Speaking on CBS Sunday morning’s show Face the Nation, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan responded to criticism by POTUS Obama that he and presidential candidate Mitt Romney lacked foreign policy experience. Politico reported:
- “I have more foreign policy experience coming into this job than President Obama had coming into his,” Ryan said. “I’ve been on Congress for 14 years. He was in the Senate far, far less time than that. I voted to send men and women to war.”
Ryan said Obama’s criticism during his convention speech was just “name calling.”
“The president has had some successes – Osama Bin Laden is a perfect example – but, by and large, I think what the president is doing here is he can’t run on his record, so he is offering up this kind of rhetoric,” Ryan said.
There’s so much more that Ryan could have said. Looks like it’s time for another walk down memory lane.
Back in November, I wrote that it really was a shame that ALL voters had not paid better attention during the 2008 presidential campaign. Everything they needed to know about prospective POTUS Obama was there to find had they only bothered to look.
Forget about the Obama Palace Guard Media. It’s useless.
The fact that Obama was then a derelict president really should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It’s just a continuation of an old pattern.
Geoffrey P. Hunt wrote in American Thinker:
- Obama is in full retreat. Disengaged and decoupled. A pathetic creature, soon to be deserving of mercy rather than scorn, if only his hubris were in lockstep full retreat. Is he guilty of desertion or mere dereliction? Desertion would be a harsh claim, but dereliction not so far fetched.
A president who voluntary withdraws — or at least sidesteps — from the duties of the office, is derelict, period. Even his own party faithful anxiously look for any sign of leadership coming from Obama, only to be turned away empty handed, yet again. Bereft of personal responsibility towards his fellow Americans, Obama has neither resigned nor renounced his citizenship. Yet through his apology tours has made us wonder whether renouncing his affinity for America and the leadership imperatives due the office would only be a public formality.
A president whose complete disregard for substantive political discourse in addressing the nation’s fiscal woes is derelict. Whether he is lazy, irresponsible or just overwhelmed, the signs point to a man bringing disrepute to the office for which self-imposed exile is his only way out. A president with enough time and energy to fill out a NCAA Final Four basketball tourney bracket but can’t find the time to attend to border security or assemble a meaningful budget incorporating the recommendations of his own deficit commission, is derelict.
A president who refuses to address the nation on the crisis in Libya and the humanitarian catastrophe in Japan, instead giving fourteen rogue Democrat state senators from Wisconsin directions to Morton’s Steak House in Chicago, is derelict.
Today’s state of affairs was clearly predictable years and years ago.
On August 9, 2008, I posted John Batchelor’s “American Guns of August”, in which he wrote there was a “hot war in Georgia as the Russian air land forces launch armor columns under air cover into the sovereign state and U.S ally of Georgia.”
As I wrote then, many perhaps did not immediately grasp the significance of this scenario. Georgia was a NATO applicant and the oversight for NATO fell under a particular Senate Subcommittee then assigned to Illinois Senator Barack Obama, but more about that deeper down.
- Villagers and officials, requesting anonymity, said that hundreds of [Western] coalition troops had been airlifted to a border area near the Lawara village [in North Waziristan on the Afghan border, stating] that the Pakistan Army was gearing up for ‘any eventuality’ …
The coalition troops have started to strengthen their positions after setting up camp in the border areas adjacent to the Pak-Afghan border and US helicopters have been spotted hovering over target areas as support,” officials said. …
The deployment is near Camp Tillman, a forward operating base for US forces.
Whoa! Afghanistan! Pakistan! U.S. troops! This sounds like a job for Sen. Obama’s Subcommittee on Europe.
Question: Where was our superhero? Did he convene his Subcommittee? Did he perform due diligence as the presumed future leader and Commander-in-Chief of the United States military?
Answer? Obama was MIA.
Was it possible that Obama, who had served since January 2007 as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Europe, was guilty of dereliction of duty?
Obama’s Subcommittee was responsible for
- United States relations with the countries on the continent of Europe, except the states of Central Asia that are within the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs. It also oversees U.S. involvement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, relations with the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Matters relating to Greenland and the northern polar region are also the responsibility of this subcommittee.
This subcommittee is also responsible for all matters within the region under its jurisdiction with respect to terrorism and non-proliferation, crime and illicit narcotics, U.S. foreign assistance programs, and the promotion of U.S. trade and exports.
Writing January 7, 2008, in the Boston Globe, Sasha Issenberg reported that Obama “has convened only enough hearings to approve presidential appointees.”
The Times‘ Tom Baldwin added:
- But Steve Clemons, the director of foreign policy at the New American Foundation in Washington, said that such hearings were not the same as convening full meetings on pressing policy issues such as the future of Nato. “Someone who is seeking the presidency should have some facility for the most important anchor in global affairs, which is the transatlantic relationship,” he said. “The major threats in the 21st century are changing but what is not changing is the vital necessity of Europe and the US collaborating in meeting those challenges with Europe, for instance, in the lead on dealing with Iran. This is a very disconcerting void in Obama’s profile.”
Clemons wrote December 17, 2007, that, according to how the record appeared to him, on Obama’s “official trip,” he had “travelled through Europe extensively.”
Although it was reported that Obama made a quick stopover in London on his way back from Moscow, Clemons learned that the stopover was on the way to Moscow and Eastern Europe. Clemons also was told that, in spite of efforts to get Obama to visit Europe, it “isn’t high on the list of Barack’s priorities.”
As a side note, even more egregious is the fact that Subcommittee members included now-Vice President Joe Biden and former Senator Christopher Dodd, both former Democratic presidential candidates, and Republican Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ill.) who accompanied Obama on his trip to the Ukraine — from whom not one word had been heard about the Subcommittee’s failure to meet. What happened to Biden’s and Dodd’s voices? Doubtful much would have been said, though, especially since both men were on Obama’s vice presidential short list at the time.
During the February 26, 2008 Democratic presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio, then-presidential candidate (now Secretary of State) Sen. Hillary Clinton charged that Obama “has been so busy running for president that he hasn’t done much of anything as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs.”
“I also have heard Senator Obama refer continually to Afghanistan, and he references being on the Foreign Relations Committee,” Clinton said. “He chairs the Subcommittee on Europe. It has jurisdiction over NATO. NATO is critical to our mission in Afghanistan. He’s held not one substantive hearing to do oversight, to figure out what we can do to actually have a stronger presence with NATO in Afghanistan.”
Obama responded: “Well, first of all, I became chairman of this committee at the beginning of this campaign, at the beginning of 2007. So it is true that we haven’t had oversight hearings on Afghanistan.”
- Although Obama acknowledges the point, we sought to confirm what the subcommittee has been doing.
Congressional records show, and spokesmen for several subcommittee members confirm, the subcommittee has not held any policy hearings since Obama was appointed chair in early 2007. The subcommittee’s jurisdiction includes “all matters, policies and problems concerning the continent of Europe, including the European member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”
The chair sets the agenda for a subcommittee and Obama could have asked to hold a hearing on NATO and its role in Afghanistan.
But Clinton’s claim, while technically true, is unfair, said Andrew J. Fischer, a spokesman for Republican Sen. Richard Lugar. Lugar now serves as a minority member of the Foreign Relations Committee, but he was the chair, from 2003 to 2006, when Republicans controlled the Senate. He is the ranking Republican on the committee.
Fischer, who is a minority staff member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said something as major as NATO’s role in Afghanistan would typically be held before the full Foreign Relations Committee, rather than Obama’s European subcommittee.
In fact, the Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on Afghanistan on Jan. 31, 2008, and NATO was a part of the discussion. Obama attended a Democratic debate in California that day. Clinton is not on the committee.
The Clinton campaign put out a statement reiterating Clinton’s comments to reinforce the theme that Obama is more about talk than action.
“Given the opportunity to take the reins of leadership and shape two critical areas of U.S. foreign policy — Afghanistan and our alliances in Europe — Senator Obama has done next to nothing,” the statement said.
