Speak loudly, and carry no stick at all

posted at 8:48 am on February 9, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

In my latest column for The Week, I ask if Barack Obama truly knows what he wants as an outcome from the Egyptian crisis.  After getting off to a good start in a near-impossible situation for the US, Obama then jumped the gun by demanding a “transition” from the Mubarak regime, which Robert Gibbs emphasized the next day by saying “now means yesterday.”  At the same time, Obama sent a personal envoy to Hosni Mubarak, and the choice of envoy turned out to be a predictable disaster.  Within a few days, the US was in retreat from its earlier demands:

In the middle of this vacillation, Obama chose former Ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner to go to Cairo and handle Mubarak personally. Wisner, who has served as ambassador to five countries in twenty years, went to review the crisis and speak directly with Mubarak on Obama’s behalf. Within days, Wisner publicly insisted that Mubarak needed to stay in office, saying that “President Mubarak’s continued leadership is critical.” The Obama administration had to distance itself from its own special envoy, who got promptly recalled and this week returned to his day job.

And what exactly does Wisner do these days? He works for the lobbying firm Patton Boggs, a company that advertises its connections to Mubarak regime, according to the British newspaper The Independent. Patton Boggs “openly boasts that it advises ‘the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitrations and litigation on the [Mubarak] government’s behalf in Europe and the U.S.’.”

With those kinds of connections deep within the Mubarak regime, the choice of Wisner only makes sense if Obama wanted someone who could play ball with Mubarak. Sending Wisner to Mubarak had to be seen in Egypt as a gesture of conciliation, which was the opposite of the public message Obama had begun literally broadcasting from Washington. At the very least, one might have thought that the White House might have asked Wisner what he thought before sending him to deliver Obama’s message, if indeed Obama didn’t want to signal conciliation.

The White House insists that Wisner was only chosen to deliver a message, and that he returned to the US at the completion of the mission.  They’re also trying to downplay Wisner’s connections to Patton Boggs, claiming that he didn’t do much work for their Egyptian clients.  But that explanation doesn’t make much sense, either:

Now the White House claims that Wisner’s mission has concluded and that all subsequent communications can be handled by current State Department personnel. If so, then why send Wisner at all?  The current ambassador, Margaret Scobey, is both well-qualified and well-positioned to deliver it, having been in place for almost three years. Wisner, in contrast, had last been ambassador to Egypt 20 years ago. Either the Obama administration has an inscrutable secret strategy for handling the crisis, or they are making it up as they go along.

Andy McCarthy has a must-read essay on the nuances of the crisis in Egypt today at National Review:

Most of the commentary, very much including conservative commentary, ignores this diversity. It assumes a monolithic Egypt — whatever monolith best serves the particular commentator’s policy preferences. When neoconservative enthusiasts of the Bush democracy project look at Egypt, they seem to see only the pro-Western secularists. Discounting profound cultural differences between Islam and the West, presuming instead that all people are essentially the same and have a common yearning for freedom, they marginalize Egyptians who do not fit the mold — as if these tens of millions were some unrepresentative fringe or the product of someone’s fevered imagination. On the other hand, many other conservatives, justifiably alarmed over the potential Muslim Brotherhood ascendancy, portray the Brothers as if they were ten feet tall — poised to roll effortlessly over secular Egyptians, hijack the armed forces, and begin bombing Tel Aviv by noon tomorrow.

Egypt is far more complicated than these competing visions, and others on offer, suggest. To begin with, not all of Egypt is rebelling, and not all of those protesting in the streets are protesting for the same reasons. Some actually support Mubarak. That should come as no surprise: One doesn’t hang on as an authoritarian ruler for 30 years without cultivating the right elements of society. Life, however, could get considerably less comfortable for the pro-regime elements if their patron is gone, so they want him to stick around — even at 82 and in failing health.

The anti-Mubarak opposition encompasses a majority of the country, but it is a mixed bag. If there is one uniting factor, it is not Mubarak’s brutality but his cupidity. He and his family seem to have socked away a fortune larger than Egypt’s public debt, making them billionaires 40 times over. A number of Mubarak cronies are now billionaires, too, having skimmed off the regime’s hammer-lock on industry — and this, in a country with rampant poverty, real unemployment at over 20 percent, and many working Egyptians surviving on only a few hundred dollars a year.

