Earth shaking news today that Pressident Barack Obama has honored President Hamid Karzai’s request for Afghanistan’s official representation in the strategic review on the future of the U.S. and Afghanistan.
Karsai may have gotten the idea from U.S. Chaiman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen who has an Op-Ed in today’s Washington Post under the headline “Trust is the Coin of the Realm.”
Too bad there was no such effort to involve Republicans in the formulation of the “strategic review” that built the just passed economic stimulus.
That’s because by most accounts, there was no real strategic review on the future of the American economy and what to do next by Team Obama, that we know about, for sure, even given the pledge on “transparency;” and the Republican involvement in the formulation of the stimulus was only given lip service.
We write this fittingly on Valentine’s Day; a day that is often charged with lip service.
Note to President Obama: Congressional Republicans represent something like 47% of the American voter population that voted for the other guy.
In Kabul, Afghanistan, U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke said President Obama welcomed President Karzai’s recommendation for his side’s total involvment in the U.S. planning effort.
Karzai said his foreign minister, Dadfar Rangin Spanta, would head the delegation.
Memo to Dadfar Rangin Spanta: when you meet Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid you are in trouble. The “strategic review” is finished, if the stimulus is any guide.
Now maybe the White House, which honored Republicans before the vote on the stimulus with photo opportunity meetings with the president, a cocktail party, a Super Bowl feed complete with peanuts, and not one actual working group of real substance at the White House, Old Executive (excuse me, I’m old: Eisenhower) Office Building, or in the House or the Senate Office Buildings — will send a special envoy to meet Republicans.
I mean, there is a special envoy to the Middle East, isn’t there? To Afghanistan? Even Susan Rice, Ambassador to the U.N. is now said to have Cabinet Rank?
Where’s the outreach to Repubicans — and their 47% of the electorate — that has productive intention, real merit, and invites seriously serious input?
Real outreach to Republicans doesn’t exist and hasn’t yet in this presidency.
Trust is not the coin of this realm.
Let’s see: we need a White House special envoy to Republicans. We are just thinking of guys that won’t be laughed at or ridiculed by say Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, John McCain, or talking heads like Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer.
How about Rahm Emanuel or Jimmy Carter?
No, maybe not.
Trust is not the coin of Rahm. Ask Judd Gregg.
And Afghanistan should know that the “bipartisanship” they really seek is not the kind of bipolar treatment that Democrats just gave Republicans during the stimulus enema.
Hint to White House: you don’t need a special envoy to Rush Limbaugh. Republicans only like him for his entertainment value….
But maybe the president himself could still be the special envoy to Republicans in the spirit of trust and bipartisanship?
The president’s record on “outrach” and bipartisanship to Republicans, and trasparency, so far, I mean during the stimulus, is like purchased sex with a working girl; it is sleezy and meaningless. Maybe he needs some chachki toys or aluminum key chains with little hand painted “Air Force One” or “White House” gimmicks or the presidential Great Seal. You know, creations to hand out to Republicans….. Or maybe a little yellow tractor from Caterpillar on a key chain…. Or Abe Lincoln to remind one of two great presidents….
Karzai: watch out. It’s not just the Taliban that will keep you awake with worry about trust.
If you get peanuts at the White House watch out. And don’t be surprised….
John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) talks with U.S. Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke in Kabul February 15, 2009.REUTERS/Omar Sobhani (AFGHANISTAN)
Psst: Karzai. If this is your agreement at the end of the ‘strategic review’ and you get it just before decision time, BEND OVER. House GOP leader John Boehner shows a copy of the massive bill, which he and every other Republican in the House opposed, along with seven Democrats. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images
Special envoy material….. Trust is the coin….Leadership, bipartisanship, transparency, honesty, integrity and clout? Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)