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White House Cheat Sheet: Obama in the Muslim World


President Obama takes question during a town hall in Strasbourg. AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

UPDATE 1:15 p.m.: In his speech before the Turkish parliament today, President Obama condemned the slaughter of thousands of Armenians in the early part of the 20th century but did not use the word "genocide" -- a decision sure to make the Turks happy.

ORIGINAL POST

When President Obama addresses the Turkish Parliament later today, the eyes -- and expectations -- of the world will, literally, be upon him.

Obama has generally coasted through the first two-thirds of his trip -- declaring the G-20 a success despite not winning the amount of economic stimulus he and his administration had hoped, and effectively drawing consensus about the threat posed in Afghanistan -- if not masses of more troops -- at the NATO summit.

But, today's speech poses a unique challenge: The president hopes to demonstrate his commitment to reaching out to the Muslim world with an open hand rather than the clenched fist of the Bush administration and yet not appear overly solicitous of a country and a religion toward which Americans remained deeply divided.

Obama addressed this dichotomy during remarks at a town hall in Strasbourg over the weekend. "I think that it is important for Europe to understand that even though I'm now president and George Bush is no longer president, al Qaeda is still a threat, and that we cannot pretend somehow that because Barack Hussein Obama got elected as president, suddenly everything is going to be okay," he said.

And yet, expectations for his visit today ran high on the streets of Ankara. The Post's Kevin Sullivan quoted Erdal Aydogan, a street sweeper, who exclaimed of Obama: "He has a Muslim background, so when he was elected we were so happy -- it was like he was elected for Turkey!"

That sort of quote is the kind of thing that could make some Americans nervous -- especially given the divided nature of public opinion toward Islam.

Forty eight percent of those sampled expressed an unfavorable opinion toward Islam while 41 percent viewed the faith favorably, according to new data from a Washington Post/ABC News survey. And, a majority (55 percent) said they lacked even a "basic understanding" of Islam -- a dearth of knowledge that is ripe for exploitation in a political context. (Need evidence? Remember back to the way the "Obama is a secret Muslim" meme gained traction among some during 2008 campaign despite NO evidence to back up such a claim.)

Given all of that background, Obama could do well to provide a little "straight talk" (with apologies to Sen. John McCain) to the Turkish people -- making clear to them that while he supports better relations with the Muslim world that he will not be a pushover.

The easiest way to accomplish that? Condemn the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by the Turks in the early part of the 20th century. Although Obama described the events as a "genocide" on the campaign trail, the Turkish people remain deeply resistant to that idea and the White House has resisted using the word so far.

Will the president address it today? And, if so, with what words?

What To Watch For:

Monday's Must-Reads: 575 days before the 2010 midterms! Tick, tick, tick....

1. North Korea Launches a rocket after we specifically told them not to.
2. The Post's Dan Balz on whether (and how) President Obama can finish what he has started.
3. With the two candidates for the special election in New York's 2th district knotted at 77,225 votes each (not kidding), the Albany Times Union takes a walk down memory lane of other extremely close elections.
4. John Burton, the oldest of the old school politicians, looks likely to be elected California Democratic party chairman. Also, he doesn't own a computer.
5. The number of Twitter users has doubled since May 2008.

Arlen Specter -- Political Hit Man: Sen. Arlen Specter (R) has been around this long in politics because he not only knows how to throw a punch but is more than willing to swing from the first round until his opponent is lying on the mat -- beaten and battered. And so, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Specter has launched an ad that hammers former Rep. Pat Toomey (R), who is expected to challenge the incumbent in a 2010 primary, as part of the problem when it comes the the current financial crisis. "As a Wall Street trader Toomey sold risky derivatives and swaps," the ad's narrator says menacingly. "It's derivatives and swaps that have now plunged us into this financial mess." Toomey spokesman Mark Harris had a response ready. "Pennsylvanians have come to expect bizarre behavior from Arlen Specter, but this takes his desperation to a new and very strange level," Harris said. The ad, which you can check out below, is running on cable stations in Pennsylvania and reportedly costing Specter only $100,000. It's a classic "kill the baby in the crib" political move -- trying to define Toomey as a flawed candidate before he even becomes a candidate.

