U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talk with invited guests after his speech about the United States policy on the Middle East and North Africa at the State Department in Washington, May 19, 2011. Obama on Thursday invoked the killing of Osama bin Laden as a chance to recast relations with the Arab world and said the top U.S. priority was to promote democratic change across the region. Obama, in his much-anticipated “Arab spring” speech, also ratcheted up pressure on Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, saying for the first time that he must stop a crackdown on protests and lead a democratic transition “or get out of the way”The reaction to President Obama’s speech (transcript) yesterday (video) was swift and certain from his potential 2012 GOP opponents. Here is a sampling.
- Mitt Romney – “President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus. He has disrespected Israel and undermined its ability to negotiate peace.”
- Tim Pawlenty – “To send a signal to the Palestinians that America will increase its demands on our ally Israel, on the heels of the Palestinian Authority’s agreement with the Hamas terrorist organization, is a disaster waiting to happen. At this time of upheaval in the Middle East, it’s never been more important for America to stand strong for Israel and for a united Jerusalem.”
- Mitch Daniels – “What is going on in the Arab world these days has little or nothing to do with Israel or Palestine, it has to do with tyrannical regimes which have really stifled prospects for their people who are now restless for a better life… I don’t think right now it pays very much of a dividend to try to cut the Gordian Knot of Israel and Palestine.”
- John McCain – This is setting a limitation on the boundaries of the state of Israel without regard to the Israelis having a country that they can defend militarily..” http://bit.ly/m4lMyx
- Eliot Abrams – “On the whole, the president’s comments about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will lead nowhere. It is striking that he suggested no action: no meeting, no envoy, no Quartet session, no invitations to Washington.” http://on.cfr.org/mxSqsG
My take on this is that most Americans don’t give a flying flip about this issue. They object to their tax money being used to adjudicate a dispute that has been going on for thousands of years.
So, this will not hurt Obama (execpt with his left-wing Jewish donors) and certainly not help the GOP candidates (since Jewish voters go about 75% for the Dems and are concentrted in New York and California – states which won’t be in play in the Electoral College.)