Goldberg: Release the White House Hacks!Posted: June 7, 2014
For National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg writes: I think the Bergdahl story is really very serious and there are still lots of things we don’t know. My friend James Rosen’s story that Bergdahl turned mujahideen in captivity is very interesting, but it doesn’t mean — nor does Rosen say — that he was a jihadi when he left his base.
“…we know he had a habit of wandering off base. That may make him a flake or an idiot, but it doesn’t prove he was a deserter.”
And, while the case doesn’t look good for Bergdahl, we don’t know that he was a deserter yet. We only know that he was AWOL. Indeed, according to an earlier Pentagon report, we know he had a habit of wandering off base. That may make him a flake or an idiot, but it doesn’t prove he was a deserter.
“Of course, no president is immune to gaffes, but you try to keep them out of the prepared text.”
Save perhaps one: The White House is run by clowns. It’s like a Fellini movie over there. Actually, that’s not quite fair. Clowns are actually pretty professional. They go to school to do what they do. That reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from The Simpsons. Sideshow Bob is talking to his brother Cecil through the plate glass of a jail visiting room.
Sideshow Bob: You wanted to be Krusty’s sidekick since you were five. What about the buffoon lessons, the four years at clown college?
Cecil Terwilliger: I’ll thank you not to refer to Princeton that way.
Look, I’m not making an ideological point here. For years, the White House had certain procedures and mechanisms in place that helped to ensure the dignity of the office and protect the president from saying too many things he’d later regret (like screwing up Billie Jean King’s resume, or slandering Rutherford B. Hayes, or calling the Benghazi attack a “bump in the road”). Of course, no president is immune to gaffes, but you try to keep them out of the prepared text. And of course, as conservatives, we can appreciate what amounts to one of our core insights on how the world works: Sometimes things go badly (I think it sounds more impressive in Latin).
“In the old days, there was an unwritten rule of politics: Don’t put the president next to a guy who looks like he just emerged out of spider-hole with Mullah Omar.”
In the old days, there was an unwritten rule of politics: Don’t put the president next to a guy who looks like he just emerged out of spider-hole with Mullah Omar. But these are more relaxed and tolerant times. Still, in the Washington of yore, the president’s advance team would at least go over with the president’s guests what they might say when standing alongside the leader of the free world. You know just to make sure everyone is on the same page. But that’s hard to do when the page is written in . . . Pashto!
…I shouldn’t make light of Mr. and Mrs. Bergdahl’s ordeal, even if Mr. Bergdahl seems to have some, uh, interesting ideas. They remain sympathetic people put in a horrible situation (which is one reason the president desperately tried to make this all about them, as I write here).
My only point is that the White House’s political chops in this fiasco look about as sharp as Dom DeLuise’s forehead. That’s kind of weird when you consider that his foreign-policy shop is largely run by political hacks — as Kim Strassel notes in her excellent column from yesterday. “Obama’s Kissingers,” as Strassel calls them, should be better at the politics than the foreign policy, given their resumes. But it turns out they stink at both. When you run foreign policy like a domestic political operation, it turns out that both the policy and the politics can blow up on you…(read more)
- Saving Sgt. Bergdahl: What’s known and what’s not (usnews.com)
- Bowe Bergdahl’s Health: Yet Another Obama Lie (moonbattery.com)
- Rosen: Intel Sources Say Bergdahl May Have Been Enemy Collaborator (freebeacon.com)
- The Bergdahl swap: a full-blown Obama scandal in less than 48 hours (humanevents.com)
- Military Report: Bergdahl Walked Away Before (drudge.com)
- Obama at war: Administration official smears troops who served with Bergdahl as ‘psychopaths’ (humanevents.com)