Wednesday, June 04, 2014

If A Stopped Clock Is Right Twice A Day, Laura Ingraham Can Be Right Once A Month

During the roundtable (actually, rectangular table) of Fox News Sunday on (when else?) Sunday with host Chris Wallace, this relatively insignificant faceoff (video, below) transpired:

WALLACE: Let's turn to the president's foreign policy and his speech this week at West Point. Mr. Obama set new limits on the use of U.S. force in the world. This in the same week that he announced that he's going to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2016 when he will have left office. Here is the president of West Point.


OBAMA: U.S. military action cannot be the only or even primary component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.


WALLACE: Laura, is there something there that you can glean from the speech that is -- that you can call the Obama doctrine?

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I've been searching. I think the response from the cadets, the graduating class of West Point is very telling. I did listen to the entire speech. And there is little in the way of response. And it's very uncomfortable. And look, I think he is reflecting to this extent the viewpoint of many in the American public who are weary of all these military engagements. And I think more resisting to military engagements six years in, seeing the world as chaotic as it is now, Africa, Middle East and beyond. So it's true. I don't think that we are clambering (ph) to go to war. However, the idea that the president goes to West Point and says, look, we've never been stronger relative to the rest of the world, I'm sorry. That doesn't even pass the straight face test. Just on an economic front. Forget on our declining influence around the globe. So, I thought it was a very odd speech. And it was not well received. And that didn't surprise me at all given the tenor and the tone.

WALLACE: Bob, what did you think of the speech? And when you look at our intervention in Syria, our lack of intervention and role, or rather our intervention in Libya, a lack of intervention in Syria and how we play in Ukraine, is there a coherent, a cogent Obama foreign policy?

BOB WOODWARD, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, there is so much talk. And I don't think talk solves lots of these problems. In foreign policy, you're trying to do two things, comfort your friends and scare the hell out of your enemies or your potential enemies. A speech like this does not have that effect. Because he said we're in effect lowering the threshold to use the military. Sometimes it is best to just be quiet and not try to theorize and not try to explain here. And I think this is the explaining is just not working. At the same time, there are two jobs the president has. And that is to protect the country and avoid unnecessary wars. And if you look at the record, you have to give Obama some credit. He's protected the country and we have not had another war or unnecessary war.

INGRAHAM: To be protective -- Benghazi diplomatic mission on 9- 11-12, I mean we kind of failed on that regard, don't you think, Bob?

WOODWARD: Well, you're underscoring my point that this will never go away, at least with you.


INGRAHAM: I actually don't think - I don't think it's funny when an ambassador is murdered.

WALLACE: On that somewhat cheap shot, we're going to have to leave. Thank you, panel. See you next week. Up next, our "Power Player of the Week," Fox's Bret Baier on his son's special heart and his family's inspiring journey.

Salon's Elias Isquith was not in a fair and balanced mood as he commented

Laura Ingraham’s obsession with the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi has become so comically extreme that even the Washington Post’s usually mild-mannered Bob Woodward is winning laughs by mocking her — and on a Fox News panel, no less.

It's not completely clear from the transcript, but a viewing of the video makes evident that Wallace, who began to respond during the laughter and before Ingraham's final statement, was referring to Woodward's remark as the "somewhat cheap shot."

Can we be honest?  Wallace (far more so, Isquith) was being overly generous to Bob Woodward.  The GOP has found little that would call into serious question the performance of the Administration on that day, and much of the caterwauling clearly is political posturing. But Ingraham, on this occasion, didn't sink to that level, merely arguing "we kind of failed in that regard."

That is not an offensive or even bold statement (nor piercing commentary) but an observation, and an obvious one stated in respectful, almost passive, fashion.  If Woodward could not resist responding, he might have simply reiterated that the nation has been kept safe and avoided unnecessary wars under this President. Perhaps he might have slipped in a cliche, as in  "it wasn't the high water mark for this Administration." Better yet, he could have taken his own advice of a moment earlier when he observed "Sometimes it is best just to be quiet and not try to theorize and not try to explain here."

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