Think about this - the probable next President of the United States does not know even the broad outlines of the history of American foreign policy from WWII forward and does not know the history of Democratic icons Roosevelt or Truman. We had kvetched about this earlier. The fateful quote from Barack's Tuesday victory speech is this:
"I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did."
Hope and change!
"I think people understand the notion of talking to our enemies," Obama said. "If FDR can meet with Stalin and Nixon can meet with Mao and Kennedy can meet with Khrushchev and Reagan can meet with Gorbechav, then the notion that we can't meet with some half-baked dictator is ridiculous."
Well, Stalin was a fully-baked dictator, but he was also our ally against Nazi Germany when he met with Roosevelt. For a good example of "half-baked" we need look no further than Barack's proposed meeting with Ahmadinejad.
SOME BACKGROUND: Here is an account of the debate where this came up:
In the debate, Obama was asked if he would be willing to meet — without precondition — in the first year of his presidency with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.
"I would," he responded.
Clinton said she would not.
"I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes," she said. Her campaign quickly posted video of her answer online, trying to show she has a different understanding of foreign policy than her chief rival.
RETURN TO SENDER: No, letters don't count (and I already had pointed out the Roosevelt-Hitler letter) - letters do not provide the sort of propaganda photo-op being criticized. Besides, Bush has sent a letter to Kim Jong Il, but where is the photo of the two of them shaking hands?
BRINGING IT TOGETHER: McCain wants to bash Obama on Hamas, and has criticized Obama's intention to confer legitimacy on the Iranian regime by meeting without preconditions. Well, if Obama is justifying that meeting by reference to historical parallels that exist only in the imaginations of himself and his speechwriters, that is troubling.
And having an Obama adviser caught chatting with Hamas is not helpful for Obama's cred, either.
EXPANDING THE ELECTORAL MAP: Set aside his evident deficiencies in American post-war history (Nooo, not the Vietnam war) and think about this - Obama is still hazy on how many states there are in the Union, not to mention the normally uncontroversial status of Alaska and Hawaii. Marc Ambinder has the video of Obama claiming that he has visited 57 states (Hmm, maybe he was sampling Heinz ketchups...). Obama made a similar whoopsie when chatting with the AP a few weeks ago - back then, he was talking about forty-eight states, plus Alaska and Hawaii.
DOCTOR, DOCTOR, GIMME THE NEWS: MRI, stat:
This faux pas is beyond weird; I know the guy is tired, but “How many states are there in America?” is the kind of question they ask you at the hospital after you've had a seizure to see if your brain is still working.