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Posted at 1:03 PM ET, 02/11/2011

Egypt

By Greg Sargent

Mubarak is out, and Nick Kristof strikes a triumphant but also cautionary note on what it means and what's next:

This is a huge triumph for people power, and it will resonate across the Middle East and far beyond (you have to wonder what President Hu Jintao of China is thinking right now). The narrative about how Arab countries are inhospitable for democracy, how the Arab world is incompatible with modernity -- that has been shattered by the courage and vision of so many Tunisians and Egyptians.

It's also striking that Egyptians triumphed over their police state without Western help or even moral support. During rigged parliamentary elections, the West barely raised an eyebrow...

But the game isn't over, and now a word of caution. I worry that senior generals may want to keep (with some changes) a Mubarak-style government without Mubarak...

...let's hope that the United States makes absolutely clear that it stands for full democracy, not just for some kind of false stability that derives from authoritarianism. The Obama administration missed the boat in the last few weeks, but I thought yesterday's speech and statement by President Obama marked an improvement. Let's hope it continues. May Mubarak's resignation mark a new beginning -- in Egypt, and also in wiser American policy toward Egypt and the Arab world.

What does it mean for Obama politically at home? Administration officials are now leaking to ABC News that after Mubarak spoke last night, they let him know in no uncertain terms that it wasn't good enough. They also sought to defuse criticism of Obama for not knowing what Mubarak would say yesterday, arguing that even the best intelligence can't get inside someone's head.

Relatedly, a Dem official emails the emerging spin:

People will remember -- despite some fumbles yesterday -- that the President played an excellent hand, walked the right line and that his statement last night was potentially decisive in brining this issue to a close. The situation remains complicated and delicate going forward -- but this is a huge affirmation of the President's leadership on the international stage.

In truth, as Jonathan Bernstein points out, it will be some time before we possess enough information about what happened to reach any conclusions about Obama's role. Either way, the story is far from over, and as Kristof notes, the administration can continue to play a major role in the weeks and months ahead. For now, as commenter Liam notes below, today belongs to the people of Egypt.

By Greg Sargent  | February 11, 2011; 1:03 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Comments

Greg, what do you think of Megan Kelly's opening statement on Fox?

"The biggest news in the middle east since the victory in Iraq."

heh.

I can't even imagine what's going on behind the scenes at Fox. There must be like 50 focus groups going on to deal with the shifting news that pouring in and how they should spin it.

Frank Luntz the spinster is getting paid overtime.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Mike, that's awesome. thanks. wow.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 11, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Kristoff: "The Obama administration missed the boat in the last few weeks"

Yes, President Palin would have tweeted Mubarak right out of there weeks ago.

Posted by: CaptainMcGlew | February 11, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

smd1234

"I did not see it, but understood that Hosni M gave his powers to the military; but I am not sure he has relinquished the office of President, did he?"

Hi there, yes, he did, he has no official title. He is a private citizen.

In other places and times, this would be called a coup. But he fact that the population seems so supportive of its Army makes that word seem inappropriate, except to the Muslim Brotherhood which clearly recognizes the Egyptian military as its enemy and which has called this a coup d'état.

Really though, it has been, oh lets pick a number, say 8000 years since the people of Egypt told its government to get lost. If it can happen there, I dare say it can happen anywhere.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"it will be some time before we possess enough information about what happened to reach any conclusions about Obama's role."

And honestly, I don't think the U.S.'s role will be publicly made unless it's made from the Egyptian military themselves. I think they are the only establishment the Egyptian public has faith in. Their military and them alone have the ability to reshape the negative image our Government has to their public.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Chinese fireworks tonight, neither Iranian rockets, nor American tear gas cannisters.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Saw on a tweet:

Recently unemployed #mubarak reportedly in talks with #sarahpalin and #chrislee for new reality show "the biggest quitter"

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to Mr. Bernstein and Greg for properly putting the breaks on any attempts to give Obama credit for what has just happened in Egypt. Not to mention that taking credit could backfire if the still uncertain situation should take an ugly turn. It stands in nice contrast to the credit some conservatives gave Bush for what happened in Tunisia.

Of course it doesn't hurt to use one of the favorite tools of the right, the "I'm not saying, I'm just saying" statement.

For instance: I'm not saying Obama deserves credit for Mubarak's about face from last night to today, but it's interesting that the change occurred after Obama's speech and after they let Mubarak know his actions weren't good enough.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 11, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

OK folks. The ousting of Mubarak, is terrifying all the other Despots in the middle east;

But there is one other big name, that this outcome has to be very bad news for; Bin Laden.

The masses rising up, and demanding the establishment of Democracies, has got to be Bin Laden's worst nightmare. He needs Despots in place, to play against.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

A Wikileaked US cable from 2008 reported that disgruntled mid-level Egyptian officers referred to Field Marshal Tantawi as "Mubarak's poodle". His leadership was also criticized, with Cairo embassy officials saying that under him "the tactical and operational readiness of the Egyptian armed forces has decayed. BBC

Well, Mubarak's poodle is in charge now.

"Augustus Richard Norton, a Middle East specialist at Boston University, wrote recently: "Don't think for a minute that Tantawi and his subordinates will embrace a government that does not protect its interests." He noted that retired senior officers are present in nearly every ministry and agency in Egypt."

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Another tweet, this from @chucktodd:

RT @SavannahGuthrie More Biden in KY: "I say to my Iranian friends: let your people march, let your people speak... it's a bankrupt system"

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Dude Liam, you will be forever scribed in the annals of WaPo history!

/highfive

A historic day on two fronts!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Dictators everywhere should study Mubarak's speech from last night, one of the worst ever written. When he was reading it, sentence after sentence, fingernails across the blackboard, a parody of a grasping dictator, but it was real, that was the bizarre part.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

shrink,

The only worse speech was Suleiman following Mubarak with "Go home."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 11, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

From Andrew Sullivan's blog:

"Mubarak picked an auspicious date to resign. On this day 32 years ago the Iranian revolution took place when the Shah's forces were overwhelmed. And 21 years ago today Nelson Mandela was freed by the apartheid regime in South Africa."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 11, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I can't get over Mubarak is worth an alleged 70 billion.

