Easier Said than Done
Kevin Drum is amused by the juxtaposition of candidate George W. Bush’s charge that President Clinton wasn’t applying leverage to get OPEC to “open up the spigots” and President Bush’s apparent failure to do just that. It’s certainly a fair criticism. Now, granted, we’ve got a little thing called the Iraq War going on an are somewhat limited in the pressure we can apply to ostensible regional allies. Still, candidates often rail against incumbents and then get into office and find out that their options are a bit more constrained than they’d thought. Remember candidate Clinton lambasting Bush 41’s immoral policy of returning Haitian refuges to Haiti and then continuing that policy upon assumption of office?
Most likely, these things are a function of perspective. From outside, it would seem obvious that the President of the United States–the World’s Sole Remaining SuperpowerTM–could make a bunch of Third World yahoos toe the line. Apparently, since Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and now Bush 43 haven’t done that, it’s harder than it looks.