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Should the Media Point Out the "I Told You Sos?"
It sure has been fascinating over the past couple of days to turn on Fox News and see clip after clip of President Obama and other prominent Democrats mocking Mitt Romney, during the 2012 campaign, for recognizing Russia as a serious geopolitical threat.
"The 1980s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back," chided the president in one of his debates against Romney. "The Cold War has been over for 20 years."
John Kerry (now our Secretary of State), with his arms flailing in condescension as he addressed the audience at the Democratic National Convention, went even further. He called Romney's notion that Russia was our number one geopolitical foe "preposterous," adding that "Mitt Romney talks like he's only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV."
Well, I'd hate to break it to Mr. Kerry, but with all that's going on right now between Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is looking an awful lot like Ivan Drago while our president appears to be portraying the part of Apollo Creed.
No one could have predicted this, some on on the left would probably insist. The only problem is that someone did. Back in 2008, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin observed Senator Obama's reaction to the Russian Army invading the nation of Georgia. She called it "one of indecision and moral equivalence" and went on to say that it was the kind of response "that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next."
Her comments were widely derided at the time, much as her famous "death panel" remarks were that liberal journalist Mark Halperin later felt compelled to concede had some validity.
Now, I'm the first to admit that Sarah Palin was not (and still isn't) an expert on foreign policy. She was, however, echoing the sentiment of the man at the top of her presidential ticket, John McCain. McCain never made any bones about how seriously he took Vladimir Putin as a threat. He was calling the Russian leader out at a time when people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were still daydreaming about "reset button" props and cancelling missile defense shields with Poland and the Czech Republic in exchange for absolutely nothing from Russia. McCain was widely criticized for his strong words on Russia as well.
It sure seems that Republican leaders had a far better understanding of Vladimir Putin and the Russian geopolitical threat than the Obama administration ever has, despite the abundance of snide criticism they received at the time. Yet, Fox News seems to be the only national media outlet that is pointing this out.
Does stuff like this matter? Does the media have a responsibility, or even a professional obligation, to take a look back at pivotal times in our history, analyze past statements and proposed directions, and vindicate those who had it right but were flayed at the time?
If such an obligation did exist, the media would certainly have their hands full.
One of the first on the vindication list would have to be the Tea Party movement. You know, those small government folks who the media and the Democratic part alike regularly portray as a bunch of bitter, old, white racists who hate our president and hate the country. It's all part of a political tactic by the left, of course, but that doesn't mean the smear-job hasn't been successful.
The truth is that, despite the Tea Party's poor political judgement in certain situations, the movement has gotten it right far more often than it's gotten it wrong.
The Tea Party spoke out against the federal stimulus package's infrastructure spending long before President Obama enjoyed a smile and a chuckle over shovel-ready jobs not being as shovel-ready as he expected. They spoke out against the government's picking of winners and losers long before the Solyndra's of the country crashed and burned and took a lot of taxpayers' money with them. They spoke out against unfair targeting by the IRS long before Lois Lerner plead the Fifth. They spoke out against the false promises of Obamacare long before millions of people were tossed off their health plans, lost their doctors, and witnessed their premiums and deductibles shoot through the roof.
Mitt Romney certainly deserves a prominent spot as well. After all, he got more than Russia right.
As many might recall, there was more media outrage in September of 2012 over Mitt Romney's criticism of the administration's handling of the Benghazi attack than there was over the attack itself! Early on, Romney blasted the administration for offering a harsher condemnation of an American filmmaker for creating an anti-Islam video then they did the extremists who actually committed the violence. The media absolutely excoriated Romney for his comments and accused him of politicizing the event. We now know, however, why the administration was pushing that narrative, and that any political advantage Mitt Romney might have sought from the attack paled in comparison to the intricate charade put on by the administration.
Whether or not the rules for integrity in journalism (insert your joke here) call for seeking redemption for those who were wronged, it seems to me that special circumstances should warrant it. By special circumstances, I'm referring to instances in which people had their words brutally mocked and dismissed as pure fantasy by either our country's leadership or a national media consensus.
Being ultimately being proven right when prevailing wisdom was wrong - especially in regard to a highly consequential issue - seems to me to warrant a news story by itself.