I wonder why the Swiss froze his accounts and who pushed for it. They must have been watching his account the last couple weeks, watching it tick higher and at a faster speed than our national debt.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

So, Megan Kelly on Fox has a guy on that said this is being compared to the fall of the Berlin wall. I know she wanted to interrupt right there and beg to differ.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

On BBC an Islamic scholar, yes, a popular Islamic scholar just joked, "Pharaoh let his people go, so thank you Moses!"

Wow.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

TO.......Liam

I'd say it is fair to predict he (bin Laden) will TAKE CREDIT for setting off a chain of events that caused the American puppet, Hosni M, to depart.

Obviously there is similarity between the ego of a bin Laden and earlier/later religious fanatics, who are driven as much as anything by needing to be seen as a "savior."

I'll incite a bit here: I think one can fairly compare that mindset to U.S. politicians and religious "guru phonies" who can explain anything that happens by reference to something THEY have predicted or something THEY have done:

- god punished the sin city NewOrleans with hurricane Katrina; oh, if only those sinners had listened to me and seen the error of their ways
- the tax cuts we fought for have contributed to an improving economy (in just 30 days, no less)

smd

'''''''''''''''''

OK folks. The ousting of Mubarak, is terrifying all the other Despots in the middle east;

But there is one other big name, that this outcome has to be very bad news for; Bin Laden.

The masses rising up, and demanding the establishment of Democracies, has got to be Bin Laden's worst nightmare. He needs Despots in place, to play against.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 1:22 PM

Posted by: smd1234 | February 11, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

If Egypt gained its freedom, would CPAC make a sound?

:P

Egypt's freedom > a bunch of loudmouths

tbh

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Al Jazeera reporter (paraphrasing): "State radio switched tone to one of celebration. Unprecedented."

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"Pharaoh let his people go, so thank you Moses!"

That is seriously humorous!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 11, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I thought Obama was supposed to speak at 1:30?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 11, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

He said he was protesting, "...because of my faith in God...It is time to unite as one." "I don't think I am aware of how huge this is."

He ended with, "No one is in a position to say anything to the protesters." But that will have to change, I think.

"This is a very spiritual culture, not just religious, very spiritual..."

He is about to go on state television. And he credited Facebook as a necessary condition for the success of the effort. My friends, this is remarkable.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Obama is due to talk a little over an hour from now.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Hosni Mubarak; The Seventy Billion Dollar Man?

That would make him the richest Ho of all time!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

There is more to be done. I heard both Elbaradei and British PM Cameron emphasize that the Military Council must share power with civilians. Here is an article about the council members, including Suleiman.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201121185311711502.html

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Another manic Muslim scholar (according to the announcer) on the BBC, "No blood! No blood!" "We did this in peace!" "No one of you thought possible." "[Of] the Army, we are not afraid, they made sure no blood."

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama is putting off his remarks in order parachute down in front of the banner they are now hanging from the State Dept. building that reads "Mission Accomplished."

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | February 11, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

OT:

@tpm:

Abramoff crony Michael Scanlon sentenced to 20 months in prison and 300 hours of community service.

@reuters:

A federal judge gave that sentence to Michael Scanlon, who worked with the lobbyist Abramoff and who had been a one-time aide to then-House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/11/us-usa-crime-abramoff-idUSTRE71A5R720110211

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"Nobel Peace laureate Mohammed ElBaradei, whose young supporters were among the organizers of the protest movement, told The Associated Press, "This is the greatest day of my life." "The country has been liberated after decades of repression," he said adding that he expects a "beautiful" transition of power.

The question now turned to what happens next after effectively a military coup, albeit one prompted by overwhelming popular pressure. Protesters on Friday had overtly pleaded for the army to oust Mubarak. The country is now ruled by the Armed Forces Supreme Council, the military's top body consisting of its highest ranking generals and headed by Defense Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tanwawi.

After Mubarak's resignation, a military spokesman appeared on state TV and promised the army would not act as a substitute for a government based on the "legitimacy of the people." He said the military was preparing the next steps needed "to acheive the ambitions of our great nation" and would announce them soon. He praised Mubarak for his contributions ot the country, then expressed the military's condolences for protesters killed in the unrest, standing at attention to give a salute. Earlier in the day, the council vowed to guide the country to greater democracy. It said was committed "to shepherding the legitimate demands of the people and endeavoring to their implementation within a defined timetable until a peaceful transition to a democratic society aspired to by the people."

Abdel-Rahman Samir, one of the protest organizers, said the movement would now open negotiations with the military over democratic reforms but vowed protests would continue to ensure change is carried out. "We still don't have any guarantees yet -- if we end the whole situation now the it's like we haven't done anything," he said. "So we need to keep sitting in Tahrir until we get all our demands." But, he added, "I feel fantastic. .... I feel like we have worked so hard, we planted a seed for a year and a half and now we are now finally sowing the fruits." Sally Toma, another of the organizers, said she did not expect the military would try to clear the square. "We still have to sit and talk. We have to hear the army first," she said.""

http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2011/02/11/fury_over_egypt_leaders_refusal_to_leave_deepens/?page=2

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"An uncertain world has been made more dangerous by the lack of clear direction from a weak president," Romney said today.

The Republican paranoid style is an anachronism, an historical artifact. They just don't get it.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

""An uncertain world has been made more dangerous by the lack of clear direction from a weak president," Romney said today."

Mittens' timing is, uh, questionable. Darn CPAC scheduling the Mittster right when Egypt gets liberated.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Another manic Muslim scholar (according to the announcer) on the BBC, "No blood! No blood!" "We did this in peace!" "No one of you thought possible."
---------------------------------
A great point, how many of the conservatives posters here and the likes of Rep. King would have predicted a peaceful transition like this in an Islamic nation? We still have a way to go, but what a rebuke to the meme of many of the hateful posters here who are all too eager to paint ALL muslims as violent, intolerant, and blood thirsty.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 11, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Global jihadists are salivating at the prospects of gobbling up Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia. One of the Muslim Brotherhood's leaders in Egypt, Mohamed Ghanem, has already said the Egyptian army should prepare for war with Israel.

