Friday, December 28, 2007

The pundits on the political fallout of the Bhutto assassination

A quick survey of the punditsphere concerning the effects of Pakistani unrest on the primaries...

Don Surber recalls the foreign affairs experience of several candidates:

Actually, Hillary is rather weak on foreign affairs, naively holding the hand of Mrs. Arafat as she delivered an anti-Israeli rant — in Arabic.

Hillary’s husband was weak as well. On his watch, two embassies were destroyed without much of a retaliation and his response to the USS Cole was to ignore it and hope it went away.

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., has better foreign policy credentials and even he is weak on that score.

But I will grant Hillary this: unlike Barack Obama, she never called for the bombing of Pakistan.

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Gateway Pundit notes that Hillary Clinton didn't appear to know Bhutto quite as well as she claimed.

Benazir Bhutto's father was hanged... not assassinated... Benazir Bhutto had three children... not two.

Hey, I don't see the problem. What's an extra kid or two?

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Mark Steyn, interviewed by Hugh Hewitt:

MS: ...I would like to think that it renders certain candidacies, for example... the happy face Obama candidacy, or the Mike Huckabee thing... when he apologized for the assassination of Bhutto today. But in a sane world, it would render these men utterly implausible as presidential contenders...

HH: ...I have been making the argument... that this also undermines Fred Thompson and John McCain, because Senators don’t run anything... except their mouths and committees badly, that it’s not about visiting a country, it’s about managing a war... Giuliani and Romney have executive experience... and Hillary can actually be understood to have some executive experience, or at least being close to it for a while. What do you make of the idea that foreign crisis elevates John McCain’s rather sad record of legislative screw-ups because he’s traveled the globe?

MS: ...Well, I would generally agree with you that Senators make bad, not just bad presidents, actually, but bad everything... John Kerry couldn’t even run that donut stand in Boston, which is his only experience in the private sector... they think it’s about flying across the world and meeting other A-list names... I think that is exactly what is not needed at this time... [A]n executive ability, combined... with a grasp of the underlying demographic reality, you know, Pakistan is a young country, it has one of the highest birth rates in the world... it’s only 60 years old... [it exports] all those young men, 18, 19, 20... what Pakistan was like in 1947 is utterly foreign and utterly irrelevant to them. And so the sort of, these kind of people who think it’s just about getting on the phone and speaking to some other A-list name in the rolodex on the other side of the world, I think that’s about the least helpful way to approach this thing.

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Prairie Pundit notes Obama's staff struggling with the basic facts of the assassination:

NY Times: "[Obama] strategist, David Axelrod, said voters should take into consideration that the Iraq war led to the rise of terrorist activity and political instability in Pakistan. Mr. Axelrod said that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton backed the Iraq war in 2002, while Mr. Obama did not..."

This is idiocy on stilts. This is coming from the let's invade Pakistan instead camp. Is he suggesting that if we went into Pakistan instead of Iraq, there would be no human bomb attacks in Pakistan and no political upheavals there? Axelrod and his candidate need to get a clue about this war. Everything that happens is not President Bush's fault or those who voted to liberate Iraq...

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As for the radio and television pundits...

Michael Savage:

This evening, Michael Savage specifically complimented one candidate's reaction to the assassination: that of Mitt Romney who, in no uncertain terms, laid the blame on radical Jihadists behind this and countless other bloody attacks on civilization.

Mort Kondracke:

Spent plenty of time tonight hammering Romney, which is a great sign for Mitt. Obama and Hillary are attacking each other based upon experience.

Fred Barnes:

It's a GOP toss-up between Romney and Huckabee in Iowa.

Charles Krauthammer:

Each of the candidates is pretending they're the "nice" ones. Obama and Edwards are hammering each other and Clinton is lying low. Edwards is on the rise and Obama is obviously worried about it.

Update: Vanderleun points us to an exceptional piece of analysis on the Pakistan situation from Unqualified Reservations. Whilst not political in nature (whilst?), it provides excellent clarity into the tactical situation in Pakistan.

Texas-sized tip o' the hat: Larwyn

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