Somewhere tonight in the afterworld, Neville Chamberlain has just been informed that he’s the focus of his first daily newscycle since 1938, and is being briefed on what a “newscycle” is. Somewhere tonight in Los Angeles, radio host Kevin James is ordering a third plate of pork ribs and corn bread, hoping he can pack on enough girth to be mistaken for his portly The King Of Queens namesake, since in the last 24 hours his face has become the most ridiculed of any radio host in history, or at least since John Gibson’s last broadcast.
It’s probably never a good idea when a lame-duck President with approval ratings hovering somewhere in the neighborhood of a Detroit Pistons’ first quarter decides to inject himself into the race to decide his successor. George Bush couldn’t help himself yesterday, though, and in a less-than-unfortunate venue, at the Knesset for the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence. ‘‘Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.’’
He continued, “As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”
…Well, what his speechwriters failed to tell him was that this appeasement-embracement was none other than isolationist Republican Senator Willam Borah of Idaho. Also, this is what the geeks on the Intarwebs call “Godwining”–once you invoke Hitler, if there aren’t real and contemporary extermination camps involved, then you’ve lost your argument by your hyperbole.
Yes, it’s true that Barack Obama has talked about sitting down with the leaders of Iran and Hamas (if you’re confused, just call John McCain who two years before he assailed Senator Obama for being willing to engage the enemy insisted that the U.S. “would have to deal with Hamas sooner or later”). That’s what is called “diplomacy” and it’s only appearance in the last seven years of the Bush Administration has been when a patron wants a gig with a close-by swimming pool or beach in Malta or the Seychelles. This is what you do with the bad governments of the world–you talk to to them. Regardless of Bush’s attack on the unnamned Barack Obama yesterday, this is a tack that Richard Nixon pursued with Leonid Brezhnev and Mao Tse-tung and Ronald Reagan engaged in with Mikhail Gorbachev. Neither of them our Presidents offered up their adversary’s right to a foreign state. That would have been appeasement. Seriously. For those of you who have bought into FOX News’ and the Republicans’ latest talking-points, it’s important to know what “appeasement” really means.
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went to meet with Hitler in 1938 as war clouds were stirring over Europe and Adolf Hitler was fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. Chamberlain visiting Hitler wasn’t appeasement. While he was there, though, he signed the Munich Agreement that conceded the Sudentland of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, in the hopes that Hitler would be satisfied and would drop his guns against the rest of Europe. That was the definition of “appeasement” and it didn’t work out very well for anyone.
I feel like I’ve been writing this blog entry as if I’ve been speaking to children, but maybe I am. Kevin James came on Hardball last night with his apparent talking points of eight levels of shrill. His first accusation out of the gate was that Barack was guility of “appeasement.”
I won’t recite the exchange verbatim, but they replayed it today on Morning Joe on MSNBC with a counter in the top left corner clicking forward every time that Chris Matthews asked Kevin James specifically what Neville Chamberlain did in 1938 that comprised “appeasement.” Over and over and over and over, that “he’s an appeaser,” without anything specific, until the clicker hit 20, and Chris finally said, “You don’t know. You have no idea.” It was the most exquisite schooling since George Pepperdine built his university.
And boy were the Dems mad–finally. If the Republicans were throwing out a diss to see how game their opposition would be for the fall contest, they got a taste of blood with a rapid-fire reaction. None was better than Senator Joe Biden who exploded, “This is bullshit, this is malarkey. This is outrageous, for the President of the United States to go to a foreign country, to sit in the Knesset … and make this kind of ridiculous statement.”
God. Damn. Beautiful.
I’d put him in pole position for the Veep nomination, but it isn’t going to happen, because he doesn’t want it–really–and as of this writing he’s got an edge over Bill Richardson for Secretary of State.
Criminy, someone lit a fire under these boys, and it was the President. For once, he’s earned his money.