AP's Kuhnhenn Does a Water-Carrying White House Workout

The Associated Press's Jim Kuhnhenn's did some really heavy lifting this morning, carrying bucket after bucket of water for the White House and Barack Obama.

Wisconsin? Obama's letting his spokesman handle it while his national party "has played down its role." Death threats against Badger State GOP Senators? What death threats?

But Kuhnhenn's keister-covering for the administration goes into the red zone on Libya (note the adjective used to describe the country's murdering madman; bolds are mine throughout this post):

Some lawmakers in both parties want him to take a greater lead against Libya's idiosyncratic strongman, Moammar Gadhafi.


But the White House sees no upside in outspokenness.


"There is a very strong gravitational pull in this town to try to drag the president to every single political skirmish and news story," said White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer.

Uh ... (shaking head in astonishment) ... what's going on in Libya is far more than a "political skirmish."

Continuing to material Kuhnhenn held until the very end:

The bipartisan criticism of Obama on Libya has less to do with low profile rhetoric - the president has been vocal in his demand that Gadhafi step down - than with the direction of the president's policy. [1] Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Republican Sen. John McCain and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman have all called for the United States to impose a no-fly zone over Libyan airspace.


But administration officials have shown little enthusiasm for such a step. They don't want to act unilaterally [2] and would only consider it if it had widespread international support. As important, they point out enforcing a no-fly zone would require military action, including attacks on Libyan anti-aircraft defenses.


Asked at his news conference if he would use any means necessary to force Gadhafi's removal, Obama recited the steps already taken, including what he called "the largest financial seizure of assets in our history."


As for military action, he said: "Anytime I send United States forces into a potentially hostile situation, there are risks involved and there are consequences. And it is my job as president to make sure that we have considered all those risks.


"It's also important from a political perspective to, as much as possible, maintain the strong international coalition that we have right now." [3]


  • [1] -- Last time I checked, policy was a bit more important than rhetoric. Kuhnhenn seems to think that policy is a relatively trifling matter.
  • [2] -- They're still relying on the Bush 43 era bromides.
  • [3] -- Strong international coalition? An editorial today at the Wall Street Journal describes a situation that doesn't square with the President's naive assertion:

    Three weeks into the Libyan uprising, here are some of the live action highlights from what Mr. Obama likes to call "the international community":


    • The United Nations Security Council has imposed an arms embargo, but with enough ambiguity that no one knows whether it applies only to Gadhafi or also to the opposition. Even the U.S. State Department and White House don't agree.


    • The U.N. has referred events to the International Criminal Court for a war crimes investigation. Mr. Obama said yesterday this sent a message to Gadhafi that "the world is watching," as if Gadhafi didn't know. But it also sends a message that leaving Libya without bloodshed is not an option, because he and his sons will still be pursued for war crimes. Had Reagan pursued this strategy in the Philippines, Marcos might never have gone into exile.


    France has recognized the opposition National Council in Benghazi, though the U.S. is only now sending envoys to meet with the opposition for the first time. Dozens of Western reporters can get rebel leaders on the phone, an opposition delegation has visited French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, but the U.S. is still trying to figure out who these people are. The American envoys better hurry because the rebels may soon be dead.


    • The French want a no-fly zone, but the Italians and Germans object. NATO is having "a series of conversations about a wide range of options," as President Obama put it yesterday, but NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen emerged from a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday saying that "We considered . . . initial options regarding a possible no-fly zone in case NATO were to receive a clear U.N. mandate" (our emphasis). The latter isn't likely because both China and Russia object, but no doubt NATO will keep conversing about the "range of options" next week.


    Even as opposition leaders were asking for help, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the world on Thursday that Gadhafi is likely to win in the long-term. The Administration scrambled to say this was merely a factual judgment about the balance of military power, but the message couldn't be clearer to any of Gadhafi's generals who might consider defecting: Do so at your peril because you will join the losing side.


    We could go on, but you get the idea. When the U.S. fails to lead, the world reverts to its default mode as a diplomatic Tower of Babel.

It seems from here that the administration, Democrats, their agitators and establishment media outlets like the Associated Press (but I repeat myself) have far more interest in overthrowing the government of Wisconsin than than they have in ousting Tripoli's butcher.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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