Patterico's Pontifications

7/23/2009

Diplomacy ‘R Us

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 10:35 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Last week, Hillary Clinton likened North Korea to an unruly child who was acting out and should be ignored. North Korea responded by criticizing Hillary for her “vulgar remarks” that it said demonstrated “she is by no means intelligent” and comparing her to a “primary schoolgirl” and “a pensioner going shopping.”

Dealing with North Korea is very difficult but I don’t think this grade school-style diplomacy is helping.

— DRJ

My Presidential-Sounding Statement on the Arrest of Henry Louis Gates

Filed under: Race — Patterico @ 7:42 pm

Let me be clear. I do not know the facts of the Henry Louis Gates arrest.

But my understanding of the facts is that the officer once gave a black man mouth-to-mouth resuscitation; that the officer is an expert on avoiding racial profiling; that he spoke to a witness who had seen two black men attempting to break into Gates’s home; that the officer talked to Gates, a black man inside that home; that Gates did not explain to the officer that he had been shut out of his own home — and that Gates decided that the police officer, a man apparently trying to do his job, was a racist, and started screaming at him.

I think it’s fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry if we were called a racist for trying to do our jobs.

No. 2, Gates acted stupidly in not explaining to an officer who said he was investigating a possible break-in: “Oh, I understand what’s going on here. My door was jammed and I was trying to jimmy it open. Someone must have seen seen that and assumed I was breaking in!”

No. 3—what I think we know separate and apart from this incident—is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos complaining about being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. And that’s just a fact. Yet, when they are being stopped because they fit the description of a criminal, that means someone with their skin color committed a crime. And maybe they could reserve some of their outrage for those criminals — because if the criminal hadn’t committed the crime, they wouldn’t get stopped.

Knowing nothing about what actually happened, I just thought I would nevertheless pop off and express a bunch of opinions that make it seem like I do know what happened.

All part of my effort to appear presidential.

Scheduled Maintenance, 6-7 p.m. Tonight; UPDATE: Er, on July 26, That Is

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:48 pm

Hopefully we’ll be back at 7.

UPDATE: Oh, you thought I meant tonight? No, I meant July 26. I didn’t know that’s what I meant, but that’s what I meant!

The real FAIL of the Obama presser

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:14 am

[Posted by Karl]

Pres. Obama’s fourth prime-time news conference (and fifth overall) was truly craptastic. I am no Obama fan, but when Larry Sabato, Howard Fineman and assorted mopes at MSNBC are unenthused, it’s safe to say it was craptastic.

NBC and ABC, Howard Kurtz, The Hill, and Ed Morrissey were among the many to note that Pres. Obama held a news conference without making news.

This left the president filibustering on every answer, and every answer followed the same general pattern. Pres. Obama tended to begin with a non-answer — boilerplate talking points about the healthcare issue. Even the Associated Press is fact-checking his pablum now. And public support for healthcare reform has been eroding while he has been making them these past weeks. Once some bit of boilerplate was spit out, the president would grope toward some sort of answer responsive to the question, but end up saying something unhelpful to his own cause, most notably his accusation that greedy doctors want to remove your tonsils.

I generally predicted this is how the presser would go, absent the tonsil comedy. But the presser played out even worse than I thought it would and had to ask myself why.

Yesterday, Rich Lowry suggested that the problem with Obama going into campaign mode was that his words would inevitably clash with the sausage getting made on Capitol Hill, ultimately eroding Obama’s credibility. I agreed with that — and still do. But the reality of Obama’s presser points toward a bigger problem for the president.

Pres. Obama’s real failure is embodied in the very first question of the presser:

Q Congress, as you alluded to, is trying to figure out how to pay for all of this reform. Have you told House and Senate leaders which of their ideas are acceptable to you? If so, are you willing to share that stand of yours with the American people? And if you haven’t given that kind of direction to congressional leaders, are you willing to — are you willing to explain why you’re not stepping in to get a deal done, since you’re the one setting a deadline?

Pres. Obama’s rambling non-answer to this question, which went on for minute after agonizing minute, speaks volumes. Political junkies know why Obama does not have an answer to this question. Obama never offered much in the way of a detailed healthcare proposal, because the White House decided that offering an actual draft bill was one of the things that sunk the Clintons’ attempt to take over our healthcare in 1993-94. It is also an approach reinforced by Obama’s career, in which he has been greatly rewarded for frequently voting “present.”

However, what the non-answer conveys to the casual viewer is a lack of leadership. It paints a portrait of a man banging the podium, telling Congress to act, while offering little to nothing himself. It is the picture of someone who talks about the “fierce urgency of now,” but only talks about it.

This is the real problem behind the criticism that Obama did not make any news last night. With healthcare reform hitting obstacles in Congress, the expectation was that Obama would say or do something to advance the ball down the field, but it did not happen. Pres. Obama was in campaign mode, but it was still the campaign of a candidate who wants the job — describing the problem, while avoiding the tough realities of a solution. Pres. Obama now has the job, and looks like he isn’t doing it.

–Karl

Boston Herald: Allegedly Racist Officer in Gates Arrest Once Gave Mouth-to-Mouth to Black Basketball Star

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:20 am

Look what a racist we have in the cop who arrested Henry Louis Gates:

The Cambridge cop prominent Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. claims is a racist gave a dying Reggie Lewis mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in a desperate bid to save the Celtics [team stats] superstar’s life 16 years ago Monday.

“I wasn’t working on Reggie Lewis the basketball star. I wasn’t working on a black man. I was working on another human being,” Sgt. James Crowley, in an exclusive interview with the Herald, said of the forward’s fatal heart attack July 27, 1993, at age 27 during an off-season practice at Brandeis University, where Crowley was a campus police officer.

He killed a black man! Could there be a more stark example of racism? I bet if Lewis had been white, he would have really tried to save him.

Sgt. Crowley says he will absolutely never apologize to Gates. Although I think Sgt. Crowley appears to have gotten carried away when he made the arrest, I have every sympathy for him up until that point. When he was questioning Gates, he was simply trying to do his job, and was rewarded with a guy screaming that he was a racist. Now he has the president of the entire country suggesting that his legitimate actions in questioning Gates to begin with were an example of racial profiling. Articles sympathetic to the famous Harvard professor are appearing in the Washington Post, where the professor portrays this incident as emblematic of institutional racism in this country.

You know, Stacy Koon, one of the officers in the Rodney King case, once gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a black transvestite, when nobody else in his station would (for fear of contracting AIDS). He was branded a racist too, and was almost shot to death by a man blinded by the rage that he had developed watching incomplete and one-sided media accounts of that event.

The accusation of racism is very powerful, and is very casually tossed around nowadays. Kudos to the Boston Herald for putting out a story that contradicts the media narrative pushed by Gates, Obama, Al Sharpton, and others who seek to use this man to advance their agenda.

P.S. More from ABC:

Neighbors had a different story that tends to support the sergeant’s actions. One man who said he saw the incident said the police report that said Gates was belligerent was not completely off the mark.

Racist.


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