How the Rus­sian in­va­sion could hurt Obama

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Bill O’Reilly

If Barack Obama some­how loses the pres­i­den­tial race, he might par­tially blame Vlad “the As­sailer” Putin. Since Rus­sia in­vaded Ge­or­gia last month, the world’s at­ten­tion has been fo­cused on NATO’s re­sponse to the bru­tal­ity. On bal­ance, the re­sponse has been tepid to say the least. Pres­i­dent Bush says Rus­sia bet­ter get out. Or what? Mr. Obama is call­ing for “re­straint by both sides.” Swell. Ask­ing Mr. Putin to re­strain his vi­o­lent tac­tics is like ask­ing al Qaida to cel­e­brate Christ­mas. Not gonna hap­pen.

The Rus­sian action is a re­minder to all that we live in a danger­ous world where just about any­thing can hap­pen at any time. And in Amer­ica, the re­ac­tion from the far left, which en­thu­si­as­ti­cally sup­ports Mr. Obama, is also a stark wake-up call.

The lib­eral base is ba­si­cally putting forth two sets of talk­ing points on the Ge­or­gia sit­u­a­tion. The first was ar­tic­u­lated by New York Times colum­nist Mau­reen Dowd:

“The Bushies can hardly tell Rus­sia to stop do­ing what they them­selves did in Iraq: uni­lat­er­ally in­vade a coun­try against the will of the world to scare the be­je­sus out of some leaders in the re­gion they didn’t like.”

Here again we have the left draw­ing a moral equiv­a­lency be­tween re­mov­ing a mur­der­ous dic­ta­tor who vi­o­lated the Gulf War cease­fire 17 times and ham­mer­ing the demo­crat­i­cally elected Ge­or­gian gov­ern­ment. To left-wing nuts, Sad­dam Hus­sein is as wor­thy as Pres­i­dent Saakashvili; there is no dif­fer­ence be­tween con­fronting homi­ci­dal fas­cism and un­der­min­ing a le­git­i­mate democ­racy.

That kind of think­ing marginal­izes the far left more than any­thing a con­ser­va­tive critic could come up with.

But it gets worse. A far-left com­men­ta­tor work­ing for NBC News put forth that Mr. Putin is not the vil­lain in the Ge­or­gia action; Amer­ica is be­cause it en­cour­aged Ge­or­gia to join NATO thereby an­noy­ing Rus­sia. Once again, it was the United States that caused the vi­o­lent con- fronta­tion.

NATO was set up to pro­tect demo­cratic coun­tries like, well, Ge­or­gia. But in the creepy world the far left in­hab­its, what­ever hap­pens is in­evitably Amer­ica’s fault.

On the heels of Mr. Putin’s great ad­ven­ture, a new Zogby/Reuters poll star­tled some by con­clud­ing that John McCain is now lead­ing Mr. Obama by five points. Al­though th­ese polls don’t mean much two and a half months be­fore the vote, they are snap­shots in time.

Non-ide­o­log­i­cal Amer­i­cans re­coil from the “blame Amer­ica first” crowd, and that crew is firmly be­hind Mr. Obama. Mr. Putin’s ag­gres­sion re­minded folks of that. Ad­van­tage: Mr. McCain.

In the end, Mr. Obama will lose the elec­tion if in­de­pen­dent vot­ers see him as part of the vast far-left con­spir­acy that, in to­day’s danger­ous world, has be­come a sym­bol of ap­pease­ment and anti-Amer­i­can at­ti­tudes. MoveOn, NBC News and The New York Times will not get Mr. Obama elected. He needs to tell Amer­i­cans ex­actly what he thinks of Mr. Putin’s de­sire to ex­pand Rus­sian power and in­flu­ence. And he needs to do it without re­straint.

Bill O’Reilly is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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