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Abdulmutallab attempted attack forces Obama to multitask

The attempted bombing of an airplane on Christmas day has forced the Obama Administration to devote large amounts of its time -- publicly and privately -- to addressing the renewed threat of terrorism, raising the question of whether the attack will distract from its promised focus on jobs and the economy.

For months, the White House has privately reassured its political allies that starting with Obama's State of the Union address, which has not yet been scheduled but is expected either late this month or early next, the President will make crystal-clear to the American public that his first priority is helping to rebuild the economy and create jobs. (Many Democrats -- particularly members of Congress -- have expressed worries that the extended fight over health care has led some voters to conclude that their party does not have their eye on the economic ball.)

But, with the debate over proper next steps to combat global terrorism currently dominating chatter in Washington -- and with a health care bill still not passed through Congress -- some strategists have already begun asking whether the President's focus will drift, at least for the moment, to matters other than jobs and the economy.

"I do think the attempted airplane bombing complicates things," said Paul Begala, a longtime Democratic strategist. "It's one more way in which governing is more complicated than campaigning. It is much more difficult to drive one central message when you're running the government. "

No, according to a senior Administration official who said that while official Washington is wrapped up in the saga of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the average American remains focused almost exclusively on the economy and so that's where the President will be dedicating the majority of his time.

"This has to be addressed but does not change the game," said the source of the attempted bombing. "Washington is not where the public is."

Polling makes clear that the American people prioritize their economic concerns over worries about terrorist attacks. Most national polls show roughly half the country naming the economy/jobs as the number one issue facing the country with terrorism barely ranking in single digits.

(We've not seen any reliable national data since the attempted attack but our guess would be that there will be a spike in those naming terrorism as a pressing concern. But, past history suggests unsuccessful terrorist strikes don't move the public opinion needle in any sustained way.)

Striking a balance between reassuring the American people that he will keep the country safe from attack while also working to ensure that voters -- um, Americans -- know that jobs is his main priority is an extremely difficult task for Obama (or any president).

For its part, the White House insists publicly that the chief executive is more than capable
of juggling a number of major issues all at the same time.

Said spokesman Bill Burton in a briefing with reporters earlier today:

"When you're President of the United States you've got to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, so you can anticipate there's going to be a very heavy push to get Americans back to work, to get the economy as strong as it can be, along with some of the other things that we left behind at the end of the year to get finished up here -- health care, financial regulatory reform, things like that. But then also along with what's happening on these counterterrorism measures and Yemen, we've also got issues to deal with with Iran and North Korea and Pakistan."

If every presidency is in some substantial way a reaction to the Administration that came before it, then Obama's mandate is to avoid what was widely regarded as a myopic focus on terrorism by George W. Bush and prove to the American public that he is capable of, to borrow a cliche, multi-tasking.

Proving to the American public that he can "walk and chew gum at the same time" (in the words of Burton) is critically important to the maintaining the image of Obama that voters elected in November 2008.

The New York Times' Peter Baker, in an outstanding look at Obama's approach to terrorism, frames the president's task thusly: "With joblessness still plaguing the economy and health care dominating his agenda, Obama has not wanted his presidency to be defined by the war on terror, as Bush's was."

The attempted bombing on Christmas Day has again thrust terrorism into a top-of-the- mind issue for most Americans. But, barring another attack, recent history suggests it will fade as time passes and the economy will once again reassert itself as the predominant issue heading into November.

Making choices about where this -- or any -- president focuses the majority of his time is one of the critical components of both successful governing and successful campaigning. Can the White House simultaneously work to ensure that Americans feel safe from terrorist attacks while also reassuring them on the economy?

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 4, 2010; 3:26 PM ET
Categories:  White House  
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Next: Obama, congressional leaders plot final health care strategy

Comments

Stutter much?

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2010 5:28 AM | Report abuse

"Is that an ad hominem "personal attack"?"

how childishly manipulative. If you argue yourself into a corner, 'fess up like a man

Posted by: Noacoler | January 5, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

"Is that an ad hominem "personal attack"?"

how childishly manipulative. If you argue yourself into a corner, 'fess up like a man

Posted by: Noacoler | January 5, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

"Is that an ad hominem "personal attack"?"

how childishly manipulative. If you argue yourself into a corner, 'fess up like a man

Posted by: Noacoler | January 5, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I think "pathetically transparent" sums up his approach nicely while remaining clearly within blog guidelines.

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

margaretmeyers:

Is that an ad hominem "personal attack"?

scrivener50:

Did you further notice that this thread's web site address refers to Obama's "plot" yet that is the title of the NEXT thread? Perhaps you are not the only one being targeted in real-time?