Anzalone Adds: The up and coming polling firm run by John Anzalone and Jeff Liszt is increasing its profile in the nation's capital by bringing on Jeff Hogan, who oversaw the coordination of media and polling efforts in the Midwest for President Obama, as the head of its D.C. office. Prior to the Obama campaign, Hogan spent a year at the Kennedy School of Government (a Fix favorite!) and also logged five years with the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. "Matt's addition will allow us to further expand our client list and take on new and exciting projects in the 2010 cycle and beyond," said Anzalone who is based out of the firm's Montgomery (Ala.) office. Anzalone Liszt is fresh off a victory in the Illinois 5th district special election to replace now White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Best State Blogs (Continued): And then there were three. That's right, Fixistas, there are only three states in which we have NO nominees for best state political blog. If you live in or know politics in North Dakota, Maine or Hawaii, get thee to the comments section to help us finish out our 50 state list. The list of the best state political blogs will make its debut later this week so time is running short. Don't let North Dakota, Maine and Hawaii get left out of our more perfect union!

Frederick Out, Who's Next?: The high-profile ouster of Virginia Republican party chair Jeff Frederick over the weekend creates an opening atop the party with just eight months left before the critical governor's race in the Old Dominion. The two names the Fix hears as potential successors to Frederick are former Rep. Tom Davis, the leading moderate voice in the state GOP, and Sandy Liddy Bourne, the daughter of G. Gordon Liddy, the former aide to President Richard Nixon turned conservative talk radio host. The state central committee will choose its next head on May 2 but the recent infighting between the party's conservative and moderate wings make the job something less than a plum position.

Hazelbaker to Big Apple Bloomberg: Jill Hazelbaker, who served as communications director for Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) general election campaign last fall, starts work today in the reelection effort of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Hazelbaker will be the chief spokesperson in the campaign, working under communications director Howard Wolfson who held that same title for the presidential bid of former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.). Hazelbaker isn't a newbie to the Big Apple, having spent several years there working for the growing consulting behemoth Mercury LLC.

Fix Goes iPhone: After months of chiding from Liz Spayd, the ultra-hip managing editor of the Post, we have broken down and bought an iPhone. Now, we need your help. What are the three best (preferably free) apps you have downloaded to your iPhone? Email me at chris.cillizza@wpost.com, tweet me at "The Fix" or just put your suggestions in the comments section below.

Say What?: "It's to my mind a very noble endeavor and one in which, frankly, I admire his perseverance." -- National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn to the Hill newspaper on former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman's (R) ongoing legal fight.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 6, 2009; 5:50 AM ET
Categories:  Cheat Sheet Share This:  E-Mail | Technorati | Del.icio.us | Digg | Stumble Previous: A Dead Heat in New York Special Election
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Comments

Bush threw out the first pitch at the Rangers game today. Barry, always desperate to fit in and be liked, has ordered a ladies mound built in Nationals stadium so his toss reaches the plate.

Posted by: king_of_zouk

It must be difficult hating Obama when the majority of the country disagrees with you. But at least try to sound intelligent. Bush, not Obama was desparate to fit in. Obama, unlike Bush who was a college cheerleader, and was never a good athlete like his Dad, is a good athlete.

Posted by: sarar1 | April 8, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Bush threw out the first pitch at the Rangers game today. Barry, always desperate to fit in and be liked, has ordered a ladies mound built in Nationals stadium so his toss reaches the plate.

Posted by: king_of_zouk

It must be difficult hating Obama when the majority of the country disagrees with you. But at least try to sound intelligent. Bush, not Obama was desparate to fit in. Obama, unlike Bush who was a college cheerleader, and was never a good athlete like his Dad, is a good athlete.

