Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift seemed flabbergasted on this weekend’s McLaughlin Group as fellow panelists Pat Buchanan, Monica Crowley and Mort Zuckerman all criticized President Obama’s speech to Muslims in Cairo. Perhaps reflecting the mindset of her Newsweek colleagues, Clift exclaimed: “Until I came on this set, I heard nothing but rave reviews for this speech. I feel like I’m in a total parallel reality.”
The McLaughlin Group tapes on Friday afternoons, which means that for the better part of two days Clift was completely insulated from the various criticisms of Obama’s speech which were easy to discover on talk radio, many newspapers, and the Internet. She seemed particularly enraged by the group’s consensus that Obama has been “badmouthing” the United States by repeatedly emphasizing past misdeeds and ignoring America’s valuable contributions to the rest of the world.
After running a series of clips showing the President apologizing for the United States or criticizing past American conduct, and noting his admission in Cairo that the U.S. was involved in the overthrow of a socialist government in Iran in 1953, moderator John McClaughlin asked Zuckerman: "He's gone pretty far, has he not, in apologizing....Is he badmouthing us?"
Zuckerman, publisher of the New York Daily News, jumped: “You're darn right he is, because we saved the Iraqi, the Iranian regime, after World War II, from Soviet domination. The United States was the only country in the world that stood up to Soviet attempts to dominate Europe. I mean, we have done an extraordinary job. No other country in history, I think, has expended as much treasure and blood to try and preserve democracy and freedom in the world.”
A few moments later, conservative commentator Monica Crowley joined in: “It is not an appropriate exercise of American presidential leadership. I am sick and tired of this man running down his country when he's on foreign soil. You hire a President to represent the United States of America. I guess he fancies himself the President of the world.”
Pat Buchanan agreed: “Everywhere he has gone, he has acted like -- I mean, he's a good speaker, but he has acted like a guilt-besotted liberal. He goes to Latin America, apologizing to these guys....He sat there and took abuse for 45 minutes from Danny Ortega....”
That was all too much for Clift: “He is saying things that the rest of the world says about us all the time....You cannot talk about the smote -- or whatever it is -- in the other person's eye until you recognize what's in your own, and he is acknowledging where America has gone awry, and he is re-setting a relationship with the rest of the world....Until I came on this set, I heard nothing but rave reviews for this speech. I feel like I'm in a total parallel reality.”
Note to Clift: It’s “mote,” not “smote.” From Matthew 7:3: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” It means a small particle or speck.