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

weasel.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | January 5, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

LOL, nodebris. I think that's the first time anyone has claimed I haven't posted enough times here -- I didn't "run away" last night -- I went to sleep. Again, if anyone else has any questions about my exchange with ceflynline, let me know.

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

The problem with Obama is that he has been spending too much time on health care - and not enough on jobs and the economy.


NOW the administration seems to be whining that they have to work on terrorism.

Terrorism and National Security is a part of the job.


Did Obama really think he was going to make one speech in Cairo and that would be the end of all terrorism ???


Obama and the democrats have always had an unrealistic view of foreign policy - blaming Bush - and somehow pretending that once Bush was out of office, all sorts of problems would be instantly solved.


Seriously.


The democrats were also saying last year, "If only America elected a black President, then all the countries of the world would love us, and all the wars would end."


It has been unrealistic from the beginning.


Now Obama has to spend time on foreign policy.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 5, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

It's just that giving up thing that confused me. The running away. My mistake. Sorry.

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Of course. Not to me. Anyone else. Right-o.

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't care to explain to YOU. That's what "Anyone ELSE?" means.

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

When you can't respond to any point but a trivial side issue, and then only with sarcasm you can't -- excuse me -- don't *care* to explain, and try to change the subject, many would be confused and conclude that you lost the argument. Forgive me for being among them. I'm sorry I didn't notice you had a point and won. I don't know how I missed that.

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse

It's not pointless, and I haven't lost the argument. Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Ah. Just pointless snark on losing an argument. Sorry to take it seriously. My mistake.

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

37thand0street:

Bill Clinton should have resigned after lying under oath and obstructing justice too. Do you think that Barack Obama will? No.

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Did your sarcasm have a point, or was it mere snark?

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

'Obama thinks that terrorism "is a distraction."'

Citation? Full quote?

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

The following was sarcastic:

"So, "torture" by the CIA is prohibited, but anal rape in prison is not? Nice to see you libs have your priorities straight."

If anyone else has questions about that, please let me know.

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

"Last time I checked, ceflynline was one of yours."

I think ceflynine was mockingly appealing to your right-wing sensibilities. You support torture, after all, so it seems natural that this might appeal to you as an alternative. Was he wrong that you enjoy the notion? Do you support prison reform?

And what was the moral distinction you were trying to make, exactly? That our prisons are so vile we should send terrorists to Guantanamo to keep them safe? I don't think you are keeping track of all the twists and turns necessary to justify your position, and the snake of your logic is now devouring its own tail.

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

This attitude from Obama is EXACTLY THE PROBLEM.


Obama thinks that terrorism "is a distraction."


Terrorism is the job. - which Obama is not up for. Obama should resign immediately.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 4, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Stupid wing nuts have no idea how important these distinctions are to the world.

All day every day people murder people in the name of politics and call it war.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorkin wrote my 8:16 PM post too.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

"I was unaware the Blue Book applied here. You can look up the cites yourself."

It is courteous to note when the words are not your own.

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 4, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

LOL! I was unaware the Blue Book applied here. You can look up the cites yourself.

Although the phrase echoes statements made by Lincoln, and although the sentiment has been enunciated several other times in American history, the precise phrase "suicide pact" was first used by Justice Robert H. Jackson in his dissenting opinion in Terminiello v. Chicago, a 1949 free speech case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The phrase also appears in the same context in Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision written by Justice Arthur Goldberg.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

"I was actually quoting a U.S. Supreme Court case."

Without citation, of course.

Sloppy.

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 4, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

trep1:

I was actually quoting a U.S. Supreme Court case.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Even liberal Harvard professor ALAN DERSHOWITZ knew enough to realize the "ticking-bomb" scenario has to be dealt with differently than just regular law enforcement. He suggested special "torture warrants". Don't use the word "war" if you are too scared about that, but I am willing to bet that 99% of Americans are OK with torturing Abdulmutallab if there's ANY indication he has actionable intelligence that would prevent another (successful?) bombing.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

Schmitt said almost the same thing. You cannot kill something to save it.

Posted by: trep1 | January 4, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Jake loses, and he calls it a win. Next?

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

So, that's three. Anymore takers?

