On The Hugh Hewitt Show last night, Hugh and I chewed over the two big crack-ups of the moment - Iraq and Hillary's book tour. Along the way, I noted that President Obama's advice to Prime Minister Maliki - to reach out to his political opponents, be more considerate of other factions, etc - is precisely the opposite of the way Obama himself carries on:
This is a guy who doesn't even, you know, tell Dianne Feinstein what he's up to with the Bergdahl-Taliban swap, never mind including any Republicans, inviting John Boehner to sit down and chew over the problems with Obamacare. But suddenly, the minute you get him away from Washington and dump him in Baghdad, then suddenly, he's Mr. Inclusive. Everybody is entitled to a seat at the table. Everyone has a voice at the table. We don't know who the Iraqi version of John Boehner is, and the Iraqi version of Kevin McCarthy, but they ought to be in the room around the table, too. Why doesn't he try this at home? And if it works in Washington, then maybe Maliki will take it up.
I'm all for inclusiveness, but when the other side is seizing your cities and oil refineries and firing US Stinger missiles at your air planes is not the best moment at which to try it. As often with Obama, his solution is too perfunctory, too late.
We also discussed the New Revisionism from Barack and Hillary - that they were all gung-ho for a continued American presence, but that Maliki nixed it:
MARK STEYN: The reality is that Iraq five years ago was an American protectorate. That's what it was. It was a nominally sovereign country, but it existed at the behest of American might. And certain privileges come along with that. I mean, for example, Jordan in 1946 was a nominally sovereign country, and the commander of King Abdullah's forces in Jordan was a man called General Sir John Glubb - Glubb Pasha, as they called him in Amman - because that's what the British wanted. And the fact that Jordan was a nominally sovereign country made no difference. They wanted British officers to be in command of the Arab Legion there, and they got their way. And clearly, the Americans were in a position to get their way three years ago, but, as Hillary Clinton says in that clip, "we didn't get it done".
HUGH HEWITT: Yup.
STEYN: "We didn't get it done," because they didn't want to get it done.
~After Iraq, we turned our attention to the other quagmire, the Hillary book launch. One of the oddest aspects is the way she stumbles and misfires even through the softest interviews:
All the worst interviews have been with people who are friendly to her, and who will be voting for her, and have no desire whatsoever to see a Republican in the White House. And if you're Christiane Amanpour, or if you're Terry Gross over at NPR, or if you're like that fellow from the Globe and Mail in Toronto, you must be really marveling. You walk into the room sympathetic to Hillary, and you must leave it thinking my God, is this the best the Democratic Party can do?
And that's before you deal with the most basic insanity of this situation. Right now, the Democrats would rather talk about anything other than foreign policy, where President Momjeans has made America the laughingstock of the world. So who do you pick as the designated successor to Momjeans? The woman he put in charge of his foreign policy. What, was Kathleen Sebelius unavailable? So now you're going to be talking about Benghazi and Putin and Syria and Iraq and whatever the next catastrophe is all the way to November 2016. How smart is that? As I said to Hugh:
This is a woman who is going to be 69 at the time the election, has no executive experience running anything that matters, except for these four years at the State Department. So in effect, she has nothing to run on but the Obama foreign policy, which is a disaster. So she has to thread a very careful needle here, because she has to say my experience in charge of Obama foreign policy qualifies me to be president of the United States. But everything that matters about Obama foreign policy - the disastrous reset button, Syria, Iraq, whatever it is, Arab Spring, the whole lot - that's all the fault of Obama, I had nothing to do with it.
She's not nimble enough to walk that highwire. She's going to need a remarkably inept opponent, even by GOP standards, to pull this off.
Hillary's campaign reminds me of JFK Jr's death a decade and a half ago, when Dan Rather and the rest of the Camelot media were trying to turn it into a full-blown Princess Di moment. They couldn't do it, because the broader audience did not share the elite's investment in it. I think the same is true here.
For the full conversation between me and Hugh, please click here. I'm on Hugh's show coast to coast every Thursday at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific.