Joe Klein: Obama No Reagan

Time columnist Joe Klein (12/3/09) was not altogether impressed by Obama’s announcement of a 30,000 troop escalation in Afghanistan (an “iffy proposition,” as Klein put it). But Klein’s main point was that Obama should have justified the war differently: “Once you have made the decision to go, or to redouble your efforts, you must lead the charge–passionately and, yes, with a touch of anger.”

Then he describes the better way:

Ronald Reagan would have done it differently. He would have told a story. It might not have been a true story, but it would have had resonance. He might have found, or created, a grieving spouse–a young investment banker whose wife had died in the World Trade Center–who enlisted immediately after the attacks … and then gave his life, heroically, defending a school for girls in Kandahar. Reagan would have inspired tears, outrage, passion, a rush to recruiting centers across the nation.

It’s hard to know what’s creepier: suggesting that a president should lie to drum up support for a war, or suggesting he should do so to fight a war you’re not so sure about in the first place.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.