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

So far, that's ceflynline and shrink2 who think it's a good idea to NOT interrogate Adbulmutallab (or ANY of the next couple hundred suicide bombers) until years from now. Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Nice way to misrepresent their positions. I guess that you can include me as well. I do not think that you can violate the constitution to preserve the constitution.
If memory serves JakeD, you were a lawyer at one point (or at least went to Stanford Law School). You may have come across Carl Schmitt, a German jurist who made similar arguments in the 1920s and early 1930s. He wrote extensively about the state of emergency and the power of the executive. Yes, you guessed it. He was also a supporter of the Nazis, at least by the time they came into power.
As important a thinker as Schmitt was, and he was, I do not want to be on his side of the argument.
Just to complete the circle. Leo Strauss spent a good part of his professional career studying Schmitt's work. The same Strauss who influences leading voices in the Neocon circle around Bush.

Posted by: trep1 | January 4, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

You have no idea how to defend a nation. All you did was weaken a country today, ceflynline -- that's all you did -- you put people in danger. Sweet dreams, son.
Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see JakeD getting in touch with his inner Col. Jessup.

Posted by: trep1 | January 4, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 4, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

"... let him fester in a cold cell in a super max facility where rumor has it that the other prisoners would just love to love him"

Posted by: ceflynline | January 4, 2010 7:39 PM

Last time I checked, ceflynline was one of yours.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

The president should absolutely focus on the economy. An economically strong America is a great response to terrorism.

http://www.quigal.com

Posted by: reneecarmen | January 4, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

"I think that terrorists flying planes into buildings and/or blowing them up in midair qualifies."

Fine, then you chose to elevate a ragged band of homeless anarchists to the level of a state actor. You in effect honor them by characterizing what they do as war rather than as crime.

As to "war on terror:" Obama states the obvious: you don't declare war against an abstract concept like terror, you declare war against an organized group of humans acting in concert against you. To say you are at war with terror gives you a limitless mandate to pursue an agenda essentially without bounds, since you will never eliminate terror.

As to your utterly facetious "point" about prison rape, I think you will find it is Limbaugh and not liberals that takes pride in prison rape and considers it a suitable punishment for crime. Democrat Jim Webb has introduced a reform bill aimed at curtailing prison violence. Let's see how many Republicans sign on.

Posted by: nodebris | January 4, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Addendum to "scrivener" post, below:

The comment @ 8:28 p.m. below was carefully proofread, yet the word "charged" came out misspelled in the headline.

I did notice an inordinate delay between the time I hit the "submit" button and the time of the actual posting.

Could this be more real-time interference with my telecommunications by government fusion center operatives -- as described in the article linked below?

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-fusion-center-spying-pretext-harass-and-censor

Also, see http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 4, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

A HISTORIC DAY IN MODERN (AND TYPICALLY COWARDLY) AMERICAN JOURNALISM:

A WELL-KNOWN JOURNALIST/TV ANALYST DARES TO QUESTION THE MOTIVES OF SOME OF THOSE CHAGED WITH 'KEEPING AMERICA SAFE.'

Mark this date, 1/4/10 @ 8:10 p.m., on Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" TV program, a date that shall live in journalistic infamy.

It is the date when - journalist turned strategic analyst Richard Wolffe says what NO MAINSTREAM MEDIA JOURNALIST (except, perhaps, for this former mainstream journalist) has dared to even theorize about...

...that key elements of the U.S. intelligence "community" may have purposely and knowingly withheld information about the underpants bomber due to an "ulterior motive."

In this context, I once again ask the question that no mainstream journalist has asked U.S. officials:

PASSENGER SAYS GOV'T LIES ABOUT FL. 253 BOTCHED BOMBING...
WHY HAS MAINSTREAM MEDIA FAILED TO REPORT THIS ANGLE?

• MI attorney Kurt Haskell says accomplice helped would-be bomber board flight -- and that a second suspect was taken into custody.

WHY NOT A WORD ABOUT THIS FROM THE MSM?

Is this whole underpants affair an elaborate diversion from the government's Terror War on unjustly and unconstitutionally "targeted" Americans -- a quiet GENOCIDE?

***

U.S. SILENTLY TORTURES AMERICANS WITH CELL TOWER MICROWAVES, SATELLITES, SAYS VETERAN MAINSTREAM MEDIA JOURNALIST

• Secret Bush legacy multi-agency federal program uses cell tower/GPS satellite microwave/laser electromagnetic radiation attack system to torture, impair, subjugate "targeted" citizens -- and oversees local "community watch" vigilante terrorism and financial sabotage campaigns.

