Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

May 3, 2014

Ukraine crisis is too complex for talk show bluster

(Continued)

He didn’t call any names, but Obama did mention the Sunday TV talk shows, where 2008 presidential rival Sen. John McCain frequently holds forth. It’s a rare interview that doesn’t find the bellicose Arizonian, who’s supported all 14 of the nation’s last three wars, yearning to bomb somebody.

“Do people actually think that somehow us sending some additional arms into Ukraine could potentially deter the Russian army?” Obama asked. He added that steady diplomatic and economic pressure is more likely to restrain Putin than futile military gestures.

Talk like that invariably stimulates what Calvin Trillin dubbed the “Sabbath Gasbags” to question the president’s virility. On “Meet the Press,” hairy-chested he-man David Brooks, the New York Times columnist who thought invading Iraq was a terrific idea, opined that “Obama, whether deservedly or not, does have a -- I’ll say it crudely -- a manhood problem ... Is he tough enough to stand up to somebody like Assad, somebody like Putin?”

NBC’s Chuck Todd went all canine on him. Obama’s critics, he said, don’t actually disagree so much with the president’s policy decisions as they think, “He’s not alpha dog enough. His rhetoric isn’t tough enough.”

Now me, I don’t miss junior high school at all, but let’s get basic. Back in 1956, when Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who liberated Europe from the Nazis, declined to engage the Russian army in its own back yard. Nobody questioned Ike’s masculinity.

When the Soviets crushed the “Prague Spring” rebellion in 1968, everybody understood there wasn’t a sane thing the U.S. could do about it. Everybody was extra careful not to mention LBJ’s manliness for fear he might decide to whip ... well, to make a public spectacle of it.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Keeping up with the Comcast call-center fiasco I’ve been intending for a while to write about the Comcast call-center fiasco, but it’s hard to keep up: the story just gets weirder and weirder. Following the now-viral recording of the telephone call in which a customer service representative essen

    August 21, 2014

  • System needed for choosing House In the original conception of our Constitution, the House of Representatives was to be the branch of government that best reflected the will of the people. House members cannot serve without being elected — vacancies are not filled by appointees — an

    August 21, 2014

  • Dems plead for more money I’ve been getting a lot of email from Democratic fundraisers lately. They seem very worried about November’s elections.First came the highly publicized “Impeachment Red Alert” campaign, in which the Democratic congressional committee warned that Repu

    August 21, 2014

  • Why Obama shouldn't go to Ferguson On Monday, ABC’s Ann Compton asked President Barack Obama whether he would visit Ferguson, Missouri, amid the continued unrest. Obama didn’t give a firm answer, but he did suggest it’s probably not a good idea.“When they’re conducting an investigatio

    August 20, 2014

  • Food stamps' $80B secret spending program Imagine a government program that has exploded in size, is the subject of bitter partisan haggling and spends almost $80 billion a year in secret.No, not the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Homeland Secu

    August 20, 2014

  • Vouchers provide greater choice I was chatting the other day with a fellow who, along with his wife, homeschool his children. We joked about the stereotype: Moms in denim skirts.But then he expounded on the benefits his youngsters have derived from being taught at home: a customize

    August 20, 2014

  • A rare experience Alexandra Petri’s editorial, “What exactly are we seeing in Ferguson” is well written and did something which has increasingly become a rare experience for me. Her article caused me to think!Petri makes the case for media coverage of American events,

    August 19, 2014

  • Naive? Simple? I will admit outright that I may be a little naïve and tend to look at things through a simple prism. I received a suggestion for a column with an accompanying article written by By Reed Abelson and Eric Lichtblau concerning the failure of our govern

    August 19, 2014

  • Don't pass 'coup clause' with a security waiver It is a sad reality that national security waivers often render human rights laws moot, inviting the government to overuse the loophole to accommodate immediate needs. The “coup clause,” which mandates foreign aid suspension to countries after a mili

    August 19, 2014

  • Clinton could end up like Gore Although we’re all still sort of pretending that it remains to be seen whether Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016, she recently gave the most definitive confirmation she has to date of her impending candidacy. No, she didn’t say the words

    August 16, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks