Monday, August 10, 2009

North American summit: I don’t find Canadians particularly scary

In Guadalajara, Obama met with Mexican President Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Harper.

Obama admitted to having a black sheep in his family: “All three of our nations have been enriched by our ties of family and community. I think of my own brother-in law who’s Canadian.” Oh the shame.

Asked about human rights violations committed by the Mexican government in its fight against the drug cartels, Obama, who evidently does not understand what the term human rights means, said, “The biggest, by far, violators of human rights right now are the cartels themselves that are kidnapping people and extorting people and encouraging corruption in these regions. That’s what needs to be stopped.”

Obama on why Canadian health care would never work here: “I’ve said that the Canadian model works for Canada; it would not work for the United States -- in part simply because we’ve evolved differently.” So we’re an entirely different species? “We have a employer-based system and a private-based health care system that stands side by side with Medicare and Medicaid and our Veterans Administration health care system. And so we’ve got to develop a uniquely American approach to this problem.” He added, “I don’t find Canadians particularly scary, but I guess some of the opponents of reform think that they make a good boogeyman.” Or abominable snow man. “And I suspect that once we get into the fall and people look at the actual legislation that’s being proposed, that more sensible and reasoned arguments will emerge”. Isn’t that just adorable? Myself, I’m really looking forward to those sensible and reasoned arguments emerging.

Asked whether the US had done enough, well, anything really, to restore Honduran President Zelaya, Obama got all defensive: “We have been very clear in our belief that President Zelaya was removed from office illegally, that it was a coup, and that he should return.” Actually, for the last six weeks, the State Dept has been “studying” whether the military seizing the president in his pajamas and depositing him in a foreign country was or was not actually a coup, and plans to keep studying it for a long time to come, because determining that it was a coup would, under law, trigger certain sanctions against the coup regime which Obama is unwilling to implement.

Obama then accused his critics of hypocrisy, implying that they’re calling for him to send the Marines storming into Tegucigalpa: “The same critics who say that the United States has not intervened enough in Honduras are the same people who say that we’re always intervening, and the Yankees need to get out of Latin America. You can’t have it both ways. ... Now, if these critics think that it’s appropriate for us to suddenly act in ways that in every other context they consider inappropriate, then I think what that indicates is, is that maybe there’s some hypocrisy involved in their approach to U.S.-Latin America relations that certainly is not going to guide my administration policies.” So if you want Obama to support the elected president in Honduras but have opposed past American actions in deposing elected governments, you are in fact a hypocrite.

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