Concern over Mubarak’s iron fist is what most animates the Western press, which takes its cues from progressive intellectuals and self-styled human-rights crusaders. Among Egyptians, though, dissent over Mubarak’s brutality against Islamists and suppression of political opposition pales beside revulsion over his financial corruption.

Americans want to see representative democracy flourish, and we don’t like dictators.  That’s why Bill Kristol argued that conservatives should demand Mubarak’s ouster and “stand for freedom,” and he’s right — to a point.  That question has to focus on what the long-term results will be from specific actions taken now.  Will Mubarak’s ouster lead to freedom, especially a lasting freedom that allows for political diversity and the type of human rights taken for granted in the West?  McCarthy is not optimistic:

Much is made, including by President Obama, of the fact that the Brotherhood is a minority faction, popular with perhaps a quarter of Egyptians. That, though, is a formidable plurality — the Bolsheviks probably had less popular support in 1917. To be effective, especially when things are in disarray, a faction doesn’t need to be a majority. It needs to be disciplined and better organized than its competition. Under one authoritarian regime after another for generations, most Egyptians have been busy just trying to get by. Game-planning a revolutionary reordering of society hasn’t been on their radar. But it has been the Brotherhood’s obsession since 1928. Moreover, the Brothers have been gradualists about their goals precisely because they believed it would be important, when their moment finally came, to be ready to hit the ground running.

They are ready. Even as a technically outlawed organization, the Brotherhood has become the leading opposition group in the assembly. If there is a quick transition, meaning popular elections and a new government, the Brotherhood is certain to improve its position. In all likelihood, it will not be a majority party, but it will have enough of a plurality to exercise enormous influence over the levers of power and perhaps to decide who wields them.

The new Egyptian government would be more Islamist, more anti-American, and more hostile to Israel. How much the tide would turn from Mubarak’s pro-Western tilt would depend on the military, the upper ranks of which will not want to return to a state of war with Israel, regardless of the Muslim Brotherhood’s desires and the unpopularity of Israel among the broader Egyptian population. As I’ve argued previously, while the military is the most stable institution in Egypt, we should be careful not to overrate its promise as a bulwark against the Islamist advance.

It was easy to stand for the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009 (at least for everyone outside of the White House), because we already had the worst-case scenario in front of us: radical Islamists in charge of an oppressive theocracy, armed with substantial military might.  There, change could not possibly have made the situation worse, especially with the mullahs’ appetite for nuclear weapons. With Mubarak, and even with a transitional phase with his VP Omar Suleiman, we don’t have the worst of all cases in front of us.  Furthermore, with a longer transition, there is hope that democratization forces apart from the Muslim Brotherhood will have time to organize and keep the Brotherhood marginalized in the minority — but a rush to sudden change will leave the Brotherhood alone in the field, with just an army junta the only force blocking them from power.

We all want a liberal democracy to eventually arise in Egypt, but pushing Mubarak out may not be the best way to get there — and we shouldn’t be so arrogant as to demand his ouster without any thought of what follows in the chaos ahead.  The US does not have a strong hand in any case in this crisis, and we should have gone about our efforts with a great deal more humility and subtlety than Obama demonstrated last week.


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Obama acted stupidly.

50sGuy on February 9, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Obama wants a crisis. He fully expects the MB to rise up. I wonder if that was one of his father’s “dreams”?

clnurnberg on February 9, 2011 at 8:51 AM

However things turn out, you know it’s going to be a ‘I meant to do that’ moment for PantLoad.

BigWyo on February 9, 2011 at 8:52 AM

I ask if Barack Obama truly knows what he wants as an outcome from the Egyptian crisis.

Mostly he wants the entire distraction to disappear so he can focus on advancing domestic socialism.

petefrt on February 9, 2011 at 8:54 AM

Sending a lobbyist with connections to the Egyptain government over there to deliver a message?

“SMART POWER” wins again!!

