Team Obama has been in “discreet talks” with Iran and Syria … for months

So much for Obama’s “one president at a time” stance!

In related news, the HuffPo reports that General Petraeus and Def. Sec. Gates have both been pushing back on Obama’s desire to withdraw all combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months:

WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (IPS) – CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, supported by Defence Secretary Robert Gates, tried to convince President Barack Obama that he had to back down from his campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months at an Oval Office meeting Jan. 21.

But Obama informed Gates, Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that he wasn’t convinced and that he wanted Gates and the military leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan, according to two sources who have talked with participants in the meeting.

Obama’s decision to override Petraeus’s recommendation has not ended the conflict between the president and senior military officers over troop withdrawal, however. There are indications that Petraeus and his allies in the military and the Pentagon, including Gen. Ray Odierno, now the top commander in Iraq, have already begun to try to pressure Obama to change his withdrawal policy.

A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilising public opinion against Obama’s decision.

Petraeus was visibly unhappy when he left the Oval Office, according to one of the sources. A White House staffer present at the meeting was quoted by the source as saying, “Petraeus made the mistake of thinking he was still dealing with George Bush instead of with Barack Obama.”

Yeah – tell me about it.

Let’s imagine for a moment …

… that it had been President Bush making fun of a celebrity’s weight on national TV prior to the Super Bowl, instead of President Obama.

Do you think we’d still be waiting for the AP, Reuters, and all the other major news outlets to report specifically on those comments while at the same time finding various advocacy groups to chime in with their outrage and calls for apologies from President Bush for perpetuating the unhealthy myth that women who aren’t a size 2 are fat?

Swampland blog reader “jacuda1” tries to be helpful:

I think you have to go back and see the video again. He said “who’s in a weight battle apparently” which is much more benign than losing the weight battle. I don’t know where the “losing” came from but this is just much ado about nothing. With that said, she needs to be disciplined and restrained when it comes to the food she puts in her mouth!

Yeah – assuming he’s right, “who’s in a weight battle, apparently” really makes the quote so much more innocent (not). And isn’t “jacuda1’s” ‘concern’ for Ms. Simpson touching? 8-|

On Daschle’s tax issues, and media double standards

Ed Morrissey says it best:

At some point, this nomination has to be more trouble than it’s worth. After all, no one will buy the notion that Daschle’s “uniquely qualified” for the HHS position as some did with Geithner at Treasury. The HHS position is a payback for Daschle’s support in the primaries, and Obama has a perfect excuse now to dump Daschle regardless of loyalty. By keeping his tax problems secret, he’s proven rather untrustworthy.

And that gets to the heart of why the Senate should have rejected Geithner and why they should refuse to confirm Daschle. It’s a matter of trust. Neither man shows a compelling reason why they should have the public’s trust placed in them. Both men will run vast bureaucracies and enforcement mechanisms, Geithner especially. The public has the right to demand people with proven accountability, not people who blame their accountants — or their accounting programs.

Unfortunately, the public hasn’t demanded it, in part because the press has been willing to portray these as “glitches”. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) noted the double standard of the press in covering the Obama administration and its obvious ethical issues, and wondered if a Bush nominee with even one-tenth the tax issues of Daschle would have gotten such supportive coverage. If Daschle had been Republican, we would have seen screaming headlines pointing out how out of touch the free limo service would be for a nation struggling with economic crisis, and how Bush did nothing but appoint fat cat lobbyists to positions of power. The silence along those lines with Daschle and Obama speaks loudly.


He knows he’s got the media in the bag. And so far, the media has done very little to counter the fact.

And this is supposed to be the “accountability presidency”? I don’t think so.