Unexpected events sometimes can change the dynamics of a presidential election. Do yesterday’s (not altogether unexpected) events in Libya and Egypt have that potential? Probably not, in today’s America. Bill Otis explores the question:
I’ve been saying for years that Obama is a more appealing, more masculine form of Jimmy Carter, and he’s about to prove it. Hopefully, this Libyan episode will lead him to Carter’s fate, but the country is now so degraded, one has to wonder.
First, let me pause to write Obama’s “response” for him. This you can do in your sleep:
We are outraged at this senseless and cowardly violence. Our hearts go out to the Ambassador’s family and the families of all others killed in the attack. Grief counseling services will be provided immediately [OK, that last one was a joke, I hope]. We have protested in the strongest terms to the Libyan government, and we will take this up at the upcoming meeting of the United Nations. In the meantime, we have no choice but to consider sanctions.
That said, we should understand the distress of Muslims at criticism of their religion. All religions must be respected, except Judaism and Christianity [OK, that last part was a joke too]. We should also understand that Libya is a fledgling democracy, and that protest as a general matter is to be welcomed in a country where it was so long repressed. Of course, protest should be peaceful, and we sincerely regret that it wasn’t in this instance, but we should bear in mind that the overall developments in the “Arab spring” represent hope. There is a strong possiblility that the attack was undertaken by dissident elements that are no part of, and do not enjoy the support of, the Libyan government, and neither the government, the Libyan people, nor Islam are enemies of the United States. Accordingly, we will continue to work with the post-Quadafi Libyan government as it gives full realization to democratic values.
After waiting a day or two to get some clarity about what specifically was going on, and so as not to seem to be making strictly political hay of this, Romney should issue the following statement:
I love my family and they love me. [OK, that's a joke too, and I don't really think he should use the script from his acceptance speech]. The murder of an American ambassador, or any American abroad, is unacceptable under any circumstances. Given how things work in the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government of Libya, this attack could not have occurred without government acquiesence, if not assistance. The United States should respond accordingly. There should be no feckless note of protest, no sanctions, and no recourse to the United Nations. There should be instead the gathering of sufficient intelligence for us to understand who, inside the Libyan government and outside, was complicit it the murder. They will then be eliminated by the application of unilateral military force, as both justice now and, for the future, a message to others who might be planning something similar. If this is unpopular with “world opinion,” so be it. World opinion did nothing to prevent this murder. It did not prevent past murders and outrages, like the taking of the American embassy in Iran, and will not prevent future murders. We will, by the application of such force as we may judge to be needed.
We saw in the disgraceful administration of Jimmy Carter that weakness begets weakness, contempt, and increased danger to America and Americans. Although President Obama is either unwilling or unable to see it, jihadist Islam is a grave threat to our country and any country that believes in true democracy and relgious freedom and pluralism. Jihadism was at work again in Libya. Until it is confronted and defeated, we can be sure that the Libyan murder was just a preview, among many other previews we have seen. Gushing praise for Islam, while refusing even to acknowledge its murderous jihadist component, is foolish and dangerous. When I am President, it will stop. America’s foreign policy will return to one that demands and, when necessary, extracts respect for American interests and American lives.
I am perfectly willing to bet the election on which of those two responses the American people will prefer.