Sunday, April 27, 2008


I am getting antsy about Barack Obama, my candidate of choice. When Jimmy Carter went and met with representatives of Hamas, the Obama campaign disapproved. As a matter of fact, Steve Clemons in his The Washington Note says that the Obama campaign told him that it did not approve of Jimmy Carter as a negotiator.

Writes Steve Clemons:

"But for the Obama camp to say one thing and then to whisper another -- one formally and another through informal assertions that a campaign principal was misquoted -- is not something that inspires trust and confidence. . . .

"Obama's disparagement of Jimmy Carter for reaching out to Hamas was another such point. Obama needs someone of stature to try and do what can be done at developing an "internal solution" to Palestine's current civil war -- and needs to turn this new construct into something that might be able to be negotiated with. Obama will have to confront this as President -- either directly or through proxies. A senior Obama strategist told me that he didn't really disagree with my views -- but asked "If I were president, would I want Jimmy Carter to be my emissary?" "

Jimmy Carter is the only American statesman who has the fortitude to act on his belief that no good will come to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations as long as no one wants to talk and reason with Hamas. It is not enough for Barack Obama to agree with Bush/Cheney/Olmert that Hamas is a "terrorist organization" that should be excluded. We need Obama to follow through with his foreign policy articulation that the president of the United States should sit down with those perceived to be "enemies." That includes necessarily Hamas and Hezbollah and Syria and Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez.

For Obama then to turn around and criticize Jimmy Carter, someone whose family has expressed support for Obama, is disconcerting and confusing. Obama should be supporting Carter, wishing him good luck as Steve Clemons suggest, rather than denigrating Carter as a negotiator. We need Barack Obama to return to his original vision for talking, rather than shunning.

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