America’s president — “Sweet Home Chicago”

Last night’s Republican presidential debate cannot have made anyone happy. Many must have asked themselves, is that the best we have, is that the best the Republican party has to offer?

George Will, leading conservative columnist, does just that in today’s Washington Post, and concludes:

“Neither Romney nor Santorum looks like a formidable candidate for November.“

And Andrew Sullivan, conservative blogger, writes that the winner of the debate sits in the White House. Sullivan zeroes in on what he calls “lies” about president Obama’s foreign policy, and draws, correctly, parallels with the Iraq debate after 9/11.

”Santorum really does seem to be implying that Obama has some kind of secret agenda vis-a-vis Iran. And he pretty obviously would launch a massive war on Iran. We’re hearing the kind of language we heard after 9/11. Exactly the same language; exactly the same arguments; exactly the same paranoia.

There seems to be no memory of the Iraq war at all. It never happened. There was no error. There is nothing to explain. And yet they do not seem to realize that that catastrophic war is the reason Barack Obama is president. It’s like an etch-a-sketch party. Shake it one election cycle – and the past disappears completely! …This is a party about ideology, not reality.

…Newt attacks General Dempsey on the rational international conduct of the Iranian regime. Then Gingrich repeats exactly the same argument used for the Iraq war. Exactly the same. And blames the experts in the military for not “believing” what is apparently obvious. Romney then buys into the Santorum line that Iran wants to use a nuke against the US. He then lies about Obama “opposing” crippling sanctions. Does Romney believe that if he simply says that Obama hasn’t placed sanctions on Iran, it will somehow become true? So that’s another bald-faced lie.”

Liberal columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. is frustrated in today’s Washington Post that the Republicans continue to paint Obama as an ”alien.”

“Please forgive this outburst. It’s simply astonishing that a man in his fourth year as our president continues to be the object of the most extraordinary paranoid fantasies. A significant part of his opposition still cannot accept that Obama is a rather moderate politician quite conventional in his tastes and his interests. And now that the economy is improving, short-circuiting easy criticisms, Obama’s adversaries are reheating all the old tropes and clichés and slanders.”

Dionne ends:

“We are blessed with the freedom to say whatever we want about our president. But those who cast Obama as something other than one of us don’t understand him and don’t understand what it means to be American.”

Here he is, America’s president: