Monday, April 13, 2009

The Oasis Of Reason

My cousin Peter Ellsworth, an attorney now retired but still prominent in the San Diego business and health care community, once commented tongue-in-cheek he didn't realize there were moderate websites on the Internet.

I told him I was a frequent contributor to and boasted the stature of that venue was gaining respect throughout the communications world.

Never in my six months affiliation with tmv, as we call it, has that respect shown so brightly on the news and commentary postings about the Somali pirates. One needs only to go back to the archives beginning with last Monday, April 6. No scoops. Just plain, solid insights and intelligent commentary on the events that were unfolding. Even the comments section to these posts, oftentimes far off the political charts, were reasoned.

Of course, the climax to the pirate hostage story of the American ship captain came Easter Sunday with the heroic rescue and killing of three Somalis. It was a brief moment of national pride, the result of a coordinated plan from President Obama right down the chain of command to the sniper SEALs who fired the fatal shots.

Oops! Did I say President Obama? You wouldn't gather that by listening to conservative talk radio and some of the so-called pundits called in by Fox News. In an interview with that cable network, former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton Sunday gave lip service to Obama as he praised the U.S. Navy's role in successfully ending the crises.

At the time, I thought Bolton was not exactly forthcoming. Now, I think he was being an idealogical jerk.

Brother, did that impression come through loud and clear after reading tmv's editor-in-chief Joe Gandleman's account Monday morning in two separate postings. Folks, trust me. Uncle Joe, as we call him, nailed it.

What conservatives in their partisan rantings fail to understand is that a discerning public is not stupid. They totally misconstrued Obama's silence while the pirate caper unfolded as waffling. They wanted their audience to believe Obama did not have the guts to pull the trigger.

In the words of President Nixon, someone conservatives can understand, let me make this perfectly clear: Obama approved the Navy's rescue plan twice giving authority to the captain of the Bainbridge to execute the orders when the opportunity arose. Without such orders, the hostage ordeal still would be floating off the Somali coastline.

Let's be clear on another subject. Credit for Obama in no way diminishes the role played out by the highly-trained military that conceived the plan and executed it to perfection.

The Somali pirate issue is not a Democrat vs. Republican philosophical discussion yet conservatives insist on framing all issues in that context. That's a pity, and as the Bush administration mouthpieces were prone to say, unpatriotic. Tit for tat, guys.

Cousin Pete is one intelligent fellow and can think for himself. We've offered him Exhibit A.

And, being moderates, if anyone thinks we're giving the far left a pass, may I refer you to the tmv archives, once again, and look under such categories as federal budget, bailouts, stimulus, health care, climate change and so on. A real potpourri of ideas, dear cousin.

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