Though the President made a big deal about Father’s Day, on national security issues the White House continues to look like an absent father. What can we expect from the White House on Independence Day? On issue after issue, Obama appears ambivalent or just flat wrong.
Last week, President Obama continued his efforts at “spin control,” after being criticized for not speaking out more forcefully on events in Iran. Initially, the President sought to restrain his support for protesters to avoid the charge that the unrest was U.S.-inspired, rather than reflecting a genuine Iranian grassroots movements. He failed. Despite subdued rhetoric from the White House, the administration found itself pummeled by claims of interference, including a charge that an innocent bystander had been shot by the CIA to foment a riot.
The White House is not tracking defense too closely either. The Senate Armed Services Committee recently voted to add funding for the F-22 fighter program (a similar provision recently passed in the House). The original proposed administration defense budget would terminate the program with about 60 less aircraft than what the Air Force really needs. Obstinately, Obama immediately declared he would veto the defense authorization bill. Then Defense Secretary Gates said he wasn’t sure he would recommend a veto. Are our leaders talking to each other?
Congress is worse. Without a firm hand from the President, under the guise of homeland security they are introducing all kinds of bogus bills, compiled here into a short list of some of Congressional “dumb and dumber ideas,” including the PASS ID Act, Homeowners Defense Act, and the Travel Promotion Act. All bills with great names and terrible results.
Not coincidentally, all of this silliness is going on during the middle of “Protect America Month,” a series of special publications and events by the Heritage Foundation showcasing why we must commit to protecting America in an increasingly dangerous world. Events started with a speech at the Navy Memorial by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Romney did something no Democratic or Republican leader has done convincingly in recent memory: make a rationale, compelling case that now is not the time to be cutting back on defense spending.
Other events included a screening of the missile defense documentary 33 Minutes and a panel on the threat of weapons of mass destruction with Jim Talent, Former Member of the United States Senate (R-MO) and Vice-Chairman of the Commission for the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. Talent and Commission Chairman Bob Graham discussed their study “World at Risk.” Heritage scholars including Kim Holmes, Peter Brookes, and Jim Carafano also authored a series of special reports on key defense issues.
Protect America Month concludes with a closing address by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on July 20.
- The United States formally transferred authority of Iraqi cities and towns to a democratically-elected Iraqi government yesterday.
- A “showdown looms” in Honduras as ousted President Manuel Zelaya vowed to return amid threats of arrest. Current President Roberto Micheletti begged the U.S. not to act so quickly, to stand on the side of rule of law and humanitarianism, instead of immediately siding with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.
- California’s state government failed to agree to any measures that would keep the state paying its bills. The policies that led California to this incredible economic collapse are similar to what is being proposed nationally by the Obama White House.
- President Obama’s EPA yesterday allowed California to impose the toughest emission standards on vehicles in the nation, which will form the basis of new nationwide rules.
- The Minnesota Supreme Court declared Al Franken the winner of the state’s U.S. Senate race yesterday. He is expected to serve on the Judiciary and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees.