Thursday, October 22, 2009

Compare and contrast

These headlines on the same day:

  • Losing their lifeline - 7,000 a day As the Senate debates whether to extend unemployment benefits, more than 200,000 jobless Americans are set to see their checks stop in October.
And how about this little gem?
  • Saudis redefine chutzpah: After decades of overpricing, and with trillions of dollars in future revenues, they want aid if world cuts oil use in climate deal
But look at what a little adroit diplomacy will get you:

Marc Ambinder asked, "Has Sen. John Kerry ever had as good a press cycle?"
Indeed, most of the stories devoted to Kerry have the exact same analysis: Kerry was reluctantly thrust into the role of negotiator. Kerry developed Karzai's trust. Kerry had the diplomatic skills that current ambassador Karl Eikenberry lacked. Kerry's importuning proved to be the turning point. Oh, and it compares favorably to Kerry's brokering of a dialog between the U.S. and Syria earlier in the year.

The Boston Globe called it a "triumph" for Kerry -- his biggest accomplishment since the presidential race. The Wall Street Journal, along with many other publications, noted that Kerry used his own experience in 2004 to establish a better bond with Karzai.

And in case there are any doubts, these developments do not point to tensions between Kerry and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Just the opposite -- David Rogers reported that the two worked together on this: "Clinton, as secretary of state, helped clear the way with a long call to Karzai but also gave Kerry the room to run. And the result -- Karzai's agreement to hold a runoff election next month -- was a joint triumph for the onetime rivals."

Have I mentioned lately how nice it is to have grown-ups in positions of governmental authority again?

And President Obama does a good thing:
  • WASHINGTON President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law a measure designed to keep funding for veterans' medical care steady amid future budget negotiations.
While EX-Vice President Dick Cheney shoots his mouth off and gets a reaction:
  • Retired General Paul Eaton, senior adviser to the National Security Network, has hit back hard at Dick Cheney a day after the former vice president criticized the Obama administration again for "dithering while America's armed forces are in danger." In a speech Wednesday night, Cheney said, "President Obama now seems afraid to make a decision, and unable to provide his commander on the ground with the troops he needs to complete his mission." In an NSN press release, Eaton empties his chamber:
    The record is clear: Dick Cheney and the Bush administration were incompetent war fighters. They ignored Afghanistan for 7 years with a crude approach to counter-insurgency warfare best illustrated by: 1. Deny it. 2. Ignore it. 3. Bomb it. While our intelligence agencies called the region the greatest threat to America, the Bush White House under-resourced our military efforts, shifted attention to Iraq, and failed to bring to justice the masterminds of September 11.

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