Khun Joe on February 9, 2011 at 8:55 AM

However things turn out, you know it’s going to be a ‘I meant to do that’

BigWyo on February 9, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Yup, polishing the turd.

petefrt on February 9, 2011 at 8:56 AM

These guys are just plain terrible at foreign policy – almost as bad as they are with economic issues.

forest on February 9, 2011 at 8:58 AM

It’s for the best that they carry no stick at all, as I am certain this administration would clumsily poke out its own eye.

myrenovations on February 9, 2011 at 8:58 AM

The buck does not stop at dear leader’s feet

He’ll be blaming someone in short order

cmsinaz on February 9, 2011 at 8:58 AM

+1 myrenovations

cmsinaz on February 9, 2011 at 9:01 AM

The “think before you speak” lesson apparently was not part of his upbringing in Indonesia. It certainly was too late for him by the time he entered Punahou.

the_souse on February 9, 2011 at 9:01 AM

I don’t believe there is any good outcome here for us or Egyptians. The average Egyptian does not know what liberal democracy is. If we want a truly democratic ally in the future we need a much better educated and informed populace in Egypt.

While anything in Iran is better than the Ayatollah and Amaminnyman, I believe the average Iranian still has a better grasp of liberal democracy then the average Egyptian does. Perhaps its education or perhaps its having already lived under theocratic rule for 30 years already. Either way, Egyptians as a people are going to make a bad choice for themselves before they wise up and make better ones in the future.

NotCoach on February 9, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Obama’s nonexistent foreign policy skills are the fault of Bush/FOX News/Palin/Limbaugh/Beck/teabaggerz/Koch Brothers.

Obviously.

Good Lt on February 9, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Maybe Obama thinks the motto is “Speak softly, and carry a big schtick?”

Scott P on February 9, 2011 at 9:03 AM

If Obama seriously wants to be considered even minimally to be like Reagan he needs to fire a government union. Reagan fired PATCO. I recommend that Obambi fire the NEA. C’mon Zero, win edjumacatin’s future back from the NEA.

viking01 on February 9, 2011 at 9:06 AM

This seems to be missing the part about people protesting/rioting over market reforms that were phasing out food subsidies.

Count to 10 on February 9, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Obviously.

Good Lt on February 9, 2011 at 9:01 AM

How could you forget Big Oil? Are you a right wing Fascist being paid by Big Oil?

NotCoach on February 9, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Obama acted stupidly.

50sGuy on February 9, 2011 at 8:50 AM

That wasn’t acting.

Shy Guy on February 9, 2011 at 9:07 AM

But he made a speech, dammit! Some people are never satisfied.

OldEnglish on February 9, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Next idea: If he and Mubarak could just smoke a joint together….

RBMN on February 9, 2011 at 9:08 AM

This seems to be missing the part about people protesting/rioting over market reforms that were phasing out food subsidies.

Count to 10 on February 9, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Which is an excellent point. Iranaians felt robbed of their liberties. Egyptians are hungry. Hand them a loaf of bread and a new theocracy and they’ll be happy today.

NotCoach on February 9, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Maybe Obama thinks the motto is “Speak softly, and carry a big schtick cig?”

Scott P on February 9, 2011 at 9:03 AM

:)

Shy Guy on February 9, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Egypt: The Fuse On The Brink of Igniting

Nearly Nobody on February 9, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Indecisiveness and kicking the can down the road and hoping someone else will solve your problem and let you take credit for it are pretty much woven into Obama’s DNA, because that’s what his acolytes have allowed him to get away with for the past quarter century. But you can’t do that as president, and at the same time, this White House has it’s own internal divisions over how to deal with Egypt, including ideologues who don’t view asension of the Muslim Brotherhood as a liability, but as an asset.

They’re the ones who form the pro-Hamas faction in the White House and State Department foreign policy apparatus, and who aren’t angered about Mubarak’s corruption, but about his failure to support the more militant Palestinians against Isreal over the years. Were it not for the 2012 election and the Democratic Party’s heavy reliance on Jewish donors, there’s a good chance this White House wouldn’t have backed off it’s pressure on Mubarak to resign, not so much because it wants free elections in Egypt but because certain key people want to see Egypt put more pressure on Israel, because that’s also what they want to see the U.S. do to Israel.

jon1979 on February 9, 2011 at 9:10 AM

For about the thousandth + or – time, I find my self wondering if our man in the WH has a clue about anything outside of his own agenda. What an odd guy at the head of a collection of odd people who seem to have more insight into Hollywood entertainers and sports figures than they do the country and it’s various policies. Obama has got to go. for the good of the country and for his own good. He’s a failure…just that, a failure. I wonder if larger portions of the country refuse to see this because he’s black and we can’t have the 1st black President fail. or can we???

jeanie on February 9, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Which is an excellent point. Iranaians felt robbed of their liberties. Egyptians are hungry. Hand them a loaf of bread and a new theocracy and they’ll be happy today.

