In his latest column (see here), Dana Milbank thinks he’s caught Republicans in an inconsistency. He argues that Republicans are incoherent when they call President Obama a tyrant as he overreaches on domestic issues while at the same time calling him weak and indecisive on foreign policy, particularly with respect to recent events in Ukraine.
According to Milbank, Republicans “haven’t paused to consider the consistency of their accusations.” Milbank surmises that:
In theory, it is possible for Obama to rule domestic politics with an iron fist and yet play the 98-pound weakling in foreign affairs. But it doesn’t make a lot of sense that one person would vacillate between those two extremes.
If Milbank wants to make sense of this, the key would be to remember just who Obama believes is the true enemy. About that, there’s no doubt the president believes the enemy are Americans who vote for Republicans. Which is to say, approximately 50% of the population.
Obama mocks Americans who “cling to their guns and religion” and those who don’t “think clearly” when frightened. He announces that those who build businesses aren’t as smart as they think and that, in fact, they didn’t build their businesses, giving credit instead to the central government. In instances like these, the targets of Obama’s ire are Americans who stupidly and inexplicably vote for Republicans.
And let’s not forget that campaign speech in 2010 during which Obama exhorted Latinos to vote in order to punish their enemies. Obama wasn’t suggesting that Latinos punish Al Qaeda, Iran, North Korea, or Russia. No, he meant be sure to vote to punish Republicans and by extension, those who vote for Republicans.
According to liberals like Obama, Republican leaders and the people who elect them are responsible for abhorrent domestic and foreign policies, which liberals need to correct. Given the stupidity of half the population, action on domestic policy unfortunately requires liberals to impose their vision on the country, even if it means ignoring the law and using deception (“if you like your health plan, you can keep it”) when expedient. Hello iron fist.
But the iron fist remedy does not apply in foreign affairs. For liberals, other countries are not the enemy, but are mostly victims of Republican aggression. In fact, Republicans have used an iron fist to turn America into an international bad guy and bully par excellence. So the natural and logical response in foreign affairs is for liberals to do the opposite (a la George Costanza) which means either not acting at all or, dare I say, to “lead from behind.”
If Milbank weren’t occupied so much with blindly defending liberals, maybe he could understand how the president’s vacillations from iron fist to weakling are consistent and that Republicans’ criticisms of them are also consistent and quite legitimate.