Despite conspicuous displays of bravado and self-assuredness, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the left to defend the President Barack Obama’s actions. How can you tell? A few are starting to jump ship.
Take, for example, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank who can no longer avoid stating what is in his mind a condition too obvious to ignore: Obama is becoming George W. Bush.
Milbank’s particular gripe centered on today’s defenestration – sorry, mutually agreed to resignation – of Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel. The columnist lamented the similarities between Bush’s decision to respond to the “thumpin’” his party took in 2006 by jettisoning Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld and Obama’s embrace of a similar strategy in the wake if his party’s drubbing at the polls.
But the biggest letdown for Milbank is the acknowledgement in Obama’s decision of the widening war in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State.
Hagel, brought in to end wars, wasn’t about to mention the one that started on his watch. He stuck to the safe terrain of praising the “fun” of team building taking care to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving.
Hagel, a man of peace, can now at least enjoy the holiday, knowing he’ll be free of this new war once the Senate confirms a successor — no doubt after many I-told-you-so’s from Republican hawks about Islamic State.
For Hagel’s boss, being dragged into expanding just the sort of war he was elected to end, there is no such relief.
And there’s the rub. Hagel’s departure vindicates Republican hawks who opposed Hagel’s nomination in the first place because, they warned, these were dangerous times that called for anyone but a fierce advocate for American retreat and retrenchment. Milbank justifiably fears that Republicans are likely to make note of their absolution.
Republican hawks would do well to take Milbank’s advice. They should issue a volley of resounding “I-told-you-so’s” in order to prevent the rise of future threats to American national security which the left would allow to metastasize in the name of expediency. Liberals might be robbed of their unearned but oft-repeated status as peacemakers, but the nation will be better off for it.