Posted: June 30th, 2009 | Author: mberg | Filed under: International | 2 Comments »
Many have noted the apparent disparity between Obama’s muted response to the Iranian protests and his prompt repudiation of Zelaya’s exile from Hondurus. Indeed, it’s puzzling and not a little troubling that the President is so quick to dismiss the ostensibly lawful actions of a foreign legislature and judiciary as a coup.
However, on reviewing his early statements on Iran, it is difficult to conclude inconsistency. Though many summarize his stance as an aversion to “meddling”, his exact words are more nuanced: “It’s not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling … in Iranian elections.”
He is clearly speaking to appearances in light of our prior involvement in regime change in Iran, and it isn’t a consideration to be taken lightly. Whether one agrees with his approach, robbing it of an explicitely stated context is grossly disingenuous.
That still leaves open the question of why such a prompt and unequivocal support of the deposed leader, which many take as tacit approval of the man and his goals. Though a consistent and at least marginally plausible explanation, it seems pat. I suspect it actually reflects a broader emphasis on consequence over ideology; a politically cheap way of currying favour with larger powers.
Posted: June 27th, 2009 | Author: mberg | Filed under: General | 1 Comment »
Now that I’m here, the question becomes why I’m here. Writing is inherently presumptuous; doing so in an already crowded field doubly so. With a wealth of informed and intelligable political commentary available perhaps my only likely audience is among those that know me. Perhaps that should be discouraging, but it’s not.
In the wake of the election there was a barrage of commentary on the state of the party and the direction necessary to lead it “out of the wilderness”. Most of it was tiresome, projections of ambition rather than any serious rumination, but it wasn’t all chaff. I disagree with Karl Rove on a great number of things, but he does have atypically astute political instincts, and on this matter I think he offered sound suggestions.
That said, the one thing that stood out was his assertion that “our party’s face is our congressional leadership”. This may be true for political junkies, but how many people would recognize even their own representatives? Most people ignore congress unless there’s a juicy scandal going on.
When it comes down to it, there is no consistent face to the party. Some see Rush Limbaugh. Some can’t shake the image of George Bush or Dick Cheney. Those living under a Republican governor might treat them as standard bearer. Each individual regards us through the lens of their personal experience, their priorities, and their preconceptions.
Far too often I bear witness to unfair and sometimes bizarre stereotypes about Republicans and, more broadly, conservatives. Perhaps by providing a counterpoint I can inspire some to rethink their assumptions and reshape the countenance of the party in their mind.
Posted: June 26th, 2009 | Author: mberg | Filed under: General | 1 Comment »
Earlier this week I officially registered myself as a Republican. This is perhaps unsurprising to those that know me, but it has taken me a long time to willingly accept that designation; for years I’ve been “center right” or “conservative” but never a Republican.
My timing perhaps leaves something to be desired. I join a party out of power and in disarray, having suffered routs in the past two election cycles and almost certain to suffer additional losses next year. I join at a time when long standing members are defecting and disassociating from the party in record numbers. And that’s not even touching on the recent scandals.
On the other hand, what better time to influence the character of a party than at it’s nadir, when existing trends and strategies have been discredited? I hold no illusion that I will have any discerable effect myself, but hold hope that enough will rally to the idea that while government can sometimes be a good servant, it is always a poor master.