NotCoach on February 9, 2011 at 9:08 AM

I have to say I’m a bit freaked out by the undercurrent of wealth redistribution, and I’ve seen one account that has the Egyptian military as a major promoter of socialism.

Count to 10 on February 9, 2011 at 9:13 AM

My guess is that Obama doesn’t even imagine himself as speaking for the United States. He instead fancies himself as speaking for some imaginary “international community”. This doubly a mistake. In a political conversation, we do need to take our own side, and the imagined “international community” hates us.

thuja on February 9, 2011 at 9:16 AM

I ask if Barack Obama truly knows what he wants as an outcome from the Egyptian crisis.

Obama wants chaos, it’s his stock in trade. It’s what he does, it’s all he does. Alynisky “Rules for Radicals” is all he has. Get people fired up, riled up, stirred up, and send an enraged mob into someone’s officer or into the street.

What Obama is doing in Egypt is a dress rehearsal, a field trial to work the bugs out of his systems; to see what works and what needs improvement; to see if he really can bring down a government. Obama is a radical ree-VOL-loo-tionary, and his goal is President for Life.

You can see the signs here already, health care as a right, health care as free to all, special favor for special groups, and it’s the evil, fascist republicans who want to take it all away from you. Obama wants chaos because he expects to be the messiah who will save us when it happens; the only leader who can take us to the promised utopia if only we’ll just follow him.

Skandia Recluse on February 9, 2011 at 9:16 AM

Maybe Obama thinks the motto is “Speak softly, and carry a big schtick?”

Scott P on February 9, 2011 at 9:03 AM

lol

50sGuy on February 9, 2011 at 9:17 AM

This poor sick Republic is in serious trouble and is in a steep decline. Sad but true.

rplat on February 9, 2011 at 9:18 AM

Interesting headline story at AOL:

Envoy: Mubarak Not Going Anywhere
Egypt’s ambassador to the U.N. says ‘constitutional barriers’ prevent the embattled president’s immediate exit.

We all know how Barry O feels about constitutions– our own and that of Honduras.

onlineanalyst on February 9, 2011 at 9:18 AM

“As I’ve always said, let me be clear that Egypt should have some form of government. Thank you and good night.”

-PBHO

Bishop on February 9, 2011 at 9:20 AM

I have to say I’m a bit freaked out by the undercurrent of wealth redistribution, and I’ve seen one account that has the Egyptian military as a major promoter of socialism.

Count to 10 on February 9, 2011 at 9:13 AM

They have never been a free people. They expect their rulers to provide for them. And if one ruler fails to provide another will make promises to do so that they will believe.

Quite frankly I do not see how you can just simply stop subsidizing food when you did not first create opportunities for personal wealth generation through liberal economic policies. A violent reaction to less food should have been obvious.

NotCoach on February 9, 2011 at 9:21 AM

I just wish that Obama would learn that it’s OK to keep your mouth shut sometimes…

search4truth on February 9, 2011 at 9:23 AM

thuja on February 9, 2011 at 9:16 AM

I would guess that you, like myself, find this man incomprehensible. He ‘drifts’ through the Presidency much as he seems to have ‘drifted’ through life. He simply refuses to get suitably involved in anything except his own agenda. And…even that is subject to compromise if it gets to be too much trouble.

jeanie on February 9, 2011 at 9:24 AM

Count to 10 on February 9, 2011 at 9:06 AM
Which is an excellent point. Iranaians felt robbed of their liberties. Egyptians are hungry. Hand them a loaf of bread and a new theocracy and they’ll be happy today.

NotCoach on February 9, 2011 at 9:08 AM

This is the strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood. Through its “charities” bread will be delivered, and then the Egyptian populace will be “delivered” into their grasping paws.

onlineanalyst on February 9, 2011 at 9:28 AM

All hat and no stick….

apostic on February 9, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

Great analysis Ed.

