Michael Gerson becomes the latest member of the Republican establishment to dive into the tank for Samantha Power, President Obama’s anti-Israel nominee for U.N. Ambassador. Like others in this category, Gerson apparently has been charmed by his personal interaction with Power.
It appears to be Power’s passion and fire that charmed Gerson. Gerson initially found her to be an unfair, partisan critic of the Bush administration in which Gerson served. But upon meeting her, he found that her “intemperance” was “in the best of causes — protecting the innocent from violence.”
Intemperance in pursuit of a worthy cause can be a fine thing. But it doesn’t qualify one to be a diplomat.
Moreover, Power’s intemperance isn’t reserved for good causes — unless you consider Israel-bashing a good cause. Gerson doesn’t mention Power’s string of vicious anti-Israel remarks. Instead, he tries to excuse them without specific reference by saying that Power was “contemplating absurd hypotheticals or engaging in partisan excess.”
This is pure spin from a master speechwriter.
To be sure, a few of Power’s anti-Israel remarks were in response to an absurd hypothetical. But that doesn’t excuse the absurd solution she offered to the hypothetical, much less the obvious animus she manifested towards Israel in her response.
And what about the other instances in which Power spewed venom towards Israel? No hypothetical question induced her to blame Israel and American Jews for the U.S. intervention in Iraq and our tactics during that war, which she deplored. No hypothetical question induced her to denounce the New York Times, in connection with its story correcting bogus reports of an alleged Israel “massacre,” for using the headline ““Human Rights Reports Finds Massacre Did Not Occur in Jenin” instead of accusing Israel of war crimes in the headline.
And no hypothetical question induced Power to quote with apparent approval a statement by her hero, Sergio Vieira De Mello, that the Israelis are “bastards.” If these statements are “partisan excess,” the underlying partisanship is dislike (at best) of Israel.
Gerson is impressed that Power “is a multilateralist who has also written extensively on the limits and failures of the United Nations.” That’s true, and it may make her interesting, but why is it otherwise commendable? Given the U.N.’s limits and failures, what’s the case for letting it dictate or constrain U.S. policy? Apparently Power believes that the U.S. is more deeply flawed than the U.N. Does Gerson agree?
Finally, Gerson is delighted that, with respect to Syria, Obama will now have people in the room arguing for greater support for responsible opposition to the Assad regime and for the prevention of mass atrocities. Gerson forgets that Power has been in the room all along.
Her presence in the room may be the most damning fact about Power. Almost 100,000 people are believed to have died in Syria already, and the Obama administration has done nothing to prevent the massacre. If Power were a principled, passionate fighter for “the best of causes,” she would have parted company with the administration in protest Instead, she has done her time with the expectation of collecting a glittering prize, such as the one now on offer.
Power turns out to be a typical careerist whose passion for averting atrocities seems to have devolved mostly into means of charming the influential and a springboard for denouncing Israel.
Compare the Democrats’ response to John Bolton’s nomination for U.N. ambassador to the Republican establishment’s response to Power’s nomination. You will find, in a nutshell, why the left is outdueling conservatives pretty much across-the-board.