The Iranian mullahs are ecstatic.

Ahmadinejad: "We will soon see a new Middle East materializing without America and the Zionist regime"
http://www.france24.com/en/20110211-us-israel-will-soon-exit-middle-east-ahmadinejad

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday that a new Middle East is being created which would be free of the United States and Israel, as he backed the Arab uprisings but warned Egyptians to be watchful of America's "friendly face."

Massive crowds of Iranians, waving flags and chanting "Death to Mubarak!" and "Death to America!" descended on Tehran's Azadi Square (Freedom Square) to listen to the hardliner who lashed out at the West and Israel in a speech marking the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

"We will soon see a new Middle East materialising without America and the Zionist regime and there will be no room for world arrogance (the West) in it," Ahmadinejad told the cheering crowds who gathered despite the cold and cloudy weather.

*reverse dominoes*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Mitt was for Health Care Insurance Mandates, when he signed them into law, in his own State. Now he is against them.

If you look up "uncertain" in the dictionary; you will see a picture of Mitt, Magic Underwear, Romney.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Way to go, Bilgey/ AKA Kadaffi.

"*reverse dominoes*" ?

The Dominoes are all going to start standing up?

Idiot!!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

BBC says...

"On big international stories like this, the intramural politics of the administration are always compelling. The state department has cancelled its press briefing for the second day in a row, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been noticeably quiet this week. The implication is clear: the White House is squarely in control of the message on Egypt, and they want communication discipline. They can't risk muddied waters on an issue as delicate as this. Mr Obama is both the messenger, and the message."

Well, there was that little form break yesterday, I feel bad for Mr. Panetta.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of Khomeini’s Islamic revolution in Iran.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@sue - "Pharaoh let his people go, so thank you Moses!"

That is seriously humorous!"

It gets better where that's the caption for the following...

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/244897/GLENN-BECK.jpg

And it occurs to me now that the blackboards are actually tablets. The dots are now connected.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 11, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

lolol

Fox found a mission accomplished sign.

This just solidifies what Megan Kelly said. This is just like the victory in Iraq.

hahah

If those protesters around the Fox correspondent knew the network he works for wants Mubarak in control still and doesn't trust the Egyptions to run their own Democratic country he wouldn't last a second.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@shrink - if there was still some degree of uncertainty, then better to have Panetta make the announcement, yes?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 11, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"*reverse dominoes*" ?

Oh no, you aren't kidding.
So, Liam you don't run the TB? How can you stand it?
Or is it actually funny. I can't take crazy internet people because I feel like I should be getting paid to know what is going on between their ears.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"The Dominoes are all going to start standing up?"

No problem for the crew that denies science. Physics!? We don't need no stinkin physics.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

We haven't seen a peaceful transition to much of anything yet. Mubarak's departure will leave a vacuum, something that nature abhors.

As wiki reminds us the shah left Iran in mid January, the Ayatollah arrived two weeks later and it wasn't until April that a national referendum made the country an Islamic theocracy.

So before we start counting the chickens here we should see what actually hatches. Mr Kristoff's breathless praise notwithstanding this is the Middle East and things are generally far more complex than they appear to us here.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 11, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Bernie,

Many people think Beck is just putting on an act with all his chalkboard scribblings, and paranoid conspiratorial rants.

I feel they may be wrong, and Beck just might believe all of it.

Keep in mind he was a drug addict, much like the guy who shot the Congresswoman was, and that guy also started to experience more and more psychotic episodes.

Beck fits that same pattern.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"vacuum, something that nature abhors."

Explain to me Einstein, how nature abhors vacuums.

Thank!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Astoundingly peaceful, so far. And obviously there is some feature of Egyptian Muslim society which saw the sense and value of peaceful protest.

One would assume such an outcome (given that it lasts) would cause the Muslim-hater crowd to draw a breath or two and reflect. I don't know if many will. I wondered, seeing those images of thousands in the square on their knees in prayer, how many right wing christians found such images to be in some manner perverse?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 11, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

We are in a proxy war for influence with Iran, whether The Obamateur likes it or not.

Obama already squandered the promise of the Cedar Revolution-- and lost Lebanon to Iran's proxy, Hezbollah.

Just as Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad are declaring the Egyptian uprising there own, why isn't The Obamateur calling on the Iranian people to rise up and follow the Egyptian example?

A: The Obamateur squandered that opportunity in 2009.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

bernie, sure. In retrospect, it may be spun brilliant, who knows. When they publish their post political career books, we'll hear the conflicting stories and then we can still guess whether that was planned, or accidental and what happened in general between our CIC and the Egyptian military commanders.

I am just so glad all people know this is not an Islamist phenomenon and yet they are all Muslims. This is not like Turkey, it is better.

This is not about Sharia and etc. The largest Arab country, the Arab Street, just accomplished a velvet revolution. Protesters celebrating side by side with Army soldiers, it has been so fast and so peaceful...astonishing.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

It gets better where that's the caption for the following...

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/244897/GLENN-BECK.jpg
---
Bernie,

Bwahahahahahaha...that is the best!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 11, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Ahh..that's what's going on.

It's almost 3. All the ditto heads are unplugging from Rush's backside with their talking points.

Lets here em kids.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"us the shah left Iran in mid January, the Ayatollah arrived two weeks later and it wasn't until April that a national referendum made the country an Islamic theocracy"
----------------------------------------

I like how the doomsday crew keeps pointing out that the Egytptian and Iranian revolutions each occurred in January or thereabouts. I mean other than the date on your Glenn Back calendar and that the two countries are Islamic, what makes you think the same thing is going to happen here?

Besides, what do you propose we should do? Continue to prop up Mabarak until there is no longer any risk that a radical Islamic group could take over? Swoop in if we don't like who the Egyptian people elect?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 11, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

There's the story you hear about medical students being told that half of what they're being taught is right, half wrong, that the problem in medicine is that nobody knows which half is which.  I think we show up at the Plum Line to ask questions, share information, but most often to announce our smart certainties.  These remarkable events in Egypt, with all the complex background behind them, are a testimony to how little we know.  Really, a big part of our lives is just guessing.  But this is a lovely day.   

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 11, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"A Dem official emails the emerging spin."

Disgusting. Let's remind everyone of Obama's real record on Egypt:

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/02/taking-a-clear-eyed-look-at-the-obama-administrations-full-two-year-record-on-reform-in-egypt.html

"The Obama administration was far more quiet on the need for Egypt to engage in serious political reform, at least publicly, than the Bush administration.

"Perhaps more glaringly, while the Bush administration tried to directly fund civil society in Egypt – pro-democracy groups and the like – the Obama administration changed that policy and cut funding significantly, ending an effort to provide direct funding to democracy groups not “approved” by the Egyptian government."

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Paraphrase of a Yeats poem where Parnell cautions a working man against too much optimism about political changes:

"Egypt will get her freedom but you will still break stone."

Posted by: seattlechemfem | February 11, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Eisenhower overthrew the Democratically elected government of Iran, and Installed The Shah, as Our Dictator in Tehran. That is what created the conditions, for the Ayatollahs to come to power.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

@Liam - re Beck, it's an interesting question. He may well believe some of what he says. But to me he seems consistently in control of himself in the manner of a bad high school actor. Bachmann or King seem much closer to falling into the abyss.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 11, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"A Dem official emails the emerging spin."

Disgusting. Let's remind everyone of Obama's real record on Egypt:

---------------------------------------
Hahaha... yes, spin giving credit to Obama is disgusting. Followed immediately by spin that hints that maybe Bush should get credit, afterall, he gave the democracy groups money.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 11, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

[shrink2 "*reverse dominoes*"? Oh no, you aren't kidding."]

The term was minted by Robin Wright to describe the opposite of the domino effect. Dominoes may fall either direction.

Try harder to be dim-witted.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@ABC - it is in the nature of my gender to trumpet. Forests and deserts were made by god so that men would have a place to boast.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 11, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

All, new poll finds that even Republicans say jobs is more important problem than deficit by two to one margin:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/even_gopers_say_jobs_far_more.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 11, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"...while the Bush administration tried to directly fund civil society in Egypt – pro-democracy groups and the like – the Obama administration changed that policy and cut funding significantly..."

How much was it cut and since when did you get all pro welfare?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Bernie,

I do not have cable, but the few times I have seen Beck on TV, he has always struck me as being very fragile.

The way he reacted to what Bill Kristol said, reminded me very much of psychotic outbursts from our very own SaveTheRainForrest.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"There's the story you hear about medical students being told that half of what they're being taught is right, half wrong, that the problem in medicine is that nobody knows which half is which.'

Ha ha, but If your loved one gets hit by a car, or is found to have Schizophrenia, God forbid, you will try to get them to the best doctor.

The fact that a big part of our lives is just guessing is obvious, but we are not served by ignorance. We are better at not guessing by communicating with each other, just as obviously. The fun of announcing smart certainties is just like playing poker. We are playing an intellectual game.

I called Obama's victory in '06, mostly luck. I called the defeat of DADT, I was wrong. Don't try to wreck my fun.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@ahot: "Followed immediately by spin that hints that maybe Bush should get credit"

Haha. Yes, the fact that we didn't elect Bush Emperor for his successes in the Middle East is truly disgusting. /s

Hilarious that THAT is SBJ's contribution to this thread... That a Dem official is disgusting. SBJ, you are so absolutely tone deaf.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

@ashot: Here's another recap of Obama's efforts with regards to democratic reforms in Egypt:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2011/01/obama_and_mubarak_and_democrac.html

"Not matter what was said in private, or how forcefully, the public message sent by the Obama administration over the past two years was that democracy and human rights in Egypt was not a top priority. When given the opportunity to use the biggest megaphone in the world--the voice of the president of the United States--the words were whispered, if said at all."

Spin that!

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"Either way, the story is far from over, and as Kristof notes, the administration can continue to play a major role in the weeks and months ahead."

Indeed. And one of the major back stories that will come out is that Saudi Arabia was putting the Egyptian Military and Obama under pressure to prop up Mubarak.

This pressure, which mainly happened on Feb 10, consisted of an attempt at blackmail over oil and also attempts at bribes to the Egyptian Army of financial support in the event the Egyptian Military betrayed and cracked down on the Egyptian people the USA then withdrew its 1.3B aid. Both Obama and the Egyptian Military told the Saudi's to shove it.

It is difficult to tell if Saudi Arabia will attempt to make good on their threats in the coming days. I think it is unlikely, but who knows.

When the dust clears, Obama's handeling of the this specific moment will be seen as one of the most important, skilled and couragious moments in US Foreign Policy in decades.

Posted by: plaza04433 | February 11, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@liam - you might have it right. I'm just guessing.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 11, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Mike, thanks for recalling "J Street". That was it.

I think the saying "nature abhors a vacuum" derives either from Bernoulli's principle [gas molecules fill into empty spaces] or from one of the laws of thermodynamics [heat energy moves to cold places]. But it is 50 years since I took a chemistry course and I may have that all garbled.

Anyway, Skip's caveat makes sense. Temper joy for the Egyptian people with a healthy respectful wariness of what is to follow.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 11, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"Spin that!"

Spin someones opinion!

OK.

They're wrong.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Paraphrase of a Yeats poem where Parnell cautions a working man against too much optimism about political changes:

"Egypt will get her freedom but you will still break stone."

Posted by: seattlechemfem | February 11, 2011 2:50 PM

Parnell was talking about Ireland getting rid of the foreign occupation, and not about ousting an Irish Despot. Of course both Parnell and Yeats were not Irish Nationalists. They were only for home rule, with Ireland remaining colonized, like the North Of Ireland is to this very day.