29Victor on February 9, 2011 at 9:32 AM

“As I’ve always said, let me be clear that Egypt should have some form of government. Thank you and good night.”

-PBHO

Bishop on February 9, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Sums up the depth of Obama’s commitment to handle major crises, though his ego would never, ever let him give a speech that short (if he did, MSNBC and the other big media outlets would be comparing the above quote favorably to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address)

jon1979 on February 9, 2011 at 9:33 AM

What do you all expect from a Community Organizer in chief.

hawkman on February 9, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Foreign Policy 101:

F.

Better luck next semester, champ.

ted c on February 9, 2011 at 9:47 AM

It’s funny that Mr. McCarthy should mention diversity. Yesterday I was watching video of the demonstrations and I saw a large group of people with a man on their shoulders and he was carrying a cross. Even though you know they exist, I’ve always assumed that they kept a low profile. There was also a story about a very rich Christian Egyptian man who is backing the demonstrators but who thinks they need to stop protesting and prepare for the coming elections to achieve their goals.

Cindy Munford on February 9, 2011 at 9:49 AM

This excerpt from Victor Davis Hanson demonstrates the muddle of the O administration and its foreign policy:

If we were to collate all the pronouncements of Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, and President Obama, the administration believes that Mubarak is a dictator and not a dictator, a strategic ally and an embarrassing liability — and that he must leave immediately, soon, perhaps as soon as possible, but he should also transition Egypt into a constitutional state right now, this summer, next fall, but then should leave if he is somehow not already gone.

We can glean from all this that there is no official policy spokesperson. We can also conclude that the administration’s private conversations with Egyptian officials will be explained to the press in a way that makes Obama, Biden, and Clinton seem decisive, wise, and formidable — and increasingly unreliable to their Egyptian counterparts. And we will be told that the Obama administration — which on coming into office jettisoned the entire Bush approach to human rights in the Middle East (“reset”) as hopelessly neoconservative — was all along a strong promoter of freedom and consensual government and is in some way to be credited for the protests (but only if they do not descend into permanent chaos). What is going on here?

onlineanalyst on February 9, 2011 at 10:01 AM

I found the clip from Fox. This businessman is also worried that the Muslim Brotherhood is going to take over in the confusion.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/02/08/leading-egyptian-businessman-fears-muslim-brotherhood/

Cindy Munford on February 9, 2011 at 10:12 AM

onlineanalyst on February 9, 2011 at 10:01 AM

VDH, spot on.

maverick muse on February 9, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Speak loudly, and carry no stick at all

Good headline and so apt. Unfortunately in my experience doing so usually results in a very quick a$$ whuppin’ in short order.

Oldnuke on February 9, 2011 at 10:28 AM

There IS an alliance between the socialist left and radical islam, that can’t be denied. Bammie obviously wants them to win. He sees the demonstrations in the streets as a triumph of the only thing he knows, community organizing.

slickwillie2001 on February 9, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Cindy Munford on February 9, 2011 at 9:49 AM

There are Christian/Muslim educated youth cooperating in the protest v. Mubarak. They exchanged “security” during weekend outdoor protest religious services.

Regardless, were Mubarak to abruptly leave power, and were these Christian/Muslim educated youth to have their way dismissing Suleiman and all from the current Egyptian government, all hell would break loose, i.e., the MB take control via UN-endorsed ElB puppet. The college kids are dupes for “liberty” at all costs, specifically at the cost of ever finding liberty. They perpetuate the same role in Egypt as college kids have played in the Russian Revolution and all 20th Century Marxist revolutions, always with the highest ideals to enforce “utopia” via authoritarianism’s liberty. Exchange one ruling class for another, one version of propaganda for another, feudalism all the same.

Here’s the irony. Mubarak’s son, reviled by Western media, already organized the political evolution of an official party, contrary to Mubarak’s establishment military-business elite. Mubarak’s son’s party represents Egypt’s new non-military middle class, the very accomplishment that these students fail to appreciate opens their own opportunity, to meet their own “legitimate” motivations for free enterprise. True to immature and juvenile demands from the college egg heads with no real world experience, these college student protesters demand the dismantling of Liberty evolved already. And Western media will never expose that reality since it doesn’t jive with their own distorted agenda to manipulate the world’s populations via propaganda indoctrination.