Posted by: sarar1 | April 8, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

vbhoomes wrote: "mattw you miss the point, if Iowans are so progressive as you state then why not legalize gay marriage through the legislative process where it belongs. ****

vbhoomes the reason the Courts ruled on the issue is because the issue was before the Court. 6 gay couples sued the Polk County recorder for refusing to issue the 6 gay couples marriage licenses. This legal case went before a Polk County District Court Judge, who ruled that the 1998 statute limiting marriage to a man and a women violated Iowa's constitution. The Polk County recorder appealed the District Court decision to the Iowa Supreme Court. The 7 Judges on Iowa's Supreme Court didn't ask for this issue to come before them. After the District Court Judge held the 98 statute violated Iowa's equal protection clause of our constitution the Supreme Court had three options, 1. refuse to hear the appeal, which would mean that in Polk County (Iowa's largest county) the Polk County recorder must issue marriage licenses to gay couples who met the other marriage requirements (over 18, etc.) 2. Accept the case and affirm the District Courts ruling, which is what the Iowa supreme Court did, or 3. Take the case and over rule the District Court.

While you may have wanted the Supreme Court to overrule the District Court decision, in order to do that the Court would have had to ignore the Iowa constitution, and abdicate their responsibility. They were not unaware of the backlash their ruling would cause, but they swore to uphold the constitution and they took that obligation seriously.

And Iowa does have progressive roots, that isn't the same as being "progressive". However, it is not the state protayed by people in the media, that spend a couple days in Iowa before the caucus, met a few people and think they "know" the state.

Iowa's progressive roots:
1. First state in the nation to admit women to practice law. (1870) 3 years later the US Supreme Court upheld Illinois's ban on admitting women to the bar, and 25 years before the US Supreme Court upheld Virginia's ban on admitting women to the practice of law.
2. Iowa was the first state to hold laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage void. (Keep in mind the state still has less than 3% African American population)
3. 17 years before the infamous Dred Scott decision the Supreme Court of the Territory of Iowa (we weren't even a state yet) refused to recognize/enforce slave contracts, and held that our laws apply to persons of all races and in all conditions.
4. 81 years before the Supreme Court finally issued Brown v. Bd of Ed, Iowa had already struck down school segregation.

So yes Iowa does have a proud tradition of leading on civil rights issues.

Posted by: sarar1 | April 8, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

Compared to Turkey, the US gives twice as much foreign aid based on the size of its economy. (0.18% versus 0.09%)

Maybe Obama should have lectured on that.

Posted by: concernedcitizen1111 | April 6, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama would have had to spend the entire trip explaining the genocide of the Native Americans and the enslavement of the African American before he brought up the ugly 100 year old history of the Turks & Armenians.

Turkey is too important to us go over their to criticize them when the reason for going there is to support them.

Posted by: JRM2 | April 6, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

CC- this pastor 123 is peddling a game-- a commercial enterprise.. it portrays obama as the anti-christ and is very offensive. Please delete.

Posted by: drindl | April 6, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

hmm, this is one of the issues tackled in
the New Obama 12 game, Its called Obama 12 end of days. free online interactive game Check it out at. You can play for free.
http://hotpres.com/pres/ObamaGame.html

Posted by: pastor123 | April 6, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Bush threw out the first pitch at the Rangers game today. Barry, always desperate to fit in and be liked, has ordered a ladies mound built in Nationals stadium so his toss reaches the plate.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 6, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

It makes perfect sense in a lib world. In two years we will have surrendered to anyone interested in paying our socialist bills. There will be no need for a military in obama's Vichy government.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 6, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

fact free drivl spouts off nonsense about the military, displaying the typical moonbat contempt and ignorance for national defense.

Obambi cancels F22 today. Another milestone on the path to jimmy carter like surrender.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 6, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I find dealing with lil' Kim frustrating, too. Some random thoughts:

For China, the Yalu is their Rio Grande, as NKs try to swim to a communist state where they might not starve. They even try to cross in the frozen winter. China has a direct interest.

lil' Kim likes big blonde Russian prostitutes. Maybe the Russians can sneak in an assassin.