Not much noted, but St. Patrick is buried in Armagh, which is still under English rule. Imagine that; The burial site of St. Patrick, and the church site he established, are still not considered to be in Ireland.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

He talks like Fred Thompson. So Mark in Austin says, Fred might have been born in Kenya.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

@ethan: You haven't been around apparently so you've probably missed some of my comments about Egypt.

"It is awe-inspiring watching the Egyptians celebrating in the streets. What a victory for the people. Here's hoping it's a victory for democracy, too. I have a pretty good feeling about what is going to happen in Egypt..."

But my point in this thread is to comment on the "emerging spin" that the victory of the Egyptian people is somehow a victory for Obama or one that he helped to create. This is pure rubbish and even some of the most partisan liberals here at The Plum Line are not so partisan as to believe in some alternate reality where Obama made democracy and human rights in Egypt a top priority.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

So far the speech is boring, obvious and poorly delivered.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Fred could not have been born in Kenya, because he would never have had the energy to make it to America.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama's speech was gorgeous.

Interested to see reaction from Egypt and the ME.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

@tonedeaf-sbj: "Spin that!"

Don't have to. Facts speak for themselves:

Fact: USA and Israel have been coordinating their messaging since day 1.

Fact: Despite the above, Obama has supported the revolution since day 1 (actually before).

Spin that!

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Well sbj3, considering our military is pretty tight with their military and now their military has temporary control, it's not such a leap of logic to image we played a roll in how things played out.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

@mikefromArlington: You obviously didn't read the link - it's not an opinion.

Kessler collected the official White House statements on meetings and phone calls between the two presidents to determine how hard Obama pushed for democratic reform.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

shrink "speech was boring"

wbgonne "speech was gorgeous"

I thought the words captured the event well and was respectful of the Egyptian's.

I think, often times, American's think everything is directed to them, or something.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

The BBC is reporting that Gates and Tantawi were talking on the phone last night, you know, just before Mubarak changed his mind and quit. I hope the Islamists don't get after that message.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

mike: "I thought the words captured the event well and was respectful of the Egyptian's."

Yes. It was a quiet speech. Dignified, congratulatory, but not trying to command attention away from the Egyptian people and their celebration. I thought it was pretty darn good.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 11, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

The biggest problem with Americans is they want to be the center and prime motivator of everything that happens around the world. You are not, so get over yourselves. This was not an American Orchestrated Uprising, because if it was, they would have already installed a new "Beggar On Horseback" to rule Egypt.

Why the need to either blame Obama, or credit him for what just took place in Egypt? Even Shrink wanted him to give some sort of triumphal speech, that would send a shiver up his leg.

That would be a ridiculous thing to do, and would really piss of the people of Egypt, if he had tried to take credit for what they had pulled off.

This is not the time for any US President to behave like: "The Ugly American".

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@ethan: If you think that Obama has been supportive of the revolution since day 1, then perhaps you didn't just take a vacation from Plum Line but took a vacation from reality. It took the admin at least three days to even mention the word "democracy" and you may have missed some of the more off-key (to put it mildly) comments that Obama's Vice Pres and Sec of State made.

Back to reality...

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

@sbj

"@mikefromArlington: You obviously didn't read the link - it's not an opinion.

Kessler collected the official White House statements on meetings and phone calls between the two presidents to determine how hard Obama pushed for democratic reform."

First off, that article is almost two weeks old.

Second, yes it is an opinion. He laid out a bunch of information and then gave his opinion.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: sbj3
"But my point in this thread is to comment on the "emerging spin" that the victory of the Egyptian people is somehow a victory for Obama or one that he helped to create. This is pure rubbish and even some of the most partisan liberals here at The Plum Line are not so partisan as to believe in some alternate reality where Obama made democracy and human rights in Egypt a top priority."

This is correct. The Egyptian people did all this themselves. However, Obama did not screw it up, which is a huge improvement compared to the past.

Obama also capitalized on an unwitting opening Mubarak gave Obama when in his last speech Mubarak essentially asserted that the uprising was driven by outside forces-meaning the USA.

That was of course wrong -but that was huge, and the Egyptians instantly detected the lie -and instantly US cred went from weak to solid. That was reinforced by Obama's response to Mubarak's very last failed speech.

Posted by: plaza04433 | February 11, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

February 11th already was an historic day in Middle East history. It’s known in Iran as the “Islamic Revolution Victory Day.”

It was this very day 32 years ago that the Iranian military council declared itself neutral in the political disputes, revolutionaries took state-owned buildings, and the Shah's regime collapsed.

Leftists crowed about "people" power that day, too-- until the Islamists had them eating crow.

How many days is it anyway in Iran's UC-Berkeley hostage crisis?

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"American's think everything is directed to them"

Here's what I think. If Egypt had descended into violent chaos and some al-Qaead-like terrorist group emerged President Obama would be vilified, right or wrong. Same for a good result. The only time the "intentions" of the president are considered is after that president has failed. How much did Obama and the U.S. have to do with how the Egyptian Revolution played out? Well, they didn't f it up, which is a lot harder than it sounds. And it isn't at all like Iran: we do have a lot of influence in Egypt, especially in the military which is the most powerful institution. So I suspect the U.S. was quite involved behind the scenes.

Most of all, however, things have turned out well so far. And as Bill Parcells has said: You are what your record says you are.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Eisenhower overthrew the Democratically elected government of Iran, and Installed The Shah, as Our Dictator in Tehran. That is what created the conditions, for the Ayatollahs to come to power.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Kaddafi, when you're inevitably proved wrong, will you go away?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

@Liam: "This is not the time for any US President to behave like "The Ugly American".

Ahh, yes. So this must be why "Dem officials" are already emailing Greg with their spin:

"People will remember... that the President played an excellent hand, walked the right line and that his statement last night was potentially decisive in brining this issue to a close... This is a huge affirmation of the President's leadership on the international stage."

Pretty fugly!

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

[mikey whined: "when you're inevitably proved wrong, will you go away?"]

