Wherever they'd been, whatever they'd been doing, the one thing all the Republican presidential candidates had been certain of was that hapless President Barack Obama had gotten Libya all wrong. Obama hadn't been decisive enough, or had acted too rashly; Obama shouldn't have intervened, or hadn't intervened as quickly or aggressively as he should have.
'Leading from behind,' as one White House aide described Obama's excruciatingly centrist ultra-middle course on Libya, letting France and Britain do all the heavy lifting after the U.S. unleashed an initial barrage of cruise missiles? Ridiculous! Too timid/bold! (Circle one).
Now, the annoying lamestream media was inconveniently splashing onto TV screens around the globe scenes of jubilant Libyans cheering in the streets and tearing down green flags. Now, you could hardly pick up your Blackberry without some wag wagging and tweeting and YouTubing some irritating Libyan liberation meme.
Thus far, the GOP presidential hopefuls' strategy for dealing with all that bothersome Libya brouhaha consisted of mumbling some sort of boilerplate about freedom and hope, while hoping the whole mess would just go away, or at least degenerate into some sort of Biblical Apocalypse.
Now that Moammar Khadafy, billionaire oil magnate and George W. Bush's 'valued ally' in the War on Terra, was reduced to driving around Tripoli backstreets hoping to not get pulled over by the cops, the GOP candidates were reduced to miserable wavering, waffling, backtracking, and blustering. It was tough trying to look presidential while snivelling and muttering. It was tough trying to look like a foreign policy preceptor while pointing over someone's shoulder and shouting, "Hey! Look over there!"
So, here's the rogue's gallery roundup:
- Mitt Romney, who'd been a scathing Obama critic on Libya, mumbled condescending platitudes, and, as any rich guy would, demanded he be handed a payoff. "The world is about to be rid of Moammar Khadafy, the brutal tyrant who terrorized the Libyan people," Romney's statement began with the news in case you'd just crawled out from under a rock. "It is my hope that Libya will now move toward a representative form of government that supports freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. As a first step, I call on this new government to arrest and extradite the mastermind behind the bombing of Pan Am 103, Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi, so justice can finally be done." Right. Gimme, gimme, gimme. It's all about you, Mitt.
- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who'd also been a scathing Obama critic on Libya, stuck to her non-interventionist guns, or non-guns, but congratulated everyone, apparently for ignoring her scheme to look the other way while Khadafy went door to door slaughtering everyone in Benghazi. "I opposed US military involvement in Libya and I am hopeful that our intervention there is about to end. I also hope the progress of events in Libya will ultimately lead to a government that honors the rule of law, respects the people of Libya and their yearning for freedom, and one that will be a good partner to the United States and the international community." Yawn. Enough hopey-changey balderdash to make Sarah Palin puke.
- Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), gave the blandest, most generic bouquet of all the candidates. Must have brushed off a pre-printed Certificate of Recognition and scribbled "Libya" into the blank space. "The crumbling of Moammar Khadafy's reign, a violent repressive dictatorship with a history of terrorism, is cause for cautious celebration. The lasting impact of events in Libya will depend on ensuring rebel factions form a unified civil government that guarantees personal freedoms, and builds a new relationship with the West where we are allies instead of adversaries." Must have scratched out another country's name before scribbling in "Libya," as Khadafy was Bush's bestest friend forever, not his adversay.
- Jon Huntsman had been against the Libya intervention, and his spokesperson Tim Miller was careful to say, "Gov. Huntsman's view remains that intervention in Libya was a mistake, and not core to our national security interests." However, Huntsman's official statement waffled, "The impending fall of Col. Khadafy is one chapter in the developing story of a nation in turmoil. Khadafy has been a longtime opponent of freedom, and I am hopeful - as the whole world should be - that his defeat is a step towards openness, democracy and human rights for a people who greatly deserve it." Not to mention a people who greatly deserved not having Jon Huntsman as the sitting President of the United States.
- Rick Santorum snivelled, "Ridding the world of the likes of Khadafy is a good thing, but this indecisive President had little to do with this triumph. The stated goal from the very beginning for this administration was to determine whether the U.S. can positively influence the direction of a successor government. As we have seen in Egypt, the euphoria of toppling a dictator does not always result in more security for us and our allies in the region." Actually, the stated goal from the beginning was to keep Khadafy from killing his people, then regime change. First Prize for Most Whiney Response. More to the point, Rick Santorum is running for President?
If only just one of the GOP presidential hopefuls, instead of wishing Libya a democratic government with freedom and the rule of law and human rights and yadda-yadda, came out and wished Libya would anoint him or her omnipotent Supreme God-Emperor bearing unlimited powers to reign unfettered without let or hindrance so that his or her cronies could run roughshod over enslaved masses to plunder and pillage at will.
But that, of course, was what they wished for America.