July 20, 2008 Mike Luckovich from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Hat tip to Zvi.

First the Bush administration and company were ridiculing Sen. Obama for saying he would negotiate directly with Iran – even with the Mad Man from Tehran if terms were right. The level of acrimony was intense, but the poo didn’t stick. In other words, Americans are far more worried about their paycheck and their jobs and how far their house values have fallen, to care that much about whether Iran is in our diplomatic orbit. Pundits on the left and right aside, this issue slide off the table, caused Obama no hard – except among hawkish folks that don’t trust him anyway.

Next we had the news last week that Burns was going to a meeting with Iranians in Europe. Burns is the number 3 person at the State Department:
In a departure from long-standing policy, the State Department announced Wednesday Under Secretary of State William Burns, the third-highest US diplomat, will join the EU-led discussions with Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili.

Of course State were quick to point out that Burns will not look at the Iranians, or even toss spitballs.

And now was have leakage of a story about the possibility of opening a diplomatic post in Iran.

PARIS: The Bush administration is considering establishing an American diplomatic presence in Iran for the first time since relations were severed during the 444-day occupation of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran nearly three decades ago, European and U.S. officials said.

The idea would be to open a so-called interests section, rather than a fully staffed embassy, with U.S. diplomats who could issue visas to Iranians seeking to visit the United States. But the officials, who spoke Thursday on the condition of anonymity under diplomatic rules, cautioned that the idea had not been approved by the White House and could be delayed or blocked by opposition within the administration.

The general Bushistic approach to diplomacy with Iran —rejection, isolation, name-calling, middle finger wagging— is crumbling faster than you can say “reduction in Gulf tensions will result in a drop in oil prices which would help certain folks get elected to the white house.”

Ok. That might not be what is going on here. What matters is that Bush & Co. slandered Obama for his position on Iran – be it good, bad, or other – and now is pursuing the same course. Yes, Burns is not President, but its a slippery slope. It goes something like this:

First you have friends that want to set you up, and you tell everyone that you would never date someone like that. Finally, you realize that your obstinacies and stubbornness have not gotten you where you want to be, so you reconsider and ask your friends to set you up. You will not go out with them, but you suggest that you should meet at a party. Less pressure, not so obvious.

So they set up a party where you get a chance to see them across the room. You pretend not to be too interested, but end up speaking in a corner, hoping not to draw to many stares and attention. After all you had told everyone that you would never ever ever date someone like that.

When you get home you make a few phone calls, and before you know it you are on a date going out for coffee. We all know where this is going….

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • I fought really hard not to respond to your misguided analysis of Detroit’s economic situation, which has been in a steady rate of decline and stagnation since the 1967 Race Riots and White Flight. I felt that you were so off base, it was going to take far more time and involvement than I actually spent trying to help renovate Detroit – only to be extorted by corrupt city officials and agencies (which happen to share your similar worldview) – so I refrained from the discussion.

    But your constant defense of Obama, more or less driven by your contempt for Republicans and knee-jerk liberal outlook, makes it hard for me to appreciate the posts I actually did agree with. Bush is an idiot. We all knew and still know that. It’s really such a bore. But to use Bush’s incredibly stupid decisions as a defense for BHO’s equally ridiculous foreign policy suggestions and imply some nefarious plot to retain Republican power by throwing nearly 30 years of American policy under the bus is more than I can take. Maybe you are right. Maybe Bush really is so sinister is this move, just like Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the other goofballs of the Democratic Congress that is still approved of by 9% of the population who want us to lose the war in Iraq so that they could get into power. Why not? What’s good for the goose…

    Please let me know next time you dress as a clown and protest Malik Shabazz whatever and other anti-semites that are probably within 3 degrees of separation from your beloved new messiah. At least it will be the Rabbi I grew to love rather than the kind I shrug my shoulders at. Sorry for the snark. But I had to double up for that Detroit post. We’re actually petitioning the city to put up a new welcome sign:

    “Detroit – Over 40 Years of Democratic Rule! Look How We’ve Done Here, Now See What We Can Do for the Whole Country!”

  • Taking the war to Pakistan is perhaps the most foolish thing America can do. Pakistan has 160 million Arabs and a nuclear arsenal. Pakistan also has the support of China. The last thing the United States should do at this point and time is to violate yet another state’s sovereignty.

  • The good rabbi likely misreads the situation. Bush has obviously done all he could to publicly support diplomatic (EU) and arms-agency (IAEA) efforts to address the Iranian nuclear program. This is a condition precedent to any use of force. He has to be seen as having done all he could to resolve this peacefully.

    Rabbi, you’re not reading the papers, else you’ve been alone on an island for the last 4 years. Bush has thrown his weight behind the UK-French-German initiative to talk down Iran. You’d perhaps prefer all war, all the time? Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

    Alex, hold your horses, dude. We’ll see what the next months bring.

    The possible outcomes, I think, are stark. Iran either gives up its program, or it’s attacked by Israel, the US, or both.

    As for the use of “slander” to characterize Bush’s criticisms of Obama (has Bush done so, actually, except maybe indirectly, before the Knesset?), that’s obviously over the top and inaccurate.

  • yes it is true that many Europeans like Obama – but mostly just because he has a world view – they don’t even care much what his conclusion is, just that he has a world view.

    after almost 8 years of bloodshed and moronic nonsense – is that too much to ask for?

    Here’s a MP3 of hungarians talking about why they like Obama

  • No offense, but who the F*** cares about what Hungarians think of US politics? Really? I mean really..

    All that is important is that ALL of the enemies of the United States and Israel like Barack Hussein Obama. That tells me more than anything why not to vote for him. Our enemies know he is a p***y and has no historical knowledge whatsoever. Democrats and dumb American Jews will vote for him simply because he isn’t a Republican. Hell, they’d vote for Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, or Patsy Klein as long as they’re running against a Republican. They vote how their parents and grandparents have voted for decades even though the Democrats have excepted nearly every anti-Semitic fringe group into the tent. Sad and shameful if you ask me, on a national level. I’m more than happy to vote for either party when the person actually knows what they’re talking about.

    McCain and Barack are too pitiful choices for leaders in American politics, but at least McCain understands history, war, and has actually sacrificed something for his country. And what has BHO ever done except play the victim card and glow in his own vanity? He even left his district a sh#thole when all was said and done. His own people he cared so much about, living in squalor. Yup, he’ll be great for America!

    Like I can never respect a Jew who can’t make money, I can’t respect a brotha (even half-black) who can’t play basketball nor dance. There’s something terribly wrong there. He’s f***** Erkle like Joe Stein said. Yup, that’s exactly it. Erkle.

  • FYI Alex, I’ve taken to thinking now that anyone who says “Barack Hussein Obama” is admitting that he/she is a racist. Yeah, it’s his name, but who has ever said “William Jefferson Clinton” or “John Sidney McCain”? (Granted, “George W. Bush” is the exception, but that’s because his father is also named George Bush.) Also, it’s the intimation of using the name, as if to call him a terrorist and a Black Panther. Hell, you’d have too much fun making fun of Yaphet Kotto, never mind that he’s Jewish, because after all, he played Idi Amin and that was enough.

  • Joshua, in all fairness, the most common ways Clinton used to be referred to were either “Clinton”, “Bill Clinton”, or “William Jefferson Clinton”, at least on news and in newspapers over here and the American media available over here (which are astonishingly many considering that international newsstands in Midtown Manhattan don’t even sell one German daily). What about JFK? Or was he Just Kidding? To conclude from Alex’ tongue-in-cheek use of Obama’s middle name or others’ complete use of Obama’s name for either the sake of completion or sentence melody, which Obama himself certainly would have dropped had he minded the name (honi soit…), that the speaker is racist definitely is far fetched. Obama appeared on the public stage as “Barack Hussein Obama”, so it’s little wonder there are people who refer to him as just that – and Obama doesn’t seem to have an issue with his family history, which makes him keep the name. Will you also start thinking of people that refer to him as “Barack” of associating Obama with shabby military living quarters?

  • I’m interested to see where “Bush & Co. slandered Obama for his position on Iran”.

    Anyone have any info about that?

  • Well perhaps saying that Obama was slandered was my poetic license… He was criticized and his opponents were suing it to show his inexperience in diplomacy. Talking heads and talk show hosts used this as buckshot hoping to score some victories against Obama’s popularity.

    And believe me, I am just saying… Alex look at my post from last summer after the first democratic debate – I was and have been critical of Obama, am not a knee-jerk liberal by any standards, and would be happy to have you join me in dressing as a clown for Neturei Karta.

    Tom — to say that I am sheltered or don’t read the paper is simply false – but I have tough skin. Perhaps I needed to spell out my position more clearly. I do not prefer war all the time, thank you.

    Now onto other news sources writing similar pieces:
    US News and world report writes on July 17th
    Is Bush Flip-Flopping On Talks With Iran?.

    John Bolton on FoxNews “Bush paving way for Obama to white house”

    And the folks in Abu Dhabi chime in with “US-Iranian diplomacy creeps forwards”

  • Its really disappointing to see people within the Bush Administration wanting to have discussions with Iranian leaders.

    The only discussion should be on what types of bombs to use.

    Neither Bush nor McCain has slandered Obama, and saying so is slander itself!

    I thought liberals would LOVE the fact that people that BusHitler is looking at opening an embassy in Iran. I thought that they’d finally be glad at something Bush did…… but……

    like all the other things that liberals should be grateful to Bush for….. they give no thanks and no praises.

    Liberals should praise Bush for maintaining an open border policy.
    Liberals should praise Bush that social programs have increased.
    Liberals should praise Bush for not (yet) creating National Punch a Hippie Day.

    So really, for all the things that liberals love, that Bush did…… they don’t give him credit or thanks for a single one.

    And I don’t believe its because their general entitlement attitude – I just believe its because their hatred of the BusHitler so over shadows anything he did.

    Conservatives dislike Bush – liberals should love him.

    It really makes me question whether they love America or just their democratic party.

    Just for the record:
    I’d vote for ANY conservative. I would give a rats tuchas if the republican party disappeared tomorrow. I’ve never donated a cent to GOP. I’m not a member of the GOP. I have no Republican paraphernalia. I have never been to a Young Republican meeting. I’ve never gone to an event to hear an elected Republican speak. I NEVER call myself a republican, and I’m quick to correct people who do.

    And don’t get on my back for claiming that some people love the party more than they love America. It would be very easy to show your love for America. Supporting the troops, enable people to live the American dream (low taxes & judge people on their merits), and fly some American flags.

  • Froylein, thanks for the defense, but Joshua and other people are free to call me a racist all they want. I know who I am and where my ethics stand and fret not about what others I don’t know think of me.

    When it comes to my disdain for Barry Obama (what he called himself in high school), it has nothing to do with his race nor origins. First of all, he’s only half African, since we’re counting. Democrats have really brought identity politics to the forefront by trying to avoid identity politics, and I’m loving the irony in that. No, my disdain for Barry O, has way more to do with his ignorance, his socialist policies, his anti-American attitude (I’d of actually respected him more if he didn’t back down from all of his principles, like the flag pin thing), his annoying wife, his lack of historical knowledge, his flip-flopping, empty slogans, and lying. On top of that, I’m convinced he’s bad for America, and he’s terrible for Israel. I’d vote for any black, yellow, brown, white, purple person if they knew what they were talking about and shared the same conservative, libertarian, capitalist, etc., values as me. Barry O does not. At this point, I’ll admit, I’m saying his full name just to irk people like you and I guess it worked. So for that I apologize.

    Whether we like it or not, the greatest threat to America and Israel is Islamic Fundamentalism, and it’s no coincidence that Barack Hussein Obama shares an Arabic name with a collection of people who fit into that ideology. I’m sure there are plenty of very nice Muslims who love America and Israel and who want the best for everyone and that’s great. Do I want to rely on the hope that their people’s interests won’t trump my people’s? Sure, I can feel better of my own personal objectivity by voting for them, but I’m not taking any chances, because when the sh*t hits the fan, and it will again as history has shown us, I’ll hope the guy I voted into office has the wherewithal and commitment first and foremost to his nation, to do the dirty so to speak, so that Americans and Jews benefit, and not everyone equally. When it comes to it, I’m not objective and I’m not an internationalist, nor do I try to pretend I care about all people equally. I don’t.

  • wow. okay, let’s rumble a bit here…

    UPDATE: the WSJ published a story by Michael Rubin, who writes that:

    ‘The package already on offer is rich. The Bush administration has promised to support Iranian construction of a light-water reactor and provide it with nuclear fuel. In addition, the U.S. will help overhaul of Iran’s energy infrastructure and cooperate in high-technology industries. At any point, Tehran can simply walk away, keeping its rewards.’

    Somehow this conversation took one course, while neglecting another piece of information. The Iranian economy stinks worse than porta-potties row at a hippie festival,and fearing a failed state with a fundamentalist spokesman, perhaps Bush is actually thinking professionally and responsibly? If Rubin is right, and the US is planning to help construction and development (there’s some irony for you, mr. irony) we’d be giving them nuclear tech. We would be getting ahead of ourselves to suggest we’d give them the bomb, so I won’t go there.

    Alex – Sure. BHO, Barack Hussein Obama, BO, Body Odor…Whatever you want to call him…Here’s the main difference between the two candidates, which over the course of the election has already become fairly clear: McCain is running as John McCain, the man, and is still dealing with internal problems. Still. It’s in 100 days, and this dude’s team is in the middle of fuckedville. He’s got no message, no strategy, no youth outreach, no movement – because he has NO team.

    I’m not voting for just Obama. I’m voting for the movement, for change, and I believe in his team. He doesn’t have all he answers, but he doesn’t need to. I mean shit, who is REALLY making the decisions right now? It’s always been Cheney. It’s the man behind the podium, but it’s also the what’s behind the man. They got him this far, so keep going. And screw the pin. No other country, as far as I know, does that. Who else advertises their country on their chest? Besides for some military leaders who seized power?