... and why exactly is mikey still here?

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Cause I'm right 99.99% of the time.

That leaves you being right the other .01%.

You being wrong on this issue counts as the last straw.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Quote of the day: "We will have a secular state, Inshallah!"

This is like having "In God We Trust" on our money, I guess.

Could Facebook and Twitter have won the 'war on terror'?

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

sbj3-
I'm not sure that I cold out spin that column if I tried. My favorite part of that column may be this little blurb:
"Obama gives a lengthy description of the topics they discussed, including Middle East peace, economic cooperation, even polio eradication. He does not mention reform or democracy. Mubarak, however, brings up reform: "We discussed the issue of reform inside Egypt."

That means Obama DID talk about reform with Mubarak. The author is apparently critical that Obama didn't tell us that himself, but instead left it up to Mubarak to inform us.

The story also notes that in his speach IN Cairo Obama said:
"I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose."

Apparently you and the author think that Obama should have explicitly said, "Egypt..." or maybe done one of those *cough* *egypt* *cough* moves.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 11, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

*Islamo-tastic*

Hezbollah hails Egypt 'victory'
http://www.news.com.au/national/hezbollah-hails-egypt-victory/story-fn7mjqus-1226004833338

LEBANON'S Hezbollah has congratulated Egyptians on their "historic victory" after president Hosni Mubarak's ouster and invited its supporters to join in a mass celebration.

Gunfire and fireworks already lit up the night skies of Beirut only minutes after the announcement in Cairo that Mubarak was toppled on the 18th day of mass protests against his regime.

"Hezbollah congratulates the great people of Egypt on this historic and honourable victory which is a direct result of their pioneering revolution," the Iran-backed Shiite militant group... Hezbollah, which is backed by Damascus as well as Tehran, opposes Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel and had strained relations with the Mubarak regime for decades.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the President played it correctly, by not trying to bigfoot the unfolding process. He showed the proper restraint, while calling for the Egyptian Regime not to suppress the right of the people to peaceful assembly.

I am sorry SBJ. I know that you still get an erection every time you see pictures of Bush in his Garb Of The Warrior, in front of the "Mission MisAccomplished" Premature Elation, stunt.

Who was the silly cheerleader who said; "Bring It On"?

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Kaddafi, if the Muslim Brotherhood takes over, it's because of Bush's freedom agenda.

If Egypt becomes a peaceful Democracy, it's clearly Obama's doing.

There's no other way to look at it.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

[mikey crowed: "Cause I'm right 99.99% of the time."]

Classic example of I'm-right-mike. You and Liam are competing for Plumline village idiot, mikey.

[mike slandered: "KaddafiDelendaEst... openly admitting its OK to be hateful towards Islam."]

That is a vicious lie. Anti-jihadists have consistently denounced the secular-Islam demonization campaign.

When will Greg (and his media toadies) publicly apologize to the secular Muslim NY Cabbie and his family for inciting the pro-jihad mosque vigilantee to moby violence?

It's past time to take a little ownership for Greg's orchestrated Islamo-supremacist advocacy campaign here.

What gets lost in all Greg's polling demogoguery is that the Muslim cabbie victim is himself a hateful hater, bigot, inauthentic, xenophobic, neanderthal-- at least, if you go by the criterion set out by Greg (and his toadies): Opposing the mosque is "Islamophobia"-- period. Right?

As an anti-jihadist, however, I’m inclined to observe that the Muslim cabbie’s pretty much consonant in his opinion of the Cordoba mosque with a super majority (70%) of his fellow Americans.

That Greg's proteges will be disappointed to discover the opinion of this Muslim cabbie apostate tells you all you need to know about the two "sides" of this debate.

Own it, Quislings for Islamo-supremacism.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

in response to this:
===========
Explain to me Einstein, how nature abhors vacuums.

Thank!

==================

Apparently you've never heard the expression. How sad for you Mike. If I wrote it in latin would it be better for you?
===================
Now to ashot,

No son, you missed my point. Perhaps I could have been more clear but this is a busy day and I'm commenting on the fly.

My point wasn't about the calendar, instead it is about the time between the popular uprising and the final denouement.

Am I saying that some fundamentalist Islamic cleric is gonna fly in from Paris and assume totalitarian power in Egypt? Uh, no but I am saying that a vacuum will exist and nature will fill it. Further this region is unpredictable because there are so many dynamics at play.

My basic point is this, we should be cautious here about congratulations. This could end up being worse for us in a few weeks.

The reasons for my pessimism are manifold but among them are:
(1) in the middle east corruption and duplicity are the coin of the realm. It really is every man for himself and devil take hindmost. Absent some willingness to stay in the streets long term, the people could easily be cut out of the process that fills the power vacuum.
(2) The relationship between the government and Islam is different than the current western reality. In this region Islam is the state and the state is islam. Therefore radicals, militants and fundamentalists have a much better chance, IMHO, of rising to power in this vacuum filling process.

Wiki describes the government of Iraq thusly:
"The federal government of Iraq is defined under the current Constitution as an Islamic,[1] democratic, federal parliamentary republic"

It should be noted that unlike the western democracies the countries of the ME are very influenced by Muslim clerics. Not only is Iran a muslim theocracy but hezbullah, a significant political player in Lebannon is lead by a man who routinely appears in clerical garb: Hassan Nassrallah.

so I am not at all assured that the next few weeks in Egypt will result in angelic choruses and a permanent Egyptian democracy. After all the people of Iran VOTED for the folks who ultimately became their tyrants.

What should Obama do? That's a good question and I doubt anyone has an answer. Ultimately, like his predecessors, he has to make what he considers to be the best decisions based on limited information and limited options.

And as we saw in the past, if it doesn't work out right, Obama will be blamed. That's the nature of the job he sought and obtained.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 11, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

@ashotinthedark: So tell me honestly, do you think that Obama has effectively been using his bully pulpit the last two years to call for democratic reform in Egypt?

Do you quibble with the *fact* that the first public, direct call for reform in Egypt by President Obama came on January 28, 2011, after President Mubarak announced he was dissolving his cabinet? Do you deny that the Obama administration "cut funding... ending an effort to provide direct funding to democracy groups not “approved” by the Egyptian government, and reduced funding in the budget for programs to promote civil society groups? And do you think that it is appropriate for the WH to send out their spinmeisters with the message that the result of the revolution "is a huge affirmation of the President's leadership on the international stage?"

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

It' almost as if Mubarak's speech last night was avant garde theater:

Just kidding, Folks!

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Bilgey AKA Kaddafi, is like almost all Right Wing Chicken Hawks. All Muslims make them wet their beds. Bilgey is afraid of his own shadow. Bin Laden loves gutless wonders like Bilgey, because all he has to do is say Boo, and Bilgey will start urging the entire population to rush home and piss in their beds.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"And as we saw in the past, if it doesn't work out right, Obama will be blamed. That's the nature of the job he sought and obtained."

And, if it does work out Fox and all you guys who are glued to it won't give him credit either!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

If you think that Obama has been supportive of the revolution since day 1, then perhaps you didn't just take a vacation from Plum Line but took a vacation from reality. It took the admin at least three days to even mention the word "democracy" and you may have missed some of the more off-key (to put it mildly) comments that Obama's Vice Pres and Sec of State made.
-------------------------------------

That hardly shows that they didn't support the revolution. It just shows that they didn't publicly support it. Are you saying they opposed it?

Of course Egyptian democracy wasn't a priority. Jobs, healthcare, Iraq, Afghanistan all appropriately took precedent. Here's a guess that Obama would have been criticized if he had made Egypt a priority in the face of everything else, particularly if doing so added to our national debt.

I applauded Greg for putting the breaks on attempts to give Obama crdit and there were several posts before you showed up that said the exact same thing. But you ignore that and instead call Democrats disgusting and subtly applaud Bush.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 11, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@mikeA: "And, if it does work out Fox and all you guys who are glued to it won't give him credit either!"

Credit for what?

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

@sbj: "It took the admin at least three days to even mention the word "democracy" and you may have missed some of the more off-key (to put it mildly) comments that Obama's Vice Pres and Sec of State made."

How is it that you do not understand this by now?

Obama had to walk a fine line between supporting the revolution but not appearing as though it was the product of a U.S. effort. At the same time they had to coordinate messaging with Israel.

You're showing, if nothing else (tone deafness), that you really don't have a clue about the Middle East.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"It' almost as if Mubarak's speech last night was avant garde theater."

I agree, I have saved the clip. The worst speech I have ever heard. Starts out by declaring himself to be a father talking to his children. Then he says the deaths he ordered on bloody Friday would be investigated and avenged (more people died last week than at Tienanmen), then he puts everyone to sleep talking about his own life, how he understands what it is to be young (and stupid), but how heroic he was to grow up and so on. Then he says, but this is not about me. Then he goes on to talk about himself again.

Who wrote that speech? A BBC guy said he must have gotten cheap and hired a failed PR firm from England.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

[mikey drooled: "If Egypt becomes a peaceful Democracy, it's clearly Obama's doing."]

Americans think Hussein advocates sharia law because of his actions HERE... not just in Cairo.

Obama's legal advisor saw no "reason why sharia law would not be applied to govern a case in the United States"
http://www.nypost.com/seven/03302009/postopinion/opedcolumnists/obamas_most_perilous_legal_pick_161961.htm?page=0

*sharia-rific*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 11, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

sbj3, your comrade skip said if things go badly in Egypt. Obama will get the blame. And I was joking with him that if things go well going forward, Obama will get no credit from the same people laying blame if things go bad.

We're speculating on events that haven't even happened yet. What do you want me to prove? Future events?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

@ashot: "I applauded Greg for putting the breaks on attempts to give Obama crdit and there were several posts before you showed up that said the exact same thing."

I saw yours (didn't see the others?) and good for you! Of course that isn't stopping many other commentors here from doing exactly the opposite.

And it is spreading. I'm not sure that you and I are reading the same comments section.

Do you disagree that very soon now the "CW" will be that Obama's speech in Cairo led to this revolution?

I called any democratic strategists who forward that disgusting spin disgusting. Not all Democrats.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Bilgey is living in dread of when American Sharia law will force him to share his urine soaked bed, with three wives. Bilgey; Bin Laden says Boo. Oh no, you have just wet yourself again.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Israel’s entire strategic outlook relies in some fashion on its three-decade peace with Egypt. Thanks to the treaty, its military has minimal presence on its southern border, freeing it up for actions to the east and north; some 40 percent of Israel’s natural gas is imported from Egypt; Egypt has been supportive and helpful in negotiating with the Palestinians; Egypt has played a big role in stopping smuggling of weapons and militants into Gaza, and assisting Israel in its blockade policy aimed at squeezing Hamas.

The other regional countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel – Jordan and Turkey – have cooled off significantly in recent years especially after Israel’s 2006 war in Lebanon and its 2008-9 war in Gaza."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/egypt.html

It appears that Israel has had its foreign policy adjusted. The united States, too.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

No ethan - you're showing an amazing degree of naivete and pure partisan blindness.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Kaddafi only quotes Murdoch rags.

Lemme let you in on a little secret.

It's all propaganda Kaddafi. All of it. Every page, every article, every show, every interview.

All of it. Nothing they say is neutral. All of his organizations have disdain for the truth.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@politico:

"""""As Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was resigning from office to end weeks of political upheaval, Mitt Romney was on a stage in Washington, making his CPAC pitch to a capacity crowd. He gave a speech full of laugh-lines targeting President Obama — but he also made no mention of the crisis in Egypt or the news unfolding in Cairo as he spoke.

...

At CPAC, Egypt was decidedly absent from the conversation, save a few interested parties who glanced at televisions in the convention hotel’s lobby. Even then, as live scenes showed a joyful crowd, most attendees quickly moved on, anxious to get to their next planned event.

“Mubarak stepped down,” one woman – a Michele Bachmann supporter – said to another. The other had little reply, switching the topic before they walked into a screening of a movie about conservative women..."""""

The Republican Tea Party is truly pathetic.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

sbj- "So tell me honestly, do you think that Obama has effectively been using his bully pulpit the last two years to call for democratic reform in Egypt?"

The simple response, no. The more complex response, is twofold. First, as others have noted, he didn't mess it up. Second, why is your question the test for whether or not Obama deserves some credit. I would give credit to Obama for his comments after Mubarak's speech and for telling Mubarak it wasn't good enough, if he indeed did that.

Skip- I stopped reading after you referred to me as son.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 11, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I thought Robert Gibbs was gone. Nope, as he left, he said the new Egyptian government should play nice with Israel. Obama joked that Gibbs' departure was not the most important resignation of the day.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"No ethan - you're showing an amazing degree of naivete and pure partisan blindness. "

That's rich coming from the biggest spin meister on Plumline.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 11, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: sbj3
"And do you think that it is appropriate for the WH to send out their spinmeisters with the message that the result of the revolution "is a huge affirmation of the President's leadership on the international stage?"

What? You mean like sending Bush out on a carrier wearing a leather flight jacket with a big Mission Accomplished poster behind him??

Get real.

First, the WH is not claiming any credit. They are so far only answering questions and giving their policy views on what is happening. Any credit/blame game is being carried out by others. They are staying away from any "Mission Accomplished" messages or anything like that.

Posted by: plaza04433 | February 11, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

@mikea: Sorry - got you. You were just joking about future events. I thought you were hinting that Obama deserves credit for the success of the Egyptian revolution.

We both know that ain't true!

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@sbj: "you're showing an amazing degree of naivete and pure partisan blindness."

Oh? How so?

Please tell me exactly why I am naive (using facts), and exactly how (using quotations of my comments on this thread) I am showing "pure partisan blindness" in my comments about how Obama had to walk a fine line, a fact that is universally agreed upon.

(This should be entertaining.)

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

sbj3- "I called any democratic strategists who forward that disgusting spin disgusting. Not all Democrats."

You're right, your criticism was really aimed at the spin rather than any group. I think calling it disgusting is overboard. Do you think Obama deserves any credit? More credit than Bush? Was this accomplished in spite of Obama?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 11, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I meant it as a term of endearment. I'll be the big 60 this June. No offense was meant.

On dreary Fridays in February everyone seems younger than me!

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 11, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

All, my take on Obama's remarks on Mubarak's departure just now:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/obama_today_belongs_to_the_peo.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 11, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

This change did not come about at a time of anyone's choosing. As Biden said today; it was one poor soul setting himself on fire, in Tunisia that started the wildfire.

Accordingly, there really is no well organized Democratic Parties at hand in Egypt, because The Regime kept smothering them in their cradles; so it will take time for such parties to emerge and compete. That is why a broad based interm government, from all sectors of society would be the best thing to put in place, to govern for at least a year, until real robust political parties are ready to contest elections.

It is all about the soft landing. Were elections to be held too soon, it would end up with the people having a choice between the old regime,and the Islamists.

As my sainted mother used to say: Marry in haste, and repent at leisure.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 11, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@skip: "I'll be the big 60 this June"

Going on 12. No offense meant.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I meant it as a term of endearment. I'll be the big 60 this June. No offense was meant.

On dreary Fridays in February everyone seems younger than me!

Posted by: skipsailing28
------------------------------------

It's still condescending and for personal reasons makes me angry. But whatever, I'm sure you didn't mean to be condescending.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 11, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@ashot: "Do you think Obama deserves any credit?"

No.

"More credit than Bush?"

No.

"Was this accomplished in spite of Obama?"

No.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

sbj3- I don't think we disagree much. When I said I would give him credit for his speech, I meant I think he gets credit for saying the right thing at that moment. I don't mean that statement means he should get credit for what ultimately happened. I think he and the administration made missteps prior to that, but I don't think they had much of an impact one way or the other. At the very most, maybe he got Mubarak to step down a little earlier than he would have otherwise.

Of course we have no idea, what if any actions were going on behind the scenes.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 11, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

@ashot: A pleasurable back and forth - I do, too, believe that we agree more than we disagree. And I agree that the admin's missteps did not have too much of a negative impact.

I know that we all share a hope for a democratic Egypt. Let's at least agree not to support their military if it doesn't come through on its promises.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"@ashot: A pleasurable back and forth - I do, too, believe that we agree more than we disagree. And I agree that the admin's missteps did not have too much of a negative impact.

I know that we all share a hope for a democratic Egypt. Let's at least agree not to support their military if it doesn't come through on its promises."

Yep, in retrospect I'm glad you used the word disgusting or else I may not have responded. And I'll agree on the military too. Fortunately it looks like the protestors have the right combination of skepticism and determination to deal with the military.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 11, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Am I ever going to get my reply, SBJ?

Why are my comments on Egypt "naive" and showing "pure partisan blindness"?

Waiting...

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I love how SBJ calls me "naive" and then runs away.

SBJ, you're a coward and a fraud.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 11, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

@ethan:

Hi!

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 8:28 PM | Report abuse

There is a lesson here: Pres. Obama made a speach about democracy in Cairo and further lit the flame of freedom in the Egyptian heart; along with other influences , the Egyptian people decried no more stifling of their human spirit, and peacefully yet forcefully (without violence) fought and regained their land and freedom. This is a Victory for the Human Spirit and for the Forces of light and goodwill on this planet. There are two paths: one in which Pres. Obama made a speech in June 2009 to stimulate "democracy" throuh ideas, and the second path in which Pres. Bush used brutal force by a foreign country to try to force a democratic change in another country. You cannot bring about true democracy by an outside force; only the collective "people's" will of the nation needing change can do that.

Let us take note, that the Egyptian people do not want to war with Israel. They are tired of fighting, negativity and cruetly. They want peace and freedom -- to be happy; wars do not bring that.

Posted by: wdsoulplane | February 12, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

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