Great piece by former colleague Alyssa Mastromonaco who defines smart, savvy and fashionable.
Thus began a tweet on Thursday by Jen Psaki, the execrable State Department spokeswoman who thought it would be a good idea to depart from that day’s shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 over the Ukraine by Russian separatists, if not actual Russian military operators, using a SA-11 missile system.
It was the second Psaki gaffe of the day, as she had already opened her daily briefing not with reaction to the downing of the plane, but rather a series of minutiae so insignificant that Fox News’s Shepard Smith angrily denounced her as “highly inappropriate” for wasting airtime.
Psaki’s double-feature of immaturity would be appalling but for the fact that her boss John Kerry, whom Dennis Miller once referred to as an Easter Island statue in a suit, managed to trump her gaffe by the end of the weekend. Kerry was caught on a hot mic talking with a subordinate about Israel’s escalation against Hamas in advance of a Sunday show appearance with Fox News’s Chris Wallace:
It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation. We’ve got to get over there. Thank you, John. I think, John, we ought to go tonight. I think it’s crazy to be sitting around.
Kerry was offering a sarcastic analysis of Israel’s attempts to avoid civilian casualties while trying to rout Hamas’s leadership—something of an impossible task seeing as the latter is using those civilians as human shields. When Wallace asked him about his off-air statements, the World’s Most Animated Moai then hastily backtracked:
It’s very difficult in these situations, obviously very difficult, Chris. You have people who have come out of tunnels. You have a right to go in and take out those tunnels. We completely support that. We support Israelis right to defend itself against rockets that are continuing to come in. Hamas has start this process rocketing after Israel was trying to find the people who killed three young—one American kid, Israeli citizens. It’s disgraceful. Yeah, it’s tough. It’s tough to have this kind of operation. I reacted obviously in a way that, in a way that anybody does with respect to young children and civilians. But war is tough. I said that publicly and I’ll say it again.
Having been reduced to a babbling buffoon over a simple question, Kerry then jetted off to Cairo to practice diplomacy—as though his prior efforts at making peace between Israel and Hamas haven’t led to war.
But the American people shouldn’t criticize Kerry or the administration he works for. We don’t realize how fortunate we are to have them. At least, that’s what Kerry told NBC host David Gregory on another Sunday show over the weekend:
The fact is that in every fundamental issue of conflict today, the United States is in the center, leading, and trying to find an effort to make peace where peace is very difficult. The American people ought to be proud in terms of what this president has done in terms of peaceful diplomatic engagement, rather than quick trigger, deploying troops, starting or engaging in a war of choice.
Speaking of efforts to make peace where peace is very difficult, does the picture of the busybody secretary of state attempting to stop Israel from prosecuting a war against the people who started it strike anyone else as the same stupidity we’ve seen for the last several decades? Arabs commit some unforgivable atrocity which serves as a casus belli for Israel, the Israelis mobilize and engage hostilities, in short order the Israelis rout the Arabs and potentially change the strategic equation…and then the U.S. State Department rides in to demand the Israelis stop what they’re doing and restore the status quo that led the Arabs to attack Israel in the first place.
This is what’s known as “responsible diplomacy.” Give the kids more whiskey and keys to a new car. We should feel lucky spending the evening on the roads.
Don’t look for anyone in the State Department to understand this. After all, this is the bunch that sends out “#UnitedForGaza” tweets when discussing how it’s “Critical for a full, credible and unimpeded intl investigation of crash. Urge Russia to honor it’s [sic] commitment.” That was undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs Rick Stengel, who immediately deleted his offering and then declared the hash tag was a mistake. “My bad,” he said.
“My bad” is now acceptable public diplomacy and public affairs. Which is no surprise—the State Department, after all, is the former stomping grounds of “Dude, that was like two years ago” superstar Tommy Vietor and the current stomping grounds of the unfailing doofus Marie Harf.
Of course, the State Department is hardly alone. Gaffes and the hair-raising vapidity behind them reach deep into the Obama regime, where the ironically named White House press secretary Josh Earnest opened a bizarre week by claiming Obama had “substantially improved the tranquility of the global community.”
On the Israel-Hamas issue even the president himself is not immune. As of Monday he had called Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu twice in three days to gripe about civilian casualties on Gaza’s streets and rooftops—while failing to issue so much as a peep about the American tax dollars going to fund Hamas. One of the calls was cut short when air-raid sirens went off in Tel Aviv, forcing Netanyahu to evacuate to a bomb shelter. Obama went to play golf at Fort Belvoir.
Obama’s harangue of Netanyahu was, strangely, not an echo of his more docile conversations with Russian president Vladimir Putin, on whose hands is the blood of some 300 victims of that Malaysian jet shot down over the Ukraine. “It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy,” said Obama at a Delaware photo-op shortly after the attack. By Friday, he was repeating what everyone already knew—that Russia was responsible for the downing of the plane—but utterly failing to take any action in response to the murder of at least one of his fellow citizens.
Naturally, there can be no discussion of the Obama administration’s gaffes without bringing up the Airhead-in-Waiting. In an interview with the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos, here came this whopper about a meeting with Mr. Putin:
“I had an interpreter, and when he was showing me his office I said, ‘It’s amazing what capitalism will do, won’t it? A magnificent office!’ And he laughed. As I turned, I was this close to him.” Biden held his hand a few inches from his nose. “I said, ‘Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul.’”
“You said that?” I asked. It sounded like a movie line.
“Absolutely, positively,” Biden said, and continued, “And he looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, ‘We understand one another.’” Biden sat back, and said, “This is who this guy is!”
That came just before Biden accused Obama’s former secretary of defense Robert Gates of being “wrong about everything” for forty years.
The world is burning down all around us, and these are the people in charge. Is it any wonder that the American people have no confidence in their government?