Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hillary Still Trumps Obama on Leadership

Original Link: http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/08/12/hillary-still-trumps-obama-on-leadership/

By Ani

As we have been hearing frightening reports of Russia’s actions against South Ossenia and beyond in Georgia, you might be interested to read this statement issued by Senator Hillary Clinton on Georgia and Ukraine on April 18, 2008:

I am deeply disturbed by the latest Russian actions regarding Georgia, and Russia’s broader policies towards its neighbors.

Several weeks ago I called on NATO to extend a Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine at the Bucharest Summit. I emphasized that this move would be a litmus test for the success of President Bush’s leadership of the trans-Atlantic community. My support for MAP was based on the need to send a positive signal to Tbilisi and Kyiv to encourage them to stay on track with their positive reforms as well as to send a signal of our concern to Moscow about the future security of these countries.

I deeply regret President Bush’s inability to convince our NATO allies to take this action. This is the first time in memory a U.S. President has traveled to a NATO summit and failed to achieve his publicly proclaimed goals.

Now the Russian government has taken advantage of the lack of unity coming out of the Bucharest Summit to further ratchet up the pressure on young democracies on its borders. Moscow’s actions this week to strengthen ties with the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia undermine the territorial integrity of the state of Georgia and are clearly designed to destabilize the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Georgia is a small democratic state in a turbulent region. It must not be allowed to be undermined. Two weeks ago President Bush sat with President Putin in Sochi just a few kilometers away from the Georgian border. He prided himself on his close working relationship with Vladimir Putin. President Bush should call on the Russian leadership to immediately rescind these steps.

I also call on President Bush to immediately send a senior representative to Tbilisi to show our support for the government of Georgia. The United States should raise this matter in the United Nations Security Council, in a special 26+1 session of NATO’s North Atlantic Council (NAC), and in the NATO-Russia Council. Russia needs to hear a unified message from the United States and our European partners about our shared commitment to Georgia’s security and territorial integrity.

These are not the only Russian moves that I have found troubling. Senior Russian officials have engaged in a pressure campaign to prevent Ukraine from seeking deeper ties with NATO. President Putin even raised the prospect of retargeting nuclear missiles against Ukraine.

I am not advocating, nor do I envisage, a return to a new Cold War with Russia, which I believe ought to remain in the G-8, where the United States and its allies can together address our growing list of concerns with Moscow. But the current Administration’ s mishandling of Russian relations has contributed to Moscow’s belief that it can do as it pleases. America and its allies can and must do better.

Since Hillary is no longer ‘in the race,’ not wishing to upstage Senator Obama, I believe, she did not issue any further statement over the weekend, although clearly she has a deep understanding of this crisis and our role here. As reported previously, Senator McCain was also touted as a having a 3 A.M. moment on this issue.

In stark contrast, here was the ‘Statement from Senator Obama, on the Grave Situation in Georgia’ on his way to his Hawaiian vacation on August 8th:

“I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict. Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war. Georgia’s territorial integrity must be respected. All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis.”

I will point out that upon checking Senator Obama’s website just now, he has issued two subsequent statements after the one above, one that came on August 9th and one on the 11th — each of which, respectively, was longer and more detailed than the last and perhaps, more reflective of copying Senator McCain’s homework on the subject.

Hey, take a mulligan, Senator Obama – keep floating those statements till one clicks with the appropriate gravitas.

As you can see, Hillary required no such tutoring, but exhibited a very clear, detailed grasp of the crisis, well before it reached the boiling point, when she urged President Bush to act.

Here is the opening phrase of yesterday’s missive from Senator Obama:

The situation in Georgia continues to deteriorate because of the escalation of Russia’s use of military force. I have spoken to President Saakashvili, and conveyed my deep regret over the loss of life, and the suffering of the people of Georgia.

Why Obama would be calling President Saakashvili, I have no idea. Who is he? He is not yet the official Democratic nominee, never mind that he is not the President. A mere technicality, I suppose.

Between Senators Clinton and Obama, it is eminently clear who has a far stronger grasp of foreign policy issues and certainly on the economy, she is hands and feet above a man who does not even understand what a capital gains tax is – nor could he explain it when he was questioned by Charles Gibson during the ABC debate before the Pennsylvania primary.

Who is the DNC planning on coronating, er, nominating, again?

The San Francisco Chronicle’s top story, that Clinton Supporters are pushing to get her name into nomination, reports how diligently the Obama camp is working to block such a thing from happening:

“It’s a simple thing to do, and it’s the biggest sign of party unity,” said Laura Spanjian, a San Francisco-based Clinton delegate, who also supports the move.”

Clay Dougherty, another San Francisco delegate for Clinton, says that “if the situation were reversed, the Obama people would feel the same.”

Let’s imagine if the situation were reversed. Since Obama has asked that the FL and MI delegates be seated in full now, the magic number has reverted to the correct 2210. He does not possess that number. If Hillary did not have enough pledged delegates to seal the nomination — or super delegates for that matter, imagine if Hillary tried to prevent a roll call that would honor Barack’s historic candidacy. There would be hell to pay. And she would be paying it daily. Such behavior on her part would not be tolerated.

“For the first time in a generation, it’s been a close election … and this was such a unique situation,” he said, in which both the first major African American presidential candidate competed with the first major female presidential candidate. “We need to honor both candidates,” he said.

And many Democrats suggest that the move to accommodate her supporters may be politically smart…

[Texas Delegate Garry] Mauro insisted that since it was such a closely contested election, he is mystified as to why the Obama campaign is resisting and even balking at a roll call vote, according to some reports.

“Are these folks so new to politics, are they so arrogant that they think he’s different from every other nominee we’ve ever had?” he asks.

I guess I don’t need to answer Garry’s question.

Serrano Sewell even stated, in an attempt to assuage any worry on the part of the Obama camp, there is no connection between Hillary’s delegates and PUMA:

“We’re not trying to drag Obama down,” he said. “We’re Democrats. We’re precinct captains. We’re fundraisers. We’re the kind of Democrats Obama will need to win in November.”

Similar to Senator Obama’s lack of detailed understanding of foreign policy, so, too, his arrogance and political shortsightedness is clearly in evidence in preventing a roll call vote for Senator Clinton. Or shall I say, his fear is showing.

Again, this is not indicative of good leadership, of putting the country or the Party’s interests before his own.

A true leader would not wish to treat 18,000,000 voters and 1918 delegates disrespectfully. If, as Michelle Obama says, he is going to ‘heal our broken souls,’ how does he intend to do that by throwing millions under the bus in another show of pettiness, bullying and arrogance?

Regarding the current acts of Russian aggression, a true leader, as he claims to be, looking to demonstrate his readiness for the toughest job in the world, might stop to do his homework before realizing that the first “essay” he handed in was rather flimsy.

I know I am not wrong in wanting the truly qualified candidate to be our nominee. The one who needs no tutoring. Certainly, Hillary Clinton would know better than to do what Senator Obama did yesterday: indicate he would be announcing his pick for Vice President via text message. Some traditions do need to be adhered to. The world is watching.

Senator Obama’s action do not indicate respect – either for his V.P. choice, or for us.

That is not healing.

That does not indicate political knowledge, maturity or gravitas.

Lastly, that is certainly not good leadership.

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