The SKs are rightly worried that their major industrial and population center is actually within range of NK nukes. Maybe they have a plan.

The Japanese are worried that they might come within range of NK nukes. Maybe they should cooperate with the SKs on a plan.

I am guessing that any non-diplomatic action we undertake unilaterally will have to be covert b/c we will not want the SKs to know about it, fearing total destruction, as they do. A surprise unilateral air strike or missile strike could devastate NK, I think, but it would have to be followed by a ground invasion to be effective, unless its only purpose was to cripple their nukes. I have to assume that China would be p.o.'d if millions of swimmers showed up at the Yalu, and SK would be devastated if, oops, we missed one of their nukes.

Bhoomes, this is tricky.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 6, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

how you gonna pay for another war, bhoomes, when your president bush drove the country into bankruptcy and ruin?

and where are you going to find the soldiers -- a draft? our military is completely depleted, our men and women are exhausted, our equipment is broken.

fine mess your party got us into.

Posted by: drindl | April 6, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes writes
"Toomey could not win PA. in a normal year, but will win easily next year due to a political backlast that will make 94 seem like a good year for dems."

Weren't you predicting that about 2008 as well?

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 6, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

After 16 years and two administrations, it is clear Diplomacy with the North Koreans is a waste of time. What's the point of reaching a deal if you know they will break it even before the ink drys. But there is Madeline Alldim saying we need to get back the negotiating table. We need a policy of containment. Interdict their ships on the high seas and shoot down anymore missle lauches. I rather have a War with them now than when they have full nuclear arsenal and we don't have any because Obama destroyed them all, trying to please our enemies.

Posted by: vbhoomes | April 6, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

AggressiveIndependent, I have often hiked up Packsaddle Mtn. near Llano where there are two markers of the last Apache war in central Texas.

The markers do not indicate that the Apaches did not start the fight. Only the family names of the Anglos appear. The markers were paid for by the families of the ranchers, not the families of the Apaches, of course.

It's the Hill Country, so Packsaddle Mountain isn't all that high. But its a pretty hike.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 6, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

it is an american practice to "apologize" for history that was on the "heinous side"...
however, tell me again why our President has to address this issue at all.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 6, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

There seems to be no point or reason for Obama to rebuke Turkey for the actions of some Turks eighty or ninety years ago. I doubt if he will mention, let alone criticize, Japan or Germany for their far more massive atrocities, that occurred more recently.

Such a rebuke seems sort of rude, similar to a visiting foreign leader criticizing the United States for systematic ethnic cleansing, with frequent genocide, against the native Americans 120-200 years ago.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | April 6, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Newtie channels Scrivener:


"On the heels of a North Korean missile test last night, President Obama said in a speech today in Prague that he wants to put forth an agenda “to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.” “This goal will not be reached quickly — perhaps not in my lifetime,” he said. “It will take patience and persistence.”

When Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Newt Gingrich about Obama’s speech the morning, Gingrich linked Obama’s goal to what he called former President Carter’s “fantasy view of the world”:

GINGRICH: The president’s in a world where Hamas is firing missiles every day into Israel, Iran is building nuclear weapons, and the North Koreans today during — basically during his speech fired a missile, and he has some wonderful fantasy idea that we’re going to have a great meeting next year. […] I just think that it’s very dangerous to have a fantasy foreign policy, and it can get you in enormous trouble.'

It’s ironic that Gingrich is calling Obama’s foreign policy a “fantasy,” given that just last week, he contrived an imaginary war plan in response to North Korea’s planned missile launch. On Fox News last Wednesday, Gingrich said that the United States should use lasers to preemptively attack North Korea’s missile (before it launched) in order to prevent a North Korean nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack on the U.S.

Posted by: drindl | April 6, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

'why does drivl always remind me of the crazy cat lady from the Simpsons?'

Poor zouk -- too much time on hands, so all can do is drool on this blog and watch old tv shows. pathetic waste.

Posted by: drindl | April 6, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The inimitable Scrivener50 wrote, in part, "...the lame psy ops of paid disinformation agents who troll these pages with strategically deployed effluvia only hastens the day that justice is restored in America."

"Strategically deployed effluvia" - bwahahaha, I like that. However, if it were capable of bringing us to a state of nirvana, we'd all have been tingling from head to toe years ago.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 6, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Arlen Specter was saved by the Bush White House last time, I do not see anything saving him this time as conservatives have had their share of his backstabbing their agenda. Toomey could not win PA. in a normal year, but will win easily next year due to a political backlast that will make 94 seem like a good year for dems. Obama is an absolute disaster amd may get all killed before next year.

Posted by: vbhoomes | April 6, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

North Dakota is predominantly a deadzone for blogging. Dakotapolitics.com is probably the most comprehensive political blog.

Posted by: sefo21 | April 6, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

THE 'CONSPIRACY' OF POLITICAL BLOG PSY OPS


PERSONAL TO: bsimon1

It's not a "conspiracy" when the Justice Department has acknowledged the development and deployment of microwave radiation weapons (a/k/a "directed energy weapons") to law enforcement agencies nationwide...


...when such weaponry can and is being used to silently torture and degrade the lives of innocent but "targeted" American citizens, and their families.


This is an ideologically-driven American genocide that has been covertly enabled by security, military and intelligence agencies of government... and in the process, law enforcement at the grassroots has been conditioned to "look the other way."


This ongoing extrajudicial punishment network has corrupted local law enforcement and has make a mockery of the judicial system -- the evil legacy of the Bush-Cheney Reign of Terror.


It has now been exposed. It will not stand.


And the lame psy ops of paid disinformation agents who troll these pages with strategically deployed effluvia only hastens the day that justice is restored in America.

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 6, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

King of Puke... I mean Zouk, probably thinks we're talking about the focal point of a Thanksgiving feast.

Posted by: hiberniantears | April 6, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Poor zuke. Tank's empty, isn't it, buddy? That's all you got?

Posted by: mattintx | April 6, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I don't know where you stand on issues of race and religion, but this entry skirts Islam-baiting at best. Now personally, I think the impulse in Turkish society to resist debate surrounding what happened to the Armenians is counterproductive, but no worse than what Americans do when issues surrounding slavery or the removal of Native Americans comes up. Saying that Obama could set things straight by talking tough to the Turkish government on the Armenian Genocide issues is absurd. It was a genocide, no question, but one that was carried out in the chaos of a collapsing Ottoman Empire, not the modern Republic of Turkey. It also happened before 90% of the people living today were born... not exactly a pressing issue which needs to resolved by an American President on his first major trip abroad. Obama's address to the Turks needs to focus on keeping their country in Europe, following the Western reforms toward democracy and freedom which they have slowly been on for decades.

Posted by: hiberniantears | April 6, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

why does drivl always remind me of the crazy cat lady from the Simpsons?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 6, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with you, Chris? Why should the President lecture the Turks about a 100 year old event?

I agree with you and most people that an Armenian genocide did happen, and that the Turks have never really owned up to it.

But we don't make a big deal over our Japanese allies' similar reluctance to accept guilt for even more recent and extensive wartime atrocities. And our own country was responsible for roughly similar (in magnitude) atrocities against Native Americans and African Americans during approximately the same time frame.

There is no other word for what you are advocating than Islam-baiting. And a particularly self-injurious and stupid form of it, to boot.

Posted by: Itzajob | April 6, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

FYI, for reference, the CIA produces some helpful products:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/reference_maps/middle_east.html

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/reference_maps/europe.html

Note Turkey appears on both maps, having borders with both Europe & the Middle East; it is literally where East meets West.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 6, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

scrivener should stick to writing things like:
"Obama can't avoid a mention of the Armenian genocide. Prediction: He'll compare lingering Turkish prejudice against the Armenians, and Turkish denial of genocide, with Americans who blindly condemn all of Islam as the root of global terrorism."

and skip all the conspiracy nonsense.