See story at: Poynter.org ("Reporting" section)
OR http://www.nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america OR NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "U.S. SILENTLY..." / "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 4, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, ceflynline, shrink2. I wasn't thinking of a distinction between an act of war and a war crime.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 4, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

You have no idea how to defend a nation. All you did was weaken a country today, ceflynline -- that's all you did -- you put people in danger. Sweet dreams, son.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Even liberal Harvard professor ALAN DERSHOWITZ knew enough to realize the "ticking-bomb" scenario has to be dealt with differently than just regular law enforcement. He suggested special "torture warrants". Don't use the word "war" if you are too scared about that, but I am willing to bet that 99% of Americans are OK with torturing Abdulmutallab if there's ANY indication he has actionable intelligence that would prevent another (successful?) bombing.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Talk about stuck on 9/10. So much for the reality-based crowd.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

So far, that's ceflynline and shrink2 who think it's a good idea to NOT interrogate Adbulmutallab (or ANY of the next couple hundred suicide bombers) until years from now. Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama-Biden 2012:

"We are not at war with terror!"

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

If there is no such thing as a war crime, then all murder is warfare if a political motive is proclaimed. Think Symbionese Liberation Army, were "we" at war?

What about Babi Yar? Was that horror terrorism, crime, genocide? It was not war, or the word has no meaning.

This reminds me of the work of a political consultant in Renaissance Italy. Is terrorism war by another means?

Well then is terrorism diplomacy by some other means?

The Nazis thought so. Americans can not make these mistakes. Murderers are not soldiers. Terrorists are not warriors and we are not at war with terror.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

So, "torture" by the CIA is prohibited, but anal rape in prison is not? Nice to see you libs have your priorities straight.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

See, this is exactly why I don't think Obama is acting like we are at war. In the meantime, Abdulmutallab has the "right to remain silent" while upwards of 300 other attacks are being planned and carried out. Who else thinks it's a good idea to "interrogate" him later, after all the pending attacks or actionable intelligence are wasted?

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the idealist.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

"Why can't the killing of civilians be considered an act of war? Posted by: DDAWD"

Because then, when soldiers deliberately kill civilians, for whatever reason they propose, they are soldiers engaged in warfare, and therefore they cannot subsequently be tried for murder, either as a war crime or as an ordinary crime. A soldier who shoots and kills an enemy soldier has committed an act of war, and is therefore not guilty of ANY crime. It is an act of war. A soldier who deliberately lines up a bunch of civilians, or even one civilian, and kills them, or him, has committed a war crime, not an act of war.

Trying Mutallab in Fedweral Court emphasizes this. What he tried to do is some three hundred acts of first degree murder, and he should be tried on every available count, convicted, and jailed.

Now, when he has nothing but eternity in the stoney lonesome staring at him, interrogate him. Bribe him with small amenities that may be easily withheld. Otherwise let him fester in a cold cell in a super max facility where rumor has it that the other prisoners would just love to love him.

Don't let the word military, or soldier, or act of war ever enter the prosecution's vocabulary.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 4, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

It took six years for the press to find fault with every single thing bush did.

Now obama is getting this treatment already in under a year. Is it because presidents do things wrong or is the press simply a pack of vipers?

With Clinton it was a scandel every week. With bush a bombing. Obama seems to have a vast portfolio of errors. Clearly the press is out to get him. There us no other explanation.

Posted by: Moonbat | January 4, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin:

While it was true that the RMS Lusitania had been fitted with gun mounts as part of the government loan requirements during her construction -- her operating expenses were also being subsidised by the British government -- to enable rapid conversion into an Armed Merchant Cruiser (AMC) in the event of war, the guns themselves were never fitted. At the outbreak of World War I, the British Admiralty considered her for requisition as an AMC, and she was put on the official list of AMCs, but the Admiralty then cancelled their earlier decision and decided not to use her as an AMC after all; large liners such as the Lusitania consumed huge quantities of coal and became a serious drain on the Admiralty's fuel reserves, so express liners were eventually deemed inappropriate for the role.

They were also very distinctive and made for easy targets; smaller liners were used as transports, instead. Nonetheless, Lusitania remained on the official AMC list and was listed as an auxiliary cruiser in the 1914 edition of "Jane's All the World's Fighting Ships", along with the Mauretania. Around this time, many of the large liners were used for troop transport or as hospital ships. Mauretania became a troop transport while Lusitania continued in her Cunard service as a luxury liner ferrying people between Great Britain and the United States. The newer Aquitania was pressed into service as a hospital ship while White Star's Olympic joined the Mauretania trooping to the Mediterranean. Cunard was kept on notice from the Admiralty that Lusitania could be taken at any time if hostilities increased and before the year 1915 was out. To reduce operating costs Lusitania's transatlantic crossings were reduced to monthly voyages, and boiler room Number 4 was shut down. Maximum speed was now reduced to 21 knots (39 km/h), but even then, Lusitania was the fastest passenger liner on the North Atlantic in commercial service and 10 knots (19 km/h) faster than submarines.