Sad situation. But not necessary.

maverick muse on February 9, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Speak loudly, and carry no stick at all

Good headline and so apt. Unfortunately in my experience doing so usually results in a very quick a$$ whuppin’ in short order.

Oldnuke on February 9, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Speak loudly ohne Dick.

maverick muse on February 9, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Rodney King has been selected by the WH to travel the world and spread the “Can’t we all just…get along?” message.

Mr. King reportedly has reportedly scheduled his first stop in the poppy fields of Afghanistan to “get a taste of the local crop”.

BobMbx on February 9, 2011 at 10:36 AM

However things turn out, you know it’s going to be a ‘I meant to do that’ moment for PantLoad.

BigWyo on February 9, 2011 at 8:52 AM

It’s the only way to explain the frenetic bipolarity of the WH’s wildly conflicting statements – Mubarak should go, he should stay, he should have left yesterday, we should wait & see. WTF?

With so many competing White House ‘strategies’ chaotically thrown up in the air to choose from (some on the same day), no matter what happens, he and sympathetic hagiographers posing as historians in the future can select one & say he had a “deft” hand in it if it turns out relatively well or didn’t have a hand in it at all if it turns out badly.

That’s “leadership” for the sake of disguising a self-serving narcissist’s ineptitude & cultivating unearned approbation from others, I suppose, but leadership for the sake of global stability and cultivating the prosperity of western civilization?

Not so much.

leilani on February 9, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Speak loudly, and carry no stick at all

Talk sticky, and carry a big soft.

warbaby on February 9, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Just words. See also Palin’s comments on Obama + Egypt, i.e., Where do we stand? Who knows?

Paul-Cincy on February 9, 2011 at 10:53 AM

maverick muse on February 9, 2011 at 10:32 AM

It appears that they haven’t thought this through. As someone who has frequented a tea party or three, I applaud their desire to speak out, I just don’t know what “Mubarak Must Go” gets them. And I have actually been impressed with the government’s comparatively light handling of this situation. And Iran weighing in is positively astounding.

Cindy Munford on February 9, 2011 at 11:11 AM

It is time for another speech NOW. Now was yesterday.

antisocial on February 9, 2011 at 11:27 AM

From Mark Steyn:

“The Administration has clarified its position on Egypt…

Mubarak needs to go immediately, needs to stay indefinitely, needs to stay for a bit, then go; needs to stay for a bit longer, then go sooner rather than later, unless he decides to stay until September, because he’s standing in the way of the full bloom of a new Egyptian democracy; unless it turns out that he’s all that stands between us and the Muslim Brotherhood takeover, because the Muslim Brotherhood are a radical theocratic tyranny-in-waiting; unless, of course, it turns out that they are reasonable moderate types we should have been talking to all along. That’s the Official Obama position verbatim, from whitehouse.gov”

ziggyville on February 9, 2011 at 11:53 AM

maverick muse on February 9, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Yep. A few minutes spent with Google on Gamal Mubarak reinforces what you say. It is a shame the WH doesn’t know how to do that, although taking McCarthy’s comments into account, if the financial corruption is what is really driving the protests, Gamal is probably part of that.

a capella on February 9, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Ed, I was thinking of that same analogy last week. Obama speaks all the time out of both sides of his mouth. Nobody listens because nobody believes a word he says. All we have at this point is the stick.

Angry Dumbo on February 9, 2011 at 11:57 AM

I think he honestly thought along this line….once he gave his first position…let it be said let it be done….

tinkerthinker on February 9, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Ed, we are still the strong horse in the region. This crisis speaks to the qualifications of the man riding the horse.

Angry Dumbo on February 9, 2011 at 12:51 PM

I love your title for this, Ed!

Alana on February 9, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Obama has covered his bases… no matter the outcome now he can claim he predicted the outcome accurately, or someone on his team did.

It’s more like say lots of stuff and carry a feather.

Maybe he is trying confuse them. The fog of peace.

petunia on February 9, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Obama thought it was spelled schtick.

profitsbeard on February 9, 2011 at 6:25 PM