Obama’s AIPAC Gambit
Dana Milbank makes a funny at Barack Obama’s expense:
Now, here’s a change we can believe in.
A mere 12 hours after claiming the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama appeared before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee yesterday — and changed himself into an Israel hard-liner.
As a pandering performance, it was the full Monty by a candidate who, during the primary, had positioned himself to Hillary Clinton’s left on matters such as Iran. Yesterday, Obama, who has generally declined to wear an American-flag lapel pin, wore a joint U.S.-Israeli pin, and even tried a Hebrew phrase on the crowd.
Obama even outdid President Bush in his pro-Israel sentiments. On the very day that Obama vowed to protect Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — drawing a furious denunciation from the Palestinian Authority — Bush announced that he was suspending a move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
Pat Lang is bemused by Obama’s positioning here, noting that he won the nomination by taking a moderate tone on foreign policy while his chief opponent alienated the anti-war wing of the party with her votes supporting the Iraq War and labeling Iran’s elite military force as a “terrorist” organization. Now, he’s gone from a getting ridiculed for saying he’d sit down and talk with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to saber-rattling worthy of a neocon.
Obama said to the AIPAC devoted that he would do “anything in his power to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, anything.” Anything is a lot for an American president. Under the authorities still in force an American president has complete operational control of the strategic nuclear force. A launch order from him will be obeyed. Why? Easy. It would be a lawful order. An American president would not do that? How sure are you?
Actually, I’m pretty sure. But I must admit to sharing Lang’s confusion about what Obama is trying to do here. Yes, Obama has something of a “Jewish problem” and, yes, Democrats tend to tack right after the primaries while Republicans tack left. But this seems out of character for him and not in a good way.