If the President were to bring up the genocide, it would likely be in the fashion scrivener describes. I tend to think he will not.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 6, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I agree with wmw4 that condemning the Armenian genocide would not help matters. The Armenians were indeed slaughtered, it was a terrible thing.

I'm not sure how bringing it up helps. Keep in mind that Armenians are Christian, and the relations between Christians and Muslims are strained now, pointing out the past conflicts between the two religions only helps those who want to continue the animosity.

Posted by: Cyclopsina | April 6, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

The problem with this post is that Chris fails to differintiate politics from policy. This, of course, is the way most of the DC press views life. I suppose that because the last administration spent all its time running for office and trying to gain permanent repubilcan control of all branches of governmnet instead of actually governing, this is understandable. But it is still lazy and irresponsible and damaging.

Posted by: drindl | April 6, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, bsimon - you shortened this post to TBN. The other aggressive mediation role Turkey is playing is as the lead intermediary between Afghanistan and Pakistan. No other NATO country could get both Pakistani and Afghani mil and int people to come to the table.

This is ongoing, and does not need a restart like Israel-Syria, but it is another way Turkey is an important ally.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 6, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

babenemo writes
"seems to me that [Turkey] denied us fly over rights with Iraq or Afghanistan....."

They declined to allow us the use of their territory to stage ground forces for invading Iraq from the north. Afghanistan is on the other side of Iran from Turkey.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 6, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse


king - now you know when, about 9 months ago, Korea announced they were blowing up an old, outdated nuclear power plant water tower - Bush declared them, suddenly, as possible friends.
Took them off the state sponsored terrorist list.
Opened trade.

So Baby Bush opened the door.
Of course, we find out later, that the tower was on the destruction list anyway and they are rebuilding.

More and more of these little "bush actions" in the last year of his presidency, are coming up to bite us.
but that was the master plan all along, no?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 6, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

allegedly turkey is a staunch allie.
we are "trust but verify" with them (to use reagan wording)....
have been for awhile.

seems to me that they denied us fly over rights with Iraq or Afghanistan.....

and their ports......everything in the world comes through turkey...

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 6, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I think that one point Drindl tried to make is worth exploring, further.

Why is the Prez constrained to show Muslims that he is no "pushover"? Would KOZ be mollified? What about "talking tough" to Muslims worked well for GWB? Why should this be an issue at all?

Focus, please. Turkey is a reliable ally of ours. Turkey can play a central role in the Israeli-Syrian talks, but Israel wants an American presence. The immediate FP goal here is to get Turkey to be a key player again in Syria-Israel talks. These talks are more promising than Israel-Palestinian talks and they can produce positive results that might limit the effectiveness of Iran in Syria, as well.

None of what is really going on has any relationship to neocon posturing and a whole lot to do with the pragmatic FP of this Admin - the first really pragmatic FP since Bush 41, I might add, at least, so far.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 6, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Chris, having the president publicly label the Armenian massacre as genocide is a remarkably bad idea - the worst idea I have seen you write.
It may well have been genocide, but in this case, "telling it like it is" by attaching this particular word to a century-old event would do very serious damage to a particularly important ally. And for what, where's the payback? Presidents don't write history anyway - historians do. The only thing to be gained is winning a few votes from Armenian-Americans.
Pres. Obama certainly understands the responsibility he now carries and will not fall into that trap.

Posted by: wmw4 | April 6, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Maine: http://www.mainepolitics.net/. Mike Tipping's blog has some pretty good analysis, and links to a few other Maine centric news sites.

Posted by: marcoL | April 6, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I see drivl is loonier by the day and out to prove it.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 6, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Obama promises severe consequences if N Korea fires it's rocket. The consequences are appeasement, weakness, and cutting missile defense.

Just another obambi promise.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 6, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Obama promises severe consequences if N Korea fires it's rocket. The consequences are appeasement, weakness, and cutting missile defense.

Just another obambi promise.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 6, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Obama can't avoid a mention of the Armenian genocide. Prediction: He'll compare lingering Turkish prejudice against the Armenians, and Turkish denial of genocide, with Americans who blindly condemn all of Islam as the root of global terrorism.


***


URGENT TO:

Attorney General Eric Holder
DHS Sec. Napolitano
DoD Sec. Gates
Treas. Sec. Geithner
DNI Dennis Blair, DNI Inspector General-designate Roslyn Mazer
Rahm Emanuel. David Axelrod, Jay Carney, White House
(staffs, please forward)


INNOCENT BUT TARGETED.


Google it.


YOU -- or someone close to you -- could be the next victim.


Unless Team Obama takes down the draconian Bush-Cheney extrajudicial punishment network...


...an array of secret "programs of personal financial destruction" and a government-funded network of vigilante "community stalking"... using the GPS satellite system to hunt and harass human prey (with the full knowledge of law enforcement)...


...coupled with the proliferation of mind- and body-degrading "directed energy" microwave radiation weapons -- the Zyklon B of a grassroots, military/intel- enabled civilian American Gestapo.


Attorney General Holder, you must act NOW to restore human and civil rights in America.


Before the naivete of liberals empowers the saboteurs and Dr. Strangeloves who say "No!" to change.


Where is the civil rights division investigation that victims have demanded?

Or is there "nothing to investigate" -- because the government already knows all about this?


http://NowPublic.com/scrivener


***

DID BUSH-CHENEY TORTURE MATRIX HIT HILLARY '08 RALLY?

http://dailykos.com/story/2009/4/3/715887/-Did-Bush-Cheney-Torture-Matrix-Hit-Hillary-08-Rally

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 6, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Armenian genocide makes for a boring storyline in America and is kinda insulting to bring up on a first date in Turkey. I doubt Obama mentions it.

Posted by: theamazingjex | April 6, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The official Turkish position on the events of 1915 that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenian civilians is not the stuff for public presidential diplomacy in 2009.

That does not mean the issue should be ignored.
At the ambassadorial level we could point out that relations between Japan and China thawed somewhat when Japan apologized for some of its grosser misconduct toward China. We could suggest that Turkey and Armenia talk privately about to address history between them.

I heard this morning that the Prez is going to say something like the latter. I think it is always a mistake to address, in public, another country's relations with a third country, unless one of the other countries is under our protection, through treaty or alliance, and a threat to our ally is involved. If the Prez has a suggestion along these lines, I hope he makes it in private.
Remember here that it is Turkey, not Armenia, that is our ally, and that neither country threatens the other.

Contrast this discussion of history - where the current regimes bear no relation to the regimes of 1915 - with what we should say or do about continuing slaughter of civilians in Africa. We have taken few effective steps for 15 years in those cases. A little perspective here, too, would be welcome.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 6, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse


well chris - arizona has a political blog on the list???
i'm shocked.......

And Korea's space junk...
Launch a rocket-
Have it split apart upon jettison,
Fall into the ocean-
hmmmmmm - for some reason, i'm not worried!!!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 6, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse


okay, so we are not at war with islam.
perhaps the interpretation of islam by certain sects.
remember, bin laden has something like 35 children that he is "teaching".
i believe there is one son that is not going along with the family tradition. That leaves 34.

what i do like about this Presidential trip is that, which each stop or in his speeches, he is opening with a blurb about the history of the place in which he is. strausberg, turkey. he recalls THEIR history (the town, the region, etc).
I like that. Endearing.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 6, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I don't know where you stand on issues of race and religion, but this entry skirts Islam-baiting at best. Now personally, I think the impulse in Turkish society to resist debate surrounding what happened to the Armenians is counterproductive, but no worse than what Americans do when issues surrounding slavery or the removal of Native Americans comes up. Saying that Obama could set things straight by talking tough to the Turkish government on the Armenian Genocide issues is absurd. It was a genocide, no question, but one that was carried out in the chaos of a collapsing Ottoman Empire, not the modern Republic of Turkey. It also happened before 90% of the people living today were born... not exactly a pressing issue which needs to resolved by an American President on his first major trip abroad. Obama's address to the Turks needs to focus on keeping their country in Europe, following the Western reforms toward democracy and freedom which they have slowly been on for decades.

