Now that Barack Obama is facing governing the nation, the reality on the ground sets in for him. And, believe it, it's still all about him. It's going to be four years of all about Barack, as his supporters call him. He is understanding that there is no way he will be able to come through with the promises made on the campaign stump and the far left that brought him to the dance in the beginning are organizing to hold his feet to the fire. He's going to need all the Republican love he can find.
So, it's a love fest in Chicago and events like the Governors Conference in Philadelphia. Obama extended his hand "in friendship" to even the Republican governors. How generous. How grown up of him. Why just last month as the day of his election drew near, the Republicans were the sworn enemy of Senator Obama. Having never crossed the aisle, in friendship with Republicans for the good of the country, his record of voting in the U.S. Senate is one of never voting for anything but the Democrat legislation du jour. There was that one bill about ethics that he co-sponsored with Senator Coburn that was boilerplate stuff but it did allow him to talk about working with one of the most conservative members of the Senate. He knew no one would actually look at that.
Seeking cover for his inability to fulfill his promise to immediately withdraw troops from Iraq, he has asked Secretary Gates to stay on as Secretary of Defense. The troop withdrawal has already begun, but never mind. There is victory in Iraq and it is good to know that Republicans will continue at the helm of defense policy. Secretary Gates was asked at his press conference if he was a registered Democrat or Republican. A real patriot, Gates spoke of his duty to serve his country and would stay on at the request of the incoming President. He said as Director of the CIA he made the decision to be apolitical. He is registered as neither. He then said, however, he considers himself a Republican.
Secretary Gates is a good man. He is a thoughtful man and a no nonsense leader. He left a dream job as President of Texas A&M to serve President Bush. He is a much needed expert on Russia and on intelligence matters. He will serve the new administration well. Though not receiving credit, President Bush extended the hand of a working friendship with Russia. He was laughed at when he did so yet he forged on. Now we here how Russia needs our outreach to avoid future problems. I say, where have these people been?
Intelligence gathering is crucial in our world today. While the critics love to cry over imaginary loss of civil rights, it was our country that warned India in October of the threat of an attack by radical Islamists. The new administration will benefit from current policies - the very ones included in the 'failed policies' mantra - and to think Obama will revert back to pursuing the war on terror as a legal matter as the Clinton administration did is to accept true failed policies. Secretary Gates has common sense. Besides, now Obama can use the top level briefings he receives now as an excuse to do the right thing, not the nonsense he campaigned on to appease the defeatists.
India's counter terrorism chief was killed in the attacks in Mumbai. Members of his family live in my city. On the front page in today's newspaper was a story of a 69 year old woman who survived the attack in the Oberoi Hotel to return safely to her 71 year old husband yesterday afternoon. These attacks were felt around the world.
I hope the Obama administration will tackle further reforms in intelligence, in still present loop holes in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Recently, according to a piece in The Wall Street Journal, NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly complained that the Bush administration wasn't doing all it could to protect New York City. His concern is with restrictions in surveillance. As FISA stands, the Justice Department requires "higher than appropriate standards of probable cause" before it will send a request to the FISA judges.
The article points to the fact that it is common place to offer up personal information every day on the computer as we buy items online, do banking online, participate in political campaigns, etc. The attacks in Mumbai were conducted with the help of BlackBerrys. Our current updated intelligence gathering capabilities, reformed after the attacks of 9/11/01 were a good start. They have prevented many attacks in the years since and President Bush is to be thanked for a job well done keeping our country safe. It was not a coincidence.
The terror threats of radical Islamists are worldwide. They target Jews, Americans, Brits, and anyone seen as an Infidel. The terrorists are patient and skilled. They are highly trained and educated. Unlike Western thought of only looking into the immediate future, the radical Islamists look into eternity. They will only be defeated when leaders of free countries rise up and have the courage to deal with what is faced by the world.
Will the new president be able to reign in his far left supporters and tell them to step back, take a breath and see the world as it truly is today? Time will tell. We should all hope he will put country first and be the adult in charge. It is surely much easier to be a denier. It is certainly a more direct path to popularity to do the most liberal thing. Liberalism is a cinch. Liberalism, however, leads to disaster in foreign policy.