

Bishop on November 22, 2010 at 1:09 PM

I hear ya Bishop, I loved Sam! In fact I was watching a tribute show to Sam last night, it’s called “Back From Hell: A Tribute to Sam Kinnison.”

As for Obama living in the 80′ I’d have to say as others have pointed out I believe he’s living more in the 60′s due to the heavy influence from scumbags such as Ayers, Wright, et al. The marxist/hippies of the 60′s never got their revolution so they got Obama their useful idiot elected to try and accomplish now what they failed to do in the 60′s an 70′s which is to destroy America…

Liberty or Death on November 22, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Clueless. Rudderless. Hopeless.

Hey, “indies.” Thanks for voting this disaster in!

YOU RETARDS!!!

RedNewEnglander on November 22, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Hey, “indies.” Thanks for voting this disaster in!

YOU RETARDS!!!

RedNewEnglander on November 22, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Also, thank the stupid Rs who did, either by voting for him, nor by pouting and not voting…though the alternative was just a tad better. This way the electorate got jolted into reality, in a jiffy. The national scrooming hurts.

Schadenfreude on November 22, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Well, I have the DeLorean, minus flux capacitator, so if anyone knows how to build one, then I am up for a donation. We could send BarryO way, way back in time. I can’t think of a better use for “Dee.”

di butler on November 22, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Obama didn’t like the 80s, so he’s trying to bring us back to the 70s. To Russia with Love, stag-flation, malaise. Maybe he’ll ask his daughter about nuclear disarmament, as Carter did.

Morning in America is now Mourning in America.

Steve Z on November 22, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Obama’s world view appears trapped in a Cold War paradigm last relevant 20 years ago

That way he can look busy while avoiding the current world issues like Islamic Terrorism. And to think, people said that Palin has no foreign policy experience. I thought Biden was suppose to be the foreign policy guru that makes Barry look good. What happened to that plan?

mizflame98 on November 22, 2010 at 3:29 PM

Still drives me crazy how they mispronounced Giga-watts in that movie. For those that don’t understand, “Giga-watts” is correctly pronounced with a HARD “G” as in “giggle”. Instead it somehow ended up pronounced with a soft “g” that sounds like a “j”, as in “jiggle”.

Maybe they think a 500-jig hard drive is Dancing with the Stars.

Steve Z on November 22, 2010 at 3:34 PM

And all this time I thought he was stuck in the 60s.

tom on November 22, 2010 at 4:02 PM

OT – Am I the last one to find out the Dream Act is scheduled for a vote one week from today???
Eren on November 22, 2010 at 1:21 PM

There’s an ugly handful of legislation creeping through the lame-duck congress, of course helped by the RINOs like the Fair Ladies of Maine. That ugly food safety bill is another.

The hoohah over the TSA is drowning out everything else.

slickwillie2001 on November 22, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Stuck in the 80′s? The man is stuck in Lenin’s post revolutionary Russia.

kens on November 22, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Ben Smith’s piece in Politico echoes some of what Captain Ed just said.

“If Obama wanted to be a transformational figure, he would never have led with the settlements,” said Eyal Arad, the architect of Livni’s campaign for prime minister. He argues — like most Israelis — that Obama inadvertently got talks hung up on a matter of irrelevant principle, rather than engaging the reality that some settlements can stay while others must go.

“The settlements were pushed by a bunch of left-wingers who were out of sync with the realities and were out of government too long,” he said. “The irony is that Obama went directly back to the place where George Bush the father left off.” (emphasis added)

Bush to Dr. Brown (Christopher Lloyd): “Doc, are you saying Obama has the hots for me?

DubiousD on November 22, 2010 at 4:42 PM

“I personally came of age during the Reagan presidency,”

Yeah, he came of age in the Left wing, college campus, Alternative Rock, “kill Reagan and Thatcher” culture. That’s EXACTLY who he is. I’m the same age as Obama and have in-laws who are hardcore Left wing academics who were in grad school at the time. Obama is the kind of person that they’d have over their house as the token Black guest for Thanksgiving, amongst a bunch of smug Left wing WASP professors. There would be a New Order record playing in the background while they nibbled on pumpkin pie and discussed the Palestinian genocide.

ardenenoch on November 22, 2010 at 6:27 PM

Great Scott!

How about Bill & Ted plucked Obama out of the 1980′s. Where’s a time traveling phone booth when you need one(and not TARDIS)? This is more like a Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey….

cebj25 on November 22, 2010 at 6:43 PM

1.21 JIGGAWATTS TRILLION DOLLARS???!!!

Tony737 on November 22, 2010 at 1:20 PM

FTFY.

My collie says:

He’s not going to find that kind of money with the 112th congress.

Yeah, and besides, a gigawatt here, a gigawatt there, pretty soon it adds up to real electric power.

CyberCipher on November 22, 2010 at 7:02 PM