Usually sitting Presidents who are nearing the end of their final term in office don’t inject themselves too much into the battles between the men, or women, who would succeed them. They’ll campaign for the candidate of their party, of course, and be the guest of honor at $ 5,000 a plate fundraising dinners, but you usually don’t see Presidents in their seventh year in office getting into the gutter of a Presidential campaign.
Ronald Reagan didn’t do it when George H.W. Bush ran in 1988
Heck, even Bill Clinton restrained himself in 2000.
Then, there’s George W. Bush:
JERUSALEM (CNN) – President Bush launched a sharp but veiled attack Thursday on Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats, suggesting they favor “appeasement” of terrorists in the same way some Western leaders appeased Hitler in the run-up to World War II.
The president did not name Obama or any other Democrat, but White House aides privately acknowledged the remarks were aimed at the presidential candidate and others in his party. Former President Jimmy Carter has called for talks with Hamas.
“Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” Bush said at Israel’s 60th anniversary celebration in Jerusalem.
“We have heard this foolish delusion before,” Bush said in remarks to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. “As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”
Leaving aside the appropriateness of an outgoing President injecting himself into the race to succeed him, there’s just so much about this that’s just plain wrong. First of all, the United States engages in talks with real and potential enemies all the time, including nations like Iran, North Korea, and Syria; it’s called diplomacy and, as a wise man once said:
To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.
Second, there’s a difference between diplomacy and appeasement; the mere fact that you’re willing to talk to someone doesn’t mean that you’re the modern day equivalent of Neville Chamberlain.
Third, given the utter failure and questionable morality of the Bush Administration’s policy of pre-emptive war doctrine, perhaps we need more talking and less fighting in the world.
Finally, I think it’s time that we declared an official moratorium on Nazi and Neville Chamberlain analogies. World War II has been over for 63 years. Neville Chamberlain has been dead for 68 years. Instead of comparing everyone you disagree with villains from the past, how about actually engaging in a substantive debate.
That means you Mr. Bush.