We've already taken note of the astonishing New York Times magazine profile of Obama foreign policy guru Ben Rhodes. Rhodes admitted (really it was more of a boast) to having sold the nuclear deal with Iran by the expedient of lying.
The unintentionally damning profile–the author doesn't seem to have an inkling that the thirtysomething former fiction writer who has a "mind meld" with the president, is a jerk– evoked this highly unusual headline on a quick comment from Tom Ricks, the former Washington Post reporter and respected authority on military affairs:
A Stunning Profile of Ben Rhodes, the A–hole Who Is the President's Foreign Policy Guru
A two-time Obama voter, Ricks offered these key insights:
Perhaps the key sentence is this: “His lack of conventional real-world experience of the kind that normally precedes responsibility for the fate of nations — like military or diplomatic service, or even a master’s degree in international relations, rather than creative writing — is still startling.”
. . .
I expect cynicism in Washington. But it usually is combined with a lot of knowledge — as with, say, Henry Kissinger. To be cynical and ignorant and to spin those two things into a virtue? That’s industrial-strength hubris. Kind of like what got us into Iraq, in fact.
Rhodes and others around Obama keep on talking about doing all this novel thinking, playing from a new playbook, bucking the establishment thinking. But if that is the case, why have they given so much foreign policy power to two career hacks who never have had an original thought? I mean, of course, Joe Biden and John Kerry. I guess the answer can only be that those two are puppets, and (as in Biden’s case) are given losing propositions like Iraq to handle.
In an item headlined "The Runt of Rhodes," Scott Johnson at Powerline points out that the two legacy items of the Obama years, ObamaCare and the Iran nuclear deal, were sold on lies:
Obamacare was built on an edifice of calculated lies. Some of us could see the propositions on which President Obama sold Obamacare as falsehoods at the time of the selling. Others have learned from bitter experience after the buying. President Obama and his team hold a low opinion of the intelligence of the American people. See, for example, the case of Jonathan Gruber. Having elected him president twice, we have done much to earn Obama’s contempt.
. . .
What does Ben Rhodes know? He knows he’s selling a bill of goods to fools and he knows how to sell to fools. Congratulations.
On this point, Rhodes’s “mind meld” with Obama (discussed by the Obama officials interviewed by Samuels) is complete. Rhodes’s knowledge and Obama’s overlap perfectly.
“He doesn’t think for the president,” Samuels observes, “but he knows what the president is thinking, which is a source of tremendous power.” Samuels quotes Rhodes saying with a touch of bafflement, “I don’t know anymore where I begin and Obama ends.”
Referring to his brother, David Rhodes, the head of CBS News, Rhodes tells Samuels: “[David] was like the kid who carried the briefcase to school. I actually didn’t do that great in high school because I was drinking and smoking pot and hanging out in Central Park.” So he’s got that in common with Obama as well.
In addition to the “knowledge” he shares with Obama, Rhodes shares a set of attitudes. We know them well. Many of us had figured them out without undue difficulty during the 2008 campaign.
As Gordon Crovitz observes in the Wall Street Journal, Rhodes and Obama duped not only a willing media and the public but members on Obama's early foreign policy team:
Mr. Obama’s serious foreign-policy advisers seem taken aback by what happened under their watch. Leon Panetta, Mr. Obama’s former CIA chief and defense secretary, assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Mr. Obama would never let the Iranians get the bomb. Mr. Samuels asked Mr. Panetta if he still thinks Mr. Obama would block Iran from going nuclear. “Would I make that same assessment now?” Mr. Panetta said. “Probably not.”
Meanwhile, Ambassador and Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross, a former Obama adviser, writes in Politico that shifts in U.S. foreign policy are driving former allies in the Middle East to embrace Vladimir Putin.
As the Middle East implodes and the world is less safe now than it was when Obama came to office, Hillary Clinton will run party on her foreign policy chops as a member of the Obama team. And she might win.