Posted by: hiberniantears | April 6, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

North Dakota: http://www.northdecoder.com/
Maine: http://www.turnmaineblue.com/

Hawaii: I got nothin' for ya.

Posted by: JoeBodell | April 6, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse


"The media will only manage to cover Obama's refusal to call te 1915 Armenian incident "genocide," a campaign promise."

WHAT IS THE BLOODY POINT? WHO IN THIS COUNTRY ACTUALLY KNOWS OR CARES WHAT THIS IS ABOUT?

Posted by: drindl | April 6, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

The media will only manage to cover Obama's refusal to call te 1915 Armenian incident "genocide," a campaign promise.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | April 6, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

CHRIS CILLIZZA -- I CALL YOU OUT FOR BLATANT RIGHTWING HACKERY:

"And yet, expectations for his visit today ran high on the streets of Ankara. The Post's Kevin Sullivan quoted Erdal Aydogan, a street sweeper, who exclaimed of Obama: "He has a Muslim background, so when he was elected we were so happy -- it was like he was elected for Turkey!"

That sort of quote is the kind of thing that could make some Americans nervous -- especially given the divided nature of public opinion toward Islam.

Forty eight percent of those sampled expressed an unfavorable opinion toward Islam while 41 percent viewed the faith favorably, according to new data from a Washington Post/ABC News survey. And, a majority (55 percent) said they lacked even a "basic understanding" of Islam -- a dearth of knowledge that is ripe for exploitation in a political context. (Need evidence? Remember back to the way the "Obama is a secret Muslim" meme gained traction among some during 2008 campaign despite NO evidence to back up such a claim.)

Given all of that background, Obama could do well to provide a little "straight talk" (with apologies to Sen. John McCain) to the Turkish people -- making clear to them that while he supports better relations with the Muslim world that he will not be a pushover."

BECAUSE AMERICANS ARE IGNORANT AND BELIGERENT TOWARD MUSLIMS, OBAMA HAS TO WORRY ABOUT BEING A 'PUSHOVER'?

WHY WOULD HE BE A 'PUSHOVER'? WHY DD YOU USE THAT WORD? WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SUGGEST?

WHAT KIND OF A HACK ARE YOU?

Posted by: drindl | April 6, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Trying to get the wingnuts riled up and terrified like the rest of the media, Mr. Cilliza, with a little Islam baiting?

Want the blood of innocent Muslims on your hands?

This is what comes of scaring the weak-minded -- murder.


" Glenn Beck got all hysterical and overwrought with Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association about Obama's evil plot to take away our guns."

And so as a result of this, in Pittsburgh:

'A man opened fire on officers during a domestic disturbance call Saturday morning, killing three of them, a police official said. Friends said he feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.'

Every wingnut who is promoting this nonsense, every radio host, and the whole crew of Fox News, should be lined up and shot by the police for being the direct cause of 3 good cops [all of whom had small children] getting murdered by a republican nutcase.

Posted by: drindl | April 6, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

I think expectations worldwide are very strong for Obama. His demeanor and attitude are the very opposite of his predecessor. To that end, I'm not sure addressing Armenian genocide, especially on one's first trip to Turkey, is the best diplomatic idea.

It's a bit sad, given all the notoriety of Islam in the press since 9/11, that 55% lack a basic understanding of Islam. Chris, you're right to say this could be exploited (as it was in the campaign last year) but what a wasted opportunity to provide some fruitful education to the public at large and defuse potentially racist and hateful ignorance...

Posted by: RickJ | April 6, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

In the galaxy of historic litigation,
"Brown v. Board" was a noble endeavor, Sen. Cornyn. A little perspective, please.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 6, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

The Chameleon in Chief goes 'Muslim for a Day'.

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 6, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

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