The Lusitania also underwent many changes, including:

1) her name on the stern and mast was painted out;

2) her funnels were painted all black instead of her Cunard colors;

3) her windows were painted gray; and

4) the last change on the Lusitania was that she flew no flags during her last voyage.

Next up: "Was JFK's Quarantine / Blockade of Cuba Legal?"

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

The legal definition re: "act of war" requires a STATE actor (which al-Qaeda is not). International law, currently, allows only three situations as legal cause to go to war:

1) self-defense,

2) defense of an ally under a mutual defense pact, or

3) military action sanctioned by the UN.

Any war for another cause is technically considered illegal and those who engage in it subject to prosecution for war crimes. Of course, "acts of war" has a much more general meaning. I think that terrorists flying planes into buildings and/or blowing them up in midair qualifies.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Why can't the killing of civilians be considered an act of war?

Posted by: DDAWD | January 4, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I just wanted to see what ceflynline thought. Who knows, maybe he / she doesn't think the USS Cole attack was an act of war (or, maybe just being hyper-technical re: al-Qaeda is not a recognized STATE actor?). As I recall, however, Sudan was officially held responsible for the USS Cole attack.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I just wanted to see what ceflynline thought. Who knows, maybe he / she doesn't think the USS Cole attack was an act of war (or, maybe just being hyper-technical re: al-Qaeda is not a recognized STATE actor?). As I recall, however, Sudan was officially held responsible for the USS Cole attack.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

re. Obama's upcomming State of the Union speech that: ".....will make crystal-clear to the American public that his first priority is helping to rebuild the economy and jobs"
Wrong, but it figures that this incometent moron doesn't even know what his first priority is. A presidents first priority is, and has always been, to protect the American people, something Pres. G.W. Bush did well.

Forget our economy. Obama has turned a slight recession (something every president usually gets that has served 2 terms at the end of his 2nd term) into a major disaster, with no end in sight. While he and the Democrap Socialists and the Democrap Socialist--controlled Main Stream Media are still trying to blame GWB for everything wrong, it's actually they, and they alone that have controlled both houses of congress since 2006 (the US Constitution clearly states that it's the House of Representatives that controls the pursestrings of our government).

Obama has also failed in job creation (exept for government jobs), by pushing through congress his Socialist/Communist agenda of nationalizing many private industries, forced unionization, government takeovers and control of banks, mortgage companies, Insurance companies, and now all the drug and health care companies, creating a negative business environment, so businesses are not only not hiring, but getting rid of a lot of workers. The unemployment numbers are the highest in 30 years, and will be even higher when more, and more of Obama's policies kick in.

Obama has also failed in the war on terrorism and in the Democrap Socialist Parties "Good War" in Afghanistan.
There is no way that we and our military can now win in Afghanistan.
Reason? Obama's wishy--washy, maybe yes, maybe no support of our military and the Afghanistan people, who don't want the Taliban and the Al Qaeda to return to power. Obama's fumbling and indecisiveness of not even talking to his own appointed Gen. McChristel for 72 days; his 3 month interval deciding if, or if not to send more troops, and his caving in to the Russians to give up our Missle shield in Eastern Europe, throwing our allied Polish and Czech friends under the bus, will have the effect that the Afghanis will be very reluctant to take our side in anything. They'll figure that the USA is not a good friend or a reliable ally, and will throw them under the bus when the Taliban and Al Qaeda return to run Afghanistan. When Obama and the Democrap Socialists cut and run--which they surely will, as the Democraps did in the Vietnam War--our Afghan friends(?) will get pay-back from the government in power. Bye, bye friends.
The War in Afghanistan is now lost.

Posted by: armpeg | January 4, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, you may recall from your history that Wilson had it both ways on the Lusitania. He stirred outrage against the Kaiser by claiming it was an innocent civilian ship, but Lusitania had military cargo - armaments - for Britain, so its sinking was conceivably an act of war. The Cole is a naval vessel. Attacking a US Navy ship is an act of war. You know all that, I am sure.

bsimon1, your spleen about a President who has been multitasking at all times is duly noted, by me, anyway.

Leapin' your quip about the two houses of congress is timeless, of course.

There is another way AQ could rise above being an expensive terrorist nuisance into a real threat to our security aside from obtaining nukes.

See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/03/AR2010010301812.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 4, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

ceflynline:

Just like sinking the Lusitania wasn't an act of war? How about the USS Cole (I was going to mention the USS Maine or Tonkin Bay incident, but thought I'd better not get into it with Truthers right now)?

