Note To Australia’s Prime Minister: We Don’t CARE Who You Want

Uh, oh: in a post below we just talked about bloggers have an excess of outrage, and now we’re going to have to show you some as well.

Dear Prime Minister John Howard of Australia:

We truly don’t care who you want or don’t want to be the President of the United States in 2008 or which party you like better.

Many Americans who support and many who do not support Barack Obama would echo our view here that your comments were not welcome — and unfortunately mean that further things you say will likely be taken less seriously by many because you sound more like someone writing in comments on a weblog, rather than the Prime Minister of a big country that presumably has enough of its own problems to take care of and enough of its own political issues and elections to tend to.

We were just about to leave the computer to do other things, when we saw this story:

Australia’s conservative prime minister slammed Barack Obama on Sunday over his opposition to the Iraq war, a day after the first-term U.S. senator announced his intention to run for the White House in 2008.

Obama said Saturday at his campaign kickoff in Springfield, Ill., that one of the country’s first priorities should be ending the war in Iraq. He has also introduced a bill in the Senate to prevent
President Bush from increasing American troop levels in Iraq and to remove U.S. combat forces from the country by March 31, 2008.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, a staunch Bush ally who has sent troops to Iraq and faces his own re-election bid later this year, said Obama’s proposals would spell disaster for the Middle East.

“I think that will just encourage those who want to completely destabilize and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory,” Howard said on Nine Network television.

“If I were running al-Qaida in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory, not only for Obama but also for the Democrats.”

Mr. Prime Minister: we’re don’t ask people to retract or apologize for their views, so we’ll say something for which this writer who is NOT a Democrat will not apologize:

Your comments don’t sound like the words of the Prime Minister of a great country. They sound like the words of a partisan hack. Just as many of us don’t appreciate foreign leaders calling Republican leaders names and telling Americans how to vote against them, we really don’t appreciate foreign leaders demonizing Democrats. In a nutshell: it’s none of your business WHO we think about electing and your attempt to drive up their negatives is truly not appreciated.

PS: Now, just suppose a Democrat wins in 2008? Have you done your country a service by now suggesting without coming out and saying it that Obama and Democrats in general are enablers of terrorists? Will anything related to your country rely on contacts with the Congress? In case you haven’t heard, a certain political party now controls it.

Obama’s spokesperson either responded well or in kind, depending on how you view the response to the PM’s actual words and the second part of the response:

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, traveling with the senator in Iowa, said that Howard’s words were misguided.

“The United States has sacrificed more than 3,000 brave young men and women and $400 billion, only to find ourselves mired in the middle of a sectarian civil war,” he said. “Even Republicans … know that more of the same is only going to attract more terrorists to Iraq and make our country less safe.”

Gibbs went on to say that Howard wasn’t in a position to be overly critical.

“If Prime Minister Howard truly believes what he says, perhaps his country should find its way to contribute more than just 1,400 troops so some American troops can come home,” he said. “It’s easy to talk tough when it’s not your country or your troops making the sacrifices.”

Captain Ed is more polite, but basically agrees with some of what we say here:

Am I the only conservative with misgivings regaring John Howard’s proclamation about Barack Obama? Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia and a great friend to the United States, wants to wage an aggressive war against al-Qaeda and radical Islamist terrorists. Australians have been brutally targeted twice in Bali, with hundreds of them dead from suicide bombers, and their proximity to Indonesia makes them well aware of the dangers of appeasement to Muslim extremists. However, I think Howard went too far today in involving himself in the next American election…

…Howard certainly had a point regarding Obama’s policy stands on Iraq and the war on terror. Had he limited his criticisms to just the policies, Howard would have made a great argument for tenacity and will. However, he stepped over a line when he claimed that al-Qaeda should pray for an Obama victory.

Read his post since he explains why he thinks the Obama camp erred badly in their response and what it says about Obama. But, on balance, he concludes:

I have tremendous admiriation for John Howard, and I understand the concern that drove his commentary. It’s still inappropriate, regardless of the stupidity of Obama’s response. I wouldn’t want our allies commenting on Republican candidates, and they shouldn’t comment on Democratic candidates, either.

Can TMV say “ditto”?

Be sure you read THIS EARLIER POST on this subject by TMV Assistant Editor Michael van der Galien.