Friday, October 19, 2012

Krauthammer: The Foreign Policy Debate & The Wages Of Romney's Town Hall Flub

From Charles Krauthammer, a look at the Benghazi issue in light of Tuesday's Town Hall debate. Obama's ability to slip out from under that issue at the debate unscathed should, by all rights, be a Pyrrhic victory indeed. Krauthammer opines on this while pointing to an issue I have raised on this blog, that Obama failed to answer the critical questions asked of him at the debate, who denied the repeated requests for increased security and why:

The one thing Obama’s performance [at the Town Hall debate] did do is re-energize his demoralized base — the media, in particular. But at a price.

The rub for Obama comes, ironically enough, out of Romney’s biggest flub in the debate, the Libya question. That flub kept Romney from winning the evening outright. But Obama’s answer has left him a hostage to fortune. Missed by Romney, missed by the audience, missed by most of the commentariat, it was the biggest gaffe of the entire debate cycle: Substituting unctuousness for argument, Obama declared himself offended by the suggestion that anyone in his administration, including the U.N. ambassador, would “mislead” the country on Libya.

This bluster — unchallenged by Romney — helped Obama slither out of the Libya question unscathed. Unfortunately for Obama, there is one more debate — next week — entirely on foreign policy. The burning issue will be Libya and the scandalous parade of fictions told by this administration to explain away the debacle.

No one misled? . . .

But there was no gathering. There were no people. There was no fray. It was totally quiet outside the facility until terrorists stormed the compound and killed our ambassador and three others.

The video? A complete irrelevance. It was a coordinated, sophisticated terror attack, encouraged, if anything, by Osama bin Laden’s successor, giving orders from Pakistan to avenge the death of a Libyan jihadist.

Not wishing to admit that we had just been attacked by al-Qaeda affiliates perhaps answering to the successor of a man on whose grave Obama and the Democrats have been dancing for months, the administration relentlessly advanced the mob/video tale to distract from the truth.

And it wasn’t just his minions who misled the nation. A week after the attack, the president himself, asked by David Letterman about the ambassador’s murder, said it started with a video. False again.

Romney will be ready Monday.

You are offended by this accusation, Mr. President? The country is offended that your press secretary, your U.N. ambassador, and you yourself have repeatedly misled the nation about the origin and nature of the Benghazi attack.

The problem wasn’t the video, the problem was policies for which you say you now accept responsibility. Then accept it, Mr. President. You were asked in the last debate why more security was denied our people in Libya despite the fact that they begged for it. You never answered that question, Mr. President. Or will you blame your Secretary of State?

Esprit de l’escalier (“wit of the staircase”) is the French term for the devastating riposte that one should have given at dinner, but comes up with only on the way out at the bottom of the staircase. It’s Romney’s fortune that he’s invited to one more dinner. If he gets it right this time, Obama’s narrow victory in debate number two, salvaged by the mock umbrage that anyone could accuse him of misleading, will cost him dearly.

It was a huge gaffe. It is indelibly on the record. It will prove a very expensive expedient.

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