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

"The Republicans might just as well fault Obama and the DHS for letting a man with a shotgun get into a Federal Courthouse and shoot a security guard and an FBI agent before getting himself killed. They won't, of course, because that would elevate going postal to the level of terrorism, and when it becomes terrorism the unbounded zeal expected of the Feds to deal with it would make gun control legislation a part of our war on terrorism. Thus, even were the shooter to have shouted "God is Great" and "All Praise be to Muhommed", this will definitely be considered an unfortunate shooting incident, not worth worrying about, or at least not worth expanding pre gun purchase security"

Exactly, cef. Which is why Ensign was so quick to say this had nothing to do with 'terrorism' before he had any solid information to make that statement. If the undiebomber had had a gun instead of a flaming crotch, they would not have called this 'terrorism' at all.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

'Some of us think certain civilizations and their cultural institutions are backward, ignorant and frankly, disgusting. It is not liberal to say that.'

You mean like the Taliban? What has that to do with 'liberalism?' I have no problem with calling the Taliban disgusting.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

"Blowing airplanes out of the air and killing the civilians on them must NEVER be an act of war."

This is so important ceflynline!
With Guernica for example, the fascists practiced killing civilians as a terror strategy, not as warfare.

Drindl, my point was Dems can take on very illiberal positions, like attacking the post modern fetish with cultural relativism. Some of us think certain civilizations and their cultural institutions are backward, ignorant and frankly, disgusting. It is not liberal to say that. But no matter, it is off the topic and I have to turn into a pumpkin. This has been a great day.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

What multi task? He can play tennis and golf on the same day he pretends no one is out to get us.

Posted by: Moonbat | January 4, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

""The president needs to supply the leadership," Kean added. "And no matter what else is going on, this has always got to be number one." Kean's rebuke..."

While this is being debated on its original thread, it really makes more sense over here.

Flatly, it just shows that this supposed less than partisan Republican IS in fact, tied up in the partisanship the Republicans have chosen to indulge in.

The Republicans might just as well fault Obama and the DHS for letting a man with a shotgun get into a Federal Courthouse and shoot a security guard and an FBI agent before getting himself killed. They won't, of course, because that would elevate going postal to the level of terrorism, and when it becomes terrorism the unbounded zeal expected of the Feds to deal with it would make gun control legislation a part of our war on terrorism. Thus, even were the shooter to have shouted "God is Great" and "All Praise be to Muhommed", this will definitely be considered an unfortunate shooting incident, not worth worrying about, or at least not worth expanding pre gun purchase security.

What Kean is saying is that NOTHING is more important than worrying about at best a few hundred crazies running around trying to attack the U. S. and not particularly succeeding.

Obama does have his priorities straight, and sorting out a couple of very dysfunctional Bush babies isn't currently that high a priority.

Meanwhile, for no reason that even republicans can actually elucidate, the other notes in the anti Obama chord now demand that, because it would legitimize military tribunals, the undiebomber be declared an "enemy combatant", thereby elevating blowing airliners full of innocent civilians out of the air to an act of war.

Blowing airplanes out of the air and killing the civilians on them must NEVER be an act of war. For that reason alone this trial has to be in Federal Court.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 4, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"Look at what happens to them when they do, bsimon. As unlikely a target of hate, you would think, as Katherine Parker received a deluge of death threats after she made a remark perceived to be anti-palin."


I was thinking more of people who post to the comments than the paid columnists.


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 4, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

shrink, kristof is allegedly a Dem.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

aaakkk Kristof.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

PASSENGER SAYS GOV'T LIES ABOUT FL. 253 BOTCHED BOMBING...

WHY HAS MAINSTREAM MEDIA FAILED TO REPORT THIS ANGLE?

• MI attorney Kurt Haskell says accomplice helped would-be bomber board flight -- and that a second suspect was taken into custody

WHY NOT A WORD ABOUT THIS FROM THE MSM?

Is this whole underpants attack a diversion from a stealth terror war on unjustly and unconstitutionally "targeted" Americans -- a quiet GENOCIDE?

***

U.S. SILENTLY TORTURES AMERICANS WITH CELL TOWER MICROWAVES, SATELLITES, SAYS VETERAN MAINSTREAM MEDIA JOURNALIST

• Secret Bush legacy multi-agency federal program uses cell tower/GPS satellite microwave/laser electromagnetic radiation attack system to torture, impair, subjugate "targeted" citizens -- and oversees local "community watch" vigilante terrorism and financial sabotage campaigns.

See story at: Poynter.org ("Reporting" section)
OR http://www.nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america OR NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "U.S. SILENTLY..." / "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 4, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Look at what happens to them when they do, bsimon. As unlikely a target of hate, you would think, as Katherine Parker received a deluge of death threats after she made a remark perceived to be anti-palin.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"The real issue is when are both parties going to start working together in the best interests of the American people."

There is only one party that has made it clear in word and deed that it will not work with the other party in any way, shape, or form. If you want to punish this behavior, be clear that there is one party that exemplifies it.

Posted by: nodebris | January 4, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"I am more than a little amazed at the dearth of rational conservatives posting to blogs. On the one hand, it does explain why the party is pandering to the TEA people, but it is still astounding, to me, that there aren't any voices here that are more sympathetic to the David Brooks way of thinking, for instance."

Well that would be great, a rational conservative. It is not an oxymoron. It seems like if they were protected from relentless PC liberalism like here or in the discussion group, they would flourish. But they don't seem to exist, or maybe they just don't want to talk to strangers on the internet, which would make sense for someone who thought things were better a long time ago. And liberals often drive me crazy. Even though I am right with them on some things, I am conservative on lots of issues too. I remember attacking the public employee unions in general a few months ago and their effect on the HCR effort in particular. Sheesh, the liberal response was swift and personal.

David Brooks is both liberal and conservative, so he could never get elected. Kristol's positions and hard work on fixing the disastrous state of the rights of women and girls in most of the world is another paradox plaguing polarized political people.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

This is toooo funny. Apparently the birthers have, for some reason unknown to any but themselves, decided to call Crazy Glen's show because he's soft on birtherism, okay?

On his radio show today, Glenn Beck accused someone, somewhere, of orchestrating phone calls about the conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in America.

“Today there is a concerted effort on all radio stations to get birthers on the air,” said Beck. “I have to tell you, are you working for the Barack Obama administration? I mean, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Beck explained his skepticism of birtherism in a back-and-forth that’s worth reading and concludes with jabs at the press and at the birthers.

“As the guy who the media says is the king of conspiracy theories, all I do are forward conspiracy theories, let me forward this conspiracy,” said Beck. “He was born here because it seems a little unlikely that somebody planted the birth records, okay, a little unlikely, in the newspapers."

This is what happens when you give birth to a cult. Eventually they outcrazy you -- and you get eaten by the monster you created. The R party will find that out.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Chris: You hit the smaller of the two targets dead center but there is another even larger target you missed completely. The Politics of one party or the other is no longer the issue of the moment. The real issue is when are both parties going to start working together in the best interests of the American people. Terrorism is a big problem I agree. Jobs for Americans is a real problem.I agree. Restarting the economy is a real problem. I agree. Bringing down the staggering national debt is a real problem. I agree, but until our elected officials start working together none of the above will ever get accomplished. As a group they all are, excuse my partisan reference, the Elephant in the room. Lets, each and every one of us, write or call all our elected representatives and tell them to get their acts together or prepare for a return to private life!

Posted by: joe100821 | January 4, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 writes
"I don't have the tech skills or time to keep changing my electronic address."


The one guy's satire is more amusing than the bitterness of his old nom de plume.


shrink2 continues
"I like to see how the right wing brain works. This blogs is good for that."

I am more than a little amazed at the dearth of rational conservatives posting to blogs. On the one hand, it does explain why the party is pandering to the TEA people, but it is still astounding, to me, that there aren't any voices here that are more sympathetic to the David Brooks way of thinking, for instance. Or do they get shouted down as RINOs and give up in frustration?

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 4, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Of course, it's hard to multi-task with so many singular acts of man-made disaster going on.

Posted by: leapin
-----------------------------------------
And that's just considering the House and Senate.

Posted by: leapin | January 4, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Thank you bsimon, I was afraid if I got any more critical of him he would ban me and I don't have the tech skills or time to keep changing my electronic address.

I like to see how the right wing brain works. This blogs is good for that. The msm only carries their water and their talking points. You can't see the development of Republican thought unless you have access to the sources Chris has. I have never felt responsible for Republican anger, but they sure do personalize criticism of their party.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Of course, it's hard to multi-task with so many singular acts of man-made disaster going on.

Posted by: leapin | January 4, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

shrink -- I just read this that you referred to. It just happened -- shooter is still layin dead on the floor, I hear -- how can Ensign be so sure who the gunman was after, or that he was acting alone?"

'Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., praised security workers at the Lloyd George courthouse in downtown Las Vegas.

Ensign went to the courthouse, where he and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., have offices, following reports of a shooting that wounded a deputy U.S. Marshal and killed a security worker.

The shooting occured near the entrance where the gunman reportedly opened fire at the security barrier before fleeing and being shot by law enforcement officials.

"Security is there for a reason and it worked," Ensign told reporters at the scene, what if any security enhancements should be implemented.'

Wonder whether the guy was after Ensign or Reid? Let me guess. Of course, I have read in the NYTImes this morning that since all this anti-government rhetoric has appeared, threats against judges have skyrocketed.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The Fix writes:
"Abdulmutallab attempted attack forces Obama to multitask"


Ok, we understand that you had your first kid this year, moved homes and have tried to have some work-life balance of your own. But, really, have you been paying attention at all to what the President has been working on for the last 11 months? While doing the basic first 100 days things, like getting a cabinet put together, the administration worked to stave off the implosion of several large banking institutions and, what was it? Oh yeah, the US auto industry. The Sotomayor appointment & confirmation competed with economic issues, not to mention getting the health care reform efforts off the ground. As that came up to speed, the WH reevaluated our role in Afghanistan. By any reasonable measure its been a fairly busy 11 months and now you're saying captain underpants' seared loins are going to challenge the President's ability to multitask? Give me a break.

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 4, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I thought Obama had been criticised for doing too many things--my belief is that this behaviour is covered by the term 'multitasking'.

He has also been accused of being too 'hands-off' in the HCR battle. Which is it? Too multi- a multitasker or too removed?

Posted by: sverigegrabb | January 4, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree with shrink2, but would not agree with nodebris IF joblessness increases. Fear begets fear. Confidence begets confidence.
-------------------------------------
As for reality rather than perception, there are bigger threats to our security than AQ. There have been two completed attacks on the World Trade Towers and several failed attacks, including the shoe bomber, and the LAX Y2K plan, and the Dallas and Denver groups, and Ft. Dix, an Abdulmultallab. Perhaps the Ft. Hood shooter is also an AQ sympathizer, although he seems more like a brain tumor killer to me. In any event, they do not threaten the security of America without nukes, they merely terrorize. So containing nukes, in that light, is very important. Imagine the IRA in 1960 with nukes.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 4, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Since the attempt failed, and since the responsibility for letting the undiebomber on the plane in the first place seems to lie in Ghana or Nigeria, two places not well known for their ability to control their own rowdies, about all that will remain of the public's concern in a couple weeks will be the perception that, faced with a distraction about overseas security Obama made changes and moved on.

The Republicans can continue to flog the subject as long as they choose, but they will mostly point out that, indeed, Obama can walk, chew gum, and cogitate all at the same time, a talent that Bush seemed to lack. The Republicans don't seem to realize that by constantly demanding that Obama must be wrong because he does things George couldn't or wouldn't, WHEN he accomplishes things George couldn't or wouldn't, like getting the economy turned around, or getting us out of the mess in Iraq, people will notice.

When Republicans insist on reminding the people that George was different from Barak, they can't object when Barak agrees, and says that is WHY he got elected.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 4, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., told reporters it appeared the gunman acted alone and the shooting was not a terrorist act."

Oh really? How does John Ensign know whether the Las Vegas shooter was a terrorist? Does John Ensign think Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist? I wish I knew.

Now I am not saying this killer was a far right wing nut shooting up a Federal building. I have no idea. I am saying Ensign does not know what the motive of this murderer was, nor whether it was terrorism.

It would be good to get some facts before a comment like that.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I am pleased that the response to an unwieldy list is to make the list bigger.

This fits well with liberal philosophy. When there is too much spending, we spend more. When housing takes a bath, we forgive more. When social security and Medicare go broke, we cut those budgets and create another similar program. This time it will work.

Posted by: Moonbat | January 4, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

shrink and nodebris -- you are both right. I don't know a single Dem who has done more than shrug over the undiebomber. Flying is dangerous and always will be. No one can make you 100% safe.

And we all know that no matter what obama does, the media/repubicans will criticize him. So he should just do what's right and ignore them.

"Multi-tasking' is what presidents DO, for god's sake. At least they did until we got GW Bush, who wasn't capable of it.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm not at all convinced that the general public takes the undiebomber as seriously as the media and blogosphere do.

Posted by: nodebris | January 4, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"Can the White House simultaneously work to ensure that Americans feel safe from terrorist attacks while also reassuring them on the economy?"

Yes, so long as the economy improves. No one cares about reassuring words. Today's news, for example, is reassuring: five months in a row of improved American manufacturing numbers. This good for voters - um, Americans. It is bad for Republican candidates.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

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