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Perspective

Now that Senator Obama is the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, there is a lot of interest in him picking Hillary Clinton as his VP.  Since the battle between them was so close, people think that teaming them up will give the Democrats the best chance to beat John McCain in November.

I don't get that.  One reason why the race between Obama and Hillary was so close was that their positions are not that different.  Certainly, they have different levels and types of experience and have different styles.  I like Obama but would have been willing to vote for Hillary had she been the nominee.  Strangely, there are many Hillary supporters who say that they'd rather vote for John McCain than Obama.  Huh?

Maybe they are bitter that Hillary lost.  The press was tough on Hillary, particularly the conservative pundits.  It may not have been fair and may have been misogynistic.  But, I don't think that Obama showed her anything other than respect.  And, if you support Hillary's positions, you can't be that disappointed with Obama.  There are some differences, but mostly those of degree.

Meanwhile, if Obama wants to build a strong ticket, he needs balance.  Someone with more Washington experience.  Someone with some complementary positions who is willing to support Obama.  Maybe from the South or West or a state he's got to carry.  And, dare I say, an old white guy may not be a bad selection.  Race does matter, although Obama's nomination shows that progress is being made.  I don't know enough to suggest anyone, but Jim Webb from Virgina is mentioned a lot (he says he's not interested).

It would be easy to rush to a decision to put Hillary on the ticket, appease her followers, and strive for unity.  But, time and perspective will lead to a better decision.  This is often the case, and big decisions should only be made when they need to be, after sufficient time and consideration.  Anyway, Hillary is going to support the Democratic ticket no matter what.  She doesn't have to be on the ticket to endorse Obama.

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Comments

Repeatedly through the campaign so far, Barack Obama has demonstrated a troubling lack of familiarity with American history, especially diplomatic history. Obama's cluelessness about diplomacy has raised troubling questions about whether he is qualified to be President. This one may have answered the question:

Democrat Barack Obama misused a "code word" in Middle East politics when he said Jerusalem should be Israel's "undivided" capital but that does not mean he is naive on foreign policy, a top adviser said on Tuesday.

Addressing a pro-Israel lobby group this month, the Democratic White House hopeful said: "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."

Obama backed off almost immediately when Palestinians protested his remarks to AIPAC. The adviser, Daniel Kurtzer, continued:

Daniel Kurtzer, who advises Obama on the Middle East, said Tuesday at the Israel Policy Forum that Obama's comment stemmed from "a picture in his mind of Jerusalem before 1967 with barbed wires and minefields and demilitarized zones."

"So he used a word to represent what he did not want to see again, and then realized afterwards that that word is a code word in the Middle East," Kurtzer said.

I don't believe Kurtzer's explanation for a moment--why would Obama's mental picture of Jerusalem date from a time when he was five years old?--but it seems clear that, as Kurtzer says, Obama did not understand the significance of an "undivided Jerusalem."

Diplomacy is full of "code words," and for a President not to understand them can be lethal. It could also be dangerous for a President to have a "picture in his mind" of Jerusalem that is forty years out of date, if that really is the case. Maybe Obama should stop off there on his trip to Iraq, whenever that may take place.

It has become clear that Barack Obama has a great deal of learning to do before he is ready to serve as President. (One wonders, actually, what he is doing in the Senate.) Worse, he seems to have little understanding of his own limitations and no interest in putting in the hard work it will take for him to become even moderately conversant with foreign policy issues. Once again, we see the dangerous combination of ignorance and arrogance that characterizes Obama's Presidential campaign.

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