  • I was rather rude up above, Rabbi. My apologies.

    I think the bottom line is that Israel and the West, esp. the US, have painted a bright line– Iran cannot be permitted to develop nukes– that will be hard to back away from if the current round of diplomacy fails.

  • I don’t care if it’s via Bush, Cheney (heh), Barack, or McCain, giving Iran anything is succumbing to black mail and extortion, and is nothing but paying a ransom for a false sense of security. The only thing Iran deserves from the US and Israel is an attack on those nuclear facilities and government buildings and assistance with regime change. It’s disgusting to think that the country that held our citizens hostage for 444 days, aids in the murder of our troops in Iraq every day, supports, encourages, and finances terrorism across the globe, enslaves their own women, gays, and minorities, and boasts about wiping another country off of the earth should get ANYTHING from the West. It’s despicable, as is the idiot who allowed such a shift to occur, and you know I’m talking about Democrat Jimmy the Dhimmi Carter. If there was any sign for American Jews to flee from the Democratic Party, he signaled it.

    Why don’t we all head over to Barack Obama’s website where there are a number of moderated blog threads choc full of anti-semitism still published and more flowing in everyday, and I want to have American Jews explain to me how the real anti-semites vote republican. I’m sure I’ll hear about how those aren’t real democrats and a big right wing conspiracy to make Barack’s followers look bad. Probably the same conspiracy that propped up Rev Wright, that other self-hating honkey preacher, Louie Farrakhan, the EI.com Pal Arab who had that hush hush policy conversation with Barrack, Michelle Obama, and all of our enemies who endorsed him.

    I’m sorry if I missed the credibility in Barack’s strategy that allows him to say whatever is popular at the time and then change it whenever convenient and have Chrissy Mathews sprout an erection while he clarifies his “inartful” statement and calls it a distraction that someone actually asked him a tough question. I’m not claiming that McCain is perfect, he isn’t. But at least he sticks by his convictions and doesn’t pretend to be some kind of new politician (please!) with legions of ignorant entertainers as fans out there promoting his empty slogans of hope and change. I want to hear what Barack will actually change that doesn’t sound like something screamed out by some angry college kid with no understanding of how government actually works and what made this country great. Why won’t he debate McCain after saying “any time, anywhere”? Why won’t he allow foreign journalists to interview him while on his Vanity World Tour 08? I’ll tell you why, because he doesn’t know s***, and he can only give great speeches written by others. I’m interested in hearing Froylein’s opinion, (as a German Jew) about how Obama first wanted to speak at the Brandenburg Gate as if he’s done anything to deserve speaking where Reagan did, and then later choosing Hitler’s preferred monument at the Siegessäule instead. I can expect this from a guy who has no knowledge of world history beyond the Black Panther years, but from his denizens of older worldly supporters? queue crickets….

    And since when did it become cool to like a politician? It’s embarrassing and flies in the face of everything art stands for. These people’s art has become propaganda plain and simple. Just like China had artists whose sole job it was to paint pictures of Mao on everything, now you have these nitwits painting this sanctimonious geek as some Jesus figure. Sheesh, I prefer Kanye as Jesus personally, at least he’s a real black guy, though more ignorant. And it makes me sick to my stomach that Jews write articles at the same blogs and websites in defense of Obama while right on the next post is an article talking about how Israel is the entire reason everyone hates America.

    49% of Americans polled recently believe the media is in the tank for Obama. With that type of collusion, it will be surprising if he doesn’t win. And you people call Bush a fascist. Haha. Jonah Goldberg was right. I’m looking forward to reading another article by some stupid feminist wanna-be journalist talking about blowing Obama like they the one did about the Clenis. Bravo! Way to keep that whole “a light amongst nations” shtick going. First American Jews were wrong about communism, and now they’re just as wrong about this chump. Hey, but don’t worry about my opinion, everyone knows the only immigrants who matter in this country got in here illegally. Why not give them amnesty, they’d be great Democrats!

    Yesterday we had lunch with distant relatives from around the country, all American Jews. You should have seen the look on their face when I said “no, I’m not a Democrat”. It’s as though they’ve never known anything else. Talk about objectivity. At least I can honestly say I never vote party ticket and I’ve voted across the aisle a number of times. That, my friends is objectivity and freedom. Anyway, thanks for letting me rant with my coarse bravado, hopefully I didn’t offend anyone who didn’t deserve it, and I’ll be getting back to work now. Aaron, I will look you up sometime when I’m in Cali and we can debate in person.