Friday, May 09, 2008

Bad researcher chastises Obama for bad research

Smart guy Jack Kelly writes over at Real Clear Politics that Obama "needs a history lesson." He argues that Obama's statement that it is "wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did" is ahistorical, considering Roosevelt didn't deal directly with the Nazis. This is true, but Kelly fails to take into account that perhaps the main reason Roosevelt never dealt with Hitler face-to-face is because transportation was such that heads of state still relied on diplomats (remember them?) to talk for them.

Roosevelt did, however, write directly to Hitler that if Hitler was willing to foreswear attacking several nations, Roosevelt would be
prepared to take part in discussions looking toward the most practical
manner of opening up avenues of international trade to the end that every Nation of the earth may be enabled to buy and sell on equal terms in the world market as well as to possess assurance of obtaining the materials and products of peaceful economic life.

At the same time, those Governments other than the United States I which are directly interested could undertake such political discussions as they may consider necessary or desirable.
That seems like trying to talk to Hitler to me.

The funniest part, however, is that after complaining that Obama doesn't know his history, Kelly ends his column this way:
History is an elective few liberals choose to take these days, noted a poster on the Web log "Hot Air." The lack of historical knowledge among journalists is merely appalling. But in a presidential candidate it's dangerous. As Sir Winston Churchill said:

"Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
Of course it wasn't Churchill who said that--though the lazy internet researcher might think it is. That's an oft-misquoted line from George Santayana, who wrote in Life of Reason that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hitler was our enemy in April 1939? Who knew?

And how a letter can be compared to a face-to-face with Iran, which is what Obama is attempting to justify, escapes me. If Obama wants to send mash notes to Ahmadinejad, let him go for it; the photo op worries people.

Tom Maguire

4:55 PM  
Blogger David M. McClory said...


12:29 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Tom Maguire posts:
Hitler was our enemy in April 1939? Who knew?

Perhaps, in reading FDR's letter, Mr. Maguire missed this paragraph:
Are you willing to give assurance that your armed forces will not attack or invade the territory or possessions of the following independent nations:
Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain and Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia, Russia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Iraq, the Arabias, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Iran.

It is clear that FDR did not know that Hitler's Germany was our enemy in April of 1939. It is equally clear that FDR saw of the very real possibility that Hitler was rearming Germany to become the enemy of the US, our allies, and most of Europe.

(Then, of course, there is the case of the Bush Administration talking to our enemy, the Revolutionary Leader Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi -- talk that led to Libya giving up its nascent program to develop nuclear weapons.)

9:28 PM  
Blogger Nitpicker said...

Mr. Maguire also needs to define his points. Hitler was clearly a threat to freedom in 1939, as he argues Ahmadinejad is today. I don't seem to remember us declaring war on Iran, so...

7:44 AM  
Anonymous USpace said...

So many talented artists for Obama must agree with him on his policy of talking with dictators. His 'Change', 'Hope' and 'Progress' mantras are actually somewhat self-mocking. Making your own Obama posters is totally addicting, I laughed so hard I almost had a breakdown. LOL!
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
always hope for hope

push for change at all costs
change can never be bad

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
only feel and hope

please make people change
change can only be good

Make Some Obama Posters NOW!
Appeasement Talk Bothers Appeasers
Help Halt Terrorism Now!


12:17 AM  
Blogger BudgetGlam said...

Yes, George Santayana wrote a version of that. But, Churchill DID say "Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it." This does not come from "googling" on the internet, and is not a misquote. I remember my grandfather quoting Churchill with it when I was little, back in the late 1980s, as well as reading it in a 1998 history class. Just because Churchill said something extremely similar to what Santayana wrote, does not mean he never said it.

9:51 AM  

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