Remember during the 2008 presidential campaign when Republicans, as well as the media, were so intent on getting the Democrats to admit that President Bush's "surge" strategy in Iraq had finally worked? On the one hand, you had a horribly inept, absurdly expensive, and possibly unnecessary war against a country that turned out to pose much less of a threat to anyone than was advertised. On the other hand, you had to admire President Bush for doubling down in Iraq, when many advised him just to negotiate a way out. And so I guess it was at least a fair question to ask candidate Obama whether he would acknowledge that President Bush had finally found a way to snatch a measure of victory from the jaws of a hopeless quagmire in which we were immersed in Iraq.
Now it's 2011, and President Obama has found a new way of dealing with dangerous dictators. Encourage popular uprisings, emphasize respect for human rights and the rule of law, and provide some carefully-calibrated military assistance, in partnership with our European allies. That strategy has been heavily criticized--from the right, for being too weak, and from the left, for being too warlike--but lo and behold, it seems to be working out rather well. So of course you would expect that Republicans like Senator McCain, as well as the Republican presidential hopefuls, would all be willing to admit that President Obama deserves some credit for the success of his strategy in Libya. Hmm. . . . . So far I'm coming up pretty empty on finding congratulatory messages from Republicans, or even some acknowledgement that the United States played a positive role in helping Libyans fight for their freedom. The closest I have seen to such a message from Republicans was from David Gergen, who tweeted “#Gadhafi seems finished! If so, #Obama/alliance approach vindicated. Critics (including me, Neo-cons,GOP, etc.) shd give credit.” But does David Gergen even count as a Republican? He seems almost neutral nowadays, if not suspiciously pro-Obama.
My challenge: If anyone can find a prominent Republican, presidential candidate or not, who has expressed praise for President Obama's seemingly successful Libya strategy, please let me know, and I will be happy to acknowledge the integrity of that person.
In the meantime, at least the Libyans seem to understand whom they should thank for help in their struggle. (It's interesting that they include US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice along with Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama, in their pantheon of the Fantastic Four. I wonder how many Americans even know who she is.)
(AP photo, from ThinkProgress)