Obama’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
So let’s look at Clinton’s statement:
- “He chairs the subcommittee on Europe.” Yep.
“It has jurisdiction over NATO.” Yep.
“NATO is critical to our mission in Afghanistan. He’s held not one substantive hearing to do oversight, to figure out what we can do to actually have a stronger presence with NATO in Afghanistan.” Yep.
Some may argue that the issue of NATO’s role in Afghanistan typically and more appropriately would come before the full Foreign Relations Committee. But Clinton is right when she says Obama’s subcommittee has been largely dormant while Obama has campaigned for president. We rate her comment True.
It needs to be pointed out that Obama’s February 26, 2008, response — “Well, first of all, I became chairman of this committee at the beginning of this campaign, at the beginning of 2007. So it is true that we haven’t had oversight hearings on Afghanistan” — should more accurately have been “So it is true that I haven’t convened ANY oversight hearings since I was entrusted with this responsibility.”
Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson responded March 2, 2008:
- What should we make of Obama’s other judgments in foreign affairs? Take Afghanistan, for example. It has been evident for some time that our efforts there are going badly and that cooperation and support from our NATO allies would be helpful. As chairman of the subcommittee on Senate Foreign Relations responsible for NATO and Europe, Obama could have used his lofty position actually to engage the issue and pressure the administration to take some action to improve our chance of success in that conflict against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Of course, that would have involved holding hearings, questioning administration witnesses, and taking a position and offering alternatives. That is what we expect that from senators in a democracy. It is called oversight.
But, instead, Obama, by his own admission, offers the excuse that he has been too busy running for president to do anything substantive, such as direct his staff to organize a single hearing.
Under the rules of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the maximum penalty in the U.S. for dereliction of duty is a bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of pay and six months confinement. Under common law, dereliction is usually classed as criminal or civil negligence, recklessness or malpractice.
Negligent! Reckless! Incompetent! Derelict! Verdict? Guilty on all counts.
I asked readers back in August 2008: Is this really the person — Democrat or Republican — Americans wanted to entrust with running their country?
And what of the then more recent events on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border?
Never mind. POTUS Obama would be there to check things out first hand — maybe — in September 2008, when he needed to pose in a photo op while making mad dash appearances on stages around the world for his pre-Democratic convention
publicity stunt trip to the Middle East.
As it turned out, some Republican Congress Critters were actually paying attention. On July 16, 2008, Don Irvine at Accuracy in Media reported from Jake Tapper’s ABC News Political Punch blog (July 15, 2008):
- In a letter sent to Sen. Barrack Obama D-Ill. today, Sen. Jim DeMint R-SC — the ranking Republican on a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee that Obama chairs — tweaked Obama for not having held any hearings on the subject of NATO’s role in Afghanistan.
“With oversight of NATO relations and its role in Afghanistan, I believe it is time for us to focus closely on these issues,” DeMint wrote, suggesting a meeting of the subcommittee upon Obama’s return from a much anticipated trip abroad.
The letter was clearly a shot at the fact that Obama — chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs — has only held three hearings. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden, D-Del., told Meet the Press that “the reason Obama didn’t hold a hearing on NATO, I chair the committee. Every one of those committee hearings are held at full committee.”
Irvine commented: “Nice try by Biden to provide cover for a man who has been seen rarely in the Senate chambers and who has very little experience to boot. Is it a coincidence that Biden has been mentioned as a vice presidential candidate?” (Emphasis added.)
This is exactly what I had been saying for far too long of a time. True then, true now.
POTUS slept through the Iranian uprising of 2009 — and the Arab Spring and the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt — and appears to have turned off the alarm clock. No need for any 3AM phone calls. POTUS and the Mrs. need to rest up and get their beauty sleep ahead of the next vacation event — then scheduled for Ireland in May 2012 and who knows what would be the first grand tour of 2013?
And now Obama and his lapdog media think they can slam the Romney-Ryan duo for lack